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!