Negotiation Practices and Etiquette in Uganda
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Negotiation Practices and Etiquette in Uganda

When visiting a country such as Uganda it can be a little daunting understanding how to negotiate your way around the markets and stalls or how to not upset any of the local population through an unintended faux pas or error in using the correct etiquette.

When visiting a country such as Uganda it can be a little daunting understanding how to negotiate your way around the markets and stalls or how to not upset any of the local population through an unintended faux pas or error in using the correct etiquette.

In Uganda, a visit to the market could for some be an unnerving experience. Firstly you will find some of the shops or stores particularly in the larger towns and cities are run in a very familiar fashion with produce laid out for sale, packaged and clearly priced, in these locations any price negotiation is not required or expected. Away from the major settlements where you will encounter small rural stalls and stores run by individual families nothing will be priced or in the case of some unfamiliar looking fruits and vegetables the names of which may well be unrecognizable. In these establishments price negotiation practices will be expected and the system of haggling for a mutually agreeable price are the norm.

In Uganda, only its rich citizens and some of its foreign visitors use the more upmarket large supermarkets, the vast majority of its citizens buy from the market stalls and small family run shops. Here the expectation is to haggle until reaching an agreeable price somewhere between what the seller first quotes and what the buyer would like to pay. Through the process of offer and counter offer, gradually the sellers price will drop in value and the buyers rise until you find that agreeable price somewhere along the middle ground between both opening quotes. Depending on your haggling skills this price may be more beneficial to the seller than to the buyer until this skill of negotiation improves.

For the best results during this process it is always best if conducted in a good humoured fashion. It is ok to give a look of horror at the initial price quoted by the seller, for he or she will give one of amazement when you give your first counter offer and claim you are trying to rob him with a price so low and if it is sold at such a low price it will cause his family to starve. The seller will never sell anything at a loss so do not take this theatrical display too seriously, it is all just an act to try and make you feel guilty and in the hope to part you with more of your money.

Once both parties reach an agreeable price it is normal to shake hands to seal the deal. It is considered rude to walk away at this point or to try to agree a better price. If you are not happy with the price offered simply walk away before reaching this stage, this action may get you a further reduced offer or if your best offer was too low this will end the negotiations.

Your manner and negotiations will have been noticed by others close by and if you pay too high a price this may be reflected if you return at a later date.

If you are travelling within Uganda then most of the public transport operates on a fixed price which is very cheap by western standards and so requires no reason to haggle for a better rate. Public taxis (Toyota vans) are licensed to carry up to 14 passengers, in reality they will carry as many as they can fit in and will usually not leave until there are close to 20 passengers, these run at a set fare and any type of haggling over the price may leave you waiting for the next one.

Private taxis are open to haggling for the best price. It is always a good idea to have an idea of the price you should pay before getting into any price negotiations. A good tip for users of private taxis is to ensure your driver knows where the destination is, or you may end up miles from your destination and having to negotiate another price to where you planned to go to.

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Comments (3)

Enjoyed this one...very nicely done! Very Informative piece. Thanks for posting. Voted up

Really interesting and informative read.............thanks

Ranked #4 in Africa

Uganda information is very unique. Well done article.