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HERO Souks

The Fine Art of Haggling (or, How to Shop Like a Local in Morocco)

Headshot Jason Suchite
by Jason Suchite

November 21, 2023

3 minute read

In the bustling souks of Morocco, specifically in Marrakesh’s famous square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, you’ll find that merchants welcome and even expect a little game of price haggling! For some, this may be an uncomfortable tradition to take part in, but I can assure you it’s customary for merchants and buyers to go back and forth on price negotiations. And once a price is agreed upon and the transaction made, there are smiles all around. Here are a few tips:

Do Some Research

If you’ve never been to a souk or a Moroccan market, a simple Google search will help prepare you on what things you can expect to find.

Make A List

The souks of Marrakesh can be pretty overwhelming. There are endless items for purchase – from leather goods and metal goods to ceramics and carpets. Keep a mental list of some of the things you want to purchase and an idea of how much you’re willing to spend.

 

 

 

 

 

Ask Your Guide

If you visit Morocco with a tour guide, use them to your advantage. Your guide will often accompany you through the souks and even help you bargain. They have a better idea of what the markups are and what tourists should really be paying.

Commit and Have a Great Time

Once you’ve eyed that piece of art or handmade metal lantern, the haggling begins. The merchant will typically name a price that may seem high at first. However, a general rule of thumb is that you should offer 10-30% of what the initial asking price is. This might seem like a shockingly low counteroffer, but you’ll notice your merchant’s counter-counteroffer isn’t far from his starting point. Keep the haggling rolling (paired with a good sense of humor) and you’re bound to walk away with some amazing finds at very reasonable prices… and even a new friend!

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

If you think you’re not getting anywhere and you’ve maxed out your haggle, simply walk away and don’t look back. Merchants typically don’t want to lose a sale, so if they see you lose interest and move to another stall nearby, they might just budge and give you the item that you want at the price that you want.

Haggling at the souks can be a little intimidating at first, but you can do it!

 

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