A few days ago, I posted the video of me shopping at the Yongsan Electronics Market:
It’s a live market area with vendors selling an assortment of new and used, retail and wholesale electronics goods of all kinds. Not just one mall, it consists of a few malls next to each other in a multi-floor building as well as a few streets outside.
You can see in the video, multiple people tell me to watch out for scams, including vendors trying to unload something on an unknowing consumer at an unreasonably high price.
I didn’t ignore their advice completely. On the contrary, I visited another store that a friend had recommended to me–Electro-mart, which is like the Korean version of Best Buy–and I made sure to test the external mic I purchased. I even tried fleetingly to negotiate.
The Best Buy-like Electro-mart was a brightly lit space in the belly of a mall, promoting splashy new games and gadgets.
It didn’t have a small, simple collar microphone for a cell phone.
Yongsan Electronics Market is not one place. There are some parts of it, selling some types of goods, I read, that might really be ripping you off. And when I shared the link to my video in the community section of a language learning app, almost all the commentators said I could find cheaper prices shopping online. That may be true, but I am currently in Korea, and I like the look and feel of the old-style market. (Shopping online here is difficult for a foreigner!)
I can go in and find what I need and look at different shops and hold it in my hand and test it out. Not to mention markets are fun.
Were fun. Or, are fun, if they are bustling.
Yongsan Market, unfortunately, is full of empty spaces, closed shops, and storefronts that only serve as warehouses for online sales. It wasn’t the bustling place it was in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and up through the aughts.
I prefer the market. It’s one thing I like about living and traveling in Asia. But even here things are changing in some industries.