Bartering Etiquette? Tipping Rules?

Feb 16th, 2013, 11:10 PM
  #1  
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Bartering Etiquette? Tipping Rules?

We're heading to Puerto Vallarta in May and I know better than paying full asking price for most things in open air markets. But when do you know that the stated price is "the price"? Obviously in Costco or Walmart but we don't want to be the only tourists paying full price when everyone else knows better! What things are negotiable and what's not. And when is it offensive to get it wrong ..... either way!

We're also baffled by tipping. Maybe just because neither of us have worked in jobs where we got tips and when you offer to do something for someone, you either did it because you were expected to (hence the paycheck) or because you wanted to be nice. We're not sure when you are supposed to tip someone, and how much? People comment on tipping bus drivers, tour operators, bartenders, housekeepers, etc, etc, etc. That was why we were planning on staying a few days at an all inclusive, so we wouldn't have to worry about all that.....until we read that people were still tipping at the A/I resorts. Is there a hard/fast rule on tipping? I don't want to be a rude tourist, but I'm also paying for the service I'm getting which is (or should be) paying their wages. I'd love your input! Thanks!
TBalcom is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 02:45 AM
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Bartering is just like paying for something at Costco in that you decide if the price/value is right. Final prices vary account of the vendors needs and moods. I start at a third off and go from there, others have different formulas.

Tipping in Mexico is like tipping anyplace else that tips. You tip as it seems appropriate to you. Some will tip everyone and some will tip just a few but tipping at an AI is common for Americans because few beleive staff ever sees the institutional tips.
Katzgar is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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The only place I bargain in Puerto Vallarta is buying from vendors on the beach. I know in advance what an item costs (by looking in a regular shop). I bargain enough to be polite, but I don't try to get beach vendors down to their very cheapest price. They work hard walking the beach all day, and I like to support them.

Most stores and shops have set prices, there's no bargaining or 'bartering' most places.

I tip housekeeping 20-30 peso per day per person. Leave it on the bed in the morning.

Waiter and bartenders you tip same as you would in the US. 15-20% on the amount of the bill.

You don't tip taxi drivers unless they are assisting you in some extra way like with a lot of luggage or making stops. You don't tip bus drivers (assuming you're talking about regular public transportation).

Sorry never did tours so don't know that answer.
suze is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 09:00 AM
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I tip about the same 20% as in the states Except when I eat in the more economical places. If my meal is only say 40 pesos I am not going to leave 20% or 8 pesos. Most likely I will leave about twice that. I base it on service rather than cost.
I have not purchased anything from a beach peddler in about 25 years. In regular stores I pay what they ask. Sometimes certain businesses will offer a discount which I accept.
Stewbear is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 10:01 AM
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Bartering is exchanging goods without money, what you mean is bargaining and you can do this at the Flea Markets, but the majority of stores are a fixed price.
PAying in pesos will nearly always be cheaper than dollars, because you'll get burnt of the exchange rate.
cabron is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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"intransitive verb negotiate terms of agreement: to negotiate or argue over the terms of a transaction"

Synonyms: exchange, trade, switch, swap, negotiate, bargain, haggle

The OPer is correct according to BING
Katzgar is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 12:32 PM
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I have only stayed AI once, shortly after my husband passed away.
I tip pretty much the same as suze, 20-50 pesos per day for the maid (leave it on the pillow otherwise they will usually not take it).
20 pesos per bag
Small change for the cab driver
10-20% on restaurant bills
100-200 pesos for a tour depending on length of tour and how good the guide was
20 pesos every other drink
jamie99 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 07:21 AM
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I write 'gracias' on a piece of paper and leave it with the tip for the maid the first day, then leave the money in the same place each time. I also usually leave a little bit more on the last day of my stay.

I also thought 'barter' meant to trade something physical, not just negotiate a price, which I think of as 'bargain'. Regardless, this just really doesn't come up all that often in modern-day PV, whatever term you use.
suze is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 07:46 AM
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On the rare occasions I stay in hotels I always ask for something from the maid on arrival such as an extra pillow, towel. soap etc. I then give a generous tip which goes a long way for excellent service the rest of the trip along with a daily tip.
Stewbear is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 08:28 AM
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I'm English and wouldn't use Bing, my language and the way I was taught. Oxford English Dictionary http://www.oed.com/
1. trans. To give (a commodity) in exchange for something taken as of equivalent value; distinguished from purchase and sell, which imply that money is given for the commodity. to barter away : to dispose of by barter; cf. also 2. Const. for (with obs.) a thing, with a person.
cabron is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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I'm American so wouldnt use the Oxford dictionary.
Katzgar is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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on a dot com that is. The oxford dictionary is great on a dotUK
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Feb 18th, 2013, 08:46 PM
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i thought of one other place that has an unusual tipping custom that first timers might not know about...

when you're shopping at a regular grocery store where there are cash registers and a person (usually a kid, sometimes an older person) who bags the purchases. You tip them a small amount, usually just the small coin change from the purchase.
suze is offline  
Feb 19th, 2013, 06:08 AM
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Yes Suze is correct. The Baggers are not paid so please tip them. Especially the old folks.
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Feb 25th, 2013, 09:04 PM
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I'll add this: you can never insult someone by tipping them too much. No matter where you are.
baldone is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 03:14 AM
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well, not no mmatter where it is, anywhere. In Japan there is no tipping, period. For any reason. It is culturally wrong. I once tried to tip someone there, and it was clear i had made a mistake. The person was politely adamant about not accepting the tip, and I was told later how wrong it would have been for the person to ever have taken the tip.
emd3 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 10:40 AM
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Yes you can insult someone by tipping too much. That may feel to them like 'charity' rather than a well-deserved token for their services.
suze is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Suze, that is interesting about the shops in PV having pretty much set prices, thanks for that info. In Playa Del Carmen the majority of the shops on 5th Ave. (the ones that are owned by individuals and not corporations) and on the side streets of off 5th Ave, all will bargain intensely with you regarding price. It is expected, it is part of the way business is done. BUt it is not that way in other coastal towns, apparently.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Often there will be a sign saying 'prices as marked' or something to that effect. That's in the nicer stores.

Sometimes at the t-shirt and tacky souvenier shops you can get somewhat of a discount. Like them dropping the price if you buy 2 or whatever. But only with the beach vendors have I ever done what most would consider truly bargaining, or bartering, or whatever, to significantly reduce the price.
suze is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 12:44 PM
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Imteresting, and very different shopping culture than Playa. In PLaya in the jewelry stores on 5th, which carry really nice silver and gemsotne jewelry from Taxco, you can bargain like a banshee. The prices start out so inflated that it would be ridiculous not to bargain. And once you start walking away and they start really going down in proce, you can get a decent deal. It is completely expected, eveyone knows this is how it works there.
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