Producers of soft drinks and packaged foods do us a big favor in India and Nepal (finally, we catch a break!). They print an MRP on their packages, a maximum retail price.

Why is this a big deal? Because information is power, and the MRP gives us hapless tourists an idea of whether or not we’re being ripped off. Some shops simply charge MRP, while others ask for double and hope you don’t notice.

Sometimes the increased price is justified and we pay it, like when the goods have to be carried to remote locations on people’s heads. Just once, we encountered a supermarket that charged MRP minus 3%, in an effort to win customers. They won us, and we returned a couple times. Take a hint, the rest of you!

Some US products have an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price), like the “$18,300 starting MSRP” for a 2012 Ford Focus. Of course, when you see that, you offer less than $18,300 for your new car. And don’t let them tell you that some guy carried it in on his head.