Mexico Shopping Tips by melosh Top 5 Page for this destination
Mexico Shopping: 34 reviews and 28 photos
Bargaining is a characteristic of Mexican commerce. Even in stores with "fixed" prices bargaining may be productive. For tourists it is best to act as if all prices are negotiable. The best places for negotiation are markets, stalls and small stores, but certainly you should bargain with street vendors, tour operators and corrupt police officers if you plan to pay the bribe.
What to buy: Buy what you need. Buy what you want. But in most cases, I would suggest that you should be shopping for things in Mexico made by Mexicans. Look for unique handcrafted items and beware of the existence of machine manufactured substitutes or imported substitutes brought in specifically for the tourist trade. In a "warnings tip " I gave some of the don'ts, here are some do's:
1. Be prepared to take some time to enjoy the process.
2. Look, touch, smell and ask about lots of the items even it is only with sign language. Try to learn more about quality and its relationship to price.
3. Smile, laugh, shake hands.
4. Feel free to praise without indicating a commitment to buy or even bargain on what you see.
5. Show that you are interested in buying, but are not committed to it. You are more than 'just looking'. You may notice that if you carry a bag that looks like you just bought something you will be offered better prices. (Remember never accept a first offer.)
6. Check out other shops for similar items.
7. Always offer a price lower than you are willing to pay. (How much lower depends on how comfortable you are with your understanding of the market price and your style of bargaining.)
8. Consider buying more than one for a discount.
9. Show interest and disinterest at the same time. "I like it, but it has this flaw. . .and your price is too high." (This can be done non-verbally.)
10. Walk away if you can not get a price you want to pay. (If you are not leaving the market, you might just pass by on your way out to give the vendor a second chance at your best offer.)
Also you will find that a final offer is more effective if it is a single bill or handful of bills and coins which empty the wallet or pocket.
11. Know the exchange rate.
What to pay: Only pay what you want to pay but expect to spend every peso you have in your pocket and then some. I have sometimes used being pushed to my dollar reserve to my advantage. For example, I have on occasion used the dollar exchange as a last step to speed up reaching my price. Lets say the exchange rate is 11 pesos to the dollar. The vendor has reached a price of 125 pesos and I have only come up to offering 105 pesos but would agree to 110, yet it now looks like we have reached that little impasse which threatens the deal. Rather than walk away, or make a final offer of 110 and walk away, I pull out a crisp new 10 dollar bill and offer it as payment in full. The vendor understands but probably pulls out a little calculator to try to show that $10 is only 100 pesos. Still he or she eventually agrees for "his friend". I do not know why this works, but it does. Maybe it is just the single bill effect. Good luck.
Theme: Local Craft
If you have any Catholic friends there is a type of small shop that most tourists are likely to miss but can provide you an opportunity to pick up some nice presents. These are shops that sell religious articles. There are, of course, all levels of quality and many items from outside Mexico, but I would direct your attention to hand made items from Mexico.
In Puebla, I once purchased a dozen rosaries for an older Catholic friend who regularly visited the Catholic shut-ins of our town. Her daughter was one of my travelling companions on this trip. The daughter added the perfect touch when she approached a priest at the cathedral by herself and using hand gestures and a few words of high school Spanish was able to get the priest to bless the rosaries for the poor shut-ins.
What to buy: Rosaries by the half dozen or, of course, anything else you see of meaningful beauty from Mexico.
What to pay: If you stick to things made in Mexico, you will find the prices quite reasonable if not shockingly inexpensive. I have no idea on how the prices of imported items would compare with the price of those same items in the USA.
Hats for sale in Patzcuaro
Bargaining for your price is expected in market places in Mexico. Every town has a market or market day. Bargaining is also common in shops especially when they are owner operated. Even established stores with "fixed prices" may give you a discount if you just ask. This is not convenient if you just want to decide and buy, but it can be fun.
What to buy: Make sure the item is made in Mexico if this is important to you. People are importing goods made in Peru and Guatemala to sell to tourists in Mexico.
The price ultimately reflects the sellers desire or need to sell and the buyers desire to purchase. These are often influenced by the quality, the demand, the uniqueness of the item (availability), and lastly by the knowledge and persistance of the buyer and seller.
Buy what you like, but try to determine the market value before you close the deal.
What to pay: Rich crazy tourist -- pays a wildly excessive asking price.
Tourist who has checked the store prices and knows how to say no will generally get a slight savings to the store price which might partly reflect lower quality.
Foreigner fluent in Spanish with lots of time for bargaining can pay about what a rich Mexican will pay.
The buyer who knows the quality, knows the going lowest price, can walk away, is persistant, is friendly, and who finds a motivated seller with a need for cash, will get the best price.
Address: Central market, or in the streets on market day
Directions: Everywhere things are being sold.
More Reviews (39)
- See All Suckered to the "perfect" place?
- See All Cuota roads
- See All Day of the Dead
- See All Travelers diarrhea, etc.
- See All Entrance requirements --...
melosh's Related Pages
Mexico Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Mexican medley"
- "TIPS FOR TRAVELERS TO MEXICO"
- "LA MAGIA DE MEXICO"
- "Mexico for cultural explorers"
- "A week in Banderas Bay"
- "La Venta"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Mexico
- Hotels in Mexico
- Transportation in Mexico
- Nightlife in Mexico
- Restaurants in Mexico
- Shopping in Mexico
- Warnings and Dangers in Mexico
- See All...
Explore the World
- Manjuyod Hotels
- Lithonia Hotels
- La Ceiba Hotels
- Lord Howe Island Hotels
Badges & Stats in Mexico
- 62 Reviews
- 24 Photos
- 379 Forum posts
- 3 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (24)
Have you been to Mexico?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Mexico
- Posted in Miscellaneous Forum "Re: feels like spam everytime I..."
- updated a Mexico Travelogue "Intro to culture, where to live or visit, FAQ"
- Wrote a Review Suckered to the "perfect" place? in Mexico Tourist Traps
- Commented on one of madamx's Mexico travel pages
- Uploaded a Photo to "Mariachi music for free"
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Peru Intro, 44 reviews, 49 photos, 1 travelogue
- China Intro, 28 reviews, 53 photos, 4 travelogues
- Dominican Republic Intro, 19 reviews, 58 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Mexico Intro, 42 reviews, 15 photos, 4 travelogues
- Guatemala Intro, 10 reviews, 46 photos, 2 travelogues
- United States of America Intro, 45 reviews, 9 photos
- Uruguay Intro, 12 reviews, 37 photos, 1 travelogue
- Manaus Intro, 9 reviews, 31 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Liberia Intro, 10 reviews, 28 photos, 2 travelogues
- Haiti Intro, 7 reviews, 27 photos, 2 travelogues
FriendsSee All Friends (18)
Top Mexico hotels
- Cancún Hotels
- 1927 Reviews - 3713 Photos
- Playa del Carmen Hotels
- 774 Reviews - 1734 Photos
- Cabo San Lucas Hotels
- 714 Reviews - 1256 Photos
- Puerto Vallarta Hotels
- 1126 Reviews - 1909 Photos
- San José del Cabo Hotels
- 55 Reviews - 118 Photos
- Mexico City Hotels
- 2111 Reviews - 4387 Photos
- Akumal Hotels
- 71 Reviews - 146 Photos
- Tijuana Hotels
- 640 Reviews - 1027 Photos
- Puerto Morelos Hotels
- 2 Reviews - 12 Photos
- Acapulco Hotels
- 361 Reviews - 692 Photos
- Tulum Hotels
- 450 Reviews - 1320 Photos
- Puerto Peñasco Hotels
- 75 Reviews - 303 Photos
- Manzanillo Hotels
- 30 Reviews - 69 Photos
- Mazatlán Hotels
- 468 Reviews - 777 Photos
- Isla Cozumel Hotels
- 559 Reviews - 1391 Photos