One practice that remains relevant in Ghana is the art of bartering for the goods you want. While some outlets have fixed prices, there are an abundance of markets throughout the country that welcome debates on what the prices should be for certain items and services. For example, you can contest the fare for a taxi cab or the cost of a hand-crafted sculpture at a local outdoor market.
The general idea for bartering in Ghana is to offer a significantly lower price than what you are initially offered (usually 1/3 of the price you are presented). So if a cab driver offers you a ride for 30 cedis (Ghanaian currency), you would offer him around 5-10 cedis instead. From there you would work your way up slowly until you and the seller can agree upon a price. I’ve been advised to make it a whole theatrical display and exaggerate my reactions to the seller’s offers. It’s all apart of the process and it’s quite entertaining.
During my second day in Ghana I thought I might be able to practice some bargaining as the group made a pit stop to one of the local markets in Accra. I was on the prowl for a football jersey specifically bearing the national crest as I was preparing for Saturday’s Ghana vs. Germany match.
It’s worth noting that Ghanaian vendors are very friendly and aggressive at the same time. They’ll try every tactic in the book to pull you into your shop. This is most likely not news to anyone that has done any sort of shopping internationally, but for those who haven’t, don’t be put off by the pursuit of shop owners in this country. They mean well in their competitiveness.
Unfortunately, all of my scouting didn’t result in any bargaining as all of the jerseys throughout the whole market had a fixed price. However, I was able to witness some of my group mates bartering. Some managed to lower the original price significantly while others felt they lost money on their transactions. It’s a game that no doubt requires practice to become a master at.