I love picking up unique things like jewelry, shoes or clothing that are locally made when we travel. Since I knew I was going to be decorating my new apartment in France soon, I wanted some Berber rugs when we visited Morocco. Luckily, I was traveling with my friend Amanda who lives in Morocco. It took walking away for the rug shop owner to come running after us as we were about to pull away to get what Amanda and her husband, Youssef, thought was a fair price. Amanda is such a pro that I asked her to put together her tips for how to haggle in Morocco.
How to Haggle in Morocco
The first rule of shopping in Morocco is haggle, haggle, haggle. If you plan to shop in Morocco you NEED to haggle or bargain. Today, there are more and more fixed price shops but overwhelmingly all shops (and in many cases services) are fair game to negotiate. While some people relish the practice it does not come easy to all. It took me a very long time to get comfortable because I always felt like I was insulting the shopkeeper whenever I’d give a price.
Haggling is a game and if you approach it that way you’re likely to be more comfortable. There’s nothing to be afraid of. In the end the worst case situation is you walking without the item you wanted. If you’ve never haggled before then use these tips to get a feel for how to do it.
When you start shopping think about the item first. If it’s a large purchase like a rug, lighting fixtures, or authentic jewelry these all have a high mark-up rate. Smaller items like baskets, clothing, or leather goods have a lower markup.
A few tips to keep in mind for a good negotiation:
- Never act too interested in something. Even if you really like something don’t appear too enthusiastic. You might even pick up a different item, act more interested in it, and then come back to the thing you really want. Remember, it’s all a game!
- Don’t accept the first price given. If you do want something, offer a lower price.
- Group items. If you’re in a shop that has more than one item you want, group them together and bargain for the total price. You’ll be able to get a better deal for more than one item.
- Pay in cash. Shop owners may give you the option to use a credit card but they’ll have to pay a fee on your purchase so the price will be higher. You can get a better price if you’re able to pay in cash.
Purchases and Shipping
Not all items are small enough to go home in your luggage. If this is the case talk to the shopkeeper about shipping options. They may or may not offer this service. If they do, it’s worth considering and building the price of shipping into the item cost from the beginning instead of adding it on at the end. If you decide to ship yourself, look into purchasing an extra piece of luggage and bringing it home that way. The price of shipping from Morocco is quite high and in many cases it is less to pay for extra luggage.
If you do decide to self-ship you have a few options: you can go to the post office or take it to FedEx or DHL. The second two options are more expensive but a bit more reliable. If you decide to mail from the post office DO NOT package and seal your purchases before arriving. When you go to the post office there is someone there that will package your items for a tip (expect to pay 20-50dh per piece), you’ll need to fill out the shipping forms and have the package viewed by the customs official before sealing. There is a fast and slow shipping option. In most cases the slow shipping isn’t that much slower but the price is quite a bit less.
I hope these tips help you prepare to haggle when you’re in Morocco. If you’d like to know more I’ve created a detailed shopping guide for Morocco that is free on my website!
Amanda Moutaki is a curious world traveling, mom of two busy boys, foodie at heart, addicted to social media and lover of all things Moroccan. Follow her on her blog Maroc Mama, Facebook and Instagram.