The bane of most men but adored by women, shopping is an experience in self-indulgence and addictive. In Bali one could spend a fortune the products available are so ‘cheap’ compared to the shoppers home countries. Shopping in Bali for first-timers is and can be overwhelming. It seems that everywhere you go all the vendors have virtually the same products for sale but, at different prices. This is principally due to the fact that most vendors buy their goods wholesale at the same place and that being in the village of Sukawati; a 40 minute drive from Kuta.
So, what do first-time shoppers in Bali do? Simple. Don’t buy at the first place you come to. Check out the various vendors along the streets and at the markets such as Kuta Art Market in Tuban and if you are staying in Sanur then it will be the Art Market there.
Secondly, don’t go paying the price the vendor wants! Bargain the price. It is customary in Indonesia to bargain and literally expected. How do you bargain? Whatever the price the vendor quotes, instantly halve it and bargain from there. Eventually you will come to an agreement. In the case that you don’t achieve a suitable price for the product you wish to purchase then simply apologise and move on. You will find that the vendor will relent 90% of the time.
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The ethical essence of bargaining is to be fair. By that I mean don’t go offering the vendor a ridiculous price. They have to make a living too and don’t forget, the product you are purchasing is that cheap compared to a similar product in your own country.
Not everything in Bali can be bargained for. The majority of shops, those in shopping malls and plazas are harga pas or fixed price. My wife is notorious for bargaining and being Javanese she knows how to get the price she wants but, a price that is fair to both parties. Bargaining is a skill and eventually you will hone your skills. It is an enjoyable part of shopping in Bali.