In Ghana, most services and products are up for bargain. In America, there are set prices and those are non-negotiable. You sit in a taxi and the meter starts. You buy a shirt and know exactly how much you will pay. This is not the case in Ghana. In Ghana, you call a taxi, attempt to tell them where you’re going and then ask how much, or “Ahe?” You can buy art, clothes, food, etc. off the street and can bargain the price. For food, the price is fixed but you can bargain how much you will get for the price (They might throw in extra if you add in a please).
Here is an example of trying to get a taxi:
Taxi Driver: “20 cedi.”
Us: “5 cedi.”
Taxi Driver: “You crazy, do you know how much gas costs? I will make nothing if I drive you for that.”
Us: “Mee-paa-chow!” (Please)
Taxi Driver: “You are mad, 19 cedi.”
Us: “6 cedi.”
Taxi Driver: * Laughs * “No no no, I can do nothing below 15 cedi.”
Us: “7 cedi.”
Taxi Driver: “14 cedi.”
Us: “It’s not even that far, it’s like 5 minutes away. Please Please Please.”
Taxi Driver: “I will not go below 12 cedi. “
*We probably could get the price lower but after about 5 minutes it gets annoying and you just want to go home so you just pay him.
Bargaining can take quite a while. If you are in a rush you are going to be more willing to pay higher so taxi drivers take advantage of that fact. A trick is to walk away if they don’t give you the price you want. If they are desperate enough they will call you back and give you the price. The key is to act like they need your business more than you need theirs.