Is it possible that an etiquette exists for bagging a bargain in Mexico?
We’ll show you how to haggle successfully, in a few easy steps!
Shiny new things
Finding the perfect souvenir is all part of your vacation experience. Even if it looks a little tacky when you get back to the reality of home, that shiny token of sunnier climes has an appeal to it whilst you’re there, and you just have to have it. But not at all costs! Remember what your Mom always preached; if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it. So keep these simple haggling hacks in mind on your Mexican All Inclusive vacation, and become a champion haggler!
Don’t go recuerdo crazy
It’s so easy to feel rich on an All Inclusive vacation. Feeling that you have spent nothing at all is a common error. But, remember you have already paid for everything in advance, and just because those Mexican pesos are burning a hole in your Bermuda shorts, doesn’t mean you have to buy every trinket that catches your beady eye.
Be prepared to pay what you can afford
So, you’ve seen that Talavera pottery bowl, and you must have it. Before you enter the shop, actually, before you even glance twice at it, set a reasonable price in your head. Stick to your guns. This is really important, because the next bit is a long drawn out Mexican soap opera. But keeping that reasonable offer upfront in your mind is imperative. Okay, deep breath, we’re going in…
Remember your manners
A smile, and a Buenos Dias go a long way. Yes, these vendors see tourists like us all day, every day. Yes, they see us as cash cows walking into their shop. Yes, they will try and extract as many dollars or pesos as they possibly can. This is their livelihood. But, start with a smile. Great, now everybody is in a good mood.
A rule of thumb is to take the given price, halve it, and that’s your best bargain. That’s pretty good advice. But how do you get there? Well, still smiling, suggest the lowest price you can possibly hope for – below what you are prepared to pay, and work up. It’ll take time, effort, and mucho patience.
If the vendor laughs you out the door, then go in exactly that direction. Why? Here are three good reasons:
- He/she’ll probably call you back and agree a price that suits you.
- There are plenty more fish in that particular sea, go somewhere else.
- You’ll show the vendor you mean business.
Bulk buy and save
If one shop has all you want, then stock up and ask for a bulk buy bargain. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Also remember to calculate correctly in your head, rounding out the dollars incorrectly can be a costly mistake, and might take the edge off that bargain. At the time of writing, USD 1 = MXN 18.7763.
Leave him outside
It’s true, women are just better at bargaining. We can use our wily ways to get what we want, and talking is never an issue! Couples can use the ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach, that works nicely, but overall, the fairer sex is infinitely better at getting what they want. Hormones help too, certain times of the month tend to make us even more tenacious!
“If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.” ~ Robin Williams.
What to look out for
Snow-globes and sombreros aside, there are some lovely pieces to look out for, as well as Tequila which is always appreciated! Keep your beady bargaining eye out for:
- Taxco silver jewelry.
- Beaded crafts and jewelry – perfect for that hard-to-please teen at home.
- Clay and earthenware pottery – we mentioned Talavera, but also watch out for works in black clay from Oaxaca.
- Coffee, candy and those fragrant Vanilla pods – always great gifts to please a chef in the family.
A final word
Worth paying attention to is the lack of bargaining sway available in ‘proper’ shops, as opposed to the beachfront stalls. So perhaps some good advice is to treat the two shopping experiences differently, and the best advice is to just enjoy it! If haggling stresses you out, simply stick to the shops.
Have you had a brilliant bargain whilst on vacation in Mexico? Did you find haggling entertaining? Tell us about it, drop a comment below, we’d love to hear your personal Mexican haggling experience.