Friday, November 30, 2007

shopping in beijing

the fash pack spent five days in beijing, china. actually two were spent on the flights getting there and back (via cathay pacific with a stopover in hong kong), so we had three full days there with one full day reserved for shopping, woo-hoo! so if you ever find yourself in beijing, we highly recommend the weekend antique market called panjiayuan—it's one of the best markets we've ever been to. this is the real deal, none of that fake designer stuff you see too often in china markets. well, there may be some fakes here too, but "antique"-wise. the stuff may be old or second-hand or vintage, but antique? it's a term used quite loosely here. but who wants antiques when there is so much more to buy! lots of baubles and beads...
silver accessories...
silk brocade items...
paintbrushes with beautiful handles (which can be used as decor!)...
cute stuffed toys...
lots of paintings by local artists—from traditional to contemporary (these are repros of works by that hot chinese painter who was recently on the cover of time magazine, yue minjun)...
and tons of chinese arts and crafts...
now let's talk prices! the first rule is: don't quote any price unless you're willing to pay it. otherwise they will grab you and block you until you pay up, lady! second rule is: don't be intimidated by the original price they quote. ask for a lower price and if you're still not happy, they'll ask you to name your price. then quote a ridiculously low price. no, not 50% off—more like 90% off! don't get flustered if they laugh in your face. just shrug your shoulders and walk away. guaranteed they'll call you back and the negotiation begins. of course all of this is done via sign and body language, dramatic hand gestures, facial expressions, and the universal language of the calculator. case in point: we spotted this exquisite necklace of big intricately carved beads. price 850 yuan (in pesos, that would be times six, so that's over P5,000). we asked the lady for a lower price. she went down, down, down to 550. we went waaaaaaaay down to 50! the nerve! of course she laughed. so we said, sorry no more money and walked away. we gave it up and were ready to move on to the next. three stalls later, she caught up with us, calculator in hand, asking us to name a better price! so we punched in 100. she said OK! that's 600 pesos! incredible. it was like that for the rest of our shopping in panjiayuan. so before you head for this beijing market, practice your haggling because over here, it's not just a skill, an art, or a sport—it's like a game (parang olympics!). sorry na lang kung tanga ka. or mayaman ka. depends how you look at it ;-)

2 comments:

FP-fan said...

sorry na lang kung tanga ka. or mayaman ka. - ooh feisty.

NM said...

Thanks for the bargaining tips! For sure I'll be trying them out.