The age-old art of negotiation can become a very tiresome burden, especially when you are no longer oblivious to the dual pricing system in operation. Broken down it means because you are foreign you will be charged more than a Thai person for the same product.
There is nothing more frustrating when you know what the price should be and the Thai person refuses to sell. This makes foreigners suspicious of Thai people leaving a bad impression, however, there is hope as you can find the same price as Thai people.
You need to avoid the tourist hot spots. MBK shopping center is one such example as it sells counterfeit products, primarily to foreigners.
Here there is no bargaining as such because there is a minimum pricing system in operation, preventing you from getting the same price as a Thai person no matter how hard you bargain.
The solution is to go somewhere else, like the taxi driver who refuses to turn the meter on, don’t argue just find another taxi.
The bargaining is only an issue when it comes to counterfeit products as original merchandise cannot be bargained down maybe a small bit.
Pantip Plaza is a shopping complex in Bangkok where Thai people buy their electronic products, however many foreigners shop here also. The people here will try to charge you more because you are foreign but there is no minimum sale price, meaning that you can bargain the price down to the Thai price.
The trick is, first of all, you must check the prices before you buy. Ask for a discount or say that you want to check the price in another shop first and the price will drop further.
Furthermore many products have price tags allowing you to compare between shops.
Shopping center’s that sell original products all have price tags and the price is comparable with you’re home country. Outside the tourist area’s all Thai markets have price tags on products and the culture of cheating the foreigner doesn’t exist.
Tesco Lotus and Big C all have price tags so it’s the same price for everyone and you can check the prices, meaning next time you’re in a market you have a good idea what is the right price before you ask. This makes bargaining so much easier.
Like all things, you need to shop around for the best deal. You have to accept the fact that the Thai price doesn’t exist in the tourist-orientated markets. The Thai people here will not sell a product at the Thai price. You have to accept this and go to the Thai Markets.
I’m not saying that you will always get the fair price straight up but at least you have a fighting chance and you can’t ask for more than that!