Don't forget the power of basic kindness
Going straight into the transaction is probably instinct for most of us. We see what we want. We buy it. We leave.
Do: Be friendly to shopkeepers -- ask them about their day, build some trust in the business relationship. Shopkeepers are trying to make a living, sure, but they’re also just people. Chat in the local language, even a little, and smile.
If I’m in a town for just a few days or hours, I’ve had shopkeepers give my friends and me discounts when I revisit their shop or offer tea because I took the time to start a conversation beyond business. While visiting Pokhara, Nepal, I struck a conversation with a jewelry dealer. As I perused his store, we chatted about US politics, the weather, family, and our favorite Nepali foods. I bought a silver bell-shaped earring, and he offered me tea, which I obliged. The next time I visited, he remembered me and a discount to my visiting relative.