Travel Writer Annoyances – Haggling Abroad

I don’t fly 7,500 miles to haggle in a fish market. Apparently, that’s a highlight of any trip if you happen to write  Frommer’s travel guides. At least that’s what I can infer from my Frommer’s South Korea travel guide.

I guess the writers think this all somehow makes them more worldly, this process of saving a few won on a kilo of mandarins or a dried hunk of squid. It’s literally nothing to the bank account, a dollar here and there. But these travel writers make it sound like it makes them plugged in.

Oh, please. I’ll bet they turn to jellyfish when faced with a real haggling challenge. So here’s a word for you Frommer’s/Lonely Planet/Insight guide types: Save your haggling “skills” for a worthwhile opponent who really is sucking undeserved money out of your pockets … someone like the finance manager at your car dealership.

That’s right – stand up to those characters. Show your steely-eyed bargaining prowess when it counts. Do your homework. Come prepared. Rebuff questions like “what do you want to pay a month?”. Say no to inflated destination charges. Don’t let anyone get away with running a credit check when you have your own financing lined up. That’s where you’ll save enough to finance at least part of your next trip if you really know how to drive a hard bargain.

But seriously – lay off the little old ladies trying to make a living. Shell out your 3,000 won. Take your bag of mandarins. Enjoy the Vitamin C. And maybe drop in and comment about why you take such pleasure in putting the screws to someone for a slightly better deal on a bucketful of fish parts/vegetables/knick-knacks. ‘Cause I can’t figure it out.


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Writer. Traveler. Gastronomic daredevil. Fitness fan. Homebrewer. Metal dude \m/. Cat and dog lover.

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