Tiangge is love. Tiangge is life. I’m an avid fan of quirky, high quality bazaar finds. Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment that comes with scoring a new wardrobe staple, without sucking the life out of my wallet. But, shopping great tiangge finds takes a lot of time, patience, and most of the time, haggling.
While it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement, that’s no reason for you to forget your manners as you shop. Here are a few things every tiangge shopper needs to remember.
Before You Shop
Before you get into your bazaar adventure, make sure you have your arsenal prepared, from your commuting fee to your eco bag. Expect large crowds, so the last thing you’d want to do is slow yourself, and people, down.
DON’T give the drivers/staff (if you’re riding the train) a hard time providing your change. Prepare smaller bills, preferably, 20’s or 50’s, especially when traveling alone. If you’re with a group, 100’s will do. And, keep coins handy.
DO walk fast and try not to stop over in an area for more than a couple of minutes, especially if other customers have started to shop, and you don’t plan to buy anything from the kiosk, anyway.
When You’re Shopping
DO make eye contact with the vendors and allow them to make their sales pitch, especially if you chanced upon an array of products you’re really interested in. If you aren’t interested, still acknowledge them with a polite smile and nod, then continue walking quickly.
DO step inside of the kiosk. You don’t want to block the way for other customers. And, when you’re choosing among several options from what they’re selling, make sure to return them where you got them after you’ve decided on what you want.
DON’T take too long inside the fitting room. If you’re shopping for clothes, don’t spend five minutes removing your original outfit and half an hour trying on different ones from the kiosk. You aren’t fitting those clothes to have a selfie pictorial, dear. You do that to see if they’re comfy and they work for you. That shouldn’t take long. Here’s a tip: if you’ve made outfit shopping your agenda, lay off the skinny jeans, rompers, and button-downs. Opt for bermudas, leggings, pedal pushers, pajama pants, or, if you can, shorts and skirts instead. They’re easy to take off and put on, so that cuts your dressing room time for you.
If you’re thinking of buying shoes, wear footsies. This lets you have a good estimate of how much allowance the pair has or doesn’t have, and, again, they’re easy to remove and put on.
DO ask for new stocks, and check for damages. Also, you can do some snooping on the quality of the item, without sounding like a snooty buyer, by asking where they get their supplies. And, again, do so POLITELY. Don’t forget your po and opo, and your ate and kuya. That always goes a long way, especially when you’re haggling.
DO ask the vendors if they’re willing to give a discount first. If they are, think of a reasonably lower price (go for at least 50 pesos off), and pitch something below that (say, around 70 pesos off). If they agree, then great. If they pitch 50, then go for it. You both end up happy.
If they aren’t, which is rarely the case, you may still try to pitch a smaller discount, like, around 20 pesos off, which they may end up giving. But, if they really aren’t willing, don’t force it. Just pay for the item if you really want it.
Tip? Before you even name a price, look at the item thoroughly and decide if it’s worth haggling for.
DON’T do any major haggling until you’re absolutely sure you’ll buy it. Medj paasa, beh. NOT GOOD. If you REALLY want it, but are having second thoughts about the price, tell the vendor that you’ll come back for it, and MAKE SURE YOU DO. They’re likely to save you the item, especially if it’s the last one. But, don’t wait an entire day before you go back for it.
My loot from various tiangges such as Farmer’s Plaza Bazaar, 168 Mall, St. Francis Square, Greenhills, and more. 🙂 🙂 🙂
After You Shop
DO offer to help out in returning the items to their proper place, as mentioned earlier. And, whether or not you decide you’ll go back and shop in a particular tiangge again, say your thanks and leave with a smile. 🙂
After all, you get to go home with a loot you’re happy with (like me! Check some of my proudest tiangge finds above). And, even if you don’t, you’re sure that you won’t be blacklisted from the place.
There’re still plenty of stuff I want to share about my tiangge habits, but this is it for now. Stay tuned for another one in the coming weeks. 😉 Meanwhile, you can head out and enjoy shopping.