Monday, June 2, 2014

Top Claims Made By Cusquenian Shopkeepers and What They Really Mean

When “No, gracias” just doesn’t cut it...stay strong and remember this advice:

1.       “Es de 100% baby alpaca”
Odds are, when you are shopping in Peru, whether it be in Cusco, Chincherro, or Pisac, you will hear this phrase. Odds are, as in I can almost 100% guarantee to you, it is not true. Baby alpaca is a coveted textile in Peru and, after having felt it, one can completely understand why. It is extremely soft to the touch and makes for a wonderful chompa. That being said, it is not found in nearly as many items as one might think hearing nearly every shopkeeper insist that their chompas or scarves or hats are made of baby alpaca. There are some stores, such as Sol Alpaca, that have special, authentic baby alpaca items, but take caution.
2.       “Special price just for you, linda”
Many shopkeepers will insist that they are giving you a discounted price, and in some cases they are, but in many situations they are just asking for what they think you may be willing to pay. When bargaining, don't be afraid to walk away, as many times at the last second the storeowner will reduce the price just so you will buy something before leaving. Be sure to shop around before choosing to purchase an item that may be sold in multiple stores-what may be a steal in one store may seem outrageously expensive compared to another.
3.       “Chompas"
Most everywhere you will go in Peru, especially in Cusco, there will be women selling alpaca sweaters, which are very warm and comfortable. Take caution, however, in trusting the authenticity of the source, as what may appear to be 100% alpaca could end up being 20% alpaca and 80% synthetic materials. That being said, even the lesser quality chompas can be very nice and make great gifts to family and friends.
4.       “Massage?"
There is a surprisingly large massage business in Cusco and walking down the street you will receive numerous offers for massages by various women handing out flyers. These massages, however, are not all that they seem and I would strongly advise to steer clear of them and devote your time to other activities.

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