However, there are a few points that you will need to keep in mind if you want to come back from the market with positive feelings:
- Although the market administration tries to keep an eye on pickpockets, they are still coming to the market to do their dirty job, especially on warm days, when there are a lot of people around. Their main target are the people that do not look like locals. My opinion is that there are not as many pickpockets there as in busy central areas of St. Petersburg, but forewarned is forearmed, right?
- If you are not a Russian language speaker, there are only a few covered pavilions where you will be charged the same price as the locals. These pavilions work on weekdays too and they offer genuine and higher-priced things in a better condition than you can find in the open territory of the market. If you want to enjoy browsing the open stalls in the search of a hidden gem, take your Russian friend with you or contact us
We will be happy to make a walk around the market
with you, show you Udelnaya Neighbourhood or perhaps visit artist studios nearby!
Actually, many Russian-speaking visitors of Udelka, including St. Petersburgers prefer to come to the market with a tour, this way they discover more interesting things.
- Another obstacle that is also relevant for us locals is the inability to bargain. I often fall into the same trap when I really like something and show my interest straight away. Don't do that! Better keep browsing the market and come back to the stall with this item later (if you still need it), and name the price that is around 20-30% less when what the seller wants. Some people ask for a 50% discount and, what is more surprising, they get it! Remember that as a foreigner you will automatically look as a wealthy enough person for most sellers, no matter how shabby your outlook will actually be.
- Don't buy things without thinking how you will take them out of the country. See the end of our post where I write about the export rules for valuable items.
- There are fakes on the market. Some of them are really evident, but as they are cheap, people still keep buying them. This is the case with pre-revolutionary coins.
I bought some fake coins myself once, 2 for the price of one (this trick works well not only with the happy hour drinks) and when I returned home, I remembered about all sorts of really genuine coins that I keep finding in our countryside garden since I was a baby and I felt so ashamed about this silly purchase that these fakes flew straight into the rubbish bin.
The other fakes are not so easy to distinguish and they mostly have to deal with "old" paper diplomas and documents, shoulder straps, etc. Sometimes not all art experts can tell if this is a fake or not. In that case, they make a picture of this item and send it to their colleagues. If you have doubts and do not have friends or time for an expertise, do not buy the items under question.
- In market pavilions, you can pay for your purchases by card, for street vendors please prepare cash. Of course, they can also receive instant wire transfers to their bank accounts, but I doubt that you have a Russian banking card for that. There are cash machines in the entrance and exit halls of Udelnaya Metro Station and in other locations around.
- If you come to the market on a rainy day or in winter time, when it is cold, there will be less sellers and people will not be selling things from the ground. On such days it makes sense to wear shoes that you don't mind getting dirty, as it might become really muddy.