Here is something about you might not want to hear if you’ve been paying full prices for things you bought in China: you’ve been ripped off!
In China, paying full price is almost unheard of. Goods that have no price tags bear an invisible invitation to haggle. And haggling is a habit, a custom, and it is certainly expected. Sellers always mark up their prices, of course, to make profits. But often this mark-up could be even five-fold or more, especially if you have a non-Chinese face. They expect you to NOT know the original cost of the goods you’re about to purchase. So this is where you need to show your bargaining skills and get yourself a good deal.
Scenario 1: You would like to ask how much is something:
How much is this white/black/red/blue/yellow/green/grey shirt?
zhè jiàn bái sè/hēi sè/hóng sè/lán se/huáng sè/lǜ sè/huī sè de chèn shān duō shǎo qián ?
Scenario 2: You are happy with the price the shop keeper’s offered:
Alright. I’d like to take this dress. Do you have size L/size M/Size S?
hǎo de . wǒ yào mǎi zhè tiáo qún zi . yǒu dà hào / zhōng hào / xiǎo hào ma ?
Scenario 3: You are not happy with the price, and you would like to bargain with the shop keeper:
500 yuan? That’s too expensive.
500 kuài ? tài guì le.
Can it be a bit cheaper?
kě yǐ pián yì yì diǎn ma?
A: Is this pair of shoes on sale?
B: Yes, 20% off.
A: zhè shuāng xié zi dǎ zhé ma ?
B: duì , dǎ 8 zhé.
(Please be aware that “打 8 折 dǎ 8 zhé” means 20% off. Literally it means you only need to pay 80% of the original price.)
A: 700 yuan for this suit.
B: That’s a bit expensive. Can you make it 600 yuan? I’ll come back to buy more things in the future.
A: zhè jiàn xī zhuāng 700 kuìi.
B: yǒu diǎn guì . 600 kuài kě yǐ ma ? wǒ yǐ hòu hái huì lái de.
A: 350 yuan for this pair of pants.
B: I’m an old customer of yours, can you give me a better price?
A: zhè tiáo kù zi 350 kuài.
B: wǒ shì nǐ de lǎo gù kè le , kě yǐ pián yì yì diǎn ma?
If I buy two T-shirts, can you offer me a better price?
rú guǒ wǒ mǎi liǎng jiàn T xù , kě yǐ pián yì yì diǎn ma?
How about 150 yuan? If not, I’m leaving.
150 kuài xíng ma? Bù xíng wǒ zǒu le.