bargaining idiot

I surfed sites on traveling to Shanghai yesterday because my parents and family are going for Christmas holiday. Virtual tourist gives some information on shopping in Shanghai. It’s interesting to read other tourists’ experiences.

One lady said that she wanted to buy a set of hairpin, the seller asked for RMB 140 (around USD 14), and she walked away with only paying RMB 4. And then one other tourist said that she was bargaining for an Armani jacket which was RMB 14,000 and paid RMB 900 at the end. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Last year in Madras (aka Chennai), I went shopping by myself at a souvenir shop in the mall. I really liked a wall hanging with golden thread embroidery and sequined. Very beautiful. The shop owner asked for USD 400. An idiot as I was, I didn’t actually think it was expensive. I wasn’t really thinking of buying. So I asked for USD 80, just for the fun of it. The seller was very pushy and I didn’t want to increase my price. After 15 minutes arguing, suddenly he shouted “Sold!” I couldn’t describe how shocked and speechless I was. On my way back to the hotel, I couldn’t stop swearing at myself for being such an idiot. I bet it doesn’t worth more than USD 20!

So, rule of thumb

  • Bargain for at least 80% off the opening price at all times! If you got the nerve, go for 10% of the asking price. It’s amazing what my mother can get away with by doing that. I am actually scared of going shopping with her. She got some nerve!
  • I shouldn’t shop at tourists’ spots. I am an easy target. They can actually smell me.


sequined & embroidered wall hanging from madras


4 Responses to “bargaining idiot”

  1. 1 Bix December 17, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Some of the shop keepers try to extort money from foreigners. As you did, it is better do some reaserch before going for shopping.

  2. 2 Jientje December 17, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    I had the same experience when I was in Morocco! You have to bargain everything and I really, really hate that!
    I needed a packet of cotton pads and I paid perhaps ten times too much, because I did not realize you had to bargain for everyday ordinary stuff too!! Okay, if you buy a watch or a leather jacket, or whatever, but I mean … cotton pads? Now really!

  3. 3 happysurfer December 18, 2007 at 5:41 am

    Here in Malaysia, the law requires that everything has to be price-tagged, well, almost everything that can be tagged. So, there’s no need for bargaining. However, if you are shopping for non-everyday items, such as clothes, bags, etc, in street stalls, you are allowed to bargain, though going down to 10% or 20% of the quoted price is a bit unrealistic.

    That’s a nice wall-hanging, Andie. How big is it?

  4. 4 andiesummerkiss December 18, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Dear Bix,

    That’s quite annoying. Somebody in those countries should do something about that..


    You are right, bargaining takes the fun out of the traveling for me. To spend 10 minutes on something that we don’t even need at the end is kinda annoying. But sometimes I just can’t help myself 😛

    Dear Happysurfer,

    I never have problems like that in Malaysia. But trust me, you need to bargain down hard if you want to buy something in countries like India or China. It is also true to only shop in shops with price tags.

    It’s a huge one. Rather heavy. 150cm x 90cm

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