In America, we are use to big box stores, shrink wrapped food and fixed prices but suddenly you get off the plane in Morocco and the rules have changed.
Everything even things that are in shops – well except the corner hanut, Marjane and Metro Mart can be bargained on – wait – even there Moroccans will attempt to bargain.
Well there is a catch .. the three different ways money is referred to – Dirhams, Riyals and Franks.
Mostly prices are in Dirhams or Riyals.. and the easiest is Dirhams no conversion neccessary. Riyals require you to divide by 20 and you get the price in dirhams.
Example – 100 Riyals / 20 = 5 Dirhams
I would go into Franks but its pretty rare for someone to quote you a price in Franks – at least in my experiance.
On the upside – if you say “buh dirham ahfak” – meaning – In Dirhams please – they will usually do the mental math for you and tell you the price in Dirhams.
So how do you get a good deal?
Know what the item should cost in the first place! So I ask my host family or a Moroccan friend what the item should cost before I go to purchase an item by myself
Don’t be afraid to ask for someone to help or even better I will ask them and I have – to bargain for me.
Talk down the item you want to purchase – its made in China – Its not a great brand – etc.. trust me its not shameful to do so – being able to get a good price is a matter of pride for Moroccans.
Play the I am a poor volunteer card – well if your a tourist.. good luck with that one but hey as a PCV – you can be like I am SO muskeen (poor) because – you usually are 🙂
Don’t be afraid to walk away if the price doesn’t lower.
Finally – yes there can be times you don’t care to bargain – thats cool but also know – its a cultural tradition – eventually who knows you might get the “Moroccan” price on an item.
2 thoughts on “Moroccan Lifeskill #2 – Bargaining”
So much my experience in Afghanistan 40 years ago. I finally realized that to bargain was to gain respect, and I overcame my shyness about bargaining in order to gain their smiles and respect. I wound up with a lot of oddities in my trunk I sent home at the end, but each was a chance to bargain with some shopkeeper in a different bazaar during the time there.
we use franks in Oujda and the east of Morocco. Central morocco they use riyals. I am not familiar with riyals and never have a clue whats going on. I love using Dirhems as i easily convert in pounds.