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Negotiating Prices



You may be excited or nervous or confused about the souk.  You've probably heard lots of stories about the need to negotiate and not just accept whatever price they give you. But before I get into that, I'd like to alert you to some lies that merchants will tell you about their products.

Sellers  may tell you these falsehoods to sell you the product. If they say any of these things, it may or may not be true, so take it with a grain of salt and just buy the product if you like it:

-They personally crafted the product
-The product is handmade when it is actually machine-made
-The product is a better quality than any other merchant’s
-The product is made from a specific material, when it’s made from a lower quality material (i.e. I was told something was silk when it is actually satin)
-The product is one of a kind (I bought a handbag in Rabat.  They told me they made it.  I saw it in Marrakech)



Some people have the confidence and persistence to negotiate prices while others don't have the boldness that is required.  Here are some pointers that will help you.

Know that whereas something should cost maybe 150 dirhams, they will quote you sometimes 300 or more.  Once I was buying two outfits which should have been about 200dh each or less, and they quoted me over 700 each.  I was so insulted I almost walked away.  I told them that I bought the same things for 150-200dh, and I ended up paying about 200dh each. 

So here are some tips to get the price down:


1. Go around to different stands and try to negotiate the prices down to see as low as it can get.

2. If they quote you a price, offer less than half of that price.  Usually the price just 50-60% of what they are quoting you.  You offer 40% of what they quote, and then come up to 50-60% of what they quoted.  For example, if they say its 200, offer 80 and in the end, pay about 100 or 110.  Remember the 10-20 dirhams is not much of a difference to you, its just $1 or $2.00

3. Tell them you have previously purchased the product for less.

4. Tell them you don't really need the product.  The less desirable it is to you, the less likely they are to keep the price high.  They'll want to lower the price to make it desirable and make the sale.

5. Tell them someone else around the corner offered it for less.

6. Tell them if they want your money, they'll have to give you a good price.

7. Tell them they have to give you a price to make you feel happy.

8.  Tell them the product is not of the highest quality and that you know that for sure.

9.  Tell them that is the only money you have left.

10. Start to walk away.  They'll keep calling you back. Walk a few meters.  They will lower the price. Come back and re-negotiate again.

11. Tell them you may not have space and the price is not worth it as it may not fit in your luggage or carry-on. 

12. Tell them the product is not that great. Tell them it's simple and easy to make.

13. Tell them they sell it in your country and you can get it for less.

14. Stare at their other products as they try to insist upon a price.  Look at other stands from their stall.  Pretend that you're losing interest. 

15. Sometimes they start to package the product although you have not agreed upon a price.  Let them package it without making anything final.  Don't say anything.  Once they've gone through all the trouble of packaging it, now you can negotiate more fiercely. 

16.  Check around their stand and see if there is anything else you like.  Maybe you can package a few things together and get a really good deal. Once I just wanted a little teapot for about 100dh.  I ended up buying a teapot, tray, two tea glasses, and some wooden carvings for 280dh.

17. Use humor.  Tell them you can  make it yourself.  Or if you started negotiating at 150dh, say "Okay, okay.  Good price, I'll give you 80dh. No problem"

18.  When you buy multiple items remind them that you are not just buying one item for 100dh, but now you are buying 3 or 4 items for lots of money, so they have to give a good price. Tell them people only buy one thing and you are helping them by buying a lot, so they have to help you with the price.



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