This article is all that stands between you and being ripped off on the streets of China.
Street vendors obviously want to protect their interests and make the most profits, which is why the prices are sometimes ridiculous. However, this also means you have an opportunity to bargain and drive the price down.
Let’s set the record straight– bargaining is common practice. It’s a part of the culture in Chinese or Taiwanese night markets and small shops, so what should you know before going to the shops? Here are 3 easy words you should know: price 价钱 (Jiàqián), discount 打折 (Dǎzhé) and cheap 便宜 (Piányí). These 3 are the single most common terms that any tourist should know- just say them and people know what you mean (and perhaps chuckle at your efforts to communicate).
Now, let’s piece these into sentences for grumpier vendors. “Could you offer me any discount” in Chinese is 可以打个折吗? (Kěyǐ dǎ gè zhé ma). You could also try 如果我买多一些你会打个折吗？（Rúguǒ wǒ mǎi duō yīxiē nǐ huì dǎ gè zhé ma). This essentially means, “If I buy more, will you offer me a discount?” However, be careful not to overspend in one shop just to get a “better” deal!
A more unconventional way would be to say 我在另外一家店看过相同的东西但是较便宜。你可以卖便宜点吗? (Wǒ zài lìngwài yījiā diàn kànguò xiāngtóng de dōngxī dànshì jiào piányí. Nǐ kěyǐ mài piányí diǎn ma?). This essentially means that “I’ve seen the same product for cheaper elsewhere. Can you match their price?”
Don’t forget to always call your vendors beautiful girl 美女 (Měinǚ) or handsome guy 帅哥 (Shuàigē). It may not always be true, but it always works in your favour to butter your vendor up
Now that you know these phrases and tips, go after that cheaper deal and buy more things with your money!
Start speaking Chinese after 6 hours of lessons! Sign up for a free trial live online 1-on-1 lesson today here!