It is customary to haggle over price … a little,
It is part of their dignity as traders,
They are not beggars.
They have worked to grow, collect, make, package, or carry their wares, to sell them.
They may not have access to fair credit to buy the goods they trade: they may start in debt with high interest to pay from their sales
They are often the sole breadwinner for their extended families. And it is not always ‘surplus’ that they sell, but family heirloom crafts, if that is all they have.
Time spent selling in markets or roadsides is time away from their children, from the care of the sick and elderly, from their community role or from their family vegetable plot – if they have one: their time is of value.
It is not true that traders never accept a price that doesn’t give them some profit.
Some are so poor they have to accept any cash price at all, however low, in order to buy a bowl of rice, or a sweet potato, or an onion, to feed their family today – tomorrow is another matter.
It is customary to haggle over price … a little …
Women, trading, give us:
Food or drink we need in the market
souvenirs we take home
photographs for our magazines, albums and blogs
the ambience of our exotic holidays
their smile of welcome
It is customary to haggle over price … a little … just a little … but be careful not to beat them down into perpetual poverty.
Trish Nicholson is the author of Passionate Travellers: Around the World on 21 Incredible Journeys in History,
and the travel memoirs, Inside the Crocodile: The Papua New Guinea Journals, and Journey in Bhutan: Himalayan Trek in the Land of the Thunder Dragon (ebook only)