By Sarah Khan
September 13, 2014

Haggling for a carpet is a lively cultural tradition in Morocco—but it takes some savvy. Local hotelier Maryam Montague, who also runs the online textile shop Red Thread Souk, shows us the ropes.

1. Head to the Souk Zrabia, in the medina, where you’ll find the largest selection of handmade carpets. Comparison-shop among the options hanging outside the interconnected storefronts.

2. Local hucksters are notorious for markups, so know your rugs: shaggy and knotted types are piles; flatweaves are flat, woven, and less expensive. No matter the style, opt for wool (the highest quality).

3. Have fun with the spectacle: accept a mint tea, give a customary shukran (thanks), and banter with the merchant while he showcases a stockpile of carpets—each with its own story.

4. Don’t get scammed. To verify authenticity, dab the material with a wet napkin—if the color bleeds, it’s a knockoff. And don’t trust anything touted as pre-1960’s; it’s probably fake.

5. Be ready to leave. Drive a hard bargain to see how far the price drops, then head for the next outlet. The vendor will chase you if there’s room to negotiate; otherwise, he’s made his best offer.