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Beijing: Do you like to bargain when shopping?
Old 05-16-2008, 07:38 PM   #1
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Beijing: Do you like to bargain when shopping?

Yesterday I was at the Silk Street Pearl Market (Xiushui) in Beijing. Many floors packed with 4 meter by 4 meter stalls full of clothes, jewelry, toys, junk and little women calling out, "Hello, hello! I give you superprice! You want gift for wife! Underwear! New suit! Pearls! Jewelry! I give you best deal! Silk pajamas! Silk ties! New kimono! Jeans! North Face! Guaranteed! Tablecloth! 100% silk! 100% cashmere! New shirt! Look! Look! Come in! Genuine Polo! Stop here! Hello! You want pretty necklace!" All in emphatic Chinese-accented voices.

Just a continuous onslaught of folks trying to make a yuan by selling you something, anything! They will hold up a curtain for you to try on a dress or a jeans. They will drag you in by your hand. They want to sell, sell, SELL!

Be prepared to bargain. I bought a little toy for 10 yuan where they started out at 360 yuan. I probably overpaid! Be prepared to insult them. But don't step foot into the stall unless you want something. They will not let you escape. "Name your price! What you pay? Meet me halfway! Final price!"

I enjoyed the entire experience as I do not mind insulting or teasing them or walking away. How about you? Are you bold enough to bargain? Or do you always want to see a fair price from the very start?

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Old 05-17-2008, 06:08 AM   #2
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Got a very nice North Face coat for about 20 or 25 bucks a couple of years ago (but the zipper tab is on the left instead of the right - obviously planned for export to another Asian country), a very nice looking Rolex knock-off for about 30 (but the gold discolored after a couple years), and several Mont Blanc pens for about 2 or 3 bucks a piece. I gave some of those away, but the one I kept for myself and it promptly broke.

I might have spent 70-80 dollars altogether, including the taxi to get there. But would have paid several hundred without bargaining...The goods were poor quality, but the bargaining and browsing was fun.


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Old 05-26-2008, 11:46 AM   #3
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When I was flying to Beijing on a weekly basis, my wife would sometimes come along just for the shopping. But knockoff quality is pretty awful when compared to the real things; a knockoff North Face is not nearly as warm as a genuine one, the "GoreTex" doesn't seem to work, the buttons fall off after a few weeks, etc. I buy them to keep in the cars for occasional use only.

The polo shirts were all the same size regardless of whether marked M, L, XL, or XXL. I bought one with horizontal stripes and the stripes had changed to about a 30' angle near the bottom of the shirt. I re-wrapped it and went back to the (nearby) store for an exchange, they gave me a new normal one and then put the defective one right back on the shelf to sell. My wife liked the cheap watches. About 50% of them would die within the first 3 months, another 25% would die within a year. A few have survived the full three years.

An old pilot who flew the Hump during WWII told me that the Chinese were selling silk pajamas really cheap, turns out they were removing parachutes from the pack and replacing the chute with a stack of newspapers.

One of my co-pilots called China "The Land of Not Quite Right".
Fascinating to visit, bargain for everything, trust nothing.
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:02 PM   #4
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I was in Beijing fairly regularly during my last 3 - 4 years at MegaCorp. Lotsa fun! The Pearl Market was OK to visit a couple of times but got old after that. From Beijing, I'd travel to Tianjin where one of our facilities was located. Shopping there was more interesting. Fewer knockoffs intended for tourists but lots of interesting shops within walking distance of the hotel in what I considered safe neighborhoods.

Visiting China is on the relatively short list of things I miss about w*rk. I especially miss my staff who were loyal and accomodating beyond belief and still email and call me two years after RE.

Lol....hope you're enjoying your visit!
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