Grand Bazaar Shopping Advices
The Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest and oldest marketplace in the world accommodating more than 3000 shops, is more than just a sightseeing place. Ever since the Istanbul became Ottoman Capital, it has been bustling with activity. The Ottoman Ruler Fatih Sultan Mehmed constructed the first building in the Bazaar which is known as Cevahir Bedesteni (Old Bazaar) Then afterwards it expanded to every possible direction, until it gets stuck to its final size of today.
Every day local sellers and tourists are haggling to get the best deal for their buck. Here are some useful bargaining tips for the Covered Bazaar and other shops around Istanbul City.
Shops Of Grand Bazaar Look Similar To Each Other
After you spent a few hours walking up and down in Istanbul, you will notice streets where all shops seem to sell same type of items. At Taksim Square you find a a lot of Kebap shops next to each other, in Galata Tower Area a street full of music instrument shops, in Karaköy District. The Grand Bazaar naturally follows the same logic, but of course much larger scale. As we will see later on, this gives you as a potential purchaser a good advantage.
The Seller Has The Advantage At First
Shops in the Grand Bazaar offer both good quality products and, junk items. The shop keepers definitely knows the quality of their own mechandise, the cost to have it made, and how much profit he can put in his wallet. At best you know a few tricks to check whether it’s real leather, a genuine hand-woven carpet, or an authentic jewellery. You need to be very careful about it though! You would not want to be given a cheap chinese knock-off, do you?
Look For The Right Time
It’s not possible that you can deal with the shop owner in the Grand Covered Bazaar. The person attending you is most likely a shop attendant working for him. This means that he has to sell a certain amount of merchandise to reach his daily quota. While reaching his quota is a must, he also receives a fare amount of commission on what he sells.
Therefore, at the beginning of the day he will be very eager to sell. Even at a lower price, earning small or no commission, just to make sure he gets his daily quota. After a few hours, he may have reached his quota. At this point, the focus will change from just selling to please his shop-owner, to selling to make a very good commission.
This does not mean you gotta wait in front of the shop for the gate to be opened. Besides looking too eager, you will not strike a good bargain until the salesman has finished a few glasses of Turkish tea to get the day going. In my own experience, between 11:00 and 13:00 is a best time to strike the best deal.
Never Seem Very Interested
“Welcome my friend. How are you?”, is a line you will hear a multiple times while browsing the streets of Grand Bazaar. In nearly every language on the earth. It’s their way of touching base and get you to have a curious look around their window.
If you are looking for an mechandise they have enter the shop and take a good look around. Once you see mechandise you want, do not let them understand it! Just check out some other pieces and make your mind up of what the shop gotta offer. At the same time, refrain from showing you are eager to purchase a certain item. Only then you are ready to start bargaining, you take the item you like and casually ask about its price.
Do Not Ever Tell Your Best Price
At this moment, he will have you value the product by asking what would be your best price. Never fall for this dirty trick. Once name your price on it, that is it: you can never ever to go under it.
Instead of that, make him take the first step, put the starting bid of the bargaining process. Of course, you should look confused and find the cost outrageous. Put down the merchandise, do not check at any other product slowly start walking against the door while looking at the items of the shop across, he will probably shout after you “Ok, come I make a discount” or if he already made a discount, he would say “Ok, I will make more discount” it will goes on and on. Until you both get exhausted.
Slow and steady finish the game first. Never rush for the bargaining process. It is important to keep on sending positive signals that you are not sure you really need to buy the merhandise, let alone at the price he is offering it for. His urge to sell should always be higher than yours to purchase.
It is not uncommon that they will offer you a glass of tea. The reason for this he want to build good relationships with you and having you owe something to him. Kind of social pressure. But do not take me wrong it is also sign of humour of course.
Do not buy a word from this. His child will still be able to go to school if he drops the cost a bit more. At the end of that day, he isn’t obliged to sell.
So, keep on playing the game, until you strike the right bargain for both parties.
What Kind of Discount Should You Aim For?
Well, there is no golden key. In most cases they make %20 discount and it’s still possible to push it for more. If you are buying an expensive product you might purchase it with %50 percent discount. The problem is you never know what’s the real bottom price, you have to deep as much as you can. Practice makes it better and better I guess. You will be more experienced oriental shopper at the end.
Istanbul Private Shopping Tours
You better have a tour guide in istanbul with you to experience the shopping on the safe side. When you have your guide with you, the badge that guide carries, scare the annoying people away. You will never get disturbed by unnecessary shop-keepers for sure and you will have somebody who can have the best price for you.
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Happy shopping and good luck to you.
By Serhat Engul
Private Tour Guide In Istanbul