VladimirYakunin's blog

By VladimirYakunin, 14 years ago, translation, In English
Those who has ever been to chinese market (especially if it was tourists oriented one) know that buying particular thing in China is something more than just pay-your-money-and-go-away.
Chinese sellers have a more artistic approach to their job. Who says any good has a fair price? In China fair price is a function of seller's mood, amount of leisure time the buyer has, current moon phase and Buddha's aura condition.
Here are some tips which were helpful for me and my friends in chinese markets:

  1. you must bargain. Starting price can be reduced by 20-90% depending on situation.
  2. enjoy the process of bargaining. Play with seller. If you make sullen face and tell about objective reasons why you cant pay any cent more in that boring way, the game becomes routine, you waste your time and salesman's one. Seller is entertaining you, why dont you help him/her?
  3. after communicating with few sellers you can easily predict all their english phrases. Typically they are "lukaluka" (look-look), "chipa-chipa" (cheap-cheap), "vandalla-vandalla" (one dollar-one dollar), "guta plaisa" (good price), "kilinmimafren" (killing me my friend) etc. I find it very comfortable to use these (or similar) phrases when I speak to sellers. They like when you play using their own rules.
  4. go AWAY! I bet if you try to go away you will be caught for your arm and price will become sufficiently lower.
  5. if you dont speak chinese and you are not fluent in english as well (like me) - its better to speak your native language: the chinese will not understand you any way, but speech in native language is usually more expressive, and consequently more entertaining.
  6. there are several situations when bargaining is pointless:
    • if someone got the same good for the same money before, most likely you won't decrease the price further.
    • if starting price is less than 15 RMB.
    • if you are in shop where customers pay in cashbox. 20% discount in such place is best you can get. But receipt you get there can be useful. For example you can get free drink for it or use it to buy some more goods.
You can see in movie how MikeMirzayanov makes his best in bargaining (he speaks russian mostly, but you can understand him anyway). Thank madm for video assembly.
  • Vote: I like it
  • +12
  • Vote: I do not like it

| Write comment?
14 years ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it
Yes? I am a Chinese.I have live here for about 20 years. But I didn't find the  entertaining phenomenon, mabye I am lacking of observation?

Yeah,I'd like to
bargain when i go shopping next time,using your "skills". he he..

How many times have you been to China? How about your feelings about other things except "shopping" ?
  • 14 years ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

    sorry for my poor english

  • 14 years ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it
    I've been to China twice - in Shanghai in 2005 and, like the author, in Harbin in 2010.

    Before Shanghai I'd never been to USA, so I'd never seen any skyscrapers, and seeing so many of them were exciting. What was more exciting? To see urban district in a couple of blocks from all these skyscrapers.
    But the most memorable event was shopping, anyway :o) We were in some nice shopping center with one of the ICPC volunteers, who spoke both English and Chinese. So, having poor skills in English, we were able to communicate with people in shopping center, and like the author, we were able to drop 60-80% of the initial price pretty much often.

    On my trip to Harbin I didn't go to any shopping centers, as now I find it kind of pointless :o) Because usually in ends up with a lot of stuff you don't really need (or a lot of gifts people whom you are going to present them do not really need :o)). So I concentrated on walking in the city center, visiting all the exhibitions offered by host and actually, as now I'm outside of my home country, to talk to my friends, whom I met first time after a half an year
    Basically, the impression is pretty much the same - a lot of skyscrapers and other nice buildings mixed up with ugly urban houses. This is kind of funny :o)

9 years ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -9 Vote: I do not like it

well , i 'm also a chinese ... you can realize it from my photo.

2 years ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

Ten years ago, you could pick up a skill of "giving the cashier 101 RMB and getting a change of 15 RMB when the bill is 86 RMB". Now few foriegners can learn that because we are all using Wechat Pay or Alipay.

  • »
    2 years ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +16 Vote: I do not like it

    I wrote this before I found that this blog was posted 12 years ago.