Egypt - why click pens?

Sep 8th, 2000, 04:13 PM
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Egypt - why click pens?

Does anyone know why click pens are such a hit in Egypt? What about pens with caps? Would kids like those holographic sorts of rulers, or balloons, or bubbles, or anything else easy to cart over there? It would be fun to have some little things to give out that kids would like.
Sep 9th, 2000, 10:13 AM
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From what I gather, Egyptian pens are very poor in quality. Only 2 hotels in Egypt (5-star hotels) gave us pens in our hotel rooms; others gave us pencils.
Sep 9th, 2000, 09:02 PM
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But what about inexpensive pens with caps, like Bic? Do they only want click pens?
Sep 10th, 2000, 12:04 AM
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Carol, please reconsider just handing out things to kids in Egypt -- or any other country, for that matter.
It quickly turns the little kids into beggars of the worst sort.
I know your intentions come from a good and generous heart, but just passing out goodies of any kind to all who cross your path is in the long run harmful.
Consider this: in addition to the cash tip you leave in your hotel room, leave a 'click pen' (or something extra) as a bonus. You will know that it reached someone who has a low paying job who can then make the best use of it.
Sep 10th, 2000, 03:34 PM
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I second the idea of NO pens, gum, small change or ANYTHING. We were overwhelmed with the children begging, and actually on 3 occasions scared. They come out of nowhere when you give one kid something and all of a sudden you are surrounded with lots of kids and they were grabbing and trying to get into my backpack to get the things. Our guide and our driver shooed them away. So, I guess my advice is to enjoy the custom by watching someone else do it.
However, DO bargain from the boat. My son ended up paying EP10 and one of his dad old dirty shirts for a native egyptian dress to wear for Egypt night on the boat. It was really fun bargaining.
Sep 20th, 2000, 08:39 AM
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I appreciate everyone's response on this. I guess I thought of the click pen phenomenon as more of a sharing of our culture sort of thing. If the kids were just begging, I would have thought they would have wanted more than a pen. In Japan, the kids all rushed us to write down where we were from for school. I still don't understand why click pens (vs. capped pens) are such a hit. Does anyone who lives in Egypt understand this or have some insight into whether this is a harmful practice?
Sep 21st, 2000, 12:15 AM
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Carol, yes it is a harmful practice. The kids then start demanding gifts from any tourist they meet, and they grow up to become the cabdrivers and shopkeepers who rip you off.

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