Shopping in Morocco
If you ever get the opportunity to visit magical Morocco, the chances are you will be wanting to do a spot of shopping. It's shoppers paradise for beautiful handcrafted items which are still being made the way they have for hundreds of years.
A shop owner and his wares.
Hand loomed fabrics, hand knotted carpets, intricate lanterns, beautifully painted ceramics, berber jewellery, silver teapots & tea trays, spices galore, leatherwares and the list goes on and on.....
Hand loomed cactus silk fabric.
Morocco is a country where bargaining is expected, so put on your sense of humour some casual clothes and go have some fun. It's pretty hard to give a rule of thumb as to where to start your bargaining, as some shop owners shoot for the stars with their opening price, and others will give you a price that is less than you expected to pay in the first place. I would suggest that you get a bit of a "feel" for prices before you start your shopping by asking prices in a variety of different stores. Have a close look at the quality of each item, as this will obviously be reflected in different prices as well. I would suggest that don't be scared to offer 1/3 to 1/2 of the opening price. You will get better as the day goes on.
Whatever you do, NEVER mention a price if you are not prepared to shell out the cash. This will result in you probably being cussed at, and general bad feelings. Shop keepers like to know that when you say your price, you are going to honour your word.
The easiest way to find out the best price, is to be prepared to walk away. The sales man will either shout a better price out to you as you stroll down the street, agree to your price, or let you walk away.
Outside the lair of a carpet dealer.
For a real sales experience, go to a carpet shop. These guys have got to be the wiliest sales men in the world!! If your not really after a carpet, I would suggest not to visit one, as these guys are good!! Really good. My husband has banned me from ever going to view carpets again. I'm not sure what it is they put in that mint tea, but it makes me blow the budget every time without fail.
Brass lanterns galore.
Do not expect to be able to pay by credit card or EFTPOS!!! Cash is king in this part of the world, and very few places have the facilities to process plastic payment. Be warned that this also includes many riads and guest houses. Make sure you have cash on hand!
Tribal Berber jewellery.
Make sure you take plenty of breaks. That little glass of mint tea which is so sweet it makes your teeth shiver, is actually remarkably good at reviving you for the next round of shopping.
If you go shopping with a guide or a tout, please remember that his commission is going to be included in the price. Politely tell unwanted touts that you are quite happy to shop on your own which probably won't work as they really want the commission. You may find that you need to tell them in an unpolite way to please go find some other unsuspecting tourist. Some of these touts don't take no for an answer easily!!
Dozens of different styles of lanterns in Marrakech.
Only agree on a price when you are happy with the outcome. You will probably find it cheaper in the next shop LOL. If you don't want this to happen, don't ask the price in the next shop! Be happy with your newly purchased treasure. Remember this is a third world country, so it's not all about screwing the store owner down to the very last penny. A couple of extra dollars here and there is going to make far more difference to the store owner and his family than to you. Be fair and reasonable. While I'm on this subject, the same goes for taxi drivers. I see some travellers getting all worked up over paying an extra 50 cents or $1. It seriously isn't worth it. Don't expect to pay locals rates.
Go shopping for Saharan camel safari outfit.
Babooch slippers in all sorts of colours & styles.
Number one importance in shopping in Morocco(especially Marrakech & Fes, where you get quite hassled) is to maintain your sense of humour. If you find your ability to laugh at yourself and your situation is slipping away, it might pay to call it a day on the shopping. Go have a freshly squeezed orange juice, or something a little stiffer! Relax in a riad, take a walk, take some photos, sit in a cafe and watch the world go by, and be happy to be in fantastic Morocco.
If things don't go as planned you can always come and do your fixed price shopping with us here at Exotic Imports when you get home. :-) Have fun.
|| Happy shopping!!