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Why do they do it?

Red ball: 2 for Q5; jalapeño: Q5/lb

Red ball: 2 for Q5; jalapeño: Q5/lb

Went to the market today to buy some typical (for me) stuff. That included the red peppers, jalapeños, potatoes, black beans, goat cheese, mahi mahi, papaya and some other assorted stuff. I think all, except potatoes, were at local prices instead of Gringo prices.

While I can afford to spend more than many for food, I would rather pick when I spend more rather than being treated to Gringo prices. And obviously doing it makes no sense as there is a lot of competition in the market. My one Gringo price today was for potatoes. I asked and was told the price was Q3/lb. That’s within reason (price changes with availability and I have paid from Q2 to Q5) so I asked for three pounds. As the woman is weighing them some non-Gringo asks her how much and she says Q2.5/lb.

I could certainly afford the extra Q1.5 but there are probably 20 people/places selling potatoes in the market. The next time I buy, it won’t be from her.

On the other end, I was really impressed with the peppers (from another vendor). The coffee cup is in the photo to help you get an idea how big they are. Now I just need to figure out what to do with a pound of jalapeños.

2 comments to Why do they do it?

  • Cut the jalapeños and seed them. Roast them. Peel them. Pickle them in a jar. Maybe add some roasted, peeled garlic too. It comes out really good. 🙂

  • Begonia

    My cuñada taught me the secret to shopping at the market. You can find out roughly how much things are costing that day by kind of “surveying” the prices as you walk by a couple vendors. Just because you ask how much the potatoes are that day doesn’t mean you are under any obligation to buy. Then, once you know the variation in costs for the things you are interested in, you can figure out how much to bargain for.

    The other secret is, you find a vendor who you trust and then you return to them, again and again. The vendor recognizes you from before and wants to keep you as a customer so they don’t jack up the prices on you. This is especially true if you are a good customer and you buy a bunch of stuff from them.

    Your potato vendor may have just given you the gringo price, or, she may have expected you to try and bargain down. The other person may have been quoted 2.50/lb because that other person was an established “cliente”–or who knows, maybe the other person was her daughter’s teacher or her nieces husband. It’s hard to tell. If I were in your situation I would have given the potato lady a smile and teased her for overcharging me with something like, “Espero que usted me dio las papas mas bonitas, porque valen 3Q la libra”

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