Speaking for my shopoholic self, shopping is a skill, and doing it right takes practice (thankfully), especially when we are talking about shopping in a Souk.
As you probably know, a Souk is a very large place where you can find everything you need, from: clothes, shoes, bags, food, decoration, furnitures, and many more enchanting little things.
Exploring it can go either way; be fun and enjoyable or very stressful, depending on how you approach it. But the final objective of this delightful experience should never be to waste our time and money.
So, in that sense I prepared for you some interesting tips that will help you get the most out of your shopping in a Souk.
- Timing is every thing:
Whenever you want to go shopping, you need to pay attention to your timing!
Cruising the Souk during special occasions (holidays, eids…) could be a tricky thing to do! If you need to buy a dress or anything else you will have to do so before any major occasion ( 2 or 3 weeks ahead). The goal here is to shop peacefully, and find prices that are convenient, because when during the festivities, souks can get crowded and prices go up the wazoo.
- Don’t give in to the salesmen’s pressure:
Salesmen tend to be very persuasive, and their main job is to be charming to convince you to buy their product. If so, stay strong, don’t fall under their spell unless you are completely satisfied and need that specific product. If not, you have the right to turn it down or you can just step away to think about it then come back. No guilt!
- The prices are negotiable:
Bargaining in a Souk is the key to get a reasonable price, and shop owners expect you to do so. That is exactly why they start with a higher price. But what you have to do here, is to set a price in your mind that you wont exceed, then start to negotiate their initial price by reducing it 20% or more until you get the price you can afford.
- Wear comfortable clothes:
Souks are generally very large places where you’ll have to walk around between different shops, and check out the plethora of shopping options you have. That is exactly why you’ll need to wear comfortable shoes “stay away from high heels and flat sandals”. And when it comes to your bag of choice on a “shopping in a souk” day, it is preferred to carry a small bag like a Waist pack or a little back pack where you can put the essentials like a wallet, keys and a phone. This way you’ll be more comfortable to explore lots of shops while enjoying yourself. You will definitely need your hands free!
- Take your time:
Sometimes we swiftly shop and then end up with stuff we don’t need; like a t-shirt that doesn’t do much for our closet or our figure, or with a bag whose duplicate we already own but never use! As I said earlier, shopping is a serious skill, you should take all the time you need to figure out what you really want, and to not anticipate your purchase before you see other suppliers, cause you might find better offer with better quality. And believe me when I say, in a souk, there is always a better choice and a better price.
Coming from countless hours that I spent shopping in more souks that I’d like to count, I honestly think these tips should come in handy to anyone tempted by having the souk experience.
So use them wisely, your bank account and shopping urges will thank me!
by Leila El Mouloua