Negotiation Lessons from an Athens Flea Market

May 9, 2014

in Negotiation

Today was a touristy day for me in Athens Greece. After visiting the Parthenon, I climbed down the backside of the hill to go to the Athens flea market. Flea markets are a great place to practice negotiation tactics and to sometimes walk away with some interesting things.

I had 3 different experiences with 3 different outcomes:

  1. At one store, I picked up 7 different little souvenir items for people back home. I didn’t keep track of the price. I asked the lady at the counter to sum it all up. She said it would be 12 euro. I said I would be willing to spend 10. She said 12. I stayed silent. She said 11. I said deal. I walked out of the store. As I was walking out I noticed that the sum of the items was actually 10 euro, not 12. She had played me.
  2. At another store, I found some shoes I liked. The original price was 55 euro. I offered 45. The owner said 50. I stayed at 45. He stayed at 50. I walked out and he did not change his mind. I came back 5 minutes later and paid 50.
  3. At a final store, I found a nice bronze mantelpiece of Zeus on a throne that I am going to put in my home to pay homage to my Greek heritage, lol. The listing price was 75 euro. I offered 60. The owner countered 65. I started to walk out and they said, “OK, 60.” Deal.

Flea markets can be an interesting place to practice price negotiation. It would be fun to be on the seller side sometime. Even in flea markets it is important to remain ethical. I ran across this Y Combinator page on ethics today that is good.

Do you like to negotiate in flea markets? Or are you too nervous and just go with the asking price?


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