Bargaining 101: 5 Words to Get That Deal

We’ve all been there. Something in a shop catches our eye and screams, buy me! The mission? 

  1. Negotiate a reasonable price with that smooth talking, overbearing sales person.
  2. Don’t get tricked.

It’s essential to be able to 讨价还价 (tǎo jià huán jià) at markets so you’re not cheated. Always haggle for 50% or less than their asking price. (I just bought 3 silk ties this weekend that started out as 100RMB, EACH. How much was I able to bargain down the price? I got a buy one get 2 free deal, so 3 for a total of 100!! )

Here are 5  commonly used words and practical phrases to avoid getting ripped off.

1. 底价(dǐ jià): reserve price, lowest price

First ask for a lower price. After they say the initial price, besides the usual 太贵了(too expensive) and 便宜点(cheaper), try 底价! Whenever I say this, I can get the sales person to lower their price at least 10RMB before the haggling starts.

Example A:


Dǐ jià shì shén me?

What is your lowest price?

Example B:


Dǐ jià!Dǐ jià!

Lowest price! Lowest price!


2. 优惠(yōu huì): preferential

VIP. Favoritism, preferential treatment, let’s roll out that red carpet. Get the price that the old customers get by saying 优惠点.

Example A:


Nǐ kě yǐ zài yōu huì diǎn ma?

May you give me a more preferential price?

3. 批发价(pī fā jià): wholesale price

Who doesn’t love Costco?Besides the free samples, you get a wholesale price. The more you buy, the cheaper it should be so ask how much it’d be if you bought more than one.

Example A:


Gěi wǒ nǐ de pī fā jià.

Give me your wholesale price

* They’ll probably ask you how many things you plan on buying. DON’T tell them right away. Get them to tell you their wholesale price.

Example A:


Rú guǒ nǐ de pī fā jià qián hǎo de huà, wǒ huì duō mǎi yī diǎn.

If your wholesale price is good, I’ll buy more.


4. 进货价(jìn huò jià): purchase price that the owner bought it for

Wouldn’t it be awesome to cut out the middle man? Well, if you’re thinking what I’m thinking then, you want their 进货价. This would be the price that they pay the factories and suppliers.

Example A:


Nǐ de jìn huò jià shì duō shǎo ne?

What’s the price you get it for?


5. 开价(kāi jià): mark it up, asking price

Avoid that high mark up price. Go to more than one store with the same item  and see if the shopkeepers ask for the same price. Usually the ones in more secluded areas will ask for a lower price. When you have an idea what your item is worth, then the sales people can’t 开价.

Example A:


Zěn me zhè me guì a? Bié gěi wǒ kāi jià o!

How is it so expensive? Don’t give me the marked up price! (Stress the 这 so it sounds like zheeeeee, similar to “soooo” in English)

Example B:


Nǐ kāi jià yǒu diǎn gāo a! Pián yi diǎn, tài guì le.

Your mark up is too high! Cheaper, it’s too expensive.


With practice and some whit, you’ll be hearing your friends saying, “Whoa, how was it that cheap?! What a steal!” on things you’ve haggled for. Bargaining 102 coming soon for all you shopaholics out there.

And be sure to try out FluentU between your shopping sprees!

Happy shopping.

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