September 1, 2012

Silk Street Market Bargaining Trick

The 7th floor covered in jewelry.

I unintentionally discovered the best way to get the greatest deals at markets. Make the seller feel sorry for you. The Silk Street Market is THE place in Beijing to buy all those perfectly replicated name-brand items. From fake Nike tennis shoes to counterfeit North Face duffel bags, this shopping mecca has every product under the sun. I moseyed up to the 7th floor full of jewelry of all sorts.
Tons of pearl necklaces, gems, jade, watches, gold and silver rings sparkled from every square inch of the massive room. A pair of gold and coral earrings with a matching necklace caught my eye so I peered over the glass case making sure to leave enough room between me and the counter so that merchants wouldn’t notice my curiosity and hound me. Showing the slightest interest in any product is like a red alert signaling a vendor to harass customers.
Shoe section at the market with every type of brand name shoe imaginable. 
Nice jewelry isn’t exactly in my budget these days and that’s the last thing I need to stuff in my already too heavy backpack. Of course, the little Chinese lady behind the counter spotted me. She began with her spiel in pretty decent English so I decided to be polite and tell her “No thanks” instead of just staring and walking away like I normally do. For some reason, she really had her invisible rope tied around me and I stuck around reluctantly. Although I had zero intention of purchasing the jewelry set, she whipped out a calculator and punched in a ridiculous price for the necklace and earrings that were now out of its home in the glass case and in my ears. “Give me best price, best price.” I said to her, “Really, I love them but I cannot even say, it’s too low, I really can’t afford them.” She looked at me and said “Oh, you student?” After a moments hesitation I replied, “Why yes I am.” Seller lady immediately cuts the price in half and revealed it to me on her calculator.
 I was merely amused at this point so I stuck around. I conjured a nice story just for my own personal entertainment: I was a student studying for a bit in China. Soon enough my friend Michele approached. Michele was now my sister and my seller lady complimented us on how much we look alike and how beautiful we were.
More jewelry at the Silk Street Market.
Michele joined in on the fun and started talking about “mom” and how she would love to borrow them and we miss her so much, etc.
Price cut in half again. HALF. Now I just feel bad, but the price is still too much. I was having fun bargaining with the woman; it gave me a little blast of elation. The bargaining game gave me the feeling of gambling when the stakes are high and you could lose it all in a moment if you don’t choose your words wisely. Eventually I got her to cut the price into halfsies again. Now I just feel so bad that I said “screw it” and bought them. You know what, I had zero buyer’s remorse too. I ended up paying a tenth of the original price she suggested which gave me a sense of satisfying pleasure like I’d won an intense game! I have no idea how much they are worth so I’m hoping I got a good deal.
The coral necklace and earring I purchased.

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