Buying at Phuket
DO SOME SHOPPING
- On the Sidewalks
Whether on patong, Karon or Kata, on the sidewalks: in the late afternoon, many stalls start their new business day until about 10pm. You can find everything, and often the same things on several stands. Copies of watches, Swiss knives, t-shirts, in short a wide variety of sometimes surprising objects that can attract tourists.
Of course, in this category, it is traditional to bargain all prices. Everyone has their own technique, their own way of doing things. Personally, if I were to find myself in this kind of situation, I would start by attacking the object of my dreams at 40% of the price announced by the seller... then..... you have to see.
In any case, we must not rush because, as mentioned above, we find these same objects a little further away.
In fact, the salespeople are just employees and they know how far their boss allows them to go down. It is up to you to find their lower limit.
- In the stores
It's completely different. There, generally prices are displayed. Sometimes you can discuss a price, especially if you buy several copies.
In more specialized stores, it is a little more complicated, not in terms of prices, but to obtain technical information. Few salespeople are able to explain how a particular device works to you. Few salespeople also know how to speak English. From there and knowing it, it is better to go on the net, to look for all the possible information concerning the object you want to acquire when you arrive on the spot, all that remains is to buy with your eyes closed.
In conclusion, when you arrive in a store, you have to know what you want and everything about the product you want because it is not the seller who will instruct you.
In supermarkets such as "Home Pro", which is equivalent to "Castorama" in France, salespeople rarely speak English. In Phuket it may come as a surprise, but that's the way it is.
In general, and for other small businesses on the island of Phuket, the best (and most numerous) traders are the Chinese. When you see a Chinese sign above the entrance, you can go peacefully. The employees are Thai, but if you have a problem, if you ask to see the boss, you will get satisfaction.
Thai people in general only answer "there is no", "there is more" or "I don't know", in Thai it gives "mai mi", "léo word", "maï lou". These are the three most common expressions used in Thailand.
The Chinese boss will order the part from you in Bangkok and 24 hours later you will have your equipment. (When I talk about Chinese, you have to hear Thai of Chinese origin...)
In another article you will find on this blog, "Phuket, How much does it cost", you will find a number of prices for various common accessories: memory cards, hard drives, and others.
On the other hand, I would like to warn you here, that for a more specialized equipment, let us take as an example the cameras, Phuket is very poor. In Bangkok or in some big cities like Khon Kaen, Udon Thani or Chiang Mai you will find everything and quite easily. Unfortunately, in Phuket, you will find shops with sellers who don't have much to offer you, and rather limited knowledge.
Small cameras are quite commonplace, no problem there are a lot of them. But if you are more specialized and you are looking for a special filter to mount on your lens (for example an ND8 filter to take pictures on a long pause... it is already getting more complicated...)
The best advice is to stop in Bangkok if you are passing through there, or to get the right equipment from home.
What is unfortunate is that in 80% of Phuket's stores, the salespeople do not have much knowledge of the equipment they sell and moreover, very rarely speak English. If you know exactly what you want and you can buy without asking questions then it's fine... but don't expect the seller to really inform you (in 80% of cases, I repeat).
Ask a salesman in which format the camera of your dreams takes the pictures, he will probably know that because it is often indicated on the frame with a sticker... on the other hand if you ask him the format of the sensor... then, I guarantee you a great moment of solitude...!
With experience, I got used to getting all the information on the net before going to the store, then, with my knowledge, I buy... no questions asked. Sometimes I even explain to the seller this or that particularity to "instruct" him, but I am sure that the next day he forgot everything I said to him.
Don't take this for a joke, I'm talking about everyday life....