Haggling in China
Haggling in China Beijing Reviews
Haggling in China Oct 19, 2005
Haggling is not one of my favourite pass-times (some would say that doesn't make me a proper traveller). However, I can handle it better in some countries than others, for different reasons.
In China I found the style moderately aggressive at times, but in some ways that makes it easier because you can be very straightforward with people. I got much more into the swing of it after a couple of weeks.
The main thing which we learnt early on is just how much the initial price is inflated, above what you can get the item for without trying too hard. Without really any effort you can get things for around one sixth of their starting price. This surprised us initially; I didn't expect people to start at much over twice what they'd expect to sell it for.
We learnt about this by accident fairly early on, by someone trying to sell us something we genuinely weren't interested in buying. As we walked away, the price kept coming down. After that we knew roughly what the price would end up being.
Having said that, you still feel a bit silly starting the process, because your first price has to be around one tenth of their first price, at which they pretend to be very offended. It's also really difficult to only go up by one yuan at a time, when they're coming down in huge swathes, but it's the only way I found to get it for one sixth of the starting price.
Part of the Round the World: 2005-2006 (St Petersburg to Hong Kong) travel blog
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