HOW TO BARGAIN AND GET THE BEST PRICE!
I have to confess I didn´t know how to bargain until I spent 10 days visiting Morocco. I just wasn´t familiar with the bargaining practice. I´m a super «SALE FAN SEARCHER», so I´m used to other kind of ways for getting cheaper prices.
My first tip isn´t exactly about the «How to» process but it´s about a «What to do» issue. Imagine yourself strolling around the Moroccan medina, streets or a small touristic location. You come across an exotic necklace and you fall in love with it (believe me, you will!) or a ring, a dish to die for, glasses, handbags you just cannot leave there or a rare stone. Let´s suppose your companions have a different focus, they´re more interested in cultural stuff (of course that buying a Moroccan handcraft is cultural too!) or your guide is more aware of the clock and his working hours and says that you´ll find it on your next stop, so you better keep going. If you know for a fact you´re not going back to that place, just don´t hesitate and GO FOR WHAT YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH AND GET IT! Believe me, your chances of running into it again are pretty low!
Now, let´s talk about tips: 1) DON´T FEEL SCARED OR GUILTY: bargaining is a habit in Morocco, a lifestyle. So never go for the full price and negotiate! Start by asking about the price (without that fever emotion you would go into a Zara´s sale!). You´re just looking around. Let´s say the price is 100 dirhams (local currency). Offer half the price. Believe me: you won´t be hurting anyone! They´l look at you madly or as if you´re nuts and of course, they´ll refuse, but will sure make a counteroffer. Don´t feel obliged to take it. Keep negotiating.
2) Also remember that you´ll probably be purchasing more than 1 item, which means you can get a one for all price.
3) Get a male companion if possible: once I was trying to buy a couple of handbags and I was dealing with a tough seller. My husband, who was waiting on the middle of the street, got tired, looked to the seller and said pretty seriously. «it´s 50 bucks for the 2 handbags or nothing. Take it or leave it». The seller agreed immediately without even mumbling! That´s when I realized that Moroccan men regard women differently and treat them as in a weaker position or status. So if you are accompanied by a cool guide (guides in Morocco are always men) or have any male companion who´s got a nerve, let him assist you while shopping (just let them know it´s a shortcut or a quicker way of closing your purchase).LOL!
4) «Show me the money!!» Sorry, but Jerry Maguire only applies to Tom Cruise and that movie! Not here! DON´T EVER OPEN YOUR WALLET IN FRONT OF THE SELLER. Try to have your money distributed in different pockets. This trick will give you space to show you have no more money than that appearing from one pocket. Put your best «I really love this, but it´s all I have…» face. See what happens. They´ll end up settling.
5) Tough bargainer? In case the seller is not open enough, just walk away. He´ll call you back instantly. Because they´re there to sell!
6) NO CARDS ACCEPTED BABY! You need to know that CASH ONLY is taken while shopping handcrafts. So forget of going into a medina or market without enough cash, either to buy a belt or a simple bottle of water.
7) This is weird to say, but they KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU THAN YOU WOULD EXPECT. Somehow I believe these people were raised as sellers (I don´t mean it in any pejorative way at all). When they see you coming, they already know which language you speak and where are you from. I don´t know if it´s the color of the skin, the way one dresses, you name it, but they smell you coming from far away. They will greet you «Hola, amiga» or «Hi, my friend, cheap prices, come in». Keep in mind that they´re also fluent in Arabic and French (Morocco used to be a French colony). And if they don´t happen to understand what you´re trying to say, his friend from the next shop will (and help). So, no worries about the language, that will not stop you for a successful shopping.
I would love to hear your own bargaining experiences and share them with other readers. Please, keep me posted!