Mercado, street stall or even small stores: "Tricks for the trade" Top 5 Page for this destination Mexico Shopping Tip by melosh

Mexico Shopping: 29 reviews and 22 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

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 20, 2007
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