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Shoes galore! ---Sogo Dept. Store

Shopping


What makes shopping unique in Taiwan is the scale and variety. Shopping at huge Japanese department stores is equally popular to buying from a clothes rack on the side of the road.

Taiwan is also the land of Mom-and-Pop small businesses, so it is also quite common to see a family sitting on their lounge suite in front of the TV, in the middle of a street-front room full of merchandise.

Most major centers will have either a Mitshukoshi or Sogo Department store, which are popular chains from Japan. They will usually accommodate all your clothing and household needs. Almost every upscale designer is also available with the latest fashions.

Bargaining:

Since a lot of people own their own businesses, they often have the authority to give you a discount. If you do choose to bargain, a reasonable discount will usually only be around 10% off and a good discount might be up to 20% off, and remember to always be polite and smile, regardless of whether you achieve your objective or not.

Try your bargaining skill on:

  • Scooter/Car
  • House rental
  • Second hand appliances
  • Smaller vendors when making a large purchase
  • Street vendors (not for food)

Don't try your bargaining skill on:

  • Restaurant prices
  • Supermarket goods
  • Department store goods (unless in bulk)
  • Drinks in pubs or clubs

Note: If you cannot get a discount on an item, you may be able to get a few free accessories. For instance, if you are buying a second hand TV, you might also ask for free delivery and some spare cords too. Try the Chinese phrase, "Suan wo pian yi yi dian" 算我便宜一點點. This literally means, "count it a little cheaper for me."

Computers and Electronics
Taiwan is a great place to get computers and parts, and labor is very cheap for assembly or repairs. Look for the ubiquitous big yellow 3C electronics stores; they’re an island wide chain that can supply any computing part or service you need. The locals are usually very computer savvy, so ask them for the best places to buy.

Home and Hardware
If you are into DIY, the best places would be B&Q or Hola chains which can be found in most cities. Ikeas are also popular and can be found throughout Taiwan.

Markets/ Night Markets
Local markets are a fun and interesting way to shop in Taiwan, and sometimes you can pick up a few sweet bargains too. There are markets for clothes, food, electronics & DVDs, flowers, jewelry and jade, knick-knacks and combinations of the above. Usually each neighborhood will have its own market, so ask around and go to check them out.


Sales:

Usually shops will have the word ‘sale’ written in English on display, but if you see a large number on display (i.e. a large ‘5’ or a large ‘8’) it also means a sale is on. Sale signs also tell you the percent of the original price and not the amount off. They count in units of 10% (折).

Sale Sign Examples

8.0 折 80% of original = 20% off
2.5 折 25% of original = 75% off
0.5 折 5% of original = 95% off


Clothing:

Tips for buying clothing

  • Most clothes from the markets are not pre-washed. Be careful washing them with whites, and expect a small amount of shrinkage.
  • Some discount stores and markets will not let you try on the clothes before you buy, as they are already so cheap. Nor can you return them. Make sure you think twice before you purchase!

    Tailoring
    Having clothes altered here is very cheap and fast, if you do it at your local laundrymat or from a small seamstress shop. Having suits and shirts made from scratch is possible too, although most people prefer the prices, quality and styles available in Hongkong or Thailand.