Friday, February 22, 2008

How to bargain in Beijing?

Bargaining seem to be a big thing to the Chinese people if you plan a trip to China, here are some tips from the Chinese government’s website. They are for Beijing but they will work all over china. If it is not inside a department store with a fixed price on it, or a
grocery store it can be and is expected to be haggled over.

Bargaining is the rule here in Beijing. At least, at the many markets and back-street clothes stalls. Bargaining is an art and if you are unfamiliar with it we'd like to offer you some advice. The tips here are Beijing specific but may help you at any place in the world where bargaining is practiced. DO NOT say how much you want to pay for an item unless its near the end of the process. Always try and drop the seller's offering price as much as possible before opening your mouth with a price. DO throw out really low prices like 10 RMB as long as you have a big smile. DO keep smiling throughout. The seller is much more likely to continue bargaining with a happy smiling face. Getting angry rarely gets you the price you want. BE AWARE the initial price offered by the seller is usually at least 40% over the general price acceptable. It can be up to 500% over. DO have an idea of what the item is worth. You can ask Chinese friends, hotel staff, ex-pats or look at our rough guide below. This is very general and is based on a market like Xiu Shui. You may not be able to get the lowest prices stated at Xiu Shui, especially on a weekend when there are lots of tourists around. DO walk away once you've given them your final price, even before. If you get called back, you know you are close. If you do not get called back, go to a similar stall and try again with a slightly higher price.


Anonymous said...

Things were actually so cheap for us in China from the one-man-vendors and small corner shops, that my husband didn't even want to bargain. He figured that the prices were already started at less than 1/3 the price we would see in a department store in the US that we could just pay for it and let the vendor make his mark up because they were in such poor conditions.
We got globes painted with our daughter's picture on the inside with very thin brushes, for only $16 each, something that would cost at least 50 each in the US. Squeeky shoes were around $4 per pair...all leather. On the internet, you can buy the same squeeky shoes for $25 each pair, plus shipping from China. And some of them are sold out, so you know they sell for that price.
I liked haggling, but I have to admit, with the prices starting so low, I ended up agreeing with DH for most of the time, and if our "over payments" made it possible for someone to buy dinner for their kids that night, then it was a win/win situation.
But on larger items, like pearls, at larger markets, I had no issues with haggling the higher prices down, because the seller's overall net benefit was much higher on those deals, and no one was struggling to feed a family with those prices.

Glen said...

I know I will do the same as you guys whe it come to bergaining in China