Explore Cape Town

Bargaining in Cape Town

Travel Tips — By iminglin on September 7, 2010 at 11:22 am

Awhile back I was doing some shopping in a local store (think CNA or 7-11) when, to the surprise of the shopkeeper and myself, a tourist started bargaining.  Seems this tourist just assumed that bargaining was the status quo in Africa.  So to prevent you from embarrassing yourself or coming off as a rude tourist, here are a few tips on when and where bargaining is acceptable in Cape Town:

Yes-

  • Many outdoor craft markets (Greenmarket Square, Greenpoint)
  • Curio sellers on the side of the road (beaded works, paintings, sculptures, flowers)
  • Some private taxis

No-

  • Almost all stores
  • Many farmer’s markets (Old Biscuit Mill, Porter Estate, etc)
  • public transport

Try to get a sense of the real value of a craft or item, it could be as low as 30-50% of the asking price.  However, do keep in mind that the difference in price will likely hurt the seller more than it benefits you.  There are some pretty desperate people out there and getting a low price for the sake of haggling is pretty unethical bloodsport.

Tags: shopping, tips
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