The 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Souk Shopping

I’m sure most of you already know of both the Souks that go down during Dec/Jan in in my hometown, Durban i.e. The Al-Ansaar and the Dubai Souk. And since I’ve been attending both of these Souks for the past couple of years, I thought that I’d share my general do’s and don’ts with those of you who don’t have much experience in shopping at these Souks, so let’s get to it.. shopping-bags

Do’s:
  1. Visit both Souks in the first few days and then on the last day, that way you can spot all of the new bargains on the last day that wasn’t there before.
  2. Buy all of the jelly sweets that you can get your hands on/your wallet can afford! It’s so hard to find genuinely Halaal jellies, so the Souk is always a perfect place to get your guaranteed Halaal stash!
  3. Stock up on those black, non-snag scarf pins. Unless, you’re totally okay with ruining your scarves with those awful safety pins.
  4. Lookout for this one particular stall that sells all kinds of snacks, from Brazil nuts and China Fruit to Dried Mango and the likes. I think the stall is named Mairoon’s, but I could be wrong. Just look for a stall with that name or similar, because the snacks from this stall are amazing!
  5. Try out the variety of ice-cream from Randeree’s Homemade Icecream and from Scoopmesmore. Both are totally worth it and not available at any supermarket or store.
  6. Keep your valuables close to you, last year at the Dubai Souk, lots of shoppers had their cellphones and wallets stolen. So,  just a cautionary warning – be wary of those around you and the whereabouts of your valuables.
  7. Carry your own water. No, seriously. Why would you want to pay R12 for a bottle of water that you can get for R3 at Spar? For me, a bottle of water in my bag, is a must-have as I get very thirsty and flustered when shopping at either of the Souks. It’s so busy and crowded and so I always find myself reaching for some water and by  carrying my own, I have more money for shopping! Yay for savveh me 😀
  8. If you find a burka and/or Islamic swimwear that catches your eyes, make sure you grab ’em quick. These sell like hot cakes and defo are an investment as you’ll always need and use both!
  9. If you are a fan of abayas, you can usually find some great bargains at either Souk – just be sure that there aren’t many of that same design available or you might just risk looking like a clone at the next function that you decide to wear that mass-produced abaya to.
  10. Remember to catch all of the live cooking demo’s, entertainment and hijab tutorials – it’s worth taking time out from shopping to grab a seat and watch these live on-stage bits!
Don’ts
  1. Don’t go crazy buying errthing on the first few days of the either souk. Always wait for the bargains on the last day. Last year I picked up maxi scarves for R12 each – yeah you can faint now.
  2. Don’t haggle over every item that you want. The stall owners need to (more than) break-even so you can’t expect their items to be as cheap as chips! If you can’t afford it or not willing to pay the price stated, walk away. However, haggling is allowed if you are interested in buying a large quantity of items from the said stall owner and want a bulk discount – just don’t push it.
  3. Don’t go on any of the rides. It’s ridiculously expensive and honestly isn’t worth it, trust me.
  4. Don’t get emo with food stall employees. They are probably working their butts off to get your food to you on time, but sometimes things can get crazy busy and the influx of orders can be overwhelming for them – so keep your cool and be patient, your food will arrive soon and until it does, I am almost certain that you won’t die of starvation.
  5. Don’t run people over/shove people with your child’s pram. Honestly, I hate people who do this. If you can’t control a pram in such a crowd, leave it at home. No one likes being attacked by a pram wheel, I repeat, NO ONE.
  6. Don’t let your children run wild. This is a souk aka a shopping experience. It isn’t a place for you to forget that you have kids, allowing them to run wildly through the densely packed aisles, bumping into anyone who is in their line of terror. It’s annoying. Hold their hand and keep them close to you, K?
  7. Don’t lose your children. This one ties in with the previous don’t. Every year a large number of kids find themselves at the the Information Centre/Booth in search of their parents who were probably so busy shopping that they didn’t realize their kid is missing. Parents, don’t be a statistic.
  8. Don’t litter. There are tons of bins provided all around the venue, so it shouldn’t take much for you to drop your trash into one of them. No one wants to pick up after you, especially in the food court area.
  9. Don’t mess the bathrooms. Enough said.
  10. Don’t hog the outdoor/food court chairs and tables. Yeah, I get that you got there first and that you need the break from all the shopping, but your shopping bags don’t need their own seat, do they? There’s probably someone who needs a place to sit to enjoy their meal, so it won’t hurt to place your bags on the floor.
  11. And this one is just an extra: Randomly stopping in the middle of an aisle to reconnect with long-lost/close family members should be banned. Others are trying to walk through the aisles to browse and shop and you’re just disrupting the shopping experience. If you want to really chat that much, I suggest moving over to the side or taking it outside – it’s a win-win.

And that’s it! The do’s and don’ts of Souk shopping all in one post, I may have forgotten a few BUT that just calls for another post next year, this time. Have a great time at the Souk! IMG_9118

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2 thoughts on “The 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Souk Shopping

  1. anisa says:

    Lots and lots of phones where stolen at the al ansaar souk this year. Pick pockets and from bags. And even while you serve your “customers”! Its unbelievable who did all the stealing too!

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