I have a couple of discount cards in Oaxaca: My Soriana Provisional “Mi Ahorro” savings card, my Brújula Bebida Gratis (Free Drink) card. I have three more lattes to go before my free one. And, I have a “Tarjeta de Lealltad: Junio” June Loyalty Card from VIPS. On the first visit after the visit I received the card, I received a 10% discount. On the second, when I had a DELICIOUS cream of tomato soup, I received a 20% discount. This goes up to the fifth visit in a month and 50%, a pretty good deal—even if it is not as homemade as what I enjoy in Oaxaca in general. I like to be a regular customer places, and I have paid attention to prices much of my life.
When I worked at the am/pm as I paid my way through UC Davis, I loved my regular customers; they offered a continuity of conversation that was impossible with the other transactions throughout the day. I am a regular customer some places here, but the cost of things still surprises me as it did when I was a child.
Because we had racehorses and our trainer was in Tijuana, when I was younger, my family spent a great deal of time in Mexico. I remember one of the first times we went to a “fancy” restaurant. My sister and I did not know the difference between pesos and dollars, so when we saw the menu and the prices, a hamburger seemed to be more than $100 and a strawberry milkshake was nearly as expensive, my sister and I decided that we weren’t that hungry and planned to split some candy we had picked up in our favorite little market on the way.
Even here and now, with the exchange at 14.5 pesos to one dollar, I still divide a purchase by 10 and often decide the price is too much. And, while I may not add much to the continuity of conversation, there are a handful of coffee shops where I am a regular.