Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Bargain or not
Bangkok still is a shopper's paradise. It is great for buying clothes, both for men and women, bags, shoes and accessories such as wallets/purses. It is NOT, I am sad to say, for IT products. The prices of big ticket items such as the iPad is not very different from Singapore's. Even if you save a couple of tens of dollars, it is just not worth the risk of getting it fixed should it break down within the warranty period. International warranty, I am told, is for one year. Local warranty is 2 years. If you are looking for IT products, and you live in Singapore, Sim Lim Square is just as good. For small tickets items? Check out dealxtreme.com, Qoo10.com or any of the China-based online retailers. They will give you just as good a price, if not better. And the quality isn't any less good than the ones you will find in Bangkok. In fact, I saw some of these gadgets on display at Pantip Plaza. There are also available at these online stores. By the way, I was told and I have read reviews on the internet that Pantip is one of the best for IT products, price and assortment wise. My actual experience is anything but when it came to the price category.
I was told that I could get the iPad a hundred or two cheaper than what I would get in Singapore. The Apple shop at Pantip Plaza listed a 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad at B16,500. A shop that sold accessories proudly announced that it also sold the iPad. I was quoted a price of B18,500 for the same 16GB Wi-Fi-only model. Even if I bargained on the price, how much lower can it go? B16,000? Maybe B14,000 if I am a seasoned pro bargainer. Realistically, it would be nearer B15,000, which isn't all that different if I had bought from the Apple store. The bargainer must realise that the retailer will first mark up his prices so that he wouldn't lose a cent (or a baht) after the obligatory bargaining dance. You think you've got a good deal, but really, the retailer is the one walking away with the biggest smile.
Not so the merchandise that list prices already cheaper than those you get at home. And these are the clothes, bags and shoes which is available in huge quantities and assortment. You can really save after a good bargaining session, and the retailer gains too because his costs are already low. I spent 2 days trawling Pratunam Market and the Platinum Fashion Mall and don't think I have covered every inch, even though I lived just on top of it. You should plan for 3 solid days just in this part of Bangkok if you are there for the first time on a purely shopping trip. You see, the Fashion Mall closes at 7pm. Of course, there is the night market which, unfortunately, I didn't visit. Perhaps next time, soon.