Handy travel tip: Don´t touch the fruit!

The other day in the San Telmo markets in Buenos Aires I committed a great faux-pas. I touched the fruit at one of the grocery stalls. Avocados, specifically. I did know that you´re not meant to touch but it must have slipped my mind when I saw some ripe, voluptuous avocados just begging to be squeezed. ¨Are you going to buy those?¨ asked the woman at the store. ¨How much are they?¨ I asked back. Turns out they were twice the cost of the ones I´d just passed at another stall. So no, I said. ¨Well, you´ve been putting your hands all over them and having a feel,¨ she barked. And that´s when I remembered. You never touch the fruit and vegetables here. Instead, you ask for what you want and they pick and pack it for you. The lesson learnt was as firm (yet tender) as the avocados I ended up buying at half the price and spreading on my toast the next morning for breakfast.

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4 thoughts on “Handy travel tip: Don´t touch the fruit!

  1. Ronald says:

    Tip for next time: when the grocer confronts you, just answer in english (and keep talking for a while if you feel like) and if they keep talking in Spanish said sorry and walk away. Or you can say ‘no habla lingua española’ haha! Grocers over there protect their produce more than their children; you gain the right to touch it after years of shopping at the same place, but if you spend big the time is reduced to months only, and the grocer will always give you the best selection without you asking for it; and there is one more perk for old and faithful customers: they receive priority service, where the grocer will ignore the waiting queue of less important customers to give the VIP treatment to the faithful big spender ones.

  2. Raquel says:

    It happens the same with magazines and other items we are so used to touch here

  3. Flor says:

    Woah! I think you just got a cranky pants shop keeper. I fondle fruit/vegetables at stands all the time and no one’s ever said anything to me. I know you don’t bag your own produce, and if in the supermarket (the only time when it’s acceptable to bag your own veges), you must proceed to have them weighed and priced at the produce section, as opposed to the checkout. Beyond that, the only other cardinal rule to South American vegetation is to wash it to within an in inch of its life (including soaking leafy veges in vinegar for good measure). I found a little caterpillar making its merry way across my lettuce head the other day. Also, beware of night soil *shudders*

  4. Solange says:

    Ugh! That’s gross! Yep, washing everything 5x more than I do at home. Don’t want no bugs

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