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Top Ten Ways to Bargain in Firenze’s Leather Market

Top Ten Ways to Bargain in Firenze’s Leather Market

I have a confession. I’m a sucker for leather. Real, fake, black, brown, even the sight of white patent leather go-go boots gets my heart racing. From the smell to the feel I can’t get enough of it. Of course, on my college budget, most of my leather is actually pleather and is bought at H&M. But when someone suggested going to Florence (Firenze in Italian) for a day trip to see the David, Duomo, and the leather markets I knew it was time to make an investment. And thus my search for black, real, florentine leather boots began. So now, as a Go Global exclusive, I will reveal my top secret ways to bargain in Firenze’s Leather Market.

15. HAVE A GAME PLAN.
Before entering the market discuss a game plan with your travel companions. What are each of you looking for, how much are you willing to spend, etc. Shopping through the leather market takes a full team effort. Make sure to also establish each other’s roles in the bargaining scenario (discussed later in this post).

Walking through the Leather Market. That's me in the trenchcoat!

14. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET.
Go in with a budget in mind and stick to it like your life depends on it. Only want to spend 50 euro on a purse? Refuse to let yourself go above that.

13. CASH IS KEY.
Bring cash in smaller bills (5s and 10s). A lot of the vendors take credit cards but as soon as you flash that card they assume that the sky’s the limit. Also, if you already have cash on you you won’t be as tempted to hit the ATM to splurge on that fabulous leather coat you just need. Trust me, you don’t need it.

12. FIND EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT.
Don’t settle. There must be hundreds of these tents selling every kind of purse, coat, and etc that you could want. Scan the market thoroughly and make sure you are getting exactly what you want.

11. MAKE YOUR SELECTION.
Once you have your eye set on an item act generally disinterested in it. Look it over, put it down, ask your friend about it, don’t be too sure. But DO hang around the stand so that the vendor can see that you might want something. Once he comes over the game begins.

10. PARLE ITALIANO?
If you know any Italian, speak it. Even though most of the vendors barely speak Italian themselves it will show them that you aren’t just a stereotypical silly American that they can scam.

9. ACT OUTRAGED.
While maintaining a look of disinterest ask him how much it is (“Quanto costa?” in Italian). He’ll say his highest price. Act outraged. Then, mentally, figure out the 3/4ths cost of what he said (for example, if he said 100 euro figure 75 euro). if that 3/4ths price is above your budget then walk away, as this number will most likely be close to what you actually pay for the item. If it’s too much walk away immediately and don’t look back (no matter how many times he yells “bella, bella, come back” at you). If that is still in your price range then the the game continues.

8. MAKE YOUR FIRST OFFER.
Insist that the item is not worth that much. Examine it CLOSELY (even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s all for show) and offer him half the price (depending on the item). He will act just as outraged as you were in the beginning and will tell you about the quality of the leather, how this would sell for millions in the store, etc. Don’t blink an eye.

7. GOT A LIGHT?
As soon as he mentions the quality of the leather hold the item out to him and say “Hold a flame to it.” Real leather will not burn while fake leather will. If he does not immediately whip out a lighter to show you and instead begins to stall offer him a lighter to do the job (make the investment to have one on you). If he continues to stall walk away, the leather is fake.

6. ALLOW YOURSELF TO LOVE THE ITEM.
If he lights it, it doesn’t burn, and still maintains that delicious leather smell then you may continue. Now you’re in quite deep into the exchange. He wants your money and your heart has probably fallen in love with the item. At this point begin to look slightly more interested in the item.

5. THE FRIEND ZONE.
This is one of the most crucial steps in the process. Throughout the proceeding steps have your friend that’s with you (be it your husband, girl friends, or sassy gay friend) look completely disinterested and bored in your purchase. Have them be a little huffy, complaining that they’re hot/cold/tired/hungry and just want to leave. At this point turn to that friend and ask them what they think. They should glance at it and say something just insulting enough (It’s fine/looks kinda cheap/don’t you already own something exactly like that). Agree with them while looking lovingly at the item. At this point turn to the vendor and offer a price slightly higher than your originally 50% price (using our 100 euro example this would be the time to offer them 60 euro). They will most likely refuse.

4. DO THE WALK AWAY.
At the point say something about how much you like it but can’t afford it. Now, BEGIN TO WALK AWAY. If he’s willing to offer you the 3/4ths price the vendor will call you back. If he’s not he won’t. Chances are though that he will begin to shout something like “Oh bella come back bella 85 euro, bella, 85!” Return to the vendor.

3. FLIRT, BECAUSE, WHY NOT?
At this point begin to flirt with him a little. In the end, being nice will get you a lower price than being a jerk.

2. MAKE EXCUSES.
Tell him a slightly higher price (think 65 – always go up or down in increments of 5). Then start to tell him all the reasons you shouldn’t but it. Tell him that’s all the money you have (if you say this then make sure you have small enough bills to convince him that this is true), that you need to buy dinner tonight, etc. I found that by simply telling the vendors that I was a college student they would lower the price, because they knew that I actually had a budget to stick to. Say anything (WITHOUT SOUNDING DESPERATE) to get him to lower the price.

1. RAPID FIRE FINAL BIDS.
At this point prices will be shouted out faster and he will drop is smaller increments (85 to 82 to 81, for example). Don’t let this intimidate you. If your budget is 75 euro then let your final offer be 70 euro. Let the vendor be the one to say the final price (in this case 75). Sign, look over the item, think pensively (at this point he might even lower the price more if he can tell he’s almost at a sale!) After a bit of this look at him and say “I’ll take it.”

All these tips worked for me! I was even able to bargain better than my tips, getting a pair of 130 euro boots down to 70! Definitely my favorite Italian purchase yet!

One Reply to “Top Ten Ways to Bargain in Firenze’s Leather Market”

  1. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

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