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From haggling for silver teapots, to admiring brightly coloured Moroccan lamps, there are so many traditional and beautiful souvenirs to be bought in souks.

But if you get the haggling wrong, you could be severely out of pocket or end up offending someone. Sadly, many Moroccan merchants do try to get more money for their wares than what they are actually worth (particularly if they can see that you’re a tourist).

To help you master the art of haggling in Marrakech, consider these six Marrakech shopping tips…

Morocco Caligraphy Merchant

Marrakech Shopping Tips: How to Haggle in Marrakech

Tip #1: Carry small denominations of notes and coins

If a merchant can see that you have notes of a high value of Moroccan Dirham, then they will likely try to charge you more. When carrying small denominations (such as 20, 50 or 100 dh), this gives you the upper hand to categorically state: “This is all I have.” They may try to barter with you, but all you need to do is start walking away and 9 times out of 10, they will take what you can give.

Tip #2: Remember the rules of quarters and thirds

If the souk you’re buying from displays prices on the items, remember that these are over-inflated prices. Start haggling at one quarter of the price displayed, and never pay more than a third of the given price. For instance, if an item shows as 1000 dh, start with 250 dh and do not pay more than about 333 dh. This should also work when discussing prices verbally.

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Tip #3: Only accept mint tea if you’re serious about buying

If a merchant offers you some mint tea whilst you’re browsing their merchandise, then only accept this if you’re serious about buying. Otherwise, you will seriously offend the merchant if you try to leave after drinking the tea only. Mint tea is more often served to those looking at higher value items, and it’s a sign that the merchant is going to try a hard sell with you. This is when you will really need to up your negotiation tactics.

Morocco Mint Tea

Tip #4: Read up on negotiation tactics

Buying in souks is all about the negotiation unless you want to be ripped off. One tactic you can use is to state that a certain note is all you have and start to walk away. But for higher value items, such as original Moroccan rugs, you will need to really up your game. I love this Morocco: how to haggle guide from Insight Guides for help with negotiating at souks.

Tip #5: Avoid items that are sold by most merchants

If you spot merchant after merchant selling the same products, then your best bet is to avoid these. These items will be most likely imported from China or similar, and of poor quality. This is fine if you’re just after a cheap souvenir or if you particularly like something, but if you’re after a proper traditional Moroccan item, then you will need to seek out the more unique finds.

Tip #6: Stay away from cruel animal handlers like the plague

Throughout souks and most tourist areas in Morocco, you will likely find people offering the opportunity to have your photo taken with a snake or monkey, or a snake charmer showing off. Avoid these like the plague as most of the animals are mistreated. The snakes are caught illegally and only last a few days because their mouths are sewn shut. Without food or water, they don’t last very long at all and then the merchants are off to catch more snakes. You may find yourself thrown into a situation of them just plonking the monkey or snake on your shoulders – just remember that it is more than okay to just walk away. If this happens enough, then maybe we can stop this cruelty to animals once and for all.

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Right, that’s it from me! I hope these Marrakech shopping tips help you get an amazing Moroccan treasure for the correct price for you.

Did you like this? Why don’t you pin the tips for later?

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12 thoughts on “Marrakech Shopping Tips: How to Haggle in Marrakech

  1. Sabine says:

    Negotiating is so hard in the beginning, for me at least. I guess with your tips and some practise, you’ll become better in it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I completely agree! Being a Brit, I’m not the best negotiator as I don’t want to offend the other person. But these tips got me through!! 🙂

  2. snowtoseas says:

    Really interesting post with some excellent tips! To me, the mint tea one is especially important, because I feel like if a foreigner had never heard of it, it would be so easy to accept the tea. And those poor snakes 🙁

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Indeed, it’s a messy business… I would never have known about the mint tea thing, and like you say, just accepted it thinking it was a gift. Eek, I suspect a lot of people have made that mistake unknowingly!

  3. karen says:

    These are great tips! I managed to negotiate for a nice pouf by pointing out an imperfection. It worked!

    1. Excellent! That’s a good tip for negotiating, for pretty much anywhere. I couldn’t imagine many sellers expecting you to pay full price for a damaged item!

  4. Candiss says:

    Great tips! It took me a bit of time to learn some of these (totally paid too much for some rugs but love it so whatever) but once I got going it was great! I found going deeper in the souks and asking specific details about how and where something was made did wonders for negotiation too. I happen to know a decent amount about how the things I like or wanted were made so it was obvious to them they couldn’t play me that much! 🙂

    1. In fairness, if you love the rugs, then it probably doesn’t matter (too much) how much you paid…
      Brilliant tip! I wish I’d thought of that one. We did see the centre where people were actually making the wares, but I hadn’t thought of this being a tactic to be used in bartering. Will remember that one for next time!! 😉

  5. Great advice. Didn’t know some of these techniques or also some of the ways you could insult a Moroccan merchant by saying no, but after having drank his mint tea! Nice share. Also, so sad about the snakes. I noticed this guy poking them/hitting them in the containers to get them agitated when I walked by so I wanted nothing to do with them/ didn’t want photos or anything. Animal abuse is not worth a photo.

    1. I know, it’s horrible! 🙁
      I hated seeing the animals treated this way and hearing about how the snakes are treated. I had a few of them just try and shove animals on me, obviously hoping I wouldn’t object and just give them money for a photo. Little did they know how much of an animal lover they’d confronted…. 😉
      But seriously though, you are absolutely right! No photo, or tourist attraction or anything is worth that kind of cruelty to animals.

  6. Brianna says:

    Awesome tips! Haggling is one of those things that is so nerve wracking until you’ve done it a couple times. You really just have to jump into it, try you best, and be willling to learn from your mistakes. I think it also helps to have the currency conversions memorized. Sometimes, you’ll realize you’re haggling over something minimal like $1, and its usually not worth it just to have a win…

    1. Thanks Brianna! I’m glad you liked them – the feedback really does mean a lot!
      Absolutely, I was terrified of offending someone, plus I’m a little bit shy. But you’re absolutely right about the conversion rates: that was tough to get the brain around and like you say, remember that you’re haggling over tiny prices in most cases.

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