Monday, January 05, 2009

Toy Shopping

Between yesterday morning and this morning the market with toys for the Three Kings to leave for children tonight has come alive. Down the side of the San Juan de Dios Mercado and two-aisles deep along Avenida Guadalupe there were toys and more toys, clothes and sweet treats for good children.

Mexico Bob commented that the pictures I posted yesterday looked too expensive for most families so I went today to price some of the toys and to really take a look at them. Some of the toys are used toys....probably brought in from the USA. I saw a Sesame Street toy for a toddler for $100 pesos or about $7.60 dollars. I went on Amazon to see if I could find the same toy. Although I didn't find that toy I did find some similar toys in the $12-20 range.

There was stall after stall of "rides" including bicycles and scooters. Now where a child is going to ride a scooter or even a trike on these cobblestones and broken sidewalks I do not know. But what floored me was the prices on them. A scooter made in China which didn't look that great to me was $500 pesos or about $38. A bike with training wheels for a 6 year old was $1630 pesos or about $123. I was shocked. I didn't see just one or two, I saw a lot of bikes in this price range so I'm guessing that someone must be buying them.

It was fun to see the Moms and Dads carefully looking over the toys and making their Three Kings purchases. This little boy is getting a Tonka truck.

There were tables loaded with candies. And some tables were loaded with special packages of cookies all tied with a ribbon.

Mexico Bob commented that it was difficult for parents to buy gifts for their children after all the Christmas festivities and that I would see lots of cheap plastic toys. He was right I did see some but not as many as I expected. So many of the toys looked like we would find in a Toy-r-us store. But here is the thing.....tomorrow all these toy vendors will take down their tents and they will be gone. Something quits working or breaks, there is no where to return the toys. We asked a Mexican friend if she shops in the mercados and she said no, she tries to do her shopping for toys at Walmart or Costco so that she can return them if they don't work.

Things are even changing in Mexico even for the Three Kings.


Larry said...

I must admit that the prices seem awfully high to me as well. For the equal of $123 USD in Mazatlan you can find a new adult bike. Maybe not good enough for the hills, but would certainly be fine for the streets and malecon.


Bob Mrotek said...

Okay, Billie, but we aren't done yet. You need to go back out there around midnight..yes MIDNIGHT! There will still be a crowd but now the prices will be a lot cheaper because the vendors know that it is do or die time and the shoppers have been waiting all evening for the vendors to fold. See if I am not right about this. San Miguel seems to be a bit "upscale" but people are the same everywhere on Reyes Magos :)

Babs said...

I have always been shocked at the toy prices in Mexico when I've bought things for children because I know the US prices.
I bought a 5 speed mountain bike for one of my granddaughter's at Target for Christmas - cost $48 with a 5 year warranty! (It was on sale) The Barbie's and almost everything else are way overpriced in Mexico......sadly.

John W said...

Billie--I've gotten the impression this year that giving toys to children on Three Kings Day is more important than seems probable. Last night, a friend whose husband needed emergency medical care asked me for a small loan to buy toys for her children. The day before, a friend who had lost his job approached me in tears, asking for help so he wouldn't disappoint his daughter.

Islagringo said...

I don't buy children's toys that often but when I do I just gasp at the overinflated prices. Even WalMart in Cancun has prices like you would expect from Nieman Marcus. I don't know how any child can even get a toy here. It must be a tremendous sacrifice for the parents. Witness Calypso's story of one family buying a Barbie doll on credit...the impetus for my starting Project Warm Hearts. (shameless plug on my part!)

Billie said...

Bob, Midnight? I'm sure you are right but I had already walked about 5 miles yesterday and there wasn't anyway I could stay up until midnight.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thinks that toy prices are high in Mexico. Although they might be cheaper in other places than here in San Miguel. I don't know how the middle class, much less the poor, are able to give their children toys. I'm sure if I was a Mexican parent, I would have been out there in the mercado at midnight looking for a bargain.