Bargaining should be practised wherever you go, says Aadil Kadri, a financial adviser at Continental Financial Services in Dubai. "Many people are afraid to ask for lower prices," Mr Kadri says. "I think there's nothing wrong with asking for discounts or bargaining, because the worst thing the salesperson can say is 'no'. "But if he says yes, you'll end up saving something. If you can continuously save even 3 to 5 per cent on your purchases and deals, that's a good amount of savings over a period of time."
Mr Kadri practices what he preaches. "Everywhere I go, I jokingly ask the salesperson, 'any discount?'" he says. Doing so has allowed him to save on a wide range of purchases. He was originally quoted Dh71,000 for a 2007 Honda Accord with insurance, anti-corrosion warranty and extras. "I said to the dealer, 'if I can pay you in cash right now, how much discount can you give me?'" says Mr Kadri, who bought his car from Al Futtaim Motors in Dubai.
The salesperson took Dh2,000 off the total price immediately, since cash is the preferred method of payment. Mr Kadri says it's a shopper's market, and consumers can bargain in almost any area, including rent and property costs. He was also able to save 9 per cent of his annual rent costs for his two-bedroom apartment in Sharjah by offering to pay his landlord a lump sum for the whole year. Instead of paying Dh44,000, Mr Kadri only paid Dh40,000.
He adds that it's also reasonably easy to get excellent discounts on jewellery, particularly if you are loyal to one store and buy regularly and in good quantities. However, when it comes to bargaining for clothing and other wearable items at the souqs, Mr Kadri says to be wary. He has learnt from experience that many times the quality of clothing sold at souqs is inferior, compared to most brand names found in malls.
"You might get a discount of 20 per cent, but the cheaper item turns out to be more expensive in the long run because it won't last very long," Mr Kadri says.