Street purchase example

When I was in Estelí I ran into the guy who is always selling linaza and manzanilla on the street. He knows me -- I have bought things from him for eight years. I figured I would buy a bag of linaza, so I asked the price.

He thought a bit (I knew that was bad news) and said "un US dolar". The current exchange rate is about C$23.5 to the dollar. I said "No soy Gringo" and waited. Another pause and then he said "C$20".

Good example of why it is a good idea to buy with cordobas.

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The pause...

... as they are thinking is always a bad sign. People who sell in the street or in the market and have been selling for years, know the price of their goods in an instant. Even if they sell a thousand different items the price is on the tip of their tongue. If they pause, it's because they are changing the price in their head and trying to determine just how high they can go and still make the sale. On the other hand, I have met a lot of great venders who are glad to have you as a customer and who will treat you special. Brings to mind the girl who sells me bananas. I buy them most everyday in the market and always get a 1/2 dozen. She always offers me a choice from the basket of smaller "more ripe" ones for a cheaper price or from the basket of larger still mostly yellow ones for a cord or two more. I always buy the bigger ones and she always gives me one or two extra for free. Where I have a problem is buying things by weight. There was article recently in the Nuevo Diario where some reporters went into the various markets to buy products by weight and they were so often cheated on the poundage. When confronted, the venders claimed (probably rightly so) that the distributors were cheating them also. I guess they claim to be passing it on! There are government people who go in and spot check the scales but when they, leave the scales go right back to where they were before. Not much an individual can do carrying short of carrying a small electronic scale with you!

you might be a chele...

but not a gringo! I like it :)

Even in Managua street sales are fun sometimes. There is a stoplight near la UCA where guys sell cashew nuts. One seller in particular always comes up to me to ask if I want some. I told him, "Not today" for probably five or six visits to this particular intersection. Finally, one day he and I looked at each other and I said, "Today is your dia movistar, I'm going to buy a big bag." So 100 cordobas ($4.30) later I had a nice sized bag of fresh roasted cashews. Now he just comes up to see how I am doing...and who says Managua is a big city :)

Doors of hope fly open when doors of promise shut. -Thomas D'Arcy McGee