Vendors are Pushy and Aggressive on Travel

Vendors are Pushy and Aggressive on Travel

I don’t like pushy vendors. No one does. They’re annoying, they’re rude, and they leave you feeling uncomfortable. Based on some stories, films, and various western narratives I had been led to expect a lot of extremely aggressive, obnoxious and pushy vendors (and people in general). In practice, the only group I found this to be particularly true of was taxi and tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok. Two groups which I’d be happy to see go bankrupt or punched in the face. Preferably simultaneously. But, I can also say that about taxi drivers in most countries, so I can’t attribute that to Asia any more than Ljubljana.

Outside of this small subset, most vendors were very polite, relaxed, and anything but obnoxious. In truth, most were wonderful, friendly and extremely helpful. My experiences closely mirrored what I’d found when I visited Turkey, Italy, and Argentina. Large markets that are heavily touristy such as the Grand Bazaar (Istanbul) or the backpacker streets in Saigon and Bangkok tend to have pushy vendors. The aggressive and rude nonsense, however, is confined almost purely to these areas. Walk five minutes in any direction outside of these areas, and that rude intensity evaporates almost instantly.

Vendors are Pushy and Aggressive on Travel Photo Gallery



The other part has to do with how you engage as a tourist. Your eye contact, hand motions, and statements convey your level of interest and engagement. I found quite often that even the most persistent of merchants in the most touristic parts of town were still easy to get rid of when I was polite, but firm and refused to engage.

I think it’s also important to note that the locals in these regions are extremely friendly and helpful in general. Quite often many tourists are so afraid based on the negative experiences they’ve been told to expect, or one or two bad experiences with a ‘friendly helpful local’ who then agressively request a tip, that they miss out on the incredible hospitality and friendliness of locals. At the end of the day, keep in mind where you are and who the person is who has approached you.

Time and time again as I found in Turkey, Zanzibar, and elsewhere, the market and street merchant experience you see in most movies rarely pans out in reality. Especially if you move even slightly beyond the most touristed and manufactured shopping experiences.

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