10 Tips for Bargaining in Beijing’s Markets

Shopping in Beijing will see you to more than a few markets, with Silk Street Market being the most popular. It’s a fantastic experience that will probably result in an overweight luggage allowance. Here’s ten tips to bag those souvenirs like a pro.

1. Location

Keep in mind where you are shopping, if you are in the vicinity of a tourist attraction they will automatically try and charge you a significant amount more. If you see something you like, take a mental note and try somewhere else since you’ll probably find it in another market for half the price.

2. Time

Keep in mind what the time is. The best time to get bargains is closing time; suddenly the vendors start being realistic and try to get rid of their wares by the end of the day.

3. Don’t ask the price unless you’re serious about buying

Don’t ask how much something is unless you are prepared to bargain for it. This will save you the trouble of having to fend off the vendors as they call after you waving their calculators and chasing you through the market

4. Bring small change

DO NOT walk around with a wad of pink 100RMB notes and don’t use your credit cards at the market.

5. Don’t act too interested

And don’t get too attached to whatever you are bargaining for. If you are in a market. chances are there are ten other stalls selling the exact same thing. Browse around so you know more or less in what range the item should cost.

6. Be polite 

But be firm, it’s all a game. The vendors love to be dramatic.

7. Walk away!!

This is the hardest one to get used to when shopping in Beijing but the vendor will only let you walk away when he or she cannot give you the bargaining price. Vendors often go from saying 800RMB to 20RMB just as soon as you walk out the store.

8. Have a laugh

Joke with the vendors. If they are being ridiculous, do the same thing. Remind them that it’s not real!

9. Determine your price beforehand

Tell yourself you are NOT spending more than X amount. If you can’t get the price down, then leave.

10. Start your negotiation low

Start way lower than what you are willing to pay – if you want to pay 100, start at 25 and gauge the reaction to meet in the middle. But remember, do not pay more than what you initially decided.

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