So here we are (Dad and Kaitlin) in Beijing last summer, perusing assorted dish ware balanced precariously on the back of a wooden bicycle wagon. Putting aside the feat of sheer luck that none of the merchandise was broken, it was time to get busy looking for much needed bowls, plates, and cups.
You’ll find a lot of informal shopping experiences like this in China. And though this was an extremely reasonable deal at 3 pieces for 10 RMB ($1.63), you may come across a situation in which the price is clearly much higher than you’d expected.
That’s when you can whip out this handy phrase:
Pinyin (i.e. the transcription of the Chinese words into Latin script): tai4 gui4 le!
(the numbers indicate what tone the words are said in. In this case, it’s the sharp 4th tone for both words.
Pronunciation: “tie gway luh”
Translation: “Too expensive!”
Everyone loves a good bargain, and local vendors are used to negotiation. Just shake your head and keep repeating those three magical syllables until you get your price.