Didn’t we know it all along: Market vendors in Mexico expect their customers to barter. And according to Ron and Caryl Krannich in “Treasures and Pleasures of Mexico — Best of the Best in Travel and Shopping,” that’s why they fix the initial asking price about 20 to 70 percent higher in the first place. The authors of this helpful guidebook seldom pay full retail on big-ticket items, whether purchasing at home or abroad, and they are nice enough to share their secrets with the rest of us.
So, let’s say you’re at the lively Mercado de Artesañas, also known as the Handicraft Market in Oaxaca, branded as a shopper’s paradise for its wide range of folk art, and you have finally discovered that great woven rug you have always wanted. What next? Well, just turn to page 60 and quickly review the “14 Rules of Effective Bargaining.” It says here, by now you should have researched prices of comparable items at other vendor stores, and most importantly you should have determined a maximum price that you are willing to pay before starting the haggling process altogether. A shrewd buyer is charming and polite and lets the seller make the first offer. The more you indicate that you are in a hurry, the more you are likely to pay. The Krannich’s believe that time usually works in your favor; therefore, take it deliberately slow. The longer you stay in control prolonging the negotiations, the better the price should be.
The authors of this helpful guide book share their shopping secrets as well as travel tips for Mexico visitors.
Avoid even numbers in offering the merchant 30 to 60 percent less than his initial offer. Don’t offer 1000 Pesos (US$ 90) for that woven carpet, but only 980. This might impress your counterpart and tells him that you are a seasoned haggler. These are only half of the clever shopping rules and if you follow the rest of them, it’s likely that your investment in buying the Shopping Guidebook will pay off many times. It surely would have for me. After reading the guidebook I wised up and never again would I impulse buy a rug from the first street vendor who crossed my path in Old Town Oaxaca…
In “Treasures and Pleasures” you will also find useful tips about your travel destination — on climate, required documents, transportation, safety, security and travel insurance.
The book portrays 13 mostly metropolitan (shopping) areas– from Acapulco to Zihuatenejo and includes not only listings of hundreds of the best places to shop, but also the scoop on where to stay, where to eat (and what not to eat in order to avoid Montezuma’s revenge!), as well as background information about major sights.
Shopping doesn’t even have to be high on your list of travel activities to enjoy this book. But if hunting for precious souvenirs is your passion, the book will advise savvy travelers how to avoid possible scams (like switching your purchased item for an inferior product during the packing process), counterfeit goods and how to discover unique treasures throughout Mexico. And yes, the authors also include a chapter on how to ship all that wonderful stuff home. Happy shopping!