About Shopping in Korea

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About Shopping in Korea

Post  Daphne and Co on Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:34 am

Korea is a shopper's paradise! Great prices can be found for shoes, clothes, handbags, suitcases, leather goods, silk, antiques, reproductions, and all kinds of souvenirs. You can easily find makers of custom-made clothes and shoes of varying quality. Although department stores and most shops have fixed prices for items, bargaining can usually get a lower price with street vendors and in the major open air markets such as Namdaemun and Dongdaemun. However, do not expect the same level of haggling conditions that exist in Thailand. Also, do not forget about Korea's duty-free stores and Life in Korea's own Online Shopping sections for Products and Services and Online Reservations.

Some other shopping tips to keep in mind:
Retailers speak limited English, except in areas frequented by foreigners, such as Itaewon.
Although some retailers may be willing to take U.S. dollars or other foreign currency for purchases, expect a worse exchange rate than you would find at a bank.
Genuine antique items cannot be exported without permission. Contact the Art & Antique Office (Tel: 662-0106) for information on procedures, or ask the shop owner.
Be careful about buying imitation brand-name items- it is illegal to take or send them out of the country. Counterfeit items can be confiscated by customs.
Most clothing shops do not have places to try on clothes. Items that do not fit when you get home should be exchanged within 3 days. Tailor shops do have fitting, and you should try on all tailor-made clothing before making the final payment. It is easier to negotiate for alterations on the spot than coming back later.
According to Korean beliefs, the rest of the day depends on the first customer of the day. They consider it bad luck if the first customer does not buy anything or in some way disturbs the owner's mood. Being a good "informal ambassador" means trying not to exchange items or haggling excessively during the morning hours.
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