Sunday, June 17, 2007
On my last visit to Beijing in late October/early November, I discovered Panjiayuan, the antique flea market in the south east of the city.
And I couldn't resist going back there again.
It's a treasure hunter's paradise with so many kinds of knicknacks, from Mao memorabilia, to calendar posters, porcelain, snuff bottles, wooden boxes, embroidery, jade and bronze. It's questionable how real these antiques are, but you're buying because you like them, not because you think they're actually museum pieces lost in the shuffle.
Once you've set your eye on something. The other fun part is bargaining. Here are a few rules I follow:
1. Don't look too interested in anything.
2. When you ask the price of something, be dramatic and say tai guile! Too expensive!
3. Counter back with at least half or even one third the opening price.
4. Slowly work your way up, but have a price in mind.
5. If you come to an impasse, just walk away. They will be eager to settle a deal with you.
Works 95 per cent of the time.