Haggling For Artwork In Salvador

I like to haggle, especially in places where that is the norm. On the last day Alex, BG and I went to Pelourinho to find this art I like by Adriano Luiz. I’d seen it in the first couple of days in Pelourinho, and then again on Christmas Day Shay showed us one of the ones she had bought from the batch.

So it is Sunday and we are walking around in the morning. Most of the vendors are not even out selling their wares. This doesn’t look good, and this is the last day, so if the guy selling the art isn’t about I don’t get to buy it at all.

Justice prevails and we find the guy selling the art. I ask him how much and he tells me 280 Reais per piece for the ones that I like. He says if I pay by cash he will give a discount. I tell him I’m paying cash. He tells me that he will do the two that I like for 500 instead of 560. Yeah whatever. What kind of discount is that?

Alex now gets involved and tells me to offer the man 400. I whisper to him that I have budgeted 300 for the two and not a penny more and that is what I intend to get them for. Alex keeps telling me that the vendor won’t cut the price that much and that I am wasting my time. He then asks BG if he can lend me the money. I tell him that I don’t want to borrow any money. I just want the artwork for 300.

I tell the vendor 300. He laughs and walks away. Alex is shooting me “I told you so” looks, and tells me to at least offer 350. He is talking quite loudly so BG intervenes and tells him,

“Don’t worry she knows what she is doing.”

Alex tells me again,

“He won’t do it.”

I reply,

“He will. I know he will, he is just seeing if I will pay more first.”

The vendor comes back out and I offer him 300 again. HE says no, but it isn’t a firm no. IT’s the kind of no that BG gives when the little boys try and sell him beads. The kind of no that makes them hang around and not leave. The kind of no that means he ends up buying the beads or whatever they are selling every single time.

Now Alex is saying that there is no point asking again, the vendor has said no. He is saying that I should just buy one of the drawings. I DON’T WANT ONE! HE is ruining my haggle. Now that the vendor sees that one of my friends is on his side he is more likely to try and call my bluff. BG sees what is going on and takes Alex to the side.

I bring out the 300 Reais that I have and start counting it. I turn to the vendor and say,

“I only have 300.”

He shakes his head to say no.

I start rummaging in my bag as if searching for money. I add an extra 5 Reais to the bundle and tell him in Portuguese,

“This is all I have. I am leaving today, no more money.”

He hesitates and I know that artwork is mine. I stretch out my hand to give him the money and he takes it.

Alex looks on in a state of shock,

“Well… I never did see a deal like this before.”

So here is the artwork I bought:

br21 233x300 Haggling For Artwork In Salvador

br22 232x300 Haggling For Artwork In Salvador


  1. Quality! The artwork in Salvador's Pelourinho is amazing. I'm not even into art and I was sooo tempted to buy some, but the problem was I still had a long time left on my trip and didn't want to have to lug them around all the place with me

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