May 19, 2005, 8:02 AM
Post #12 of 12
My husband, a self-labeled "shopaholic", took much longer than I did to adjust to living in Mexico. The thing that finally saved him was being able to communicate on the most basic level with the clerks in Mexico's ubiquitous ferreterias. It took him a while, but the results were amazing. He now knows and is known in every hardware store and building supply house in town! "Tools" (toys?) are a universal language among guys, aren't they!!!
Some of his secret methods: take a digital photo of what you need and show it to the clerk; always take in the broken part you are trying to replace; use the "digital point and click" method (meaning you simply point up or down with your index finger) in the stores which have a large peg board behind the counter showing all the wares. Know when to nod or shake your head. Make a take-off diagram of the project you are attempting. (Hubby does this on graph paper.) Convert sizes into metric format at home and write them down on a notepad for easy reference and to show the clerk. Use your Spanish/English dictionary at home to memorize the names of popular tools and gadgets. Go out for a cerveza to discuss your needs with the store owner. Easy!
Also know some basic vocabulary such as "algo similar", "lo mismo", "algo un poquito mas grande, por favor" and "si, es perfectamente!" Works every time.