My Addiction To “ñapa”: Colombian Freebies
I know I recently wrote an article about the art of bargaining in Colombia, but I am so fascinated with the whole concept of ñapa that I thought I’d write a totally different side note dedicated to it.
What is ñapita you ask? Well my friends, it’s that little freebie you ask for at the end of making a purchase. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love free stuff?
In other parts of the world, if you would directly ask for a freebie, business owners would look at you as if you were insane. “I’m a business not a charity,” they would probably exclaim. As I’m so used to this type of mentality, it’s probably also why I am so enamored with the concept of ñapa.
So let’s get right down to it:
How do you ask for ñapa in Colombia?
You just do. Ask for it. At the moment of paying for your transaction, you simply ask “y la ñapita?”. I, in particular, like to say it with a sweet, angelic face and a big, charming smile.
In all the times I have asked for ñapa in Colombia (and those are many!), I have NEVER been refused. Never ever. I have always gotten something no matter how small.
A free bracelet or pair of earrings, an extra fruit, a little bit of extra juice, I’ve never been turned down when asking for a freebie at the end of the transaction. And believe me, I am shameless when asking for ñapa. It never escapes me as I’m always amazed at how generous people are.
When can I ask for ñapita?
A lot of businesses in Colombia are rather informal. You probably can’t ask for ñapa in supermarkets or huge department store, but you can practically everywhere else.
Where there is a salesperson or a business owner there’s ñapita. Buying a mattress from Dormiluna? Not only can you negotiate the price but you can also ask for a freebie. Two extra free pillows? Don’t mind if I do!
Buying something from a street vendor? Ask away! Getting ice cream at Crepes & Waffles? Don’t be shy, ask for ñapita! You don’t get what you don’t ask for in life, right? People have no problem giving you a little bit extra, and if something else is available at little cost to them, they might gift it to you as well.
Sometimes I’ll get extra cheeky and suggest what I want for ñapita. And believe it or not we’ll start negotiating the ñapa! Oh Colombia, you’re just wonderful <3
Napa in Colombia reminds me of the kindness and generosity of Colombians. No matter how little people have, they always have something to give you. It reminds me, and should remind all of us, that we don’t need to be gazillionaires to give back. Giving back can be done in the smallest of ways and still be much appreciated.
So go ahead, I invite you to try it. Next time you’re out and about buying whatever it is, ask for your ñapita and see what freebie you get.