"Better to ask the way than to go astray" is an old saying, but still present. Nonetheless, sometimes asking for help may draw the attention of a person, who really doesn’t want to help us. What then?
Travelling abroad for holidays not only gives us the opportunity to rest and get a golden tan, thanks to the sun that shines stronger than in Europe, but also to purchase all sorts of souvenirs. Often we want to buy something valuable very cheap, which is fully understandable - as well as the fact that the seller wants to earn as much as possible. If we lack the knowledge and assertiveness, most likely after striking a bargain we will realize that we’ve just dearly overpaid for a fake, a service or item we didn’t really intend to buy.
Beware of fakes!
Fakes can be found absolutely everywhere - not just in China, notorious for falsifying everything –starting with clothes, ending on electronics. We should be aware and not lose the common sense when we hear the offer of the “business of life”, or if we purchase a product for an exceptionally attractive price right here, right from this seller, who with a sincere heart wants to sell it cheaper without earning only to us. The result of such a deal is acquisition of nice, but completely worthless trinkets instead of pearl jewelry, or an "original" silk, which will crumble in the hands after a few washes.
Sellers of fakes lie in wait for tourists in Thailand, India, China, as well as in Europe, which is literally everywhere. In Egypt you can buy papyrus made of banana leaves and alabaster statue made of plaster. In Thailand, rubies and sapphires - not only uncut, that is those, which can’t be exported abroad, but also false. In Hong Kong and Singapore electronics, or rather a box, in which instead of a camera or a cell you can find something else. "Hot deals" lurk at every corner, but often they are just a chance to waste a large sum of money, and getting into trouble with the local police.
Fake gemstones can be purchased even in factories and shopping malls - certificates attached to them aren’t always a guarantee of authenticity.
The magic word - assertiveness
In India, Thailand and Morocco tourists are besieged by various kinds of sellers, guides and people, who offer their help. In Tunisia, if you enter a shop with ceramics for a "free" tea, you will have to choose between buying a plate with your name engraved on it, or breaking the heart of the seller and sentencing his entire family to die of starvation. Alternatively, we’ll hear a story about raising money for an expensive surgery of the son or some other story, which aims at softening of the tourist’s heart.
It may be quite the same in case of an offer of “unconditional” help to the person, who was lost. In India or Morocco, in most situations we will be taken to the shop of a family member and persuaded to purchase products sold by him or being lead somewhere away from the road to our hotel. Regardless of the fact that the help turned out to be needless and that we’ve only lost time, in the end we’ll see the outstretched hand anyway. There’s quite a huge number of this sort of situations, but the conclusion is one - let's be aware, because in a cruel world of "tourists vs sellers" nothing is for free.
The art of persuasion
Nobody has a force of argumentation as a powerfully built man, and preferably two. If we allowed to be persuaded to use some sort of free service, which eventually turned out not to be free, we could have problems with the withdrawal – especially, when the seller has menacing-looking fellows. In China, we could expect it after a nice evening in a karaoke bar, when the moment of paying the bill comes. Suddenly, it turns out that we have to pay not only for our drinks but also for a few or dozen expensive drinks of new companions. In Thailand, when leaving the club with an attractive show, we learn that we only paid for the entrance - we still have to pay for the opportunity to watch the show. In India, when we want to help a shoeblack and pick up his brush which he supposedly dropped by accident, we have to be aware that he will want to “return” us the favor and clean our shoes, for which we will have to pay, of course. If we wouldn’t do that, both he and his colleagues can stop being nice.
Such examples are not supposed to push tourists in the state of a paranoid suspicion that every human we encounter have a desire to deceive us, but sensitize us to be careful. Let’s not agree to anything that we don’t need, let’s not trust anyone, who wants to help us so much, let’s not allow to be lead to a particular club, hotel or office. While shopping let’s not hand the money, until we have the product in our hands. Let’s be vigilant.