Before I came to Italy, I was warned about a few things. First, Italians don’t believe in standing in line. Second, make sure to bargain for EVERYTHING. Somebody even said that it was an insult not to bargain.
My second weekend I went to Florence and to the leather market (like all tourists). I found this leather bag I wanted and attempted to bargain like I had been taught but sadly, the man I was bargaining with did not seem interested in the bargaining. All my friends wanted to get leather jackets and didn’t bargain. Was this bargaining advice a lie? Was I not bargaining correctly? Or, was the bargaining just not fitting in the circumstances?
This got me thinking about bargaining and flea markets and everything in between. The way flea markets and such are set up is the perfect environment for bargaining. Everyone is energized from having to hold their own and get to the booth/table they are looking for, so bargaining fits in perfectly. That bottle of soap that you probably wouldn’t bargain for at the pharmacy is now bargain-able. The environment of the flea market makes bargaining for every day items OK.
The only time I see bargaining in a department store for example is when somebody comes up to the service desk to ask for a discount because of the tiny hole in the item. Other than that, no one seems to bargain in these stores. The environment for bargaining seems to make all the difference.
I believe I was in the right environment for bargaining in Florence but, because I was a tourist, the merchants were not interested. I shall return one day and try again.