I mean, Marrakech is kind of a big souk. Actually, it will be more exact to say a patchwork of little markets called “souk” in Arabic.
You have markets of everything: leather, pottery, spices, vegetables, meat, fish, clothes, jewelry, shoes, souvenirs, berber items, antics, lamps, art, pashminas, turbans, perfumes, herbalists, …
And in 99% of the cases, prices are not written which means that you have to negotiate.
Here comes the second part of my thought: in Marrakech, you will suck.
The earlier you get that, the earlier you will accept it and then things just go easier.
Bargaining is an art by itself and in Morocco, it becomes sometimes a burlesque comedy. You will see them sometimes charming, sometimes aggressive, imploring or offended, inventing the craziest fantasies to sell a piece of crap like if it where gold.
The truth is that Moroccans souk sellers are extremely good merchants and they have an infallible system to set prices:
- First, they are good at guessing where you are from and in case of doubt, they just have to ask.
- When you will ask for the price, they will tell you something that they will estimate normal for your country. How do they know that? Easy: every time they see a tourist saying no, they ask: “ok, how much would you like to pay?”.
- Since we have no way to know how it really costs, we just give an estimation slightly lower of what we would think to be a good price in our country.
- They keep these prices in mind, make an average per nationality and then use it against you without you even notice.
- When you give your price, if he is willing to negotiate and lower his price again, the truth is that you already lost, because even if you get the price that you asked first for, it is way higher than the price that he should be selling it for.
- That’s why they openly talk about arabic prices (the real ones), tourist prices (the one that they will give to you as if it was a bargain) and the english price (the one to which they refer to when they are trying to explain that the price they are giving you is very good compared to the one they give to the others tourists)…It might seem unfair and yes, we did get a little frustrated, but lets be honest: it is part of the game and at the end of the day we still have more than they do in their bank account. I like to think that they earned this money thanks to amazing and inspiring negotiation techniques!
You will see, you will souk in Marrakech… a lot!