Monday, 11 May 2009

Current Beauty Reading & Seoul Shopping Experience

Currently I'm reading this fashion book called The Little Black Book of Style. I like Nina Garcia's style alot, especially her always windswept hair (secretly I'm happy that not everyone has stick straight hair, because I don't). For those who might not be familiar with her, she's one of the judges on Project Runway.
It doesn't contain alot of new information, because it basically repeats alot of standard advice such as style is more important than trends and spending on good quality basics like shoes, handbags and a good coat etc. But there are beautiful illustrations and Nina Garcia's witty tone of voice that makes for good entertainment.
On a separate note, a well-meaning anonymous person left some advice in my comment box that I thought was misleading. I gave myself a day to think if I should just let it go, but decided I should try to address it, so that other travellers can avoid benefit from my experience. Anoymous commented that it's embarrassing to bargain in Korea at the department stores and advised, "u totally cant do . its rare to discount in migliore...... iono alotta krn ppl were saying "wow....that should be embarrasing." dont discount too much next time in those stores". You can read the full comment here.
I don't know if Anonymous is a Korean or just a well-meaning person who read some information and wanted to share. However, from my personal experience as a tourist in Seoul, I'd still advise travellers to Seoul to ask for a discount at Migliore, even at the Myeong Dong branch. I think that Migliore is not at all like Lotte. I wouldn't and didn't ask for discounts at Lotte department stores because merchandise had tags and they were like normal department stores I'm used to, like Isetan or Takashimaya.
Migliore on the other hand, consisted of small stores and had the air of something like Chinatown (for those in Singapore, it's something like Chinatown "department" stores in People's Park Plaza etc). There were also no tags on merchandise, and I had the feeling that once the store owners knew I wasn't a Korean, they jacked up the asking price. So, I had no fear asking for a discount. In fact, I had the feeling that the discount they gave me ended with me paying more than a Korean anyway.
So, I just wanted to share this tip and experience with other foreigners going to Seoul: Go with your gut instinct. I wouldn't say that Anonymous is completely wrong but I think that as a tourist in Seoul, just keep your wits about you. Seoul isn't like Tokyo, it's abit more rough and tumble. That's just how I feel from my personal experience. Most importantly, have a good time and don't fear embarrassment! There is no harm asking whether you can be given a discount. I did, and no one ever gave me any scolding or dirty looks. I just avoided haggling too much or being rude, after all I'm on holiday and just want to enjoy myself.
Hope this helps, and have a good week ahead!
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Eka said...

I would have to agree with you on that. It won't hurt if you try... :) Plus, you'll get a good bargain. I remember, when my sister had her stopover at the Incheon Int'l. Airport, her friend asked for a discount when she bought my chopsticks in one of the shops there.

MiuMiu said...

I think you can usually tell where you can bargain. other than those vendors at dongdaemun, doota, migliore, i think it's just weird that people will ask for discounts at a department store or supermarket when there are set prices.
I don't think that anon should have said japanese tourists's like pointing out that they are the only ones that bargain. it's not just japanese people that do it, there are plenty of other people who ask for discounts as well.

miRaCLe said...

totally agree with ya! :)
no harm asking for discount if we are in those stores you mentioned (like in chinatown~~) most sellers sure jack up prices for tourist...
and we know very well that where should and shouldn't we could bargain as it's not difficult to tell. :)

ExtremelyHyper said...

People extremely bargain and dongdaemun and namdaemun as well as street vendors. Miglior i know you can bargain for sure, but not to an extreme extent as you would in dongdaemun and namdaemun. Well that's what my cousin said, who lives in Korea. I've bargained lol. i dont mind because i visit there as well and like bargaining. I havent beeen there in that last 6 months? But i did hear alot of other asian tourists are visiting. Korean people don't bargain too much in migliore and doota though as they would at dongdaemun or namdaemun. That i know for sure. I just think you would have to kind of get the vibe?? that " dont bargain too much" because store owners do talk shit. lol. and words spread. There actual was a article on it and "netizens" complaining that __ were cheap and it's kind of rude to say " KakKaJuseyo" 5 bucks or something. Since I mean they are already selling at a cheap price. what more do you want? kind of thing. I'm not going to say which nationality though.

MissyKiss said...

I know that alot of people think you can bargain as much as you want in dongdaemun,namdaemun,miglior, and doota, But now a days its kind of getting less and less. The sellers are alot chill for foreigners because they are foreigners, but they eventually get annoyed. I think thats what the person meant. If you aren't going to buy at a large item amount,then asking for a bargain looks cheap. If you buy like 5 things from one store vendor and ask a discount. Obviously they give you it, but buying like a $2 buck hairtie and asking for a discount. That's just against the "rule" of krn discounting. lol. It might be new for japanese tourists but i think it's best to learn more about when and when you can and cannot do that. There have been posts on naver korean blogs complaints on alot of the tourists saying discount please~~ here and there.. it's kind of the new stereotype image of japanese tourists now adays. :(