You’ve got your umbrella in one hand and your Gucci in the other, ready for a good shopping day, but have you heard about the Mở hàng buổi sang?
Mở hàng buổi is the name given to a Vietnamese superstition stating that the first buyer of the day will predict the vendor’s success for the entire day. Some local vendors believe that if the first sale is quick and easy, it will bring them good luck for the rest of the day. If the transaction is difficult, especially if the potential customer walks away empty-handed, the trader believes it will be a bad day with low sales. But being the first customer of the day has its benefits; it is a good time to negotiate a price because the vendor does not want the customer to leave empty-handed.
If a customer does not purchase an item after touching it, the vendor may burn a small roll of paper and then pray and make hand gestures to ward off bad luck. This is referred to as “đốt phong long.” If a vendor believes that the first buyer of the day is not serious or wants only some price requirements, he will likely ignore the customer, believing that the next one will be a better one bringing him goodies for the day.
Some vendors also believe that some customers have a soul that is either good or bad for business. If a customer with a ‘good soul’ purchases something, the vendor expects high sales; if the customer has a ‘bad soul,’ the vendor expects low sales.
If you find yourself in a shop or market early in the morning, it is best to be mindful of these beliefs and decide whether you are there to buy or just to look around. This will save you any unnecessary animosity!