This is the Message Centre for Teuchter
Teuchter Started conversation Jun 29, 2009
Recently, I've been learning and practicing the art of haggling. The first rule is never to tell them you're a tourist but to let them think you live here permanently; that way you're more likely to get a better price - even better if you have a few Mandarin words or phrases.
The second rule is to start your bidding at about a third of what they're asking - but conduct negotiations with a smile and have a laugh with them.
And the third rule is to be prepared to walk away if you don't get a reasonable price. Very often they'll come after you and agree to what you offered. If a price you offer won't make them some profit, they just won't sell to you. My daughter saw a scroll painting in a shop outside Yonghegong (the Lama Temple). The original asking price was 480 Yuan, which is about £43, and she managed to get it for 120 Yuan since that was all she had left in her purse.
The only places where one can't haggle for price reductions are the government run shops and establishments.
The average Beijinger subsists on a very small wage - c £300 per month. Granted, their living expenses are cheaper than ours in the west, but it's not a lot of money.
They'll take any chance to make some extra cash, particularly off gullible westerners, and have absolutely no shame at being caught short-changing you by the odd five or ten Yuan, even in reputable stores.
One has to keep ones wits about one and check the change before leaving the counter.
Today I bought a beautiful orchid for less than two quid. I'm delighted with it but it's sobering to remember that a local person would get ten trips on the underground system for that, or three day's worth of lunches.
Titania (gone for lunch) Posted Jun 29, 2009
Many years ago I visited an Italian market together with some other Swedish girls. One of the girls managed to haggle quite successfully when buying a pair of shoes. As she turned to walk away she heard a 'jävla smålänning' muttered after her, in a heavy Italian accent. That'd be something like 'you cheapskate!' I've no idea where the shopkeeper had managed to pick up such a specific Swedish expression!
I'm always been impressed at how good my mother is at haggling even when not speaking the local language and only a few words of English - she usually manages using body language.
Cheerful Dragon Posted Jun 29, 2009
I got a pretty big reduction on a gallabeya in Egypt about 10 years ago. The starting price was something like 240 Egyptian pounds. I went to 100, and stuck there. When the seller wouldn't agree I started to walk away. At that point he put the gallabeya into a bag and held out his hand for the money. I know he must have made a profit or he wouldn't have sold. I was happy with the price and he'd made a sale - win-win!
Teuchter Posted Jun 29, 2009
I suppose one can't blame traders for trying it on, CD, but I don't feel too guilty about getting a good price when they're making lots of money from Gullible's Travellers.
Probably just as well I don't speak too much Mandarin, Ti - I'd hate to think what they call me behind my back
My daughter, the lawyer, says that a good deal has been struck when neither party is 100% happy.
Cheerful Dragon Posted Jun 29, 2009
It can also depend on how much trade the seller has done recently. If you go somewhere in low season, there aren't enough tourists about for the seller to be picky. Having said that, some shops won't open in low season for that reason. I did that deal in mid-season when there were a fair number of tourists about.
Beatrice Posted Jun 29, 2009
Oh I'm uselss ay haggling! Althouhg I did manage to get a few fake designer handbags from a Venice street trader at what I thought was a fair price (10 euro) instead of the initial offered price (60 euro), by laughing and walking away.
Websailor Posted Jun 29, 2009
Santragenius V Posted Jun 29, 2009
Not good at it at all, I am. Whatever price I suggested or walked away after hearing in Hangzhou's silk market, the answer was just a repeat of the original price, a polite "no" or a shrug...
(Yes, I bought silk anyway - probably signposted on my forehead that I was bound to... Still very cheap compared to here)
The Mrs, on the other hand, is rather good at it.
Sho - employed again! Posted Jun 29, 2009
I'm not good at haggling, but last time I was in Korea I was with someone who was. And we came away with some lovely things.
I really have to remember: they can always say no if they don't want to meet my offered price.
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Teuchter (Jun 29, 2009)
- 2: Titania (gone for lunch) (Jun 29, 2009)
- 3: Titania (gone for lunch) (Jun 29, 2009)
- 4: Cheerful Dragon (Jun 29, 2009)
- 5: Teuchter (Jun 29, 2009)
- 6: Cheerful Dragon (Jun 29, 2009)
- 7: Beatrice (Jun 29, 2009)
- 8: Websailor (Jun 29, 2009)
- 9: Santragenius V (Jun 29, 2009)
- 10: Sho - employed again! (Jun 29, 2009)