2. When, at last, you have decided what you really want to buy and how much you are willing to pay for the article then you can ask its price from the seller: ‘C’est combien pour ca s’il vous plait?’ which means ‘How much is this please?’ Let’s imagine you want to buy a large silk-looking throw (probably poyester but at least it should wash well) and you are willing to pay £35-45 for it.
3. The seller will generally ask for a price that is between 30 and 500% higher then the actual price that he is happy to accept and what it is probably worth. Some people accept this initial price -which is why they always ‘try it on’. You must remember that Marrakech is second home to many of the ‘ultra rich and famous’. So the seller finally states his price of 2000 dhms.
4. However, assuming you are not Bill Gates or part of the Trump or Goldsmith family, then you would respond to the seller by looking shocked (this will not be difficult usually!) and saying ‘Non, c’est trop cher pour moi.’ (No, this is too expensive for me.)
5. He may reduce the price significantly for you saying. ‘OK, only for you because you have such beautiful eyes/because you are English/French/American/Because you are so friendly etc etc’ I will sell to you for 1800 Dhirrams.
Try not to loose all sense of reason with this brazen flattery-keep your cool and to your price.
6. You then say: ‘Non, non c’est beaucoup trop cher pour moi!’
7. Then he will say ‘OK, Give me your last price.’
8.Then you can offer a price that is significantly below the price you are actually prepared to pay. This is the tricky point and the point at which acting skills come to the fore. You say: ‘Je peut payer 100 dhms.’ which means I can pay 100 dhms. You need to try to look convincing although it really doesn’t matter too much if you are a poor liar as he knows that this is a game and that he has to be cooperative and ‘follow the rules’.
9. He will probably be better at acting than you are so do not be thrown off track by his response. He may look shocked or even angry and dismissive. He is likely to say: ‘This is handmade/ a one-off piece/ made of the best pure silk/ not like the others you have seen before etc etc’ Then, when he sees that you are a serious negotiator, he is likely to start to get closer to the true price and may say: ‘OK, I will sell to you for a very good price. This is Moroccans price: 800 dhms.’
10. The you say: ‘Mon dernier prix c’est 200 dhms.’ which means my last price is 200 dhms.
11. He will then grumble quite a lot and call you a Berber-since Berber people are renouned for being very careful with money. He will then ask for 700 or 600 Dhms.
12. You can say no and start to walk away.
13. He will inevitably call you back and ask for your last price.
14. You then offer 300 or 350. Again saying it is your last price and perhaps emphasising this by saying: ‘Vraiment, c’est mon dernier prix.’ meaning really it is my last price. At this point it can be useful to get out the cash you are offering so that he can see you are serious. Seeing the cash rather than just talking or writing numbers seems to concentrate the mind and should get you a better price more quickly.
13. He will then probably offer a price of 500 dhms.
14. You offer 400 dhms.
15. He offers 480 dhms.
16. You offer 430 dhms.
17. He says this is truly his final price so he is still making a small profit is 460 dhms. (This is not true of course.)