In contrast to this ‘transcational drama’, Shopping in Marrakesh can, in my opinion (and probably only those truly hardened shoppers will understand this), be a truly spiritual experience!
Try to allow your senses to truly ‘listen’ to what is around you with your eyes, ears, fingers, nose and your ‘inner child’ (if you have found yours yet!). You will find that you are able to enjoy your experience so much more. Every now and then move to one side and breathe deeply (preferably not next to that open sewer!) Just allow yourself to drink in this amazing experience and remind yourself of how priviledged you are to find yourself in this truly amazing place.
I say to myself ‘thank you, thank you.’ many times as I walk around the souks reminding myself of how lucky I am to be there and how lucky I am to be able to experience the bright and subtle colours, fabric -textures of velvet and silk, shiny and matt pots and lamps, glass of all colours, herbs and flowers, organic fruits and vegetables….. I could go on and on and on….
Although I am sometimes in a state of ecstasy and wonder during my shopping trips it does not stop me from being aware that there are some desperate and cunning players amongst the many warm, helpful and generous stall holders. Sadly those unscrupulous stallholders do sometimes (some would say frequently) try to ‘trick’ naive tourists out of their money in clever ways. So stay alert for some of these ‘bunny traps’:
*When you finally agree to pay for something be sure to check the price and currency is clearly agreed (preferably in writing) by both parties.
*triple check your change.
*Check the item that is put into the bag is the same as the item you agreed to buy and the correct number of items.
*Check that the item is not damaged (open the box if necessary) or if buying a set make sure the colours are all the same.
*Always haggle in Dirhams if you can so that you do not end up losing money when the seller converts the Euros or pounds at an unfavourable rate into Dhirrams.
*For larger purchases payment in cash in a hard currency (Euros, Sterling or US Dollars) may extract a further discount.
*If someone offers to take you to their 2nd shop or brother’s shop ‘just down the road’ be aware that this may involve a 2-60 minute journey with a low probablity of finding what you were seeking at the end.
* Unless you already know the stall or have had it recommended to you by a serious source, be aware that an item may be described as silver or gold but in reality it may be silver plated or gold plated. Just because something is very expensive doesn’t mean that it is genuine. I usually haggle for something in the knowledge that it is likely to be a fake or of non-precious metal and decide on my price accordingly.
* If you are offerred mint tea and spend a long time deciding on your purchase only to decide not to buy in the end some stall holders will try to make you feel guilty for taking up their time and try to charge you (sometimes a ridiculous amount) for the time you have ‘taken’!