Morocco

How to Haggle in Morocco

Shopping in Morocco can be a chore, a pain, unbearable… or it can be a lot of fun! It’s all depends on how much you like to haggle, or how well you can fake indifference. Personally, I do not like to shop! But I love to peruse the local markets wherever I travel, and I do like to find something special from the places I go. Haggling is definitely not my favorite shopping style, but when in Morocco, that’s just the way of it! Here are some tips to help you haggle like a pro in Morocco.

Essential Tips

Bring Cash

This is #1 on the list because it’s the most important tip! Very few vendors will accept a credit card, so make sure you have plenty of cash on you (in a couple of different places, if possible). Also make sure you understand the exchange rate so you know how much you’re actually spending. At the moment, $1 USD is worth about 11 Moroccan dirham (MAD), but exchange rates do fluctuate. Download the FREE xe.com app for the exact exchange rate while you’re there.

Quick Snapshot of Moroccan Dirham (dh, or MAD)
Read on: More Apps for Savvy Travel
Be Willing to Walk Away

Before you even start, remind yourself to be willing to walk away if you think you’re being offered a bum deal or if a shopkeeper is truly being rude. Other vendors will be selling similar items, so be willing to walk away and look elsewhere. All the vendors I spoke with were very kind and happy to have shoppers! They were willing to answer any questions I had (even about directions or life in Morocco, not necessarily about their products).

But if You See Something You Really Want, Get It

That said, if you see something you really like, get it! Don’t wait until you get to the next city thinking you might find it cheaper there. They may not have it at all! Ask at your accommodation if you’re not sure about something you want. THey’ll be able to tell you a reasonable price to shoot for and whether or not that particular item is available everywhere or only in certain areas.

Lights, Metalwork, Glassware… if you like it, get it!

Haggling

Let the games begin! It is a game, so have fun with it!

Have a Price Range in Mind

If there is something in particular you’re looking for, ask the front desk attendant or concierge at your accommodation where they recommend getting it, and about how much you should expect to pay. That will give you an idea for the price range to have in mind. Have an idea of:
1. what you would like to pay; and
2. a maximum amount you’re willing to pay.

You will definitely need to pay more for a leather bag than you would for a poncho!
Start a Rapport

Moroccans are an inherently friendly people. Shop owners may offer you mint tea (which you should absolutely take them up on!), joke with you, or want to tell you how and where items are made, or even who made them! Take the time to chat with them. You will earn their respect, make their day a little brighter, and you might even get a better deal!

Ask the Price

Let them give you the starting price. This is definitely more than you should pay, so don’t agree to it! But it’s all part of the process. It might be handy to have a small notebook and pen with you to write the offers down. You don’t want to agree to pay 50 dirhams when you thought they were saying 15 dirhams!

Spices, natural dyes, and soaps from Jemaa el-Fna Square in Marrakech
Start with 1/2 to 1/4 of the Price

Start your haggling with 1/2 to 1/4 of the first price the shopkeeper gives you. The shopkeeper may act offended, but stick to it until they start to come down on the price. Then you can do the back-and-forth game until you come to a price you can both agree on, somewhere in the middle. If they refuse to budge, walk away. They will either quote a lower price or let you walk.

That said, be reasonable. They do have to make money from every item they sell, so don’t be the bully in the china shop. Be willing to meet in the middle!

Start with one tajine… then nonchalantly lump in an 8-piece set of dinnerware for a better deal on all of it!
Deal in Multiples

Want an even better deal? Include one or two other items in your price offer. Get two leather bags, get shoes and a pair of earring earrings, get a lamp and a carpet! You will generally get a better deal buying in bulk anywhere in the world, including Morocco! I got three hand-made scarves in Chefchaouen for just 200 dh, when the initial asking price was 250 dh for one!

Best sales tactic ever: the salesman showed me a few passes on the loom, then started cutting scarves straight off it and handed one to me! Sold!

Want more? Check out my Morocco Page!

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