“Come here, girl. Look here,” she says to me as she fingers a shirt. “Very good quality, Hand-made.”
“No, I don’t want it,” I reply.
“Okay, I’ll give you a special price. Just for you,” she whispers back in my ear and plugs in an outrageous number into her Hello Kitty calculator.
I didn’t buy that specific shirt but I have done my fair share of shopping in China. From electronics to clothes to accessories, I’ve bought it all. Although I’m always wary whenever I leave the market, thinking that I could have gotten the same things for cheaper. Just because of the different texture of my hair, the different shade of my face, and the accent of voice, shopping at a market is ten times more difficult for me than a Chinese local. I am lied to, I am given higher prices, and I must argue with the vendor for a long time before the price is right. Often times, even that price is still too high.
Battle of the Bargain: A tourist’s survival guide when shopping in a market