Kuala Lumpur - Shopping

Date Links: 
Fri 10/06 │ Sat 11/06

Accommodation: Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Bargaining Tips

Bargaining is the way to go when shopping in such places as Petaling Street, unless you don’t mind being ripped off. Prices are generally quoted 15 to 35% higher than what they are truly worth – even higher sometimes for tourists. So before you head down to Petaling Street, make sure your bargaining skills are well-honed.

But first things first – before going on your haggling venture, pay attention to what you’re wearing. If you look like you have the money, some vendors will not hesitate to charge you double or even triple the price. So leave your Armani shirt and gold wristwatch behind, and dress as simply as you could. Wear no visible labels or anything that is a dead giveaway to your financial status.

When you find an item you like, take your time to inspect it. Keep a neutral expression and don’t let your interest show too much, even if you’re dead keen on it. Even if there’s a price tag on the item clearly stating what it’s worth, still make it a point to ask: “How much?” The bidding process will thus begin. Start with offering just one quarter of the asking price – don’t feel bad about this as you can always raise your offer bit by bit.

Keep going back and forth with your counter-offer until you reach a price that you’re comfortable with. If the vendor refuse to budge any lower, thank him, tell him that you will think about it and walk away to survey other shops. Two things will happen: 1) the vendor calls you back and states his final (and much lower) offer or asks you how much you’re willing to pay for the item, or 2) you will find a much better offer elsewhere. The mistake that most foreigners make is that they’re too afraid, too embarrassed or feels too guilty to ask for a much lower price, that they immediately accept the first counter-offer that the vendor makes. Remember, most of the items sold here initially bear a higher marked price, so don’t be afraid to bid lower, and feel free to shop around – it is the culture here.

It all boils down to three tactics:

1) If they start at a completely ridiculous price: say ‘you start too high’ and walk away.

2) If it is something where the rough price is known: just say ‘these are 15 MYR right?’ Most often they will just agree.

3) If it is something where the price is unknown: when they say the price, just smile like they are having a joke... they usually come down immediately on their first price... then offer a third of that.

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