I don’t normally think about shopping when I travel, but haggling in the souks is a part of everyone’s time in Marrakech.
There is so much amazing local handicraft on offer (and at great prices), that somehow everyone ends up buying a few (or lots of) things to bring back home.
Getting lost in the souks is part of the fun, and you can easily spend hours trying to find your way around amid all the tapestry, silverware, ceramics and stalls selling all sorts of products.
Not everyone likes haggling, but that’s not really optional in the souks. I actually quite enjoy the process! So here are my tips on how to survive the souks:
- Start by doing some window-shopping at a fixed-price shop. L’Emsemble Artisanal is a good place to visit before hitting the souks. There you can check what is on offer and see how much everything costs. Prices are higher than in the souks, but money goes straight to the producers.
- Decide how much you want to pay for things. In the souks everything is worth what the parties agree, so decide on a price and start with an offer somewhat lower than that.
- Don’t be afraid to start low. Sometimes you end up buying an item for a third of the price originally suggested by the seller, so don’t be afraid to start low. On the other hand, if the asking price is not much higher than what you want to pay, there’s no need to ask for an even lower price.
- Speak French. This may not be possible for everyone, but speaking French makes a MASSIVE difference.
- Tell stories. Stall-holders in the souks will always tell you stories: ‘you’re the first client of the day’, ‘you’re the last client of the day’, ‘I have a cousin/brother/friend who lives in England’. Make sure you have your own repertoire: ‘this is my last day here’, ‘it doesn’t fit in the suitcase’, etc.
- Be happy with what you got. You may not always get what you want because sometimes you may not agree on a price with the seller. That is fine – what you do get, normally comes with a good story alongside it!