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Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

Eve
Toronto, ON
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126 posts
3 reviews
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Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

Last time I was in Coz, I was hassled to no end by men standing outside of the shops around the town square trying to get us to go in. It actually had the opposite effect and ruined any shopping for us. We ended up buying souvenirs from the hotel to avoid these very rude men. If this happens again when I am there in December, is there anything that I can say to them to stop them from hassling us?

Puerta Maya
Shopping Malls
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Sightseeing Tours, Gift & Speciality Shops
KAOKAO Chocolates Damarsicheli
Gift & Speciality Shops, Factory Tours
Milano Diamond Gallery
Gift & Speciality Shops
San Jose, California
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1,212 posts
29 reviews
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1. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

I just keep walking and browsing, put my hand up when they approach, smile and say, gracias. Never stop walking. We've gotten used to it for the most part.

Mark

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
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29,486 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

What bothers me is going into a shop and having an employee watch over me like I am about to steal something. When that happens I leave.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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3. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

I couldnt agree more CP. I sometimes go shopping with my Mexican friends here and when it happens, I tell them I will meet them outside. It doesnt seem to bother them but it certainly does me!

E. Texas
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638 posts
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4. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

First of all, try having a little fun with these people. They are just trying to make a little money. In all the years we have come to Cozumel the only people being rude is the tourists. We have a ball talking to the people trying to sell t-shirts and stuff. It's all part of the experience. If you let them bother you don't ever try to buy a used car at a dealership in the US. Obviously you've never been to a state fair or a carnival. If you let that bother you, be miserable.

Second, they are not trying to keep you from stealing, they just want to help and sell you something. Try shopping in Beverly Hills and see if they don't follow you around and watch you like a hawk. Try Macy's or any other fancy store and you will appreciate how nice the people of Cozumel are.

Just say no thank you. If you are scared then stay home. You haven't seen pushy till you go to Jamaica.

Get to know the people and you will understand. Make a few friends. I swear it doesn't hurt. You might even have fun.

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Jamaica
Jamaica
Caribbean
Cozumel, Mexico
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1,911 posts
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5. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

Ahh yes the "hawkers", they are such a negative element and for many people really spoil the experience to the point that people do not go back, as Eve mentioned, I have heard this over and over from people, and it's really sad. I cannot understand why the shop owners can't see this, I sat down on the waterfront for about an hour several months ago and I saw this in 15 minutes, the people were going in the stores with no hawkers, and not going in stores with them. Can't they see that this person they are paying, is doing exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to? It's really sad thy don't see it.

Unfortunately there has been an influx of people for these jobs, that are not from Cozumel or even the Yucatan, as the people from around here are not like that, and before they arrived the scene in town was much more enjoyable. Many of the hawkers are from the Pacific coast, as Cozumel was getting so much tourism (b4 the hurricanes, when the cruise ship boom began) and the Pacific resorts (Acapulco, Mazatlan, PV, Huatulco, Baja, Ixtapa) were relatively quiet in comparison. These folks are very aggressive, and often downright rude to people, if they don't "get" you to come in, they will often "burn" you with some snide remark, this demonstrates that these people are not too bright, and really don't know anything about sales or bringing people into a store, that person will certainly not go in (if a proper apporach was used, maybe on the way back they would at least take a look), and as they burn a person, they don't realize that 10 steps back he also just lost another potential visitor tha witnessed the rudeness. This is such a moronic situation that gives Cozumel a terrible image, an many people walk away with that impression, it is very unfair to many shop owners and to Cozumel. The local government has taken some action about this, they are aware of the problem, and have stepped in to try to moderate their behavior, but the "inspectors" aren't around all day and it still happens, I would hope a bit less than before.

I don't know when the last time you visited was Eve, but I hope that you notice a difference, it would be great if you could post again after you return and comment on it. To deal with them probably the best thing is to ignore them as mentioned. You can also look at them and with a big smile and a very polite tone say to them "No Gracias", this will disarm most, if they insist and you still want to reply say "Por Favor, No Gracias" still in a very polite tone and a smaller smile, and well just walk away....

In regards to the way they "stand & stare" once you're inside, this is another thing that for some reason they don't get here, and something of a culture clash. As Ron mentioned a visitor feels they are being watched as if they were going to steal, the salespeople that do this don't know that of course, they are doing it to be attentive to a customer, in case you ask something or want to buy it, they think they're being very good salespeople, this is the same all over Mexico in all kinds of stores (that's why Robert's local friends think nothing of it) in fact in Mexico in some stores (specially high end) a customer might get very upset if he/she walks in, stands around looking for 5 minutes and is not "attended" to by store staff. The salespeople doing this here have no idea the effect of their good intention is what Ron mentions.

Eve
Toronto, ON
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126 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

Thanks for the replies.

The last straw that made us leave the shopping area was when I replied to one of the "Hawkers," "No Thank you"...he got really nasty and started yelling out things to my husband in english, with no accent, that he wasn't a real man allowing me to speak etc.

It was at that point that we decided to end our shopping that trip. I really hope things are different in December when we come back to Cozumel.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel
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7. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

I agree, Antonio.

We like to have a little fun with the hawkers. "No Gracias" always seems to be enough for them. If you are carrying shopping bags, they know you are in the hunt for gifts and the will try harder.

Once of the tactics we enjoy for the time share guys is we always say "vamos manana" (with a very big smile) which I think pretty much says, "we leave/go tomorrow". Do that to the same person every day and see how long it takes for them to catch on.

We've had fun with it and actually made friends with the guys after they realize they’ve been “had”. They’ll get the joke, eventually. It’s just good fun, as well.

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
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29,486 posts
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8. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

Thanks for letting me know that I was misinterpreting the salesperson's motive.

Houston, Texas
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251 posts
15 reviews
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9. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

Having been to New Orleans many times, we weren't surprised by the "sales tactics" of the hawkers at all, and employed the same method we used in NO: smile, but keep your head up and don't break stride. We never had any problems whatsoever doing that, even when it was just two of us women in PDC shopping alone. We saw one hawker that got out of hand with some potential customers, and funnily enough, he was American. Go figure.

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New Orleans
New Orleans
Louisiana
Concord, North...
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10. Re: Shopping in Cozumel - men outside of shops

I too dislike the hawkers. Sometimes they will not take no gracis for an answer. What I encourage Antonio to do is come up with a devise that translates to them, not intrested,leave me be.I so much dislike the armbands at the hotels. This tells them all but your room number.Antonio, you must be able to fix this!!!!!

Claude Dill