Recently, while in Riviera Maya, Mexico, I needed to do some souvenir shopping. I’m the kind of shopper who likes to look around and weigh my options. I’m not very splurgy, I know who I need to buy for and I usually have a good idea of what I’m looking for for each person. I quickly determined there were two basic ways to shop at our resort.
The Grand Palladium had 3 large shops that were open while we were there.. I found some items that interested me. The prices were all listed in Mexican pesos, so I had to do some calculating for my USD brain. Let me also mention, I hadn’t converted any of my money to pesos. The store would give me an exchange rate of 17:1, which wasn’t the exact exchange rate, but was better than other shops that were going on 10:1 exchange or anything in between. When calculating the prices, I realized that the gift shop prices were slightly higher than I would have paid for similar items at home. So, while I would have saved money by paying in pesos, since I didn’t have any, I would actually be paying more. AND the prices in the shops were non-negotiable.
Luckily, I quickly figured out that the Grand Palladium allowed vendors to come in each evening and sell their wares. If you’ve ever been to a craft market in another country, you already know that their prices are negotiable. I chose to shop mostly with the vendors.My first stop was at this jewelry booth that was being worked by David Renteria. He basically had me sold on everything—it was all so shiny and beautiful! I really had focused in on a pendant that was decorated on both sides. One side had the Mayan calendar on it and the other side showed the Aztec calendar. It was so versatile with the colors on it.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t really planned on shopping that night and had limited funds with me. I had to remind myself that souvenirs for friends and family came first and it wouldn’t be smart to spend all my money at the first booth I came to. I settled on two cool identical bracelets with skulls on them for Harvey and Jasmine, two of my favorite, young English friends. I figured, even if they never wore them, the bracelets would be a funky reminder of our time in Mexico together. David sold me both for the asking price of one, which was so nice of him.
My next stop was at the booth being manned by Charlie Brown (he swore that was really his name too.) His specialty was in making pendants out of pesos.He had quite the collection and even demonstrated some of his craft while I was making my choices. When I asked what he would sell me my picks for, he shot me a price way higher than the amount I had left. That’s what I get for shopping when it wasn’t planned.
I went to go find hubby (he hates the haggling so usually disappears when I start shopping the vendors.) I emptied the cash from his pockets and went back to see Charlie Brown. I pulled out every dollar I now had, which still wasn’t his asking price, but he was so kind to sell me the pendants I had picked out for the kids for the amount I did have.I thought they were pretty neat looking and appropriate for each kiddo. I just hoped they would like them as much as I did. That wrapped up my shopping for that night since I had no more cash with me. But, little did I know, I wasn’t finished yet.
A couple of nights later, we walked into another gift shop located in a different part of the resort. It had a lot of the same selection as the shop we had already visited, but a few different items. I didn’t buy that night, but a couple of nights later when we had to go that direction again for dinner, I popped back into that store and picked up a quirky little handbag I had seen previously. I don’t really buy much for myself anymore—I have way too many t-shirts and refrigerator magnets, but I do try to find one unique item for myself as a reminder of places I’ve been. Now, don’t laugh or think I’m one of those weird cat ladies, but the handbag I bought DID have cats on it. And the price WAS NOT negotiable, so it was honestly a splurge.Who knows if I’ll ever even get around to using it. In hindsight, I think I had cats on the brain. I was really missing our kittens back home by that day of the trip.Even though I’m sure they didn’t even notice we were gone, I still considered my two different shopping methods to have been a success!