Ah, Peru! The land loaded with textiles, delicious Inca Kola, and street peddlers galore. I’m not ashamed to say I dropped a few dolla dolla bills in Peru (except there they’re called soles, of course). I’m not ashamed to say I loaded up on tacky souvenirs to bring home and thrust into my friends’ arms while declaring, “HERE! See? I’m not a cheapskate!”
I learned how to master the art of haggling in Peru.
Do you want to know how I scored this sweet alpaca purse for $10CAD?
Do you want to know how I walked away with this FREAKISHLY COOL piece of jewellery for $25?
Come closer, I’ll tell you.
I did. Absolutely. Nothing.
I’m pretty passive aggressive, unless you’re being a bitch. I’m also cheap. Did I mention that? The whole currency conversion thing never works in my mind, so when someone tells me something is 20 soles I think, “Shit! That’s a lot of money!” It takes some time for me to realize that it’s a steal. Like this bomb green scarf, for $5 CAD.
And I hate, hate, HATE haggling. I remember my first haggling experience: I wanted a black coconut ring in Mexico. The sweet-talkin’ vendor said something along the lines of, “20 pesos, but just for you.” I bought, I didn’t even argue. Just for ME? What a deal!
I still work by this mentality, mostly. But Peru was a bit different. I ran into the bathroom of a jewellery shop and then felt compelled to at least browse, and the blue ring above caught my eye. The lady chased me around the store after I turned down her price, and I hadn’t even tried to haggle. Finally she reasoned with me, and tossed in a magnet for free. I saved like $20 CAD, just for being entirely passive aggressive.
The same happened in the market in Cusco. The alpaca purse caught my eye and I inquired about the price. I decided 30 soles was way too much, and started backing away. The vendor called after me, asking, “How about 25?” The truth was I only had 20 soles left, and told her. “Fine,” she said, reaching for the purse. “Have it.” I think she was pissed. I, on the other hand, have a sweet alpaca purse.
So that’s it. Be passive aggressive, but friendly. Don’t bitch. God, I hate when people bitch. I have retail tales of terror from this year’s Christmas stint at a gift shop, so believe me when I say that most sales associates have no control over the prices of their products.
This might not be the same for Peru, but still, don’t be a bitch.
I visited Peru with Contiki. You should too!