Shopping For Appliances and Fruit in Costa Rica

Stopped at the house and then Gerardo followed us into town so I could give him $ from the bank atm's.

Then Joanie and I went shopping at the "feria" - the local farmers' market that they have every Fri and Sat.

Guy tried to charge me 4 mil for a watermelon. i said "wtf?!" and gave it back to him. He was clearly trying to cheat me.
What a fucking asshole. Will make sure to remember him (he even looked like a scumbag!) and never buy from him and tell my friends not to buy from him.

Bought some ginger, curcumin and etc.

later, Diego confirmed about "gringo prices" and said that even if I go to sign up for internet, I will have more difficulty getting it than Diego will have, so he asked me if I want to have him do it for me. I said yes.

Then we went shopping for some other groceries at 2 regular grocery stores. Then we went to check out the refrigerator again.

They had refris and washers etc on sale at a good price so we bargained with them and got what I felt - after shopping for several days at 8 different places - was a good price on both, and bought a refri and washer. About $900 total, about $450 each. Ouch!

Then we stopped at the little "hole in the wall" pupusa place and bought pupusas and came home to eat. I did some accounting of the money I've spent on the house and then we went to meet Gerardo at the house as requested.

It was very windy and kind of cold and he was too busy supervising the crew and so never got around to talking to us about the costs as he had planned. So we just hung out there for a couple hours and I talked with Gerardo for awhile and Yoli rested in the car.

Came home around 5pm and spent a couple hours organizing stuff, cleaning up the kitchen table which was full of all kinds of receipts and junk. Finally around 7pm I convinced Joanie to make dinner for us (something she hates doing and almost never does - I am more likely to be the food maker when necessary) while I relaxed for an hour.

Question: Do you think "gringo pricing" is what we experienced or did we just run into a guy who thought his watermelon was worth 3-4 times as much as all the others? I asked this on a forum and people thought it was the latter - he was probably charging everyone that much. I totally disagree. There's always some ahole who is willing to take advantage of who he thinks is an unsuspecting uninformed newbie, whether in Ticolandia or the U.S. of A.



  1. Graham on January 6, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Welcome to the third world ATMike. Until you learn Spanish well enough to argue.

    Meantime – Send your wife to do the shopping and keep well clear so she gets local prices.

    I used to watch the vendors in Asia and see how much they charged the locals. Then wander up with the exact money and offer it silently. They’d try and argue – I’d point to who they just served. If they kept arguing – walk away and try another vendor. They want your money more than you need their goods.

    Mind you – I find the endless ‘Barter / arguing’ exhausting.

    • miguelbgood on January 23, 2016 at 12:54 am

      I don’t mind some bartering.
      What I prefer though are vendors with signs showing the price. That way I know I’m getting at least close to the price everyone else is paying and I can decide if I want to pay it or not before I approach their table.

      If I get what I think is a high price – gringo price or just high, doesn’t matter – then I just don’t go back to that vendor.

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