The art of haggling

I often get requests from family and friends to provide them with travel tips or to hook them up with our friends and family members in Morocco. As I am often happy to act as a mini Lonely Planet guide and point out restaurants, hotels, places to see and places to avoid, the most important tip I can give them is to master the Art of Haggling. As the old saying goes ‘one must practice a 1000 hours before one masters a skill’ and over the years I must have put in more than the required amount.

With such a variety of souks (markets) to explore across Morocco it’s likely your haggling skills will also improve as you explore what the country has to offer. Artisans in Marrakech, Fes and Essouraria turn out so many products and produce that you may have trouble taking it all in.  From leather goods, lamps, carpets, little trinkets or beautiful handmade ceramics, souks are a feast for all the senses.  The quality may vary but bargains do exist and it takes an experienced eye, a good sense of humour and a strong nerve to go toe to toe with the salesmen of Morocco.

To make your shopping trip in Morocco successfull there are a few rules you need to adhere to:

– Greet the shopkeeper with a simple hello and a smile.
– Don’t seem overly happy or excited by an object you wish to purchase, may it be a carpet or silver jewelry.  Act cool, calm and mention the object in passing, while asking for the price.
– Act surprised when you find out about the price, but keep on smiling.
– Check some other items in the store/stall, again with the same ‘I really don’t like anything here’ attitude.
– Offer 50% of the price mentioned by the shop keeper. This is where the fun starts.
– Increase your price by 5 procents, but don’t exceed 10%.
– If the shopkeeper doesn’t want to budge, then wave a cheery bye bye to the shop keeper and walk away, he will in all probability call you back.
– When you are called back you can settle on the final prize.

Happy shopping!

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