How to Bargain at Street Shopping in Mumbai – Skills of Bargaining Hard

“Bargaining in Mumbai as a pro needs some special skills while on street shopping. Nothing of shame to save your hard earned money if you know street side shopkeepers quote 200% and know people do bargain for best deal, In such case who don’t know how to bargain, Ends paying very high on such products. So here is a step by step guide to bargain on Mumbai Streets with an example..”

Street Shopping
Street Shopping

Hi, i am trying to help all your shoppers who need a little inside on street bargaining skills in Mumbai. Its an optional thing to do, But when you know their is no MRP tags like branded products and charges are 200 to 300%, Why be foolish and pay more. Below example may not be perfect, The amount and other calculations are generic, But much towards an actual deal cracked on road side shopping areas. Some of the famous street shopping destinations in Mumbai where you need to use your strong bargaining skills are Colaba Causeway Market, Fashion Street, Bandra Linking Road, Sheikh Memon Street, Sainath Market Malad, Natraj Market Malad, Hill Road Bandra, Dadar Market, Chor Bazaar and many such street side market locations around Mumbai.

A Request !!! : Although we are here to polish our bargain skills, I have a humble request to all, Do not bargain with paddlers and seasonal hawkers for things which hardly have profit margins like Diwali Diyas, Stickers as you see, They are very poor and are on streets with small kids to earn little amount. They do not celebrate festivals, just run hard day and around for just daily meal earnings.

Colourful Diyas
Colourful Diyas

So here is an step by step guide and example to bargain with hawkers, street side small shops (PDF Download available at end of article).

Fancy Ornaments (Imitation Jewellery) at Colaba Street Shopping
Fancy Ornaments (Imitation Jewellery) at Colaba Street Shopping

  • As said, Bargaining at Linking road or any other street shopping destination of Mumbai needs special skills which one learns after few experiences interacting with shopkeepers. Still many daily bargain pro’s end up paying more and notices when a friend talks about the same deal cracked at much better price. So relax, Lets explore and learn such bargain hard skills in simplest possible way.
  • TIP for first time visitors and Foreign Tourists : Keep you ears and eyes open, You will hardly be alone at such street side shopping destinations at linking road and others where major bargain happens for varieties of products. So while exploring your likings just listen to the on going bargains by fellow customers and note the final deal price.
  • Window Shopping Helps too : You are most welcome to window shop and gain information about pricing and rates of individual products, Hang around and ask for pricing of same product to couple of Hawkers, Sellers and Shop keepers and you will get an idea of ‘average pricing’.
  • Sellers / Shopkeepers are Pro : Sellers interact with hundreds of people daily, We buyers interact with those seller sometimes in a week or month. So it is obvious that their experience in dealing with customers is much better then we even think. They are a hard nut to crack best bargain actually. It takes just few seconds to study a customers looking at their current outfits, talking skills, questions and many hawkers decide a random high price accordingly. They immediately come to know if he/she is a regular customer or first time visitor at that street market. So here are some steps that will help to your bargain skills.
  • STEP 1 (Control your emotions, They are watching) : I know its hard for a girl to control their emotions while shopping, Specially when they find the very thing they looking for. So, if you want to bargain hard and get your win ? relax and control your excitement. Never show your excitement too much immediately or talk something like “Oh finally i got that dress, that colour, that particular product here, it was not available anywhere else in other shops”. Seller immediately sense your need and plays the Economics golden rule, “When Demand Increases, Price Increases” and here you lost your best bargain chance.
  • STEP 2 (Quote best lowest in reply) : Profit margins are 100% and sometime more on Clothings, Hand Bags etc, So its time to decide on bargaining hard now. Don’t be afraid of bargaining down to a price as low as Rs.70 or Rs.80, when seller quotes Rs.200. Remember, profit margin on clothing is much higher than other products. Best bargain is 40% to 50% of the quoted price on clothings. Branded or Non Branded tags on collars, They purchase this clothes in bulk and pays the costs as per (KG) from various wholesaler sources. Usually, newbie bargainer / first timer at such street shopping will quote Rs.150 in reply to Rs.200 quoted as may be bit shy or embarrassed quoting a lower amount and such deals closes around Rs.160 or Rs.170, which she thinks is the best, Yet in real not the best bargain.
  • STEP 3 (Be firm on your pricing) : When you quoted Rs.70 or Rs.80, Shopkeeper understands that you are one of those regular customers, But still will argue on pricing and will say something like “That price si not even our purchase cost madam”. Stay firm and say something like, Oh same product is available in cheaper cost at other adjacent shops and ask for “LAST BEST PRICE”. We Mumbai locals when bargain in Hindi language, say something like “Iska Last Bhav Bolo Bhai ? (What’s the last best price you can) ?” and use the same argue skills on them.
  • STEP 4 (Check if he reduces the rates) : With a new example on pricing and Moving on to next step of Bargain, Mostly seller will reduce the price. Example : If he had quoted Rs.200 initially and after bargaining if he reduces the rate of product and quotes Rs.190 saying it a final price. Immediately, follow the below step.
  • STEP 5 (Second Level Bargain) : Now, After exploring few of those shops at same shopping destination, You already have and idea now. So decide your final price (Remember dropping down to 50% or even 40% of the final best price quoted by seller ?). In this case you should possibly quote him by saying “Your Last Price is Rs.90” and check his reply. He will typically say something like “This is not our purchase cost madam” and may again reduce the price to Rs.200 and say, This is very final.My experience says, As he already knows his best deal and may want to finally crack the tough nut (YOU) at price somewhere around Rs.90 or Rs.100, He will try holding on you with his own bargain skills. But you are here for a bargain and should never give up so easy, So now the next step will decide if you will get the best bargain or not.
  • STEP 6 (Show you are not interested) : Simple, START WALKING away slowly from shop. When finally the seller feels understands you are a tough nut to crack, he will call you and you will possibly hear something like “OK COME HERE MADAM” and using his final moves and skills he may or may not say something like “NOT YOURS and NOT MINE” take this at Rs.100.
  • STEP 7 (Best Bargain Done & Deal Cracked) : His best quote is Rs.100 now and you want it at Rs.90, He called you back because he wants to, So you stayed firm as its is a time for a best bargain deal done. You knew, By quoting your bargain deal of Rs.70 initially which of course is not going to work, You will finally get some comfortable final price which you are willing to pay. So here you get your product at Rs.90 or may be you pay Rs.100 to if you really don’t want to give up on that deal. Best Bargain done and you have now got your skills improved.

Remember, Not all bargains are so discounted and so is why i quoted CLOTHINGS or SHOES. Sellers sometimes says it clear, “FIXED PRICE, NO BARGAIN” and usually that are Ladies hand bags, Branded cosmetics (First Copy usually) and such products which are already a best deal.

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My love towards Mumbai city took me to passion blogging from hobby. Upon quitting job, now i am one of the online city & travel guide since 2007. Hope my efforts helps citizen, foreign nationals & tourists in some or other ways.

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