The Art of Haggling

When haggling is the way of life.

Today the group went to Florence where we hit the leather market! 

Stalls on all sides with bustling hagglers, tourists and sellers can be felt the moment you enter the vicinity of the market. The goods ranged from leather jackets to leather accessories and for all who are wanting to travel to Florence, I would recommend making a stop at the leather market to get the cheapest leathers you can possibly find made in Italy. 

However, on this note, it’s important to remember to haggle! Most of the prices are boosted up by sellers with the expectation that haggling will occur, so make sure to haggle the price down to an affordable and fair number. For this occasion, my one goal was to glean an affordable, authentic Italian leather belt for Father’s Day. The first stall I stopped at sold a plethora of belts; from buffalo skins to sheepskins, the options were vast, but the prices weren’t very appealing. After haggling with the seller for a hand full of minutes, he offered me his cheapest price: $17. I walked away, telling him I’d come back later but I never did, because a few stall later, I was surveying the wares of another stall owned by a Bangladesh man named Shakh.

Shakh has owned his stall for about six and a half years already and after making initial small talk, he offered me $20 for a buffalo skin belt. 

The original price was $35, but for you, I’ll make it $20, Shakh told me. But I was unconvinced with the price as my first offer at the other stall was lower. 

I let him know that I didn’t have a twenty and asked for fifteen to which he shook his head, insisting on the quality of his wares. 

But in all honestly, I really only had ten euros in my bag so even fifteen was a stretch for me. 

Okay, so guess I can’t get anything then, I said and made to walk away. 

$15 for you then because it is a gift, Shakh said. Sold. And so I bought an Italian leather belt for my father and my obligations for Father’s Day were satisfied. 

So if my bit of a long winded anecdote were to mean anything, haggle. Just haggle. Put aside all shame and pride and haggle, because sellers expect it and it never hurts to try. 

A healthy, refreshing lunch of Burrata cheese, baguette, and salad, because haggling is hard work!

But beside the leather market, the group I was with ended up at a cute Japanese-Esque store that sold beautifully smelling soaps. Between rosemary and Linden, there was a soap scent for everyone. With encouragement from my fellow group mate, I ended up buying a soap made of tomato leaves which I personally think smells divine. The scent was subtle but sweet enough without being overpowering. I’m no soap connoisseur but that was one purchase I won’t ever regret. 

In summation of my quick trip to Florence, the two things I’d like the point out is to haggle at the markets and to have enough cash. I’ve already explained the importance of haggling so I won’t drone on, but cash is important to remember. Cash was one thing I didn’t have in sufficiency and an aspect that hindered my shopping in Florence. Florence is a great place to buy affordable gifts so don’t ruin the chance to get something nice by not having cash. Perhaps some of you might think: well, just use a credit card. The issue with that mentality is:

One, some vendors don’t accept credit cards and 

Two, you might not want to use your credit card because the neighborhood the market is located in is not exactly safe and better safe than sorry. 

So if you grasped anything from this semi-long literary piece of work please remember to bring cash and haggle!

Godspeed.

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