How To Deal With Hawkers
At some point during our travel, we would need to deal with hawkers. Some of them might leave you when you say “no, thank you” and some might have the persistence of a life insurance salesman or even more. Simply said, hawkers can ruin your vacation or they can come to your benefit!
How? Let’s start with a story:
Imagine sitting in an airplane, feeling excited because you have waited for the whole year for this relaxing trip. And all of a sudden you hear, “This is your captain speaking. We are 15 minutes away from our destination. The weather forecast is showing that it’s going to be a great day today and for the whole week. So fasten your seatbelt and sit tight. We are landing soon.”
“All right!” you’re thinking out loud. Sitting tight, you buckle up and sit straight as the plane is descending. Then comes the time when you exit the airport.
To your surprise, hundreds of men rush towards you as they offer you taxi ride. One says, “Cheapest rate, cheapest rate” whilst the other says “very good sir, very good taxi.” Right at that point, you know that this is not going to be the last time you’re offered something so persistently.
Dealing with hawkers may be one of your most unpleasant traveling experiences. Especially when you visit famous tourist spots, such as Bali – The Island of Gods. Well, worry no more my friend because hawkers can actually come to your advantages.
Dealing with hawkers requires creativity. It requires you to think outside the box and be brave. Remember to be polite though, because after all they’re just trying to make a living.
Let’s imagine you’re sunbathing on Kuta, one of the best beaches in Bali. Then comes a lady offering you a message. You think to yourself, why not. You agree on a price and the relaxing massage starts to take place.
The second you start relaxing, another hawker comes and offers you a funky dreadlock. Then another, another and another. Little did you know, you are surrounded by 15 hawkers offering you different “variety of services” which you think are essentially the same.
How do I get out of this?
Here’s a neat little trick you can try:
Offer your “first massager” or “dreadlocker” or “seller” an incentive to perform a little task. Give them an extra $2 or $3 and tell them to keep the other hawkers away because you’re looking to relax and not to be bugged by anyone else while enjoying his/her service. $2 or $3 is considerably a small amount, but for them, it’s a lot of money. Of course, like any other incentives, give it when you are ready to make your payment at the end of the service.*
This little incentive might just give you the peace of mind you are looking for during your holiday. Other techniques you can also try are:
- Saying “No thank you” firmly and politely. Really show them you are not looking to buy anything.
- If saying “no thank you” doesn’t work on your third try, say a firm “NO”.
- Persistent hawkers will usually push some merchandise to your body or throw it onto your lap. Simply put give it back or put it somewhere else and say “NO”.
- You also have the option to find a less crowded place. Try going to other beautiful places in Indonesia where there are less or no hawkers at all.
The above techniques are proven to work from my personal and close friends’ experiences. Being creative in dealing with hawkers can certainly give you the vacation trip you’re looking for.
*Thanks to Dov Baron for sharing his neat little trick.
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