If the news about Lucky Plaza is correct, it’s only 14 days to go before they close down. Surprisingly, when I went there today new stocks were being displayed by some shops. Heard that some shops are moving to Saigon Square 2 while some don’t have a place to go yet.
What I liked about Lucky Plaza is that it’s near where I work and it’s a place where you can hang out while waiting for the bus. Some souvenirs here are actually cheaper compared to Ben Thanh Market and unlike Saigon Square 1 and 2, you can at least have a little privacy trying the clothes on.
Here are some practical tips when shopping in bazaar-like shops like Lucky Plaza, Saigon Square 1 and 2, and Canh Trang (dollar-store).
- Wear an inner tank top and cycling shorts or fitted bottoms. Why? Not all shops have ready fitting rooms. More often, shops just have this heavy cloth that they put up to separate you from the rest of the other people shopping in their stall. Worse, you go in the middle of racks where you squat to try on a shirt or dress, step out into the light for everyone in the whole mall to see what you’re in — because the mirror??? Well, the saleslady, will hold the mirror up for you. So if the lady holding the cloth to hide you while you change accidentally lets go, you won’t be in your naked glory.
- Check what you’re buying. In such shops, you’ll come across clothes with slight damage. When you think you can still repair it by yourself, it’s just right you ask for a lower price. Also, watch out for those small tapes with arrows or masking tapes pointing to the damaged area of the product. Remember you are getting what you paid for. For shops like Canh Trang, they sew for you missing buttons, so better check for those too.
- Prepare small bills and don’t fold. Easier to haggle if you already have ready small bills. You can’t tell the saleslady that you don’t have money when you’re handing out 500,000 VNDs, right? Also, beware of salespeople telling you that you handed them torn money! This happened to me today when I was pretty sure I paid with a bill in good condition (straight from the ATM!). They were asking me to replace it when it didn’t come from me! The Vietnamese are also particular with money that is crumpled or has got too many creases.
- Shop hop. Don’t stay in one shop. Check out what the other stalls are offering. For sure, you’d find the same dress slightly lower-priced.
- Buy in bulk. When you buy in bulk, you can get more discounts. Now, it doesn’t mean you should hoard for yourself — what I mean is, get your friends to join you in shopping. And anyway, shopping is never fun doing it alone.