Bartering With Discounts
The vendor markets of China are very different than those of the US. It has been a fabulous experience to see how this process works. We were told how chinese people will be given different prices than foreigners. A very steap discount. We were also told to offer about half of what the vendor requests. The groups first visit to Ancient Culture Street was my first experience bartering. After doing it several times between Tianjin and now Beijing, I did not know I had so many friends. Every vendor I walk past wants to give me money off because I am a friend of theirs. I usually do not recognize them, but they insist we are friends. They even show me how great of a friend I am by telling me how much more they would charge everyone else. I must be a pretty good guy because they are pretty big discounts. It is not only my close friends that are giving me discounts. I am also getting discounts because I am tall. Apparently being tall is the universal coupon. Sometimes I really get great discounts. Not only do some vendors give me a discount because I am their friend, but they also give me a discount because I am tall. Now I am paying like half price compared to everyone else who is not tall or a friend of my vendor friend. I have even received discounts from vendors because I am on the Canadien Olympic Men's basketball team. (I don't know where they get this idea from - other than me suggesting it to them). Often times I will listen to the broken english of the vendors to hear those magical sales words. The vendors have mastered the terms: "cheaper here," "gorgeous," "beatiful." "Come look," and "I have your size." After this communication resorts to facial expressions and the calculator communicating prices. Often those discounts I am receiving are about 60-70% higher than what I might actually pay for the item. What new sales pitch will we hear next?