Friday, January 13, 2012

Mong Kok : Haggling the Chinese Way

                   The last stop in our Hong Kong trip was Mong kok. After enjoying the view of the Hong Kong skyscapers from the Peak we rushed to the famous shopping area via the MTR. We alloted enough time for shopping for souvenirs and "pasalubongs"(gifts) for friends and families . Mong kok  resembles Greenhills in Manila and maybe most markets in Asia ,but still with a twist. For me ,one of the distinctive aspects of the place was the haggling part. The vendors were more aggresive and the whole procedure of haggling was hilarious. Anna wanted to buy keychains for "pasalubong" so we checked out one of the stalls. Anna asked for the price and the asking price was HK$120, Overpricing ! She checked other items instead (feigning disinterest in the first one). At this point the haggling officially began. The moment Anna picked up another item the price of the key chain began dropping, “100″, offered the vendor. Anna ignored her and looked away . “Okay….okay…Filipina you want cheaper?” (by the way they addressed both Anna and I Filipina). “Ninety”, the price dropped again , still we started walking away. One step you make is equivalent to HK$20-decrease in price, “70 !”, the vendor shouted as she was chasing us and was trying to grasp Anna’s hand. “Okay…okay…how much you wanna pay? Tell me !..tell me !”. Anna was only paying HK$35. “Forty”, the vendor almost begged. In the end Anna got two sets of keychains for HK$35 each. On to the next stall. This time around Anna’s haggling talent already had a track record. Since we were in a rush as it was already noontime we decided to cut to the chase. We approached vendor number 2. “How much?”, while pointing to the item. One of the things I’ve learned from this trip to a non-English speaking country is to communicate with the locals using phrases or words only, with the help of course of sign language. Speaking in straight English will just confuse them, what is important is they hear the key words or phrases. “One hundred !”, the vendor answered. “Thirty !” we said. “Get Out!”, the vendor screamed. We were stunned. Though embarrassed , we dashed away laughing at ourselves and at the experience. We pondered afterwards that maybe she was gonna sell the items at the price we’re willing to pay  had we followed the procedure.


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