Morocco: how to haggle

Souk goods, (photo by Clay Perry)
Souk goods

Haggling is a way of life in Morocco, whether you are taking a taxi or shopping in a market. Even in shops, you may find that the price is negotiable. 

If you prefer not to bargain, and, let's face it, most Westerners are not very good at it, visit a local Ensemble Artisanal, a state-run collective of craft shops in major destinations that have fixed prices (ask at the local tourist office for the nearest one). Or look for shops with "fixed-price" signs in the window.

Ten tips on the art of haggling


If you don't want to pay over the odds, and you want to feel like you've at least made a bit of effort to embrace the local culture, then start bargaining. Here are few tips to guide you:


1. Haggling is a social interaction; always be polite and good-humoured, and if you're serious about buying something, accept the mint tea which is offered, and enjoy the stories you will be told. This could take some time.


2. Don't begin the bargaining process unless you are serious about buying the item.


3. Appear hesitant – if you show you're in love with something, you lose your bargaining power.


4. When it comes to price, the general rule of thumb is to offer one third to a half of what the seller originally quotes and go from there. Be prepared for the laughter which will accompany the first price you offer.


5. Stick to your guns. Really good bargainers will be prepared to walk away from any purchase – but you have to be serious about this. If the salesman wants to sell it to you, he'll come and find you, even if you're half way acroos the souk. 


6. If you really can't or don't want to pay the price offered, decline politely and walk away. You may be followed, but you may not.


7. Remember that what you're haggling over may be just a few pounds, and you may just prefer to avoid the hassle and pay the price asked.


8. If you want to buy art and craft items, don't tell your taxi driver. Chances are he (invariably a he) will take you to a location where he gets a hefty kickback for having dropped you there – and your final price will be inflated as a result.


9. There is no such thing as the right price. If you're happy with your purchase, then you've paid the right price.


10. Never feel bad about paying too little for something. The salesman would not have sold it if he wasn't making a profit.


Find out more about Morocco 


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