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The Gringo Tax

Now that I've been here a while and know what things cost, have noticed that I'm usually charged higher prices by merchants than Mexican customers, but today I looked at a receipt that I found in my bag and realized I paid for 33 bags of pasta at a local convenience store when I only bought 3! What an idiot I am. I was charged alomst $200 pesos for 3 bags of pasta and paid.

I also paid $6000 pesos for a pair of eyeglasses that won't stay around my ears and are blurry. The woman in the white coat lab coat who sold them to me was so professional until I came to pick them up, then she seemed really nervous and fast talked me into paying for the balance of them, knowing they were not worth what I paid. I should've known that something was up when the old man who seemed to also work there congratulated me for being an American and benefitting from such an excellent exchange rate.

First, I would try to get over the paranoia.
Some times, some places, you may get taken for 10%, 15% on a taxi ride that costs $2.00 US.  some times there'll be an error at the cash register by entering 33 instead of 3.  It's smart first to know what prices to expect.  Check several stores, ask friends.  Ask neighbors.  Deal only with large chains that have true point of sale systems.

I would have known the difference in the total for 3 items vs. 33.
I would have checked Walmart, Chedraui, OXXO or whatever major chains are nearby.
Before I bought two sets of eyeglasses, I checked with a neighbor and got a feel for price ranges.
I also went to an office of a National chain and got a quote.  My neighbor confirmed the reasonableness of the prices.

In the town where I live, there two fixed taxi fares.  Within El Centro 15 pesos, outside El Centro 20 pesos.  If I can't get my regular driver and another driver tries to overcharge me, I challenge him.  "That's 20 pesos, right?"  He always backs down.  It happens to Mexicans too.

With certain exceptions, there's no "gringo tax."

This won't work in chain stores, but I'm going to give you the best financial tip of your life:

When someone quotes you a price, pause and say: ¿Es lo menos?

Ninty-five percent of the time, the price will come down on the spot.

Believe me.

What many Gringos interpret as a Gringo tax is actually the higher price quoted to anyone who looks well-off, and Mexicans think all Gringos are well-off, so they get the higher quoted price. But upper-class Mexicans get the higher price too most of the time.

FelipeZapata :

What many Gringos interpret as a Gringo tax is actually the higher price quoted to anyone who looks well-off, and Mexicans think all Gringos are well-off, so they get the higher quoted price. But upper-class Mexicans get the higher price too most of the time.

Sometimes a simple, "Tanto?!" is enough.

In a national chain like opticians can you expect the price on tag to be fixed?  Or, should you get into the habit of questioning most prices?  Even in the US, it's sometimes wise to ask is a discount is available.  I know that's a vague question because it may have a lot to do with time and place.

It is not always because we are foreigners.  Other mexican get the same treatments
It is unfortunate for sure.  That is why i shop at large stores like liverpool or other big entitiies to at least have the right to change or complain.  Stores i would never go to in the states. But find them handy here.
The errors on bills often are made by staff that is not well trained.  And why do you think at sams and other stores there is someone checking your cart in the way out.. Mostly for errors. For sure, the abusing exists i know, i have lived it clearly for ten years, but it is not only with foreigners...

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