Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Haggling in Korea

Haggling is a big part of shopping in Korea. Its become a big part of my life as well since I am a foreigner and they'd try their best to rip us off.

Haggling takes place in many street markets, or the big clothing markets. If it's a department store, then no haggling.

I've become quite good at haggling I think. The trick is to know the shopkeeper.  The best ones to haggle with are old ladies. You can really butter them up.  Also, knowing enough Korean is a must as well. You can try to haggle without knowing korean, its possible, but they will still try to rip you off. 

If the shopkeeper ignores you, then just walk on. Chances are they will charge you a lot. If they come at you, then you know you can do some real bargaining. You can haggle the best with the most outgoing ones, and usually the older they are.

Some great phrases to use:

Oppa- "older brother/older boy" Korean men melt when you call them this. This works really great for shopping the older they are because the term is used usually for young men. Be careful though, only use this shopping! Otherwise they might think you want something else...  (only women use this word!)

Unni- "Older sister/older girl" This is the same as above, but for women. If you call an old lady this she will laugh and say shes too old to be called this. It works really well haha, it's like calling her "miss". (also only women use this word)

kkaka chuseyo- "Please give me a discount", the basics. Always ask for a discount.

dun oppseyo- "I don't have any money" say this in a teasing way

Chonun haksaeng e-aeyo- "I'm a student" i say this even if i'm not, it implies I'm poor haha

Of course good old flattery works wonders, and always take time to think about it. Even if you think you've dropped the price well, still rub your chin and think about it for a while. Sometimes they panic and drop it more.

Ask lots of questions. You don't have to be fluent to ask either. Use hand motions. I usually ask if the clothing wrinkles, or if i need an iron, if i can wash it, etc.


Anonymous said...

I feel guilty whilst haggling, it feels like I'm being cheap to those poor ahjummas :/

Teresa He said...

Thank you for this! My family is going to Korea end of this year and no one knows Korean! Oh dear...

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