How to Bargain in Istanbul

How to Bargain in Istanbul

Bargaining is a traditional old way to buy something in Turkey. Fortunately, it is not common as it was before now. As a visitor to Istanbul you might need a few tips and what to be aware of .

First of all, after a few days you will notice many shops are selling similar items, so you have a chance to choose and compare prices.

Shopping in Istanbul

Rule 1: Compare Prices

Don’t buy from the first shop you visited. Compare the prices from similar shops on the same district or even on different districts. Some places, districts might have expensive and good quality products, some may not have. Some are focused on rich tourists, some on regular tourists and some on local people.

It’s always better to buy something from non-touristic shops which mostly serves to local Istanbul people. You can notice them easily, they usually don’t have English written signs and prices will be on Turkish Lira currency.

If you would like to buy something which is traditional to Turkey or Istanbul, I would recommend you to the visit touristic places or touristic areas. For example if you would like to buy a “fez” which was used in Ottoman Empire but not now, you have to visit touristic areas like KapalıÇarşı, Taksim, Galata, Karaköy etc. These are the places you might bargain about price.

Fez Hat
Fez Hat

If you are interested in buying global object or items from internationally known shops, check out my Shopping Malls category. I have to say, there is no bargaining in this kind of global shops.

Rule 2: Price Tag

A honest salesman always puts a price tag on items. If there is no price tag on products you can be suspicious. The other thing you have to check is the currency on price tag. If you can not see any currency on price tag, be suspicious and I don’t recommend you to buy from that shop.

A common trick some salesmans use is writing the price but with no currency. For example if it’s only written “5” with no currency, probably the seller is selling that item for 5 Turkish Liras for Turkish customers (which is 2,5€) but for 5€ Euro for tourists. Don’t buy anything from them.

Rule 3: Timing

How to Bargain in Istanbul

It might sound interesting but prices may change in local shops during the day. In Turkish culture, “siftah” means the first selling of salesman that day. Mostly, they will be more eager to sell their goods for lower prices in the morning for “siftah” and at night before the shop closes.

I recommend you to buy between 8-11 A.M. when the shops are not crowded and prices are lower. Also you will have more bargaining advantage in the morning because the shops will be empty and salesman will spend more time to sell something to you.

Rule 4 : Shopping Mood

How to Bargain in Istanbul

Seeming so happy and excited like this means you are ready to buy everything for any price.

A general rule, don’t look too interested or excited on a specific item! If you look like you can not do without that item, you really loved it and you will exactly buy it, these all means you are giving the biggest advantage to the salesman.

Just keep it easy and calm when you shopping. Look like you might buy something for you are not excited about buying and you might leave the shop in any second. Don’t focus on a specific item not to be look like you loved it. Just check the shop, check different items etc. and at the end ask for price then still don’t look interested and act like you are leaving the shop. Probably the salesman will call you back and offer you a better price to make you come back.

Rule 5: Wait salesman to tell the price first!

How to Bargain in Istanbul

When you start to bargain, don’t tell your price offer first and just wait for the seller. Otherwise you lose your bargaining chance and you can’t go for lower prices than the price you told before.

If it’s written 100€ on price tag, the salesman might ask you how much are you willing to pay for it. Don’t answer and wait for him to make another offer, then you can start bargaining for lower prices.

Rule 6: Reach the Goal

During the bargaining, be nice and polite. Getting angry or being rude doesn’t help you to buy something cheaper. Don’t rush and hurry to bargain, thing might to slow and it may take some time but be patient. Normally, there is no standard bargaining procedure and you can’t bargain in shopping malls or in exclusive high quality shops. These tips are only for touristic focused local shops. Sometimes you can get between 20% and 50% percent of discount by bargaining and sometimes you can’t get any.

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Best wishes and good luck with bargaining!

Useful links for Istanbul travel