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Jbr (just back report)

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Jbr (just back report)

Hi, I have just returned from a 4 day trip and noted some differences since I was here 5 years ago.

The shopkeepers are way less pushy ( maybe as it was Ramadan and they didn't have as much energy) they seemed happy just to let us walk by, even stop to browse, without pestering too much.

The bad thing is that they seemed to have clicked on to the fact that as tourists we have been advised to bartar and expect to pay half of their first price and the first price seems to be now much higher. eg I wanted to buy a little plate ( worth around £2-£3) his first price was 150 dhs £12.50 knowing that my top price was 30 dhs I didn't even get into the bargaining process, I just waved the 30 dhs at him, told him I'd bought 1 the previous day down the road, and to take it or leave it? ( after 5 mins arguing he decided to take it). Another time there was a lovely little leather bag which at 120 dhs would have been a bargain. When his 1st price was 100 I got quite excited and started looking at it in red too😊 As I reached for my purse he informed me that the price was 100 Euros. I wasn't even going to insult him by starting the bargaining process so we both lost out. The problem for me is the tourists are a bit scared to bargain and shopkeepers are taking advantage of this and increasing the prices ( can't blame them really) Same with taxi fares, a lady in our hotel was telling me it only costs 100 dhm's taxi to town.I told her no it actually costs 50dhm's you need to barter.

In short what I'm trying to say is that in the last 5 years Marrakech has become more popular with tourists, happy to pay inflated prices, and spoilt it a bit for the people who do know how to barter well and love a good bargain.

I still love wandering through the souks though, and will be back.

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Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region, Morocco
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Castril De La Pena...
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1. Re: Jbr (just back report)

So you can imagine how I feel when I compare Marrakech now with what it was like when I first visited in 1972!

In those days all visitors were what I would call travellers/hippies rather than tourists and real bargains were to be had. On the other hand the touts and false guides were uncontrollable—fortunately the creation of the Brigade Touristique (tourist police) in the 1980s moderated that.

I'm perfectly fine with haggling technique but can't really be bothered unless it's something really special, so it was an eye opener to see many of the shops in Essaouira with posted (and reasonable) prices.

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Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region, Morocco
Essaouira
Essaouira
Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region, Morocco
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2. Re: Jbr (just back report)

Our riad staff told us never pay more than 50DH to town in a taxi.

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3. Re: Jbr (just back report)

I love your negotiating skills, and would advise people to forget about paying 50% of the first price the shopkeepers ask for.

Just offer what you seem is a decent price and what you would be happy to pay, I always start way too low, then go up a little bit at a time, until I am happy to pay the price I originally had in mind, some shopkeepers do not like this and some even get offended, but it is the way I like to negotiate (always with a smile on my face). The shopkeepers seem to think it is fair for them to ask for a ridiculous price, but when the tables are turned and they are given a low offer, they do not see the funny side.

A lot of the stalls sell the same items, so if you cannot get the price you are happy with, then leave and go to the next shop. The only thing to be careful with, is that when you are deep inside the Medina, if you find a shop selling unique items, if you leave the shop without buying the item you want, then you may never find that shop again (speaking from personal experience) as the Medina is a maze. If you find something you really like and cannot buy it straight away, then make sure you get a card with the shops name and address, so you will at least have some possibility of finding it again (only applies to shops in the middle of the Medina which are hard to find).

Most of all keep smiling and don't take anything personally, after all everyone is just trying to make a living.

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4. Re: Jbr (just back report)

We had mixed experiences in the Medina this time (our third year visiting Marrakech.)

My younger Son lives in football kits and tracksuits and the replicas they sell in the Medina are great quality. The first souk we approached wanted 700 Dirhams for a kids Argentina kit. My Son was wearing a PSG kit we'd bought in Marrakech last year for 150 Dirhams so we knew this was a ridiculously high price he was asking but we were told the PSG kit was the third standard quality of replica kits on sale and that the one we wanted was 'genuine fake.' Given that last years kit was still as good as new having been worn and washed as often as once a week we said we'd take the lower quality one again and thanked him for his time. He got very irate and with some other people blocked our path from leaving his souk. This isn't a problem for us at all, we're happy to wait for them to finish sulking. When they did make way for us to leave we were given a price of 200 Dirhams but he'd behaved so petulantly that we left the stall. We did end up buying it for 200 Dirhams from a younger family member who was returning it to the stall he'd fetched it from so obviously that was a price they could profit at. Anyhow, it was nearly dusk during Ramadan so we cut them a bit of slack with their behaviour.

Designer style handbags were our next stop. My partner had an upper price limit of 300 Dirhams per bag in mind so we sought out a souk we'd been to last year. The stallholders opening offer was 320 so I made a token effort at bartering and we paid 600 for two bags. Happy to have been offered a fair price and to avoid the need to barter too much.

Next visit to the Medina we were buying more football kits and tracksuits. We bypassed the angry souk and found another. A tracksuit and a kit was offered for 600 Dirhams. Our price in mind was maximum 250 for a kit and 350 for a tracksuit, so that was agreeable. We returned to the same souk and in total bought 2 kits and 3 tracksuits from him. We could probably have found cheaper but we liked knowing the price in advance and felt that they valued our custom. We also bought a designer polo shirt for our older Son for 200 Dirham, which was within our budget.

Leaving the Medina my partner spotted a purse matching the handbag we'd bought at a different souk. The handbag cost 300. The opening price for the purse was 400. We walked away and were pursued by the over zealous stallholder and settled on a price of 150. He then chased me down the street asking for more for giving me a good price - I gave him 10 Drihams to get rid of him.

A soft toy was massively overpriced at 400 Dirham - especially given that it would be a gift for our dog on our return. When pushed, I suggested 30-50 Dirham at the most and the stallholder thanked me for my offer but declined it, and put the toy back on the shelf and let me leave with just the fridge magnet I'd bought which was a refreshing outcome.

We bought a candle holder from a family near the horses. To anyone else the candle holder will look like cheap tat but to us it's a souvenier of a chat with a lovely Father and Son who were doing their best to make a living and also making the exit from the square very pretty at night. We paid 50 Dirhams for a larger sized one, without bartering.

Overall our thoughts on the Medina, having visited three consecutive years, are that it would suit us better if the sellers could be a bit less 'full on' and let us browse without the pressure. Also set a reasonable price and remove the need for bartering. But we're just four people and the way they do things obviously works for them.

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Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region, Morocco
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5. Re: Jbr (just back report)

Tim's point about Essourira echo my thoughts too. On each trip this year, I've noticed more places in Marrakech following suit with reasonable fixed prices.

Btw, your taxi negotiations could probably be better unless you are quite far out of town. It's taken me a lot of frustrations and overpayments to get where I am now with taxis, i.e. our place is just beyond the city limits and I never pay more than 50dh into town. In fact, with a bit of effort I can get all the way to the airport for that price. Only if I'm alone though.

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Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region, Morocco
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6. Re: Jbr (just back report)

Edit

Edited: 18 June 2018, 23:06
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7. Re: Jbr (just back report)

Excellent post SiBo0

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