During last Chinese New Year holidays, apart from Lantau, I visited Shenzhen for a day. Shenzhen is a big Chinese city right next to the Hong Kong-China border and it is well known as a shopping center with no fixed prices. Apparently many Western brands have factories in the region, so there are many original items at discounted prices with some small defects, and others items not so original. I’m not a fan of illegal items but there you can find them if you ask for them explicitly. Anyway, if you know how to bargain, then you can buy items really cheap.
I have to say that my expectations were exceeded and I enjoyed so much buying stuff and above all, bargaining! As per the people I went with, it seems that I have a talent for bargaining and I ended bargaining for my items, for my wife’s and for my friends’, etc. In fact, I succeeded to lower the prices between 60 and 80% in average for each item bought. By instance, I bought my wife’s purse for about 150 HKD when the guy was asking for 800.
It is clear that those sellers make money even if the price is extremely low, and most of the cases they want to sell you the item no matters the price (I’m sure they have a enormous warehouse with hundreds of similar items), so they will always accept to sell it to you if they win at least one cent !.
The key is to seem not very interested (even if you desire to buy it so much) and never give you the first price (let them put the first price so you have an idea of the real value (60-80% less of that price, really).
Just try some of these when you are willing to buy an item using your best ‘poker face’:
“I don’t like it so much”
“uhm.. the quality is not that good as it seems” (signaling something)
“in my country this is much cheaper…”
“I’m going around for a walk to check other shops and I will be back later”
“sorry I’m definitely not buying it… bye bye ” (while you are leaving the shop…)
They will accept your price 99% of the time! I had a girl running behind me during 10 minutes offering me to sell me the item half of my last price (that she didn’t accept before and I decided to go).
Do not get frightened if the guy starts to become mad, rude, and start to speak Chinese with his/her friends. This is a usual behavior and its part of their technique. You should not care at all. They will be very happy 5 minutes later when your money is in their pockets (even if the price was 90% lower the starting one).
Anyway they will try to have the last word, so even if the first price was 1000, your last offer was 100, they will give a final offer of 110. Let them to be happy accepting it :).
The thing is do not think you are cheating them when you are able to lower the price a lot, because be sure that they are making money thanks to you :). Just only realize that the first price they propose is totally exorbitant.
I’m just wondering how much money they make when most of the people only bargain to lower prices 10-20%.