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Haggling & Bargaining in Gambia
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Knowing how to bargain in Gambia is a skill that is an essential way of life, and is indispensable when buying goods from roadside or market vendors, so be prepared to haggle hard over their asking prices. Below are some useful bargaining tips tourists should learn.

If you see something you want to buy, start by saying "Nyatta La", which means "how much is it" in Wolof, and if you are a man shake hands first before bargaining can commence. This will often please the seller and make him more amiable towards you as well as reduce his intended asking price, as he will feel you know a bit about local costs already. As soon as he tells you the cost reply "Daffa seerr" which means "it's too expensive", and follow this with "Wanyi Ko" which means "reduce the price". Be good humoured and jovial in your negotiations as this helps break the ice. If you are pressed for time then ask him "what is your last-price" (commonly done) and if it is anything above 2/3  of the original cost then walk away with a smile.

Try not to look like a tourist if you want to stand any chance of getting a bargain, particularly in the Kololi and Kotu resorts. Shopkeepers can often easily spot you out from those that live in Gambia. A few things you can do is to hide your money or belt bag, stride confidently but not too quickly, as this is a sure sign you are from Europe or America.

Never pay the asking price from a street vendor or goods shop. This is not Europe where they tend to be fixed, and even if you feel that the item is reasonably priced ask for it to be lowered. Never make an offer first. You may think that it would be a bargain when in fact you are paying over the odds.

Shop vendors and street hawkers will nearly always ask a tourist to pay more than he or she would for the locals, as locals are into haggling very hard indeed, and are quite prepared to try someone else where agreement cannot be reached.

Be patient when negotiating over the price of goods and add a smile while doing so however, do not over bargain as the vendor may get irritated and upset. When tourist shopping expect to pay 30% to 40% lower than what he had originally offered the item to you for.

If you can't agree then one trick is to say that you are just taking a look at other items further down the street and that you might come back. If the vendor doesn't call you back immediately to re-negotiate then he had probably made his final offer to you.

Do not bother haggling over prices charged in the supermarkets, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and 'Bitiks' as they tend to have fixed prices. Likewise don't bother with small items purchased from the local 'Pular' corner shop such as a packet of razors, insect spray, fruits, peanuts, purified water bottles, bread or coffee. However, if you are approached on the beach by a fruit seller or other hawker then do ask for a reduction. If you have bought a lot of items in bulk from a supermarket then it is worthwhile asking them to reduce their price as they are often willing to offer a discount, particularly to valued customers.

If your hotel room lacks any promised facility or you are intending to stay over 2 weeks in Gambia, then it might be worthwhile asking for a reduction of hotel room rates.

Tourist taxi fares tend to be fixed though there is scope for negotiation depending on the distance and time you require the driver's services. Ask at your hotel reception desk or your holiday rep for advice.

When it comes to hiring the services of local skilled craftsman such as a plumber, bricklayer or construction contractor be prepared to bargain. Tip: Get quotes from two or three professionals, and let them know you are getting quotes from others before making up your mind.

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