Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise and there’s no wonder why: no sales taxes, magnificent shopping malls, and street markets open until midnight can make for days of inexhaustible shopping. Everything from cheap knock-offs to luxury brands can be found here for prices lower than holiday sales. Every day. thousands of tourists come here solely to shop their hearts out and it has made for a market that is aimed at selling goods in mass quantities and shopkeeping who are doing their best to rip people off, knowing they will leave Hong Kong in a few days anyway.
To make sure your shopping experience remains a paradise and you get the most value for your money and the products you want, follow these few rules and learn how to shop like the locals do:
1. Always Bargain
Bargaining is a inherent part of shopping in the Hong Kong street markets. From Temple Street to the Ladies’ Market, being able to haggle for a good price is a good way to ensure you are getting a good price, and expected from the sellers. Simply ask for a discount or ask if they will throw something in as a bonus if they remain firm on the price. If they still won’t budge on the price, telling them you will go look around and maybe come back sometimes prompts them to drop the price.
2. Product in your hand before cash on the table
Many shops cater to the fact that tourists do not know what they are doing. When you are purchasing a product, make sure you ask to it, the box, and check the box to make sure the product you are buying is indeed the same thing. Always ask if the instructions and warranty are in English–many times you will be sold a camera or computer only to find out everything is in Chinese. Never put down a deposit–if they have the product in stock, they will gladly show you before asking for any money.
3. Shop Around
Don’t purchase something at the first place you find it, no matter how good the deal sounds. Go to all the stores and ask for their price on the same product. If you tell them you found the product for a better price at another store, they are usually willing to negotiate the price with you. After looking at the same product at different shops, you will have a better idea of what is available and the right price for the product. This will allow you to bargain better and get the best value for your money.
4. Know what you are buying
Don’t be afraid to ask all your questions and to ask for someone who speaks English if you don’t think they can understand. Sometimes it helps to bring a printout of the product you are looking for or a catalog. If they won’t let you try on the clothes, ask what their return policy is or if there is one. If you are buying a knock-off, make sure you are aware of that and if you are purchasing electronics, know what you are buying. As with many things is life, knowing is half the battle.