Today, my friends in Hanoi are going to Lang Son province for shopping. This province is on the border between Viet Nam and China. Things are imported from China under taxes. Most of the goods from there are much cheaper than in Hanoi, so many people from elsewhere in Viet Nam also go there to buy and then sell the products in their own retail shops. Quality is a problem with some stuff and of course nothing is guaranteed. There is the possibility of getting caught by the police if you buy more than one thing and of course you will have to pay lots of tax.
People say that this Lunar New Year seems to be coming earlier than usual, as there are lots of people hanging around shopping for new clothes and goods for Tet. Everywhere -supermarkets, big and small markets are full of people, prices are being put up without notice, depending on the owner. People are buying early because they're scared that the price will get higher as Tet approaches.
For me, I always have to pay more than Hanoians because I have a southern accent. I got upset many times with the sellers because they always try to rip me off, which is really annoying.