There's a shopping experience in Beijing that has to be seen to be believed, and it's called the Silk Market. It's a five story shopping extravaganza, located above the Yong'anli subway stop. Calling it insane is like calling Kim Jong-il maladjusted. There are hundreds of shops packed tightly together, each floor selling a different variety of goods, and each shop selling virtually the same thing. The only differentiator is often the aggressiveness of the sales people! I was dragged into some shops (literally), complemented like crazy ("oh handsome man, you want new shoes?!"), and made friends everywhere ("normal price 400, but for you, special price my friend, only 300"). Awww wasn't that sweet?
Truth is, you have to haggle and bargain like crazy. In reading other people's blog posts…
…some claim you can buy at 1/3 asking price, some claim 1/6 asking price. I don't recall the best deal I got, but believe me—walking out of the store without buying is a great way to get a great price!
I won't list all the things I bought as many are gifts and I'd hate to ruin the surprise, but believe me when I say that if you can handle the harassment and are up to the haggling, it's a great place for an exhausting afternoon of shopping.