Hat tip to our friends and frequent guests Neal Williams and John Berger for recommending this excellent article!
Here are some additional thoughts from them:
If we’re wanting to purchase multiples of some item, we politely ask, “What could you do if we bought two (or three)?” Even in Japan, where you never haggle, this often catches them off guard, they have a whispered conversation in the background, then come back and offer a discount. We do not, however try to haggle in impoverished places, even when it’s the local custom, if we are buying just one item. However, they jump at the possibility to sell multiple items at a small discount. We just pick out several items and ask them, “How much for all of them?” They are always accommodating in some way. Maybe it’s a discount or they throw in something extra out of gratitude. Smiles all around.
We are big fans of Christmas ornaments. Our Christmas tree in Palm Springs is decorated with a lifetime of travel mementos. We often look for small things, emblematic of the country, that are not designed as Christmas ornaments, but with a minor adaptation (like attaching an ornament hook), could become an ornament.
On our last Danube cruise many years ago, we couldn’t find any “local” ornaments that weren’t made in China, but we found that car key fobs emblazoned with a country flag or city crest, became ornaments once we removed the key ring and hung an ornament hook through the tiny loop on the medallion. Other good possibilities are shiny metal bookmarks that can be purchased in local museum, castle, and historical site gift shops. Punch a hole in your cruise ship plastic pass and it becomes an ornament. (We could decorate an entire tree with just cruise ship passes!)