The curse of the gringa face   4 comments

We went to the market in Aguilares today, my husband and I, to buy raw cacao beans and spices for family members I plan to visit soon.

At the first stall, we were a bit surprised at the price of the cacao beans – $2.50 a pound.  Not even a year ago they were $1.50 a pound.  I opted to hear the same price repeated to me at a second vendor stall before buying at the now 40 percent increase in price.   Inflation happens here in a more obvious way — Salvadoran red “silk” (seda) beans have recently risen atrociously from 50 or 60 cents a pound to $1.25 a pound.   Chicken was 1.25 about 6 months ago – also now also increased, to 1.35-1.50 a lb.    You  know when beans cost almost as much as chicken by the pound  the “Pueblo Salvadoreno” – Salvadoran people are indeed, in trouble.

My husband told me after we left the second vendor stall,  “This is why I don’t like to go with you to these places – let’s forget it and go back to the car.”     He was sure everyone charged us more because of the case of…

“La Cara Gringa”     /   ” The Gringo Face”

Woops.  All I have to do is stand next to you and it’s the “curse of the cara gringa” – my face is the hidden tariff that sends prices racing to the clouds.   But we know, at least, when it comes to beans, that’s already sky high.   $1.25 and rising, without even a gringo face around!

Posted October 19, 2010 by El Salvador from the Inside in Food, Living in El Salvador

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4 responses to “The curse of the gringa face

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  1. Yeah, I’ve definitely been ripped off before. Some little kids tried it once and I asked them why I was getting the “Gringa Price”. When people do that to me, and it’s clear they want me to buy something, I usually try to appear as though I don’t really want it and start to walk away. Sometimes they’ll drop the price. I don’t like to haggle because I know people here make little money as it is, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to reinforce to people that all white people should be taken advantage of.

    Alisha Lundberg
    • It turns out that even some lighter skinned or eyed Salvadorans get stuck with teh higher price too. I have a friend who looks fairly Salvadoran, but her sister is more fair with more “European” features, and blue eyes. When her sister goes to the market, they charge her higher prices, and she’s Salvadoran!

  2. We must be living a protected life here because, as far as we can tell, we have never been charged a higher price for anything. Maybe it’s a city thing. We do much of our shopping in rural Herradura.

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