The hagglers creed

Thou shall attempt to get the best deals, at the best affordable price at all times.

As a devout haggler, thou must learn to shop patiently and practice the act of delayed gratification.

Thou shall uphold the hagglers’ code, tis thy skill to live within your means.


As a child I looked forward to going shopping with ma, it meant I got to pick what snack or fruit I wanted.  The experience however was tainted by the number of hours we ended up spending. It wasn’t because ma was slow quite the opposite, time was spent haggling. For every major shopping Ma had a list; we negotiated the market from the entrance closest to the essential things on it. This was done to ensure we used our best haggling skills before exhaustion set in.  So the stage is set, off we go to the first stall:

Trader: good afternoon o aunty

 Ma: Nne/Nna good afternoon. Ego ne ka I na ere tomatoes’ gi a? (How much is your tomatoes?)

Trader: ofu aka bu N50.00 (a single pile N50.00)

 Ma: ha! nna price gi gbako te kwa.  Ele kwa N20.00? (My dear, your price is high can you sell them for N20.00) initially, ma’s first price option often shocked me.

 Trader: mba o, (chuckles) last price bu N30.00 (no final price is N30.00)

 Ma: I ga ele ibuo N50.00 kamu gbolu ino? (Can you sell 2 for N50.00, I will take 4 bunches)

 Trader: ngwa nu ka obulu na ere kwa nke ta. (Ok, I will sell to you just so I can record a sale) 

That was the deal closed, the process is repeated for every single item. Some traders didn’t take kindly to the haggling and we left hastily from such stalls. When I got older it became my turn to go shopping and I felt immensely proud every time I came home and ma beamed with smiles at the good deals I struck. And when I struck out she would say “they saw you coming” not in those same words, but you get the general idea.

With few open markets where I live now, it would seem my haggling skills have been for naught. An amusing scene would be to walk into Tesco pick two cans of corn beef then proceed to haggle at the till. That would definitely make a good sketch for an anti-integration comedy. However, my husband has taught me a good use for my skill. Shop online, use comparison sites to get good bargains, to further increase the bargain search for vouchers/ coupons and Voi la! I still uphold the hagglers’ creed.

In the US, I believe the use of coupons is common place and worth more for a haggler. From what I gather they are good at helping families budget and maximize their incomes. They are acquired from magazines, newspapers and online some can be used several times over. It is also advisable where ever you live to shop in bulk and get frozen foods as well rather than fresh. Cashing in on sales especially when shopping for children’s items is ideal as they often wreck whatever you buy within a short period of time it helps to get them. Getting club cards/ bonus point cards from shops also helps, in the long run.

People associate haggling with being skint, this is far from true. No one likes to be taken advantage of and buying things at asking price without doing a comparative survey seems like that to me. Another misconception is that the seller loses out when we haggle, again this is wrong. Traders never go for deals that make them losses.

So if you are a good haggler like me don’t give up yet, just get more computer savvy and surf the net often for good deals. It never hurts to save a little here and there. You can still duplicate your life back home anywhere in the world with less sweat or exhaustion just a lot more planning.


Take a look at these sites:


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