Economy

 Morocco is a predominately cash economy, though money seems to be in short supply. Merchants prefer exact change or close to it. Hotels often don’t want to break big bills. Credit cards can be used in big city hotels, restaurants and an occasional gas station. The dirham trades about eight to the US dollar. Everything is for sale, but rarely has a price tag. Restaurants, when they have a printed menu, often have handwritten labels for the price. Most prices are negotiable. 

Cathy found a cute blouse in Marrakech and the vendor said it was 650 dirham. I offered 100. He sputtered and said it was handmade and demanded 500. I offered 140. He fumed and siad it was very valuable fabric and handmade and worth 400. I offered 160. He said he couldn’t take less than 350. We started walking out the door and another man appeared, who spoke some English, and said our offer was good and started talking to the vendor. We gave them 160 dirham and they were very grateful. The final price was ok with us, but could we have gotten it for less? 

Prices vary widely. Small shops sell Coca Cola cans for 6 dirham. Sometimes it’s 25 centiliters and others are 33 CL or 50 CL. At restaurants they charge ten for the same sizes. The Sahara Regency in Dakhla charged 40 dirhams for a 33 CL bottle in the lobby.

At our parking lot in Marrakech, the man guarding our bikes offerd to wash them for 20 dirhams a piece. We accepted and came back later to pay him. I handed him 40 for our two bikes, but now he said that was the price for one bike. I refused and stood my ground. He eventually walked away. A gas station in Dakhla had a lavage (car wash) and we asked the young man who was washing an old Land Rover what he would charge to wash our bike. He said 40 for the pair. People are willing to hand wash a motorcycle for the price of two cans of Coke, which is also the price for two liters of gasoline.

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