Friday, January 09, 2009

How to Barter in Egypt

Many dancers at some point decide to make a trip to the mecca of bellydance - Egypt. One of the main reasons for going, aside from classes with Egyptian teachers, is shopping direct from the source. I found this article on about how to barter in Egypt.

I for one, would probably suck at this considering I don't like to talk to strangers, (especially on the phone), but seeing as how I don't have plans to go to Egypt any time soon I should be able to keep my money in my pockets.

How to Barter in Egypt
Shopping in Egypt can be a culturally gratifying experience and a lot of fun. Expect to barter on goods and prices at the markets or khans catering to Egypt's tourists. This is an excellent opportunity to chat with the locals, enjoy a good cup of tea, and grab a great bargain. Below are the basic steps to the bartering system in Egypt.

Greet the shopkeeper or store assistant in a friendly manner and immediately begin browsing. A look of slight disinterest should give you the breathing space to browse before the assistant begins to inquire after your needs.

Find an item that you like and consider what would be a fair price for its purchase. Whether you manage to get a 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent discount, remember, you are still getting a bargain after considering the exchange rate. Ensure your price bid will be fair and not insulting.

Converse with the assistant, throwing in a few flattering remarks about the establishment before inquiring as to the price of the item. Reject the price with a polite laugh and move on to another item.

Reply absentmindedly to the assistant's inquiry as to how much you would be willing to pay for the item under discussion. Choose a price lower than your fair price and offer it in an inquiring, almost apologetic tone to the assistant.

Ask the assistant what would be a fair price after he/she has dramatically claimed the original offer was impossibly low. Whatever the offer, respond with your fair price. More back and forth, along with a cup of tea and a chat may be required for larger items of buying in bulk; over bartering for cheaper items is impolite.

Agree on the price with a firm handshake, nod and smile. This is another opportunity for flattery, usually ending with a return invite to the store, introductions and more tea, all of which indicate a successful exchange.

Close the deal by exchanging item for money, saying thank you several times and leaving the shop. Lingering will result in more tea and more bargaining. Return visits usually result in further discounts and further socializing which can only enrich your Egyptian experience.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't rush through your transaction, take your time and adopt a very polite yet conversational tone. Egyptians do not like to rush through anything and have a great respect for the process.
  • When vendors suggest outrageously high prices, practicing the Egyptian method of dramatic disgust is often very helpful.
  • Bartering should be kept to markets and street vendors. Attempts to barter in local shops or large stores is considered extremely presumptuous and impolite.
  • Make friends with some locals to help steer you towards fair trading prices.


Now playing: Dead Like Me season 1
mood: chicken and broccoli


The Pale Lady said...

Wow, I must be so lame. I just want to go to San Francisco to study. LOL
I do know a dancer going to Egypt to study, she'll think I'm silly. But I'm going to show her this.

Naima said...

I'm lazy and wait for the Egyptian's to come to the USA, HAHA.
As for the bartering, yeah, I don't like talking to strangers. I would so fail.

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