I once heard someone say ‘take advantage of the culture, not the people.’ This simple line resonated with me and I applied it to my travels throughout Baja California, especially when it came to haggling.
When I was in Baja I drove down to the seaside village Puerto Nuevo, also known as Lobster Village. The small town overlooking the Pacific is lined with small family run shops where everyone from the children to the grandparents is ready to eagerly invite you into their stores. Here you can find detailed textiles, handmade jewelry, beautifully crafted leather goods, colorful stained glass, unique knick knacks, and much more.
Scoring the Deal
As I wandered through the streets searching for my treasure to bring back to the states I stumbled upon the PERFECT pair of closed toe sandals. When you have ex-ballerina’s feet like myself, these babies are a hot commodity. I knew I had to have these handmade sandals but the woman selling them asked for $35 which was above my budget and over priced in comparison to the surrounding shops.
Wanderdreams Tip: Haggling can be a fun way to get a great price, but in some countries, it is considered highly offensive. Always do your research.
Enter haggling. We went back and forth for a bit and settled on two pairs of shoes for $50. I took advantage of the Mexican custom of haggling to get a better price while still offering a fair amount of money. Not only did I feel good knowing that I was supporting a local family business, but I was also able to score an amazing pair of sandals that no one else has back home.
Full disclosure, I was a Spanish minor in college, and while my mastery of the language is below sub-par, it did come in handy for my haggling experience. I cannot promise you that it will always go this smoothly while you’re out adventuring the world, but I do implore you to always shop consciously during your adventures. The best finds are worth some digging and bargaining.
An Amazing Sales Tactic
Wanderdreams Tip: When meandering through the shops, try striking up a conversation with whoever is working because they just may offer you a free shot of tequila.
Yup. And not just any tequila, it’s ‘Grandpa’s Tequila’ which is some homemade dangerously delicious tequila that many of the shops carry. Do I know who Grandpa is? No, but he makes a hell of a good liquor. Do I know why all of these shops carry this mystery tequila? No, but offering free shots is certainly a brilliant sales maneuver that I think we should start applying in the States.
Next time you’re in a country where haggling is the custom, give it a swing! You just might score yourself something really unique while also supporting local business rather than the major tourist chains. And if you happen to find yourself in Baja, California, try to get your hands on some Grandpa’s Tequila.
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