Haggling in Mexico

As I noted in a previous post, my wife and I went down to Mexico for a one-week stay at a local resort. We were in Mazatlan enjoying the sun, and of course wanted to buy a few souvenirs.

The one observation is that in most stores there are no prices. You must ask the price from the store owner and you have no way of knowing what the price should be. We found out the hard way that it is essential to know how to shop to be frugal.

One evening, when my wife and I were coming back from a nice walk, we stopped at a little boutique. I have to admit my feet were aching and I was a bit cranky. My wife looked over all the goods and found a bracelet that she really liked. We did haggle a bit and finally she bought the bracelet for 700 pesos.

The next day, we went into another store and my wife saw the exact same bracelet and asked for the price: 500 pesos before haggling. In other words, we had paid at least 200 pesos or twenty dollars too much. Based on this experience, this is what I would recommend:

  • Never buy when tired. You are less likely to negotiate a good deal;
  • Shop around. There is nothing original. Get the prices from at least three different stores before even starting to negotiate a better price. As there are many stores within walking distance selling the same goods, it should not take too long to get a few prices.
  • Make sure to negotiate the price down by at least a third and ideally by half. Then you will get close to a fair price.

In other words, don’t rush into buying anything and make sure you have all the information to make a good purchase. In other words, do exactly what you would do at home with minor modification to take into account the culture of the market in Mexico.

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2 Responses to Haggling in Mexico

  1. We have made many short visits to Mexico and I can sympathize with your experience. I just wanted to share a “local” experience with you. About 25 years ago, my husband worked with a man, who swore that he never paid the “asking” price for purchases. He “haggled” for everything, or so he said! His words were, at least try it! Well, we did! We were in a major department store and walked past a picture in their furniture dept. We asked the price, then asked when it might go on sale. After being told that they don’t put the accessories on sale, we started to walk away. The salesman told us to wait, talked to another sales staff and offered us the painting at about $25.00 off, a major savings at the time. We bought it and it still hangs in our bedroom!
    We’ve never haggled in the U.S. again, but with the economy like it is, I might consider it! Don’t wait until you get to Mexico again, it might work for you at home, too!!

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