Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shopping In China

Wish I had packed a suitcase within a suitcase. If I had only known how cheap stuff really is in China....I would have definitely come back with a lot more than I did...so maybe it's just as well....what would I do with all of it?

But seriously, shopping in China is serious business. There are two very important things to know. The first is that it is standard to bargain and to bargain hard. And the other is to make sure it doesn't look like you've fallen in love with that piece of jade or porcelain or silk. If you want to get a good price, you need to be willing to walk away.

And I mean that literally. We discovered two methods that worked very well for us. One was a showing of total disinterest on my part. If I couldn't get it for the price I wanted to pay, I walked away and chatted with my husband, or another person in our tour group, showing no interest at all in the item, or any other item. And each time the salesperson came to me and agreed to my last offer.

The second way was my husband looking annoyed, as the bargaining went on, and saying sternly 'Let's go!'. That usually got an 'OK, OK.' from the salesperson.

And the most interesting part? Where the 'bidding' started. The salesperson would quote a ridiculously high amount, either in English, or on a piece of paper or punched into a calculator. I countered at about 20% of that number. I usually got an immediate brush off.

So I'd turn away and then there would be a tap on my shoulder with the calculator, or pen and pencil, handed to me. So I'd go up a little, they'd come down a little, until finally I reached the maximum I wanted to pay and then I'd get stubborn. In the end, I usually made the purchase for anywhere from 60-75% below the starting price.

(Would like to put an addendum here.....as long as the topic is shopping.....If you'll be doing any shopping at Amazon, please check out my web site and click on my Amazon link. Your purchase through my Amazon link would be most gratefully appreciated.)

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