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Bargaining in the Moroccan souks takes skill.
Once you know the secrets it will be fun to practice them with the local
shopkeepers. The language will not be a barrier to bargaining since Moroccan
merchants can converse in four languages or more.
The Moroccan souks are a shopper's paradise to bargain for artisanal goods. Each city in Morocco has its own souk with unique crafts sold that are indigenous to the region. Souks are typically found within the walls of Morocco’s historic medina with some in the new sprawling cities. In Moroccan Souks, you will find sellers along the main streets and in hidden alleyways. Hiring a tour guide to lead you through the souks is helpful if you are looking for particular hand-crafted items.
The souks offer an overwhelming selection of colorful traditional goods ranging from hand-woven or embroidered fabric to silver jewelry, spices and herbs, pottery, brass, and traditional Moroccan clothing.
When strolling through the Souks of Morocco if an item attracts your attention make a point of interacting with the shop owners. Ask the price and be prepared to negotiate. The salesmen will maintain his figure claiming that" this is the best price offered". Haggling to offer 60% or more of the offering price is a good idea. Most important is that you like the item you plan to purchase and understand what the value is for you. Before shopping it’s also a good idea to shop around to better understand the price differences of the items you like.
A Golden Tip for Bargaining in the Moroccan Souks
To get the best deals, consider heading to the Souk early in the morning when the shops are first opening before the streets are bustling with people. The shop owners don’t want to miss out on the first sales of the day as they consider those as “baraka, “ good luck.
It’s important not to take bargaining seriously and make it fun by communicating with the locals. Bargaining is part of Moroccan culture and it’s not discriminatory towards tourists. Even Moroccans anticipate bargaining when they are in the souks.
Everything in Morocco is Negotiable Unless a Fixed Price is Provided
It’s important to visit Morocco in mind that everything is negotiable. This includes taking a taxi, purchasing rugs and other artisanal goods. Anything without a fixed price listed on it is negotiable.
Demonstrate that You are Familiar with the Moroccan Souks
Part of the bargaining technique is to show that you are familiar with the Moroccan souks. Let the salesmen know that you have visited many places and that other shopkeepers have offered lower prices. Even if the salesmen pretend to be surprised, don’t be intimidated. The salesmen cannot admit that they know lower prices exist. Bargaining is their principal skill and you don’t need to be concerned about hurting their feelings.
Bargain as an Expert
Bargain smoothly as an expert. You don’t need to shout to get the best deal. Bargaining only requires a simple discussion of going back and forth yet requires patience. If it is not working, you can leave the conversation, and start to walk away. Most of the time when you walk away, the salesman will lower the price to have the sale. If bargaining is still not working, say "thank you" or "chokran" in Moroccan Arabic and leave. saying "chokran" will earn you respect.
Offer Half Price
When you are with a salesman and you really like an item, be prepared to bargain. If the first offered price is 1,500 MAD, you need to decide how much you are willing to pay. We recommend starting low. In this case, you can initially offer 750 MAD, which is half price. The salesman will offer less and you can offer slightly more until you get to the price that you are willing to pay for the item.
Select More Than Two Items for the Best Price
Salesmen are smart people who are willing to do whatever it takes to make a sale. If you find an item that you really like, it is important to temper your interest in front of the salesman. Ask for the cost of other items in addition to the one until you find the item that interests you. The salesman will study your face therefore make best efforts not to appear attached to any of the items you ask about. Request pricing in a relaxed manner. If you find more than one item you want to purchase these will enable you to negotiate a better price.
Do not Rush
Shopping in the Moroccan souks requires time as given there is a lot to look at and also a lot of competition. Take your time haggling in the souks and selecting the places where you want to shop. Don’t feel that you must buy even if you start bargaining and don’t like the price. You can simply leave if you do not reach an agreement.
Walk Away Then come back Later
One of the tactics that locals use is pretending that they are walking away and then waiting for the salesmen to lower their prices. If that does not work, we recommend returning to the shop later. The salesman will know that you are serious about the item, yet you will need to stick to your price to ensure the best deal.
Using Moroccan Darija to Entice Salesman
Learning a few words of Moroccan Darija will delight and amuse the locals along with the salesman in the souks. Here is a short guide on some useful words for shopping:
Hello (Peace be upon you) Salaam Alaykum (Wa Alaykum salaam as a response)
How much? (in reference to price) Bshehal?
Expensive: Ghali Bzaaaf
Go down: Neqas Chweya
Yes: Ayeh or Oui
Thank you: Chokran
No problem: Mashi moushkil
We hope that you will find these guidelines useful and that you will enjoy haggling in the souks with ease. If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to Get in Touch. Our experts are here to assist you!