We all love travelling and the new experiences or the getting away from old experiences that it brings. We all know it’s not going to be paradise islands, exotic animals and bungee jumping everyday even though when you look back it sometimes seems like that. However one thing that gets on my nerves when travelling is the constant badgering that you get when walking or shopping. The worst and most persistent I found were confined to South East Asia but there were less dogged but equally annoying traders in South America. Fair enough if a tuk-tuk driver asks you if you want a lift as you are walking but when you politely say no and he asks again it is a little bit pointless. But on the second occasion he gives you a ‘special price’ and you again say no and explain that you are only a block from your destination but he persists in following you down the street. After 2minutes you are ready to wrap the tuk-tuk around his neck! Or when you look at a necklace or t-shirt on a street stall with no real intention of buying it and then get hassled down the street with the price tumbling with every step. Surely after 50mtrs and 1,000 “No’s” they should know you are not going to change your mind! I suppose it is a good negotiation tool except shop workers in these countries seem to be able to smell whether you actually want the item or not and don’t move a cent if you want it so resistance is futile.
Or when you are in a souk or market and you are casually browsing looking at the wares on display without ever going into the store or making any signal that you have any intention of buying anything. The first seller asks you to come in or if you want to touch some class of an Aladdin lamp but you say no and keep walking. The next seller who is 5 feet away and sells the exact same things asks the exact same question. By the time you get to the 20th shop on that row and getting asked the same question for the 20th time without ever wavering from your stroll you are really wondering are they all a bit slow! I think from my travels I must have grown wise or something as I think after a polite no and then ignoring them seems to work much better than continuing to answer their questions.
I once walked passed 10 tuk-tuk’s in Cambodia who were all in a line resting from the heat, talking to each other as work must have been slow. As I walked by each one of them in turn said “Hello, tuk-tuk?”. Are they just taking the mick or does the 9th guy really think I’ll now say yes?? The 10th guy did redeem them a little as he said “Hello” just like the rest and after a long pause then sang “is it me you’re looking for” as goes the Lionel Richie song. Good one!