Tips On Bargaining
Bargaining is common in China except in the supermarket or some stores operated by the government where the goods have fixed prices and the staffs do not have the flexibility to adjust the prices. Street vendors and private shops generally expect bargaining, and have already marked their prices higher than what they expect to receive.
The following are common practices and tips for bargaining:
- Do the research. Try to get an idea about the item's value before hand. To learn the right price, ask other people what they paid for similar goods and try to make a better deal.
- Don't show too much interest while strolling around in the shops. If you show too much interest, the vendor will know that they're your only choice and price accordingly.
- Don't be shy to cut down the price. Shop owners in some places sometimes start with a ridiculous high price. Keep to your budget and state your price.
- Feel free to laugh or show astonishment if the asking price is too high. This quickly indicates to the vendor that you are aware of the item's real value- even if you are not.
- Use the vendor’s same trick against them by stating a price much lower than what you expect to pay. And then watch and enjoy what happens.
- Try to find as many flaws as possible in the product while the vendor describes its excellence.
- Find two sellers with the same products and pitch them against each other.
- You don't have to buy. You might be offered tea, coffee, snacks, etc., and you can accept it, but it does not mean you have to buy anything. Don't feel guilty. Be strong-willed.
- Pretend to bid the vendor farewell and start walking off. Sometimes the vendor may ask "How much do you want this?", and the price you offer may be accepted by the vendor.
- Try to buy stuffs outside the gate in some attractions. Same stuff can often be several times more expensive inside the gate.
- Speaking a little Chinese can be very helpful. Learn some everyday Chinese about shopping.
- Prepare to walk away. Remember the same stuffs are available at many different places.
But when bargaining, do so responsibly and friendly. Have a sense of humor and know when to accept an offer. Remember that you need to let the vendors keep some profit. They work to support his/her and their families' life.