The Price of Being an Expat

I’m sure it happens in other like-minded countries (which I won’t mention in case I upset Jean-Pierre from France!).

But why am I charged more than a local?

We’re not rich.

What money we have, we worked hard for, and certainly didn’t make it by cheating people.

Even a rich Mauritian will pay less than me.

It’s because I’m a foreigner (I have Mauritian parents, but was born overseas) and I can’t speak Creole.

Even when I speak French to them, a lot of locals think I’m Italian – they even argue with me:

“No, Madame, you are not Mauritian – you are Italian!”

Must be my accent.

Anyway, being overcharged…just a quick example:

When we first started our renovations, the builder (not Joselito, bless him) would buy supplies from the hardware store, give us the receipt, and we would reimburse him.

After all, what did we know about buying cement, rock sand, rebar and concrete nails?

One fine day I went into a hardware store, and a guy in front of me got charged Rs100 and asked for a receipt for Rs150 to give to his boss.

Alf immediately got an account at the store we’d been using and began paying them direct.

How much did we get cheated? We’ll never know. But later, a little bird told us that it was a lot!

When we go shopping, Alf doesn’t mind arguing the price down – he actually finds it fun – but I don’t want to waste my time haggling – I shouldn’t have to – I live here!

I especially find it annoying when someone in front of me asks the price of something, and then I’m told a higher price when I ask. Needless to say, I don’t buy it!

It’s even worse for tourists.

They have no chance, because they don’t know what the normal price should be.

These people are not only thieves, but stupid as well.

If someone tries to overcharge me, I’ll never again spend money in their shop, or at their stall, or use their services.

Nor will my friends, because I always tell everyone I know.

And they tell their friends.

Etc etc.

So, for a small short-term gain, these short-sighted idiots lose a lot of potential income.

Not everyone cheats you.

But, mama mia – when someone tries to, it ruins my day!

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2 thoughts on “The Price of Being an Expat

  1. I understand fully what you are saying as it is also my experience over here. I cannot go to the local market for veg (although I do speak French fluently) because by magic when they see my white features the price is suddenly increased. Fortunately, my Mauritian wife does the shopping and I have to discretely wait outside of the area so that she can buy at normal prices. As for works in the house we are fortunate to have a good guy who deals with our electricity, plumbing, painting etc. and he gets receipts for all purchases. I tend to go to major supermarkets so there is no price problem. I no longer go to small shops due to this problem of one price for the Mauritian and an increased one for the expat. As you rightly say we are not rich people, in fact, we are retired living modestly. All I can say is that this immoral practice by shop-keepers is backfiring on them because I no longer go to places that cheat customers. So there, forget Jean-Pierre he no longer knows the facts of life here.

    • Thank God for you, Mike! Otherwise people might think I’m making it all up! We too have a great plumber, electrician, and mechanic, as well as a hardware store and small local shop that looks after us – in fact, the hardware store actually gives us discounts! Our painter and the last builder we had both overcharged us – the builder also did a terrible job, and when I rang him to say we still had a leak in the roof, he pretended not to understand me! C’est la vie, I guess!

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