Bali Blog - Article About Bali Holiday Island
Shopping Tips in Bali19 May 2008
Kuta’s ‘in-your-face’ style does not appeal to every shopper, but fortunately Bali caters to all parts of the spectrum. Those who do not feel up to facing the Kuta jungle can opt instead to patronize the village-style markets in Ubud and Sanur, the up market boutiques in Seminyak, or the department stores scattered around the island’s south. Shopping in Bali is about so much more than just buying goods. It is lesson in life: anyone who has taken on Kuta’s hardened street hawkers and survived knows what we are talking about.
The constant mantra of “Yes, have looks… Rolex watches’ or ‘sunglasses, very cheap price Mrs, only one dollar” is designed to get you to pause – however so briefly – and thus entrap you into bargaining over a pair of fake Gucci sunglasses that you did not want in the first place but now feel obliged to buy. We are knows the tricks, yet you can not resent them for trying. These are shopkeepers who are lucky to earn in a month what you make in a day, and they have to find creative ways to compete with the hundreds of other stores selling exactly the same wares as theirs.
Yep, shopping in Kuta is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but if you treat it as a game and keep your sense of humor, it can actually be fun. And don’t worry if people tell you that you paid too much; you can rest assured you would pay a lot more back home for the same thing. Nevertheless, there are a few rules of thumb that can help you play the game. When bargaining, it has long been accepted that you halve the seller’s offering price and then negotiate from there until a mutually agreeable mid-point, usually 60-80 percent of the seller’s original price.
Also if you hit the markets early (which are advisable if you want to avoid the hotter afternoons), you may get an extra special deal known as the garus or "morning price". The Balinese believe an early morning sale will bring good luck the rest of the days, especially if you recommend the shop to your friends. So wait until you and the vendor have good naturedly reached a stalemate and then ask for the "morning price"; most of the time you will get the good result!
It also helps if you know at least a little Bahasa Indonesia and you may consider supplying your own carry-bag; rumor has it the shop assistants ‘color-code’ shoppers by supplying them with different bags according to their bartering skills. A black-and-white striped or plain red bag is meant to inform the next shopkeeper that you are easy money, while a plain black bag apparently tells them you are no fool. How knows if it is really true, but it may be worth heading any way. If you do not have the energy for Kuta’s markets, try village-style market in Ubud or Sanur. Wherever you shop in Bali, it will be an enlightening experience, completely different to anything you see in western countries.
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