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Shopping questions

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Ennis, Ireland
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482 posts
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Shopping questions

I'm getting really excited about my trip to Egypt later this month and I've got some shopping questions...

1. I'd love to buy a gold cartouche with my name on it. I assume Khan el khalili is the best place for this, rather than 'normal' gold/jewelry places? I have read some posts on here that said to make sure the gold is real. How do you check for this? Also given that gold is a relatively fixed price, is it appropriate to still haggle?

2. Papyrus. Again reading about Papyrus here I'm getting confused. Some posts say to be aware of 'fake' papyrus and that you can tell it is fake because it will crumble when rolled, while others say there is no such thing as fake papyrus??? I assume the price depends on the quality of the papyrus and artwork? What would a guestimate price be for something maybe A4 - A3 size with more modern artwork, rather than an Ancient Egyptian scene?

3. How to haggle - I've been to Istanbul and experienced the Grand Bazzar, but what i found hardest is that I had no idea on what the item should cost - or even a rough amount so it's really hard to know if you get a good price or how outrageous the prices offered are! I found a great post from 2006(!) by Darsh who suggests the following approach...

Show some little interest in it and the ask for the price. Lets say you get 600. Say for example, no, too much, what about 400? If you get a direct yes, say ok, I will think about it and will come and take it on my way back.

then

So, you will go to another shop a block or two away. You will see the same box or you can ask for jewelry boxes. They will show you a few. You will find something that is the same or almost the same as the other one. He will quote it at 650. You say, no too much, I wouldn’t pay more than 200. He will say no way. You will walk away. If he doesn’t follow you, this means that 200 is too little. So, now you know the market price is somewhere between 200 and 400.

This sounds like a great strategy to me, however my understanding is that it isn't socially acceptable to offer a price and then not accept. So wouldn't the first part of the strategy be considered rude?

finally....lol!

I'll be in Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Dakhla & Siwa oasises and Alexandria. Is cario the best/cheapest place for shopping?

Thanks so much,

Cheers,

Scubamel

UK
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1,773 posts
22 reviews
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1. Re: Shopping questions

1. Haggle for everything. You can guarantee that even if gold is a fixed price, they'll be charging at least double or triple that fixed price to start with!

2. There is definitely fake papyrus: banana leaves etc. I don't really understand why people buy real papyrus. Surely when it's home in a frame, a fake looks just the same anyway? So why not just buy a nice-looking fake and save yourself hassle and money? Just my opinion!

3. Yes it would be considered rude to offer a price and then refuse to pay it. If something costs 600, a good starting point would be closer to 100 or 150. Your first offer will probably be laughed at. If he refuses to go low enough for you then you can walk out... he will probably call you back with a good price. If he doesn't call you back, you can go back yourself - just don't call his bluff more than once. They know every trick in the book.

Edited: 08 December 2009, 10:36
merseyside
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7,909 posts
67 reviews
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2. Re: Shopping questions

Totally agree with chesebrgr about papyrus - I have lots of them and haven't got a clue if they are real or not but know that I didn't pay extortionate prices for them and they are all nice when framed.

Scubamel you can contact Darsh via the private message system as he doesn't post on this forum anymore for more clarification on shopping help. He is a wealth of information and very helpful.

USA
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81 posts
9 reviews
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3. Re: Shopping questions

Buy the cartouche from a gov't fixed price shop, not the kalili bazaar as at the bazaar who knows if you will actually get real 18k gold or just gold plated.

A 12x18 papyrus artwork with your name on it should run about 100-150LE from a fixed price shop (guaranteeing real papyrus - though I couldn't tell the difference between real papyrus and mixed banana leaves/papyrus paper)

Ennis, Ireland
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482 posts
3 reviews
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4. Re: Shopping questions

Thanks for the suggestions everyone :)

With regards to getting the cartouche from a goverment fixed price shop, I assume the shops are clearly marked as such and will they actually do a cartouche there with your name in hierglyphics?

As an aside, I was on a course earlier this year and met a women from Cairo. When she heard I was coming to Egypt she gave me her contact details and said to get in contact with her when I go. Do you think this it is ok for me to get in contact with her or was she just being polite?

Thanks!

Scubamel

merseyside
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7,909 posts
67 reviews
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5. Re: Shopping questions

Yes get in touch with her! She wouldn't of given you her details if she didn't want to see you again:-) You might be able to get her to take you shopping..lol ;-0

Ennis, Ireland
Level Contributor
482 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Shopping questions

That would be perfect if she was happy to go shopping!

Has anyone been to Abd El-zaher book binders in Cairo? I've just been looking at their website and the books look great. Any opinions?

Cheers,

Scubame

7. Re: Shopping questions

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