Article – Paul Gioffi Well Weathered Edition 10Michelle @ ISR2018-03-28T08:53:46-07:00
Travel Survival Notes & Other Curious Observations
Monthly Travel Column by Paul W. Gioffi
Disclaimer: While travel can be exciting and rewarding there are unforeseen dangers that may arise. The Information presented in Paul’s articles is the author’s personal opinion and what may have worked for him yesterday may not work for someone else today or tomorrow. Therefore, you agree to use any and all information provided by the author at your own risk and agree that you will hold the author and ISR harmless in regard to any and all instances that may arise or result from use of this material.
Following, you’ll find travel tips number 29 and 30 from Paul W. Gioffi. To read the introduction to this column which began in February of 2006 please see Edition 1. To access other previous editions please see the Index.
Entry 29: The Costs of Living – Part 1
Almost every time I returned from a trip, by myself or with a friend, I would take inventory of the souvenirs I purchased during my travels, and smile with happiness at how much money I saved through my hard-core, take no prisoners, bargaining skills. I held the attitude that no matter where I went, local vendors were out to rip off the tourists they encountered, and it was my duty to combat this with every weapon of my price-haggling arsenal. If the price of that little stone carving could not be brought down below the one U.S. dollar mark, then sorry, no sale today. Then, I stopped to think about what I was doing and why I was doing it. I realized that I was bargaining for things with people who sometimes did not know where their next meal was coming from. Is it all that important that you work the price of that trinket down to nearly nothing? We all make our way in the world in one fashion or another, and how we profit by our practices is up to each person. There are vendors who are quite good at making their living by doing nothing else than ripping off visitors and seem to be content with just that. Others, however, are just trying to make some sort of honest profit for themselves, and their families, as part of their own daily living. Price bargaining happens everyday, all around the world. So does poverty and kindness.
Entry 30: The Costs of Living – Part 2
Another observation, more on the humorous side of the buying and selling bit, is the dialogue that occurs between the savvy, local merchant and the souvenir-toting tourist. This is where the haggling almost enters the theatrical arena. Each participant takes a role on stage thinking he/she is going to come out on top. It’s even better when multiple languages are in play. I’ve seen conniving local merchants use their broken English sales tactics to entice tourists over to their showcase. The visitor, intent on not being taken advantage of, sticks to English but throws in a word or two of the local dialect, with a quick giggle, just to let everyone know that he/she is ‘up on things.’ In the end, the sale is made. The local dramatically acts out how painful it is to let such a rare artifact go for such an amazingly low price. But, today is your lucky day! The tourist walks away believing he/she’s just pulled off the sales scam of the decade. Trust me, the marketers will make a profit. Sure, they’ll come down in price, but they’re not going to take a loss. There’s even the double and triple marketers’ game where multiple vendors are working together, bouncing buyers back and forth between shops, allowing them to believe they’re ‘comparing’ prices. You can believe what you want to believe. The bottom line is what do you really believe this item is worth to you, and what are you willing to pay for it?
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s edition of Well-Weathered Travel Survival Notes & Other Curious Observations. Check back next month for a new entry. Until then, safe travels. Contact me at Well_Weathered@yahoo.com