I consider myself a very calm, collected guy. Well, most of the time. I’m actually pretty proud that out of many of my expat friends, I’m the one who complains the least about the apparent frustrations that China can present us. I thought I had it covered; the crowds, the pollution, the spitting, I had mentally trained myself not to get riled up about any of it.That was before I decided to go on a solo shopping trip to one of Beijing’s markets, Yashow.
Now the bargaining thing – it’s not something I’ve quite got the hang of yet and I doubt, mostly thanks to my generally easy-going personality, that I will ever master the art of haggling. How is that possible when I’m in China you ask? Well I’ve managed ok up until now, strictly buying clothes and other goods from department stores where the prices are fixed. No problem. But a friend urged me to go this Yashow Market in Beijing’s infamous Sanlitun area to check out the various bargain products (mostly fake, I’m sure)on sale. I needed a new bag at the time anyway.
When I walked in I was astounded. The place was huge and had many floors, all full of people selling things in their individual shops, I thought I’d reached a shopper’s paradise. I thought I’d take the time to slowly walk around and see what I could find, all in my own time. No sooner did I have several girls on my tail grabbing my clothes and saying “sir look at this” and“sir, can I help you”. My patience levels remained cool though.
Then I saw it – the bag I was looking for. With a Giorgio Armani label and lovely brown leather finish, I thought I had fallen in love.Now we all know that any asking price people give you in these places should around 70% times its actual worth, so I kept that in mind. 2,000 RMB was the initial bargaining price. Fine. I calculated in my head – 600 RMB it is. Having surprisingly kept my cool the whole time and even performing the “walk away”trick, I managed to get it for my desired price. Victory, I thought.
Only on my way out I saw another foreigner holding a similar bag. Upon asking him the price, he said he’d got it for 150 RMB. This was when I truly started to lose it – I remember thinking, how unfair is it that gullible, nay, just nice people like me get screwed over in such a society, and why do we have to lie and be scoundrels to get what we want? With these thoughts fresh in my head I found the bag seller, and in my broken Chinese began to protest. Cue a hundred eyes staring at me as if I was an escaped mental patient. It was then that I knew that China had beaten me in this department.Out of all the daily frustrations that we encounter as expats, I thought I had em all dealt with, though it made me realize that life here is like an ongoing battle at times, and the worst we can do is get ourselves involved as it will only end up in defeat. I’ll stick to department stores from now on.
Tags: bargaining Beijing Yashow market Beijing market
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The problem is you went to the Yashow market. Sanlitun is foreigner central and none of the shop owners will sell anything to you lower than the ripoff price because they know another foreigner will be willing to pay it. You're better off going to the market next to the zoo metro station. I've gotten some good deals there.
Jun 30, 2014 14:46 Report Abuse
I am empathetic and feel sympathy to the author and I think you must get to learn to be a specialist in all of spectrums in China even if you are a native chinese.You must have the ability to judge what the real quality of a commodity otherwise you probably purchase a fake one though spending a litle less money than the real.So please cut down the price to 80%-90% off even for this way I don't assure you that you should have paid less.The point is your judgement about the commodity you are to buy.This is the so called china characteristics which you could obeserve the regime and find the way. Steven
Jan 28, 2013 17:02 Report Abuse