Let me start by saying, I LOVE haggling. I could buy a fin off a whale for killer price if the whale would stay above water long enough. I have been to many street markets in Spain, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Mexico, and South Africa, and everyone has been a new bargaining style and different products (well the same products at each location but I’ll get to that in a minute).
For those of you who haven’t encountered this let me just give a bit of background. There’s shopping: a mall or street filled with individual retailers whose prices are mostly set. Maybe you will find something on sale but there are two things you don’t have to worry about: getting taken for a ride by the establishment on the price, and the quality.
China’s markets are a strange mix between street market and western mall. The first thing that is similar is that they are indoors, however they are still in stall-like partitions — smaller stores which usually specialize in one or two types of item. The main strange thing is that in China, the goods are recognizable. In many other countries, they are no-name brands or goods that are more like souvenirs or cultural items: african drums, spanish cloth or soccer jerseys, stone carvings, etc. In China, it’s Gucci, Prada, Ecco, Louis Vuitton and Chanel that greet you at the door. But not in beautiful glass cases, in backpacks, rolling suitcases, trash bags (have you ever seen a trash bag full of Rolex’s?). So I have decided to put up a list of what I feel all of these fakes should be purchased for (these are local prices, not there’s-a-sucker-born-every-minute prices).
So, now that we’ve done the intro, I’ll give you the prices for some more common items and what I have payed or would pay. The quality comments will be based on my personal taste (passable quality for me may be the best quality you can get at these stalls).
I list them like this:
ITEM — Offer price in CNY (RMB) — My price in CNY — My price in USD
Shoes (Leather, Passable Quality) — 600 RMB — 50-150 RMB — $8-24
Jeans (Diesel, Levis, etc) — 300-500 RMB — 50-100 RMB — $8-16
Belts (Leather, Passable Quality) — 260 RMB — 50 RMB — $8 (This is the lowest price I have seen, but I don’t think they are worth it.)
Socks — 15 RMB — 5 RMB — $0.80
Watches (Good Quality Fakes) — 400-600 RMB — 80-100 RMB — $13-16 (no more than 120 RMB, that’s $20, don’t be an idiot).
Watches (Shit Fakes) — 250-400 RMB — What’s wrong with this picture is that you are even asking about it… 5 RMB, it’ll last two weeks.
Tie, Cufflink, and Pocket Square (medium quality) — 100 RMB — 30-50 RMB — $5-8
Sunglasses (“Oakley’s”) — 250-500 RMB — 25-40 RMB — $4-7
Tailored Suit (Poor Quality) — 700-900 RMB — 500-600 RMB — $85-100
Custom Bespoke Suit (Excellent Quality) — 1300-1500 RMB — 900 RMB — $150
So there are a few prices for you newcomers or curious folks. And on a similar note, I was introduced to a tailor here while we were walking around and I stopped to admire his work. These suits were beautiful: 85-100% wool, silk lining, trim, operable cuff buttons, great stitching, nice selection and good english. I asked about pricing, and after haggling down from 1100 RMB to a clean 900 RMB, I told him I’d think about it. Two weeks later, I have been back twice: once to order the suit and once for the halfway fitting. I can’t wait! The suit is gorgeous navy with light blue pinstripes. The interior lining is a royal purple satin, I got working buttons on the sleeves, matching trousers (obviously), and I can’t wait till I pick it up in a week.
After haggling for a bunch of stuff for my friends — one place I bought a bunch of iPhone cases for $1.50 after I told the woman “Wo jiao, Ding Jie” (My name is Ding Jie). She lost and an went from 50 RMB a piece to 10 and 15 RMB — we hopped the subway home. But not before reveling in my victory with a huge Big Mac!
That’s all for now, sorry there aren’t any shopping pictures, they hate when you photograph all of their copyright violations. So instead, here are some photos from the beach and an old town called Da Peng that we visited over the weekend.
Travel Safe and Often.