Buying things in Bali
Are you a shopping enthusiast who likes the process of searching for novel deals and navigating a tricky market? Bali is known for its tricky markets that offer a wide selection of beautiful, Balinese cultural items. However, the Balinese market is especially tricky due to the many scams that are practiced by local vendors. The rewards in terms of merchandise are extraordinary, but only a highly skilled shopper can land a valuable item without being the victim of a scam in Bali.
Balinese shopping markets are based on the concept of bargaining. The actual exchange of bargaining is supposed to be a friendly exchange of courtesy and friendship between the vendor and the customer. However, behind the smiling face of the vendor, there exists a sharp mind that is ready to pounce on the slightest inconsistencies that a customer exhibits. A common scam in Bali is the quantity confusion trick. When you bargain with a vendor, he will tell you that, if you buy more than one item, he will lower his price. Once a bargain is reached, the vendor will package one item and hand it to you for the price of two items. If you take the package, the vendor will often refuse to take it back or give you the second item. Unfortunately, this has tricked many tourists due to how adept these vendors are at doing this. However, shopping-savvy tourists will refuse to take the packaged item and politely walk away. When the vendor sees this, he will instantly yell for you to come back and adhere to the original terms of the bargain.
Another common scam in Bali is overpricing. Because the Balinese love to bargain, they often overprice things as much as 30 times more than the real rate. Many tourist guides advise people to follow the 30 percent rule when bargaining (never take anything for more than 30% of the asked price). However, this still makes the customer pay an unusually high price. Most tourists are unaccustomed to bargaining and become uncomfortable under the aggressive bargaining tactics of Balinese merchants. Consequently, these customers will refuse to bargain for a price lower than the 30% recommended by travel guides. An astute shopper will not hesitate to bargain with a vendor until the price is much lower than the 30 percent rule.
Finally, Balinese merchants love to take advantage of the exchange rate between rupiahs and foreign currency. Local Balinese speak in thousands when they shop. For example, if they say that this dress costs 20, they mean that it costs 20,000 rupiahs or 2 US dollars. Balinese merchants take advantage of unsuspecting tourists by inflating the figure. For example, if a tourists wishes to buy the same dress, the Balinese merchant will say that it costs 20 and then ask for 200,000 rupiahs or 20 US dollars. Because tourists are often not familiar with local bargaining terminology, they often pay exorbitant prices for cheap goods.
Bali is a wonderful place to shop; however, the bargaining culture that permeates local business dealings can be very tricky. Tourists should be very alert and should inform themselves of local customs before attempting to shop in Bali. Once you are informed, shopping in Bali becomes a delightful experience. The bargaining aspect of the Balinese market is a novelty. Are you good enough of a shopper to successfully shop in Bali?