Time: 2 Hours
Difficulty: Easy Peezy
Likeliness of Getting Arrested: Increased by 50%
No Hablo Mucho Espanol
As a 22 year old individual who has never learned (or had the need to learn) another language outside of English, trying to pick up another language as been incredibly difficult for me. That said, even though my Spanish was far from perfect (or hardly recognizable to people outside of the tourist industry) I feel pretty good with the progress I’ve made. I’m able to barter in pretty much all situations, ask a taxi how long the ride is, tell a girl she is pretty and order beer. Really, what else is does a guy need?
I still have a month to go on my trip, so hopefully by then I can have some real conversations with locals and maybe convince one or two of them to show us some of the deeper secrets of Bolivia. But until then, here’s how to Barter in Bolivia…
How to Barter in Bolivia
From a North American perspective, bartering can both be a ton of fun, and a total pain in the ass. On one end, you get to interact with the locals, challenge yourself and improve on your Spanish, and on the other sometimes it feels like a complete waste of time. JUST GIVE ME A NUMBER GOD DAMMIT. In any case, if you find yourself in Bolivia, here’s what you do.
1. If you see something you like, don’t act like you like it
They will read you, and they will charge you much more for it if you seemed stoked about it. When you see something you like, maybe grab a few different things and ask them how much it costs (Cuanto cuesta?), before jumping on your desired purchase.
2. Learn Your Numbers
Some places have calculators in the store you can use to communicate with, but I wouldn’t count on it. Knowing your numbers is both important to be able communicate back and forth quickly and confidently as well as to make you seem less of a silly gringo (therefore getting a lower price).
3. When they say a Number, Act Offended and Offer them Half
This works really well in most cases, because you know they want the sale. You also know that half isn’t gonna happen, but bartering is all about meeting in the middle. If they say 40, and you say 35, you are most likely gonna get it for 37 or so. But if you start off saying 20 or 25, there’s a good chance you can get er for 30.
4. If you really want it Cheap, leave, and come back later with another lower price
Sometimes this isn’t worth the effort, but I’ve found that acting as though you are about to leave, grabbing another price from somewhere else and coming back can work well. I would only suggest this for the more expensive stuff (like Alpaca sweaters etc…)
I’m sure there are more points to be hit, but these have worked pretty well for me so far. If you have any other ideas of how to effectively barter in other countries, comment below and I will gladly add them to the post 🙂
What about the Weapons?
Right…the weapons. We had many ideas, some of which included Molotov cocktails, home made bow and arrows and a scissor Frisbee, some of which may have gotten us arrested…again (stay tuned next week folks).
That said, given the situation and resources, I think we made some pretty deadly pieces of work.
What did I learn?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve realized from living in another country in which they don’t speak English, is communication. Though that may seem like an obvious observation, its hard to really understand what it feels like to not be able to fully express your feelings in another language until you’ve been in that situation (even when bartering). That, and building stuff in foreign countries is a ton of fun.
Also, The First Ever 52skillz Versus!
Yes lady’s and gentlemen, the 52skillz team is adding yet again another super cool feature to the blog and Youtube Channel. This category will be used to challenge other Youtuber’s and individuals with cool skills to a face off of ingenuity, quick thinking and entertainment. If you’re interested in being part of a future 52skillz vs. video, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can connect!
Thanks for reading, and we’ll talk next week 🙂
As well Big thanks to Garrett Rokosh for the help with this skill. Killer meal man!