China – Two Final Lessons

Posted by Ted on Jul 27, 2009 in Travel

As we left Shanghai yesterday morning, we were taught two final lessons. The first was as we harriedly returned to the Yu Yuen Gardens in order to find the painting that we’d eyed a few days before. The shopkeeper had told us on Monday that we might have it for 300 Yuan, down from the listed 1200. At the time, earlier in our trip, we declined. When we returned the following busy Sunday morning, she denied ever having offered such a price and we must have misheard her. We finally negotiated her down, somewhat painfully for both of us, to 500 Yuan, paying 200 in poor negotiating tax. Always bargain better on weekdays, and never reference historical verbal offers.

Then, as we caught a cab to the maglev station, we paid merely 30 for the metered fare. This was 4x less than what we’d paid when we arrived a week earlier, our naive mistake at the time being that we asked “how much?” before we got in the cab. Never do that. They have meters for a reason, and have no qualms about ripping off unsuspecting and overtired tourists just getting off a long international flight.

All in all, we probably negotiated most of our deals reaonably well, and will know how to even better next time.

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An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. He is also managing editor for Rolf Potts' Vagabonding, where he curates a Case Study series. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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