Gringo Pricing – How to avoid it and live like the locals

Gringo [grin-goh]
noun, a term used in Latin America or Spain to refer to Caucasian people, particularly from the U.S.
Gringo pricing [grin-goh pry-sing]
phrase, a term used in Latin America or Spain to refer to the higher price given to Caucasian people, particularly from the U.S.
Put simply, “Gringo Pricing” is the price that is given to people (usually from U.S. or foreigners) that is higher than the regular price of items given to locals.  This can come up in many situations from taking a taxi to shopping in the open markets to getting your car repaired.  Even restaurants will sometimes have the locals menu (in Spanish) and the Gringo menu (in English with different prices).
The idea behind it is that the Gringo won’t know any better and pay much more than the locals will for the same product. As irritating as it is, it comes down to doing your homework and negotiating a little bit.
Comparison Shop Before You Buy
You’re at the open market and see something you are dying to have. Before you break out your wallet, shop on and see if you see it anyplace else. Many shops carry the same thing so you’re bound to find it elsewhere. Once you do, get prices and compare.
Agree Upon the Price First
Before you break out your wallet, agree upon the price. Never hand over your money unless you know the cost and what you are getting.
Be a Regular Customer
If you live in Mexico, try to shop at the local stores and become a regular customer. Once they recognize you as a steady customer, you are going to get better pricing.
Shop with a Local
If you have the opportunity, shop with a local. They not only know the language but will get local pricing. This tactic is especially recommended if you are shopping for things like home improvement items.
Ask an Expat
Expats living in the area no doubt have figured out how and where to get the best pricing. Ask around for advice on the best places to shop. It could mean the difference between paying $20 for an oil change to just $5.
Shop Away from the Tourist Spots
The farther you get from the tourist location, the cheaper things get.   Take a side trip out of the tourism zone and shop where the locals do. It’s actually a great adventure.
Don’t Take the Taxi in Front of the Hotel
This can sometimes be challenging, but don’t get in a taxi that sits and waits at your hotel. The prices will almost always be higher. Walk out onto the street and hail your own taxi. Negotiate the price before you get in.
Home Improvement Tips
If you live in some gated community, there tend to be the same few people that come around and work for other foreign residents. You’ll undoubtedly see Gringo Pricing here as they have it pretty good just working in the community and they are banking on the fact you will just ask them to do the work. Go online to the Facebook forums or other websites and ask around who they recommend using for the work you need to be done. You can save a lot by doing the homework.

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