Alex Tries to Learn The Art of Haggling February 22, 2009Posted by acc73 in : Uncategorized , trackback
One of the most important arts in China is the art of haggling. Unless you are going to a really Westernized shop, you will notice that there are basically no price tags. That is because in China the only set price is the one you and the shop owner agree upon. This means that a shopping trip which would normally take only a half-hour to do can take up to a couple of hours because you must browse, compare prices, and then become willing to haggle a price to which you both can agree on. Sometimes you can end up with a really good deal, or sometimes you can think you can end up with a really good deal but realize your friend paid 40 Reminbi (Chinese dollar) less for the exact same item. My first adventure was one at an underground commodities market where I was looking to buy a grey peacoat, but mostly to practice haggling that went completely unexpected.This is just a sum up of what happen in English, but this conversation was mostly in my broken Chinese.
Alex: Hey can I get the biggest size of this jacket? (Because I am like a 4XL in China, and it just becomes so hard trying to find jackets/shoes/clothing that can fit me)
Storeowner: Yes, here you go.
Alex: Ok, how much is it? Getting ready to hear her ridiculous price because in China where they know you are you at least start haggling at half the price they say at first.
Alex: That’s way too expensive! I will give you 100 Reminbi, ok?
Storeowner: 100 Reminbi?!?!? Are you kidding me, this jacket has some special material imported from Europe. 238 take it or leave it.
Alex: In America I can buy this same jacket for the equivalent of 100 Reminbi, don’t try to jack up the prices because you know I am a foreigner
Storeowner: Well that’s great, you can just buy this jacket in America, because you are obviously not going to buy it here for 100 Reminbi! (Continues to say other smack talk in Chinese)
Alex: Ok well here’s your jacket, I am out!
That’s how it ended, what an amazing first experience haggling where I didn’t even have a chance to haggle because the storeowner was being a jerk! You have to love China for that!