Bargaining in Beijing

Oct 6th, 2004, 04:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 215
Bargaining in Beijing

When you are shopping in Beijing, are you supposed to bargain, or are you supposed to pay the price that you are quoted? Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks.
goingtobeijing is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
This applies to all Asian countries- if you are in the markets- you bargain- its expected. No exact formula applies but let the merchant quote you a price first and then I would say begin with at least 50% of the asking price. Keep it goodhearted, never argue. I suggest you use a calculator to display your price- this way others will not overhear and the merchant may be more receptive to your price. Also if you are the first customer of the day- this is lucky for the Chinese merchant if he makes a sale so you might get a better deal- tell him that to remind him.
Always pay in local currency.
BillT is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 05:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
I agree with the advice above, but note that larger western-style department stores are generally fixed price, so you cannot bargain. There sometimes is a sign that says "fixed price" sometimes not.

Also, if you don't like the price you are getting, walk away. You can always come back, the shop keeper may follow you out and agree to your price, or you may see the same item at the next stall and can get it there.

It helps to know what the same item would cost at home. If you are interested in cotton or linen table goods, silk fabrics, costume jewelery, etc, spend some time at home looking at prices and quality so you can compare apples to apples when bargaining. Fakes abound in China so be wary of buying silk, "pearls" etc unless you can tell yourself that they are real.
Cicerone is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,149

Peter N-H gave us some detailed advice on the subject. I saved the text of it. See if you can find his post:
Author: PeterN_H
Date: 08/27/2003, 01:48 pm

A search for "dumb foreigners" ought to find it. Yes, here it is:

Beijing and shopping
5 responses; most recent on 01/10/2004, 07:25 pm
mrwunrfl is online now  
Oct 6th, 2004, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 28
I've been to Beijing in March and found bargaining is a MUST. I was shopping at a mall for some beautiful hand knit table cloth and placemats. The sales lady told me the table cloth costs RMB$500 and a placemat costs RMB$50. I negotiate with them for about half an hour, and the price was down to unbelieveable cheap, which was RMB$150 for the table cloth and RMB$8 for the placemat.
You take advantage if you speak the language. If you are foreigner, Good Luck.
sillywin is offline  

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