Get To Know Your Vendor When You Retire in Mexico

This evening as I was slicing and sauteing some mushrooms that my husband and I bought in the market we started to talk about the stand where we had purchased the mushrooms. My husband ended up putting something into words that I hadn’t put together as well. It seemed like a great tip for everyone who lives or retires in Mexico so I decided to pass it on in my blog.

While it’s not true in many markets throughout Mexico, the market in Cuernavaca is a hotbed of rigged scales and cheating. When we first moved here we would sometimes complain to the vendors about their scales but they would always defend their ways and we would have to walk away from the foods we were about to buy. Now, as time has gone on we have found some stands at which we shop regularly. As a regular customer many vendors will treat you better than as a first time buyer.

My husband and I have gone around this many times. It seems backwards. It would make more sense to treat new customers fairly so that they return to your stand, but that’s not the thinking here. The mentality here seems to be that you should make as much as you can on a stranger. Then when you recognize someone and know that they come often, weigh things correctly and give correctly rounded prices for the weight.

So, here is the conclusion: become a regular customer when you retire in Mexico. Be polite and friendly and come back to the same person. You can very subtly demonstrate that you are calculating what the price should be to help them along, but the operative word there is subtly. Hopefully they will remember you (this won’t be so hard since you are a foreigner and relatively memorable) and start to weigh you foods correctly and do the math correctly. Give them a few weeks to a couple of months and see how they do. It is important to do the math in your head quickly. This is something my husband is better at than I am. For example, if you see 400 grams on the scale and the price is 23 pesos a kilo the cost for the food should be 9 pesos and 20 cents (properly rounded up to 50 cents) not 11.50, which would be the price for 1/2 a kilo and not 11 pesos, which is just cheating.

If you aren’t very good at doing math in your head another “trick” you can use when you retire in Mexico is to find vendors who use electric scales and set them up where you can easily see the weight and price that they enter into it. Many markets will have all electric scales, but like I said, not so in Cuernavaca.

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