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Negociating

yankee00 (963 posts) •

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.

tigertiger (2500 posts) •

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.

Magnifico (1122 posts) •

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.

debaser (276 posts) •

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.

bosnianXCII (36 posts) •

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.

blobbles (890 posts) •

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...

laotou (1204 posts) •

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.

Magnifico (1122 posts) •

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).

Liumingke1234 (1194 posts) •

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?

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