Brutal Bargaining

There comes a time when one realizes the roughness of bargaining in China. I learned this lesson while shopping in Beijing. This was like a simple trip to the mall, this was the Silk Market. The Beijing Silk Market is well known for its “silk” products and fake goods. Again, you will find Louis, Gucci, Prada, Tory and my new favorite brand, MCM. I use the word silk in quotation marks because Benito informed me that just like most of the goods sold, the “silk” is not necessarily real, or as seen on the label, “100% silk.” While Shanghai offers numerous fake goods, Beijing appeared to offer better quality fake goods, but that came at a price.You know what that means, bad news for me, or should I say, bad news for my wallet–aka my parents’ wallets.

As soon as we entered the lower level salespeople bombarded us with, “Hello, mister. What you want to buy? Bags? Watches? Hello, miss. You need a bag? Wallet? Have a look.” Now, I’ve heard such before, but not this aggressive. If you took a look in a shop and immediately left, the shopkeeper usually mumbled something or gave you a stank face. They expected us to buy something, no exceptions.

While I usually keep my cool during the bargaining process, this day proved an exception. I was not above yelling or flipping off the shop owners when they gave me a price I didn’t like. Now I didn’t start a scene right away. The shop owner had to provoke me. I even called a few of them crazy. Of course, each proceeded to call me crazy. Wouldn’t you think someone is crazy if they asked you to pay almost 100USD for a fake Bottega Veneta coin purse? I don’t think so.

I was also kicked out of one “store.” Sorry, DJ. I hate you lost a buy, but I couldn’t let you pay more than you should for those shoes. During this instance I went off on a shoe-store owner who touched me. It’s one of my rules. I don’t like to be touched when I’m trying to bargain with you.

After reading Fake Stuff, I couldn’t help but think about how much the price goes up when a westerner walks into a booth. I was not about to be outdone. It took a while for me to finally make a purchase, but when I started, I didn’t stop until DJ practically dragged me out.

I ended the day with some good deals. The one I am most proud about–my new MCM book bag. I know I shouldn’t be telling on myself, but I got the deal of the century. At least, I would like to think so. Better quality goods require more aggressive bargaining.

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