From the treads I've read, it seems like many people here have been able to put prices down when buying things without price tags. However, it simply doesn't work for me. I've been using the same tactics as in Beijing: putting the price very low, and the seller and I both work to a medium price, or I walk away and they call me back. But here in Kunming, it doesn't work at all... the sellers just say no and move on, even for 5rmb on a 400rmb jacket in the street.
It'most probably my lack of social ability. How do you guys do it? Could you give some tips or guidelines? Some examples of negociation conversations would be great too.
I have my wife do it. haha. 太贵了！She says and magically the price is lowered. Of course I stay at a distance. Ha..ha.
This isn't Beijing. The culture for selling will be different. Many Yunnan people are not hungry for money and if they have enough they are content. As such they less aggressive (perhaps even lazy) when buying and selling.
Watch the locals negotiate and learn from them, but be aware that an old lady will be offered discounts that a young person won't.
In some markets there is little room for negotiating. Even in Kunming rents can be high for traders. Also in some markets (electronics) the profit margins are very small and so the seller has little room to negotiate. In tourist markets the traders have got fat and have no need to negotiate.
If you offer too low a price you lose face, and the trader may just not want to deal with you.
how much do you make?
and how much does the average vendor make?
if your salary is more than 5x their salary, then maybe 5rmb on a 400rmb jacket is worth much more to them than to you.
so let it go.
get a chinese person to buy... works every time! whatever the reason it's nothing like buying in Guangzhou either... they just let buyers walk away here. chinese friends tell me that they give reasons for the lower price (such as quality) or try to give the sellers face somehow. either that or they just repeat their offer persistently until they get a result! i had a colleague do that for almost 4 hours just to buy a bike but she did get it for half the asking price - crazy.
Let's you are buying a jacket, and you ask how much it is. They say 145. An odd number right? It's like their testing to see if you will pay that obscure amount. I take their first number and divide it in half. I know this jacket should only be around 100-120, so I'm trying to keep it below this point. I say 70, try it on walk around, he drops into the low 100's. I walk out and look around other shops for a while. When I come back he recognizes me and knows I mean business. I tell him I will give him 80 kuai for it. He gripes, moans, and says Aya a couple times, but the thought of that 80 kuai overpowers his desire to rip me off, and I have almost cut the price in half.
When buying technology it's harder, when they say a number throw back something around 35% less and hope to reach about a 20% discount.
Though I have completely given up bargaining when buying foodstuffs at the local markets, I still try my ID to convince the McDonald's employees that all American's get free refills as per McDonald's code of ethics.
Yep, I have the same problem. No matter how many times I say "Ayarrr, tai gui le!" and offer a lower price, the vendors never accept. But I get my girlfriend to go and bargain and suddenly there is a lower starting price and always a discount from there... the laowai discount maxim is "charge outrageous price, don't move, if they want it they will buy it". If they are able to snag one laowai a month here they probably make up for all their losses on other laowai.
But there are some things I just say "fine, no problem!" for - flowers (amazing the difference in price here from the west), outdoor shoes (which can be amazingly cheap and pretty good quality) and usually fruit (unless its crazy price in which case I walk away).
In saying all that, sometimes I can negotiate a price down, its all dependent on the seller and I have successfully got clothes for half to 1/3 the original starting price...
I use the local vendors to look for somewhat branded products, electronics, textiles, and other goods - then go buy it on taobao.
I've given up on trying to bargain with local vendors. Even when I try to buy in bulk (like 3-5 shirts, socks, underwear) - they refuse to budge. So - taobao and screw the local vendors. When I buy in bulk on taobao, the vendors will throw in free shipping. Stationary, dry goods (cereal), etc - it's all good. I'm gonna try to buy toilet paper next...see how that flies...
I live in an older part of Kunming - lots of retirees and their grandkids etc. The taobao packages arrive fast and furious here - (not from me) - so it's fairly common.
Yep, that's a great idea. Everyone should buy everything from Taobao and Wal-Mart just so you can save a few kuai and spend more on beer.
All so all the local vendors go out of business and the economy falls apart like good ol' USA.
Then, all foreigners will have to move to another country and start threads explaining how, despite the fact that so many things about the country suck (like the Indian restaurants), it's so much better than their country of birth (US) and the previous country they were an expat in (China).
All I'm looking for is a fair price. I don't mine supporting my local business person but I don't want to get ripped off just because I'm a Laowai. I expect to get ripped off sometimes but I refuse get get ripped off all the time. What's wrong with that?
Also it allows other expats to act like trolls on said internet forums,derailing potentially helpful threads by being inflammatory for no apparent other reason than their own personal amusement. Magnifico,if you can't stay on topic,offer anything useful or want to question everyone else's choices,why post anything? You are clearly trolling.
How am I derailing the thread? I'm not on topic?
Liumingke1234, nothing wrong with not wanting to get ripped off. But it works both ways. If you try to haggle them down too much, then they get ripped off. And you make a lot more than they do.
I agree 100% with your last post.
alright, alright. i'm done. i'll stop posting.
everyone happy now?
@Magnifico I highly doubt they would sell anything to you at a price less than what they paid for.
Of course they won't go below cost price. But still, if you take them down to where they're barely making any profit, then they get cheated.
And the other point was that maybe they can't compete with Taobao, but it can be argued that large stores like Wal-Mart in the US have harmed the economy, so it may be better to support Ma & Pa shops even if you need to pay a little more.
I apologize for making my points in the previous post sarcastically.
i am ashamed to admit i shop at Walmart here. It is not usually a price thing but i can find things that i cannot always find easily any where else. My experience with most places in china is the vendor prices are so much less than i pay in usa i will bargain sometimes, but often not aggresively. I never shop Walmart in USA because as Magnifico says Walmart has destroyed the economy in the USA. There is an interesting article on Web i think titled 50 reasons Walmart has destroyed US economy. Sorry i did get off the point somewhat.
Walmart (recently M&A'd Hao YouDuo) is somewhat middle class-ish for China (except the converted HYDs). Nevertheless - they're obliterating the neighborhood mom & pop groceries also - EXCEPT in the agro biz - fresh meat (no cold chain here, nope) & veges are still better at the farmer's markets, as are huge sacks of rice, etc. Just shop EARLY.
As for taobao blasting the local economy - supply and demand. When it hurts enough - they'll bargain with we ludicrously wealthy expats (sarcasm). FYI - the domestics also won't negotiate with out of town Chinese (my significant other's experience).
As for Magnifico's comments - @tall noted they'll bargain with locals which has also been my experience, but NOT with non-yunnan speakers - so again, to re-iterate - screw 'em.
If all the expats in Kunming buy from taobao - it won't change the local economy worth a ding (except for maybe Salvadors etc) - so don't worry about feeling guilty cuz you took your biz elsewhere. It's rather miniscule.
I have successfully bargained at my local market (even though prices are already rock-bottom there) and buying all kinds of stuff that I find too expensive. Usually I get up to 30-40% off, especially in places where I shop often.
My Chinese is not very good but locals seem to make no problem of giving me a discount or giving me something on top.
My method with places I regularly frequent is not making a fuss about the price the first time. Smile, always smile and have a short conversation. Give them some face, appreciate the wares. Then the next time, as they recognise your face, ask politely if they can drop it a bit. But don't argue about one or two kuai, that's not worth it. Just do it on the total price after you bought all of your stuff at the same veggie stand, for example.
With other places I just ask whether it can be any cheaper. If they say no, I move on. If they say yes I try to achieve 70% of the original.
Never forget to smile. Always smile, throughout the entire process. Treat it like a game. And if you think the price is fair, simply pay it. You don't have to bargain just because.
i speak fluent chinese and i can understand the kunming/sichuan/cantonese/guangxi dialect. i can tell you, expat or tourist alway pay crazy price. last month, i was in Xi An, i was watching in amusement, two American tourist bargaining with a vendor over a pack of very attractive coaster. it started with rmb 120, and the two amercian was 'smart' enough to chop it down to 60, in the end the two american and the vendor settled it for 75. now, the same pack of coaster was passed for 12 rmb to a couple of local chinese tourist only some 8 minutes earlier. interesting?
the same in yunnan. :-)))))), in lijiang, a same bottle of local beer would change hand for 4 rmb for the local, and 29 for non-local chinese tourist. even chinese had to pay 'crazy price', you see. :-)))))
all I will say to that is 'dumb tourists'.
I don't haggle. For day to day goods, if I don't like the price I'll move onto the neighbouring seller and so on till I either get a price I'm satisfied with or walk away. I realise I'm probably paying more than necessary, but in the scheme of things it's not a lot of money to me and it helps the locals stay in business. For large items I get my Kunmingese wife to do the buying.
I only use the western supermarkets for items I can't get at the local shops. Things like butter, cheese, peanut butter, etc. I've actually found prices in the smaller shops to be the same or cheaper than the wal-marts.
Is it off topic to say that I recently read an article that says the wal-marts, carrefours, etc. are actually struggling in China and are having to pull back on expansion plans and try to adapt there stores more to the Chinese consumer.
@atomic, i also only buy limited things at WalMart or Metro that i cannot find at other places. My wife has even found if i do not shop with her at local markets the price is sometimes better. Funny thing is however i have occasionally bought fruit on the way home and got a better price from vendor who i pass daily and always smile and say hello to.
Another thing I would like to mention is that I'm very wary of buying things in the 'small stores' because there is so much counterfeit stuff. Everything from toilet paper, sodas, beer, bai ju, eggs, meats, etc. These small stores are the ones likely to carry these things for the most part. So although I am all for supporting the 'little' guy, in China you must be very careful.
@liumingke1234, Your last point was so right on, i was so excited to find large jars of miracle whip at small store in our complex, i should have known better, got it home and everything about it was counterfeit, texture, smell, and taste was horrible. Will not make same mistake again.
@tallamerican. It's really scary! I was never paranoid about buying stuff until I came here and found out that nothing is sacred to counterfeit. You really have to think when you pick up that soda and you are thirsty. Is it the real deal or is it fake? They are so good at fakes it scary. If you find yourself getting sick, better check out what you've been buying.
Shop extermination is getting more and more common these days and with rent and wages going up, it will spread like wildfire if people continue to use Taobao so much. I had to put my foot down some weeks ago when my wife wanted to order diapers online, to save 6 yuan a pack compared to our local babyshop. I'm all for using Taobao for foreign stuff hard to get around here or if the price is significantly lower, but finding, negotiating, ordering, giving sensitive information to tons of vendors AND sit around waiting for a week+ to save 10-15 yuan is insane.
Rural america is prime example of what happens when discounters open stores in there communities. I was raised in a small community but we were very proud of our 5 block mainstreet which was lined on both sides with retail store of all types. Then Walmarts moved into small cities, and Shopco, Pamida into towns to small for Walmart. I was home for reunion this summer and mainstreet is empty with most of the stores now empty and closed. When i was a kid on thursday evenings stores were open until 9PM the sidewalks were packed with people. It was a exciting place to be, now mainstreet is a ghost town and what stores are left are not open late anymore. Sadly from what i have seen my hometown is fairly typical of rural usa. Would hate to see same thing happen in china. It is so nice if you need or have a graving for something later in evening always a place open to purchase.
Amen to that!
Thanks all for your input. I should probably find a Yunnan wife to make things easier.
Thursday, December 12
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