Monday, April 19, 2010

Screwed In Mexico

When my brother returned from India he shared his experiences, including those of him getting screwed by practicing capitalists. His statement, verbatim, was "If you feel like you're getting screwed, you're getting screwed. And if you feel like you got a good deal, you're most likely still getting screwed."

You don't have to visit India to witness his wisdom first hand. Mexico is full of practicing capitalists, ready to milk every dollar from you.

While visiting Mexico this past week, I had the opportunity to get screwed (financially). The cab ride from the airport to our hotel (near Playa del Carmen) cost us $100. Our research before and after led us to the fact we should have paid no more than $60.

I purchased three cigars. The two Mexican ones cost me $16, which I found out later should have cost me less than $4. The Cuban I got for $7, but that took 15 minutes of negotiation - negotiation that had be walking out of the store twice. I probably could have gotten it for less than $5 if I wouldn't have gotten worn out.

Instead of upgrading our rooms with the hotel, I paid a worker cash under the table. The hotel upgrade was $120. He asked me how much it was worth to me. I said $80 which he accepted within seconds before I could retract my bid. While I saved $40, I obviously could have saved much more. So while I walked away with a better deal, I still felt screwed. A free beer afterward made me feel better. Slightly.

The box of Mexican cigars (of which I'm sampling one while typing this in my garage) cost me $21. They are $2 cigars, but being I bought these at the airport (ran out of time to buy them in Playa's market) I accepted the fact I was getting screwed.

Being a student of business, I kind of enjoyed the negotiation. But since I don't practice this art (at least not financially) I felt like I got taken advantage of.

If you're been to a country where you can negotiate price on everything, did you like it? Or would you rather be told what the price is and simply pay it?


Adam Fokken said...

I hate financial negotiations.

Scooter said...

Do you speak Spanish? Colored blanket scenario. Me, $20 for 2 blankets (the biggest and the best and the most colorful!). My brother, who speaks Spanish (Portuguese, but close enough), $16 for 4 blankets (bigger and more colorful than mine). My sister - addressed as Chinquita and presumed to be Japanese, like $25 for one blanket, and she had to talk them down to get to that price (and she was so proud of her negotiating skills until she heard what we paid).