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Question
I need to buy a necklace for my wife. As the MBK is near my place, I have come to the place.

However, it is a huge place with many gold shops, which is intimidating.

My question is to which extent I should bargain. For example, if they say this necklace cost 1000 baht, what should be my offer in MBK?

My sincere thanks,

Answer
Hi Kevin - The most important thing when it comes to bargaining is knowledge. You can acquire this by taking the time to shop around for similar items, politely asking the price in many places and getting an idea of the range.

If it is gold that you are looking for, there is a pretty set price that is based on weight, measured in "baht" - a ten baht necklace being much heavier and more expensive than a 1 baht necklace. The price per "baht" is usually written on the window of the gold shop and changes daily with the price of gold. After that, there is a small price added for the quality of the work and design of the jewelry - on this a small amount of negotiation can be done, but the gold market is quite competitive and most of the price is determined by the weight.
For example, if the price is 82,000 baht, you might be able to get it for 80,000.

Another part of bargaining on non-gold items is the "where" aspect. If you are in a shopping mall and the store is obviously not tended by the owner, such as a chain store might be, there will likely be no bargaining as in Big C or Robinson. If it is a small kiosk or booth selling items that are not gold, that might be another story.

The largest mark-ups that I have seen are out in the streets of the tourist areas and there, the prices are much more negotiable.

But in general, be polite, get some knowledge and shop around a bit - my wife prefers to buy gold in Chinatown. But she also prefers to do her own gold shopping with me along. Gold is considered an investment here every bit as much as a piece of jewelry as it can easily be sold back to any gold store - you will note that on the window they have a price for both buying and selling and the range is quite close which might give you an idea of how little profit margin they are working on. I really would recommend that for gold, you give your wife a budget and bring her along.

Good luck - hope this is helpful - if not gold, please feel free to follow up with another question.  

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ken

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Any Thailand related questions are welcome. I specialize in helping people with retirement advice. I can help with travel suggestions.I am knowledgeable in areas of culture, customs and language as well as cross cultural relationships.

Experience

I am from USA and have been living in Thailand for the last ten years. I currently live in an agrarian village in Central Thailand. I was first here in 1974. I have experience exporting from Thailand.

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I have written 2 novels and a guidebook about Thailand.

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Bachelor of Science in Economics, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

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