The markets of Morocco create an exotic allure that beckons the curious traveler. Generally speaking, these shops are excellent places to encounter culture and provide an exciting experience for you. If you a haggler at heart, you might just enter a paradise of sorts.
That said, there are a few warnings to be aware of. One, if you are passing by and a shop owner offers you tea with no expectations, know that you will be expected – and likely pressured – to purchase something. These kind of sales can be common with classic Moroccan products such as carpets, textiles and leathers. If it is too good to be true, it is. That’s life in a lot of ways, right?
Second, when a shop keeper, possible guide, or someone in the medina offers help, “free products” or other services and along with it says “it’s no problem” or “it’s free” – it will be a problem for you and it will not be free. So the easiest solution is to avoid these types of offers altogether.
Third – and this is especially common in Jemaa al-Fna in Marrakech – if you take pictures of snake charmers, monkey handlers or just about anyone else working in that square, you will be expected to pay for them. Not only will you be expected to pay for taking photos, they will want a ridiculous amount of money for them. Simply don’t pay for it. It is a scam. They make their money by telling you to take photos and then charging you a lot of money to take them. If you do get caught in this trap and aren’t comfortable paying their high prices, feel free to show them that you deleted the pictures and walk away.
Lastly, for those that find haggling a bit like receiving 100 paper cuts all at once, don’t be afraid to hear the price, assess if you are willing to pay it and if it seems fair, just pay the asking price. Could you get it for a lower price? Sure, it is possible. But at the end of the day, there may be value in not having to haggle if it isn’t your thing. Don’t be afraid to say “no, thank you” and walk away. You can also look for places that have small signs with prices written on them. These places have fixed pricing and may allow you to skip the sometimes awkward dance of haggling.
Scams can happen but there are a lot of good and fair shop keepers all over Morocco for you to interact with. Don’t be afraid to explore, shop, and enter into the world of haggling if it is your ‘cup of tea’. At the end of the day, remember that ‘no’ is an acceptable answer and you never need to buy something that you do not want to buy.