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Buyer's Guide & Tips

Whether you are visiting from nearby or from the other side of the world, here are some tips when shopping.

  • The sale price does not include the local sales tax. There is no VAT but there is a local sales tax of 8.5% which will be added at the time of purchase. Nearly everything is taxed with the exception of some food at supermarkets and at restaurants that do not offer seating.
  • In most stores, especially large chain stores, prices usually are not negotiable. Exceptions to this include smaller, family run businesses, antique shops, street vendors and some high cost purchases such as cameras, jewelry and art. You won't insult someone by asking for a lower price.
  • With the number of stores to choose from in the Bay Area, if you don't like the price at one store, try another.
  • Most people are honest, most employees have nothing to gain by trying to cheat a customer, so just use common sense. But remember, if the price is too good to be true, you should be suspicious.
  • If you will have the seller ship your purchase to your home, be certain to write down all of the relevant information. Get the name of the sales person who assisted you as well as the store manager, name, address and phone number of the store and keep a copy of your receipt and shipping documents (if any).
  • Paying by credit card may give you some consumer protection in the event that a purchase becomes unsatisfactory for some reason. For that reason we recommend making most purchases with a credit card.
  • Vendors may not charge you more because you pay with a credit card. However, they are allowed to offer a discount to customers who pay with cash.

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