Souvenir Shops, Marrakesh
First and foremost .... these guys are experts ... no matter how good you think you are at haggling .... these guys make you look like a rookie ..... not only do they do it every day .... they have it in there blood over centuries of doing it ...... So whatever the asking price is .... start by offering 70% off the asking price ... of course they'll try and say no .... so just walk out and play the game ....
I wanted some wooden camels but I wanted the set of 4 ... from small to big .... so he started me at 400 dirhams ... I offered him .... 100 dirhams ... of course he acted like if I had insulted his mother ..... I was firm and left by paying 125 dirhams ...... and I still say I over paid !!!!!!!!!!! but I was happy with the price and the products I bought !!!!!!!
A trip to Marrakesh isn’t complete without a visit to the souks, and bargaining there is a holiday experience in itself. But it’s not one that everyone enjoys, and even if you do, sometimes it’s good to have the security that a fixed-price label gives you even if it does mean paying a little more. If that is what you are looking for, head to one of the two so-called “Artisanal” complexes – the Centre Artisanal in the south of the Medina or this, the smaller Ensemble Artisanal just outside it to the west of the Djamaa el Fna. And for those planning to shop in the souks, this is still a useful opportunity to get an idea of the range of goods on offer, the likely prices (received wisdom is that you should aim for about a third less than that charged here) and to browse without being hassled to buy.
The building is also worth seeing in its own right – the old part (opening onto Avenue Mohammed V) has a beautiful entrance with a traditional water fountain surrounded by zellij and stucco work (see photos 3 and 4), and the modern part, while less attractive (it reminded me of a 1970s suburban shopping mall) has a pleasant shady courtyard with a little self-service café.
What to buy: We came here mainly hoping to get some photos as I had read in our guidebook that you could see many of the craftsmen at work. But while this was true, the setting was less than picturesque, and in the carpet workshop at least I was asked not to take any pictures (I nevertheless grabbed a few, as you can see). But we did enjoy seeing some of the local crafts in production, and made a few small purchases – I got some bangles wrapped in the colourful thread known as cactus silk (a natural fibre that takes these bright dyes very well) and Chris bought a small leather wallet for himself and leather bookmark for his mother. The bangles cost just 15 dirhams each (less than £1.50) and the wallet 70 dirhams (about £5.50).
There's an awful lot of great shopping to do in Marrakesh. Moroccan souvenirs, textiles, foodstuffs, antiques, clothing, rugs...it's almost overwhelming. You'll also be overwhelmed by the attentions of shop owners, all of whom are VERY anxious to sell you something. You'll be strongly tempted to buy out the very first store you enter. There's so much great stuff!
Calm down. It's a certainty that whatever you see in the first shop will also be available in the third, the sixth, and the tenth place you visit. Get an idea for what's available first, get a handle on prices (at least, the starting prices), and don't be too quick to buy things at the places your guide drags you to. If you find it yourself, you won't end up paying the guide's kickback along with the price.
Although I really hate bargaining and I'm not very good at it, haggling is absolutely essential in Marrakesh and around Morocco. I'm usually able to get the starting price down by about half, although someone more skilled could probably do better. As far as I'm concerned, if I've paid a price that's reasonable to me for the item, I've done a good job.
While I was in Marrakech I bought two mini treasure chests made of camel bone, a berber robe, a Japanese football shirt and sunglasses.
What to buy: There's a large variety of things to buy, Incense, bracelets, chains. Again you can barter with the price of everything, ironically enough I found the best way of bartering is browsing without wanting to buy, then when they offer you a price I said I had very little money. It may sound a little mean on my part but the traders are more than happy to rip you off, and if they don't want to accept your price then they are entitled to say no.
you have all the way down the suq's streets, lots of these little cheap souvenirs you can get to offer back home. They usualy dont cost more than 1 euro 1.5 euro.