There are negotiable and non-negotiable prices in Brazil. It only makes sense to haggle (pechinchar) where there’s room for it.
With very few exceptions, prices at the following places are non-negotiable:
- supermarkets, bookstores, record shops; in general, shops that sell products with a price tag on them. However, there are exceptions to this rule that will probably surprise a few foreigners. Take big electrical appliances, for instance. If you pay cash (à vista) there is a good chance of getting a discount (anything between 5 and 10%). The bigger the value, the bigger the discount. This applies to travel agents as well.
- hairdresser, manicurist and the likes
- taxis equipped with a meter unless you negotiate the price in advance
- buses, planes
- petrol/gas stations
- cafés, restaurants, ice-cream parlours
Places where prices might be negotiable (not 100% proof):
- hotels, pousadas and other kinds of accommodation. The price list is just for reference. Even in top-class hotels, if the occupation rate is low, there is always the chance of getting a discount. The longer you plan to stay, the likelier the discount is. If a pousada where you plan to stay for five days, during the week (lower occupation rate), doesn’t give you a discount, go somewhere else.
- car rental. The longer the rental period, the higher the chances of negotiating a discount.
- all sorts of services catering for the tourist. Do you want a guide to take you around the place? The price is negotiable. Do you want a boatman to take you for a trip around the river? The price is negotiable.
- street sellers, crafstmen and the likes. If you are buying five collars, you should get a discount.
- the more you spend, the better the discount
- paying cash should earn you a discount – discount lost if you pay with a credit card
- the real is the only official currency in Brazil. In the very few places that will accept them, dollars or euros will not place you in a better position to bargain
A couple of useful sentences:
- não tem desconto? (could you give us a discount?)
- tem desconto para pagamento à vista? (is there a discount if we pay in cash?)