How to Bargain

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Shopping is a necessary part of traveling for many people, and visitors often enjoy taking home some local specialties, such as typical food and characteristic traditional souvenirs. The prices in China in most shopping areas are fixed, such as supermarkets, department stores, and exclusive shops whose commodities have price tags on them. In those areas, is it not necessary to bargain.

However, in other shopping areas such as food markets, small shops, and flea markets, it is recommended to bargain the prices in order to get a reasonable price for the item. This is because often, the prices of the commodities are too extortionate. Visitors should regard bargaining as a kind of game to get the most out of it, thus being angry or aggressive will not be helpful in cutting the price down.

Maintain your composure: If you like something, it is better to not show your eagerness for buying it. Once the shopkeeper knows your liking towards the item, it will be much harder to reduce the price. First, examine the item as careful as possible, checking for any flaws or imperfections, showing that you are not a pushover. Never assume the quality of any item based solely on its surface.

How to Bargain

Bargain in Chinese: In China, it is immensely useful and necessary for foreigners to bargain in Chinese with shopkeepers whenever possible. This is because few shopkeepers speak English, and it also earns the respect of the shopkeeper. The following are some very short and simple phrases which may contribute to price reduction.

Tai gui le (Tai gway luh) - Too expensive.

Pian yi dian - Could you reduce the price?

Bu yao (boo yow) - I don't want it.

Zui hou (zway ho) - Last. Use this to signal this is your final offer for the item.

Zai kan kan (zai can can) - Have a look at other shops. (Use it to show that you are still not satisfied with the price and decide to go to other shops to buy).

Walk away: If your bargaining was deadlocked and it seems that either you or the shopkeeper will not give in, it is necessary for you to walk away, saying sorry to the shopkeeper. In most cases, the shopkeeper will ask you back to the shop and sell you the item with a cheaper price. However, you should still pretend to be reluctant to go back, and try to negotiate once more for a reasonable price.

If the shopkeeper becomes impatient of your bargaining and turns a little bit sulky or unhappy, you can stop bargaining because the price truly cannot be lowered and you have reached a reasonable price. On the other hand, if the shopkeeper does not stop you when you walk away, it probably means the price is too low to accept. And if you really want the item, then feel free to go back and buy it for whatever price you feel would be fair.

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