Turning the table on street vendors

Feb 26th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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Well, Pinchme, then you haven't sat in front of Notre Dame, tried to walk between Sacre Coeur and Place du Tertre, nor had a rest on the grass under the Eiffel. Oh, or ridden the metro more than, say, twice.
Travelnut is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Well, interesting, some of you have some good points, but, before some of you carry on with your " they are so poor and desperate" angle let me tell you a story.
My husband owned a newpaper, his employees were well paid. He had one typesetter who stood out, he had only one leg, and walked with crutches,but was hubbys fastest typesetter and , as I said, well paid. He had a lovely home in a nice area of town,, and a newer model car.
One night on the way into a liquor store who do we see but " John" , set up outside, with his hat on the ground in front of him, playing his violin( not very well, but for bleeding hearts that doesn't matter, LOL ) . Begging. He was employed, but he was begging. It was awkward to say the least.. .
Next day hubby took John out for lunch to find out if there was some serious money problem.. John, said no, but that he could make 150 dollars or more a night , tax free, begging, and his girlfriend and him wanted to redo their kitchen.

Not everyone who looks pathetic is poor and downtrodden,, suckers.

Re beggers, I live in the begging capital of Canada, we have a huge homeless, addict and mental illness population, thanks to year round decent weather( rest of Canadas homeless freeze to death ) . I actually feel compassion for most of them , mental illness is not treated and the ill have been dumped on the streets, , and we have no help for addicts either, the only ones who piss me off are the 16 and 17 yr olds who don't want to listen to mom and dad, and don't want to work. They actually had an article on some of them, they ( these young homeless) called it a LIFESTYLE CHOICE.
bozama is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 11:13 PM
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I agree with most people, that was extremely rude. Why go to all that effort to mock the guy when you could just simply say, no, thank you, and move on? If they insist more, say it with a little more force. And keep walking. Is politeness so hard? If they keep being a problem, probably can just go into a building and wait a few minutes until they go get another target... Or walk towards someone in uniform.
caladrius is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 03:15 AM
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Travelnut, We have done those thing many times at NIGHT. We were in Paris twice for a total of nine nights. We didn't walk between Sacre Coeur and Place du Tertre at night because, We didn't stroll the 17,18,19 or 20th at night. We were all over them in the day time. We have rode the metro at all hours of the day and night. Like I said, we must be lucky because we have never had ANY problem.
Feb 27th, 2008, 03:33 AM
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What I hate is when sales staff in stores at home jump on you the minute you walk in. They greet you, they ask if you need help, they talk to you about whatever it is they see you looking at, they ask if you're okay when you're in the change room, etc., etc.

It's hard to be curt with them because you are, after all, in the store with them. Not like a street vendor where you can just wave them off with a look and firm "no". Which is what I do, both at home and in Europe, and have never had any problems. I'm going to Rome for the first time in October, though, so I'm interested to see if the vendors really are worse there.

I do like how sales clerks in Europe tend to leave you alone.

As for the OP, I'm sure an assertive "no" and a bit of a glare would have been just as effective. I can understand getting frustrated at being contantly approached, especially while eating at a table in a restaurant, but if it got that bad I would complain to the waiter or leave. I can't image expending the time and energy to do what the OP did, it's a bit cringe-worthy if you ask me.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 05:21 AM
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It'd be interesting to hear what some street vendors themselves think of the competitive street marketplace and whether it needs any regulation. I'm guessing that many would intuit that the more relaxed the customer, the more likely he or she is to buy - and people when approached often feel more annoyed or even intimidated, than relaxed. But once one vendor attempts to gain an advantage by choosing the 'in the customer's face' approach, most feel they have no option but to do likewise.

Maybe the most effective approach (no pun intended) is for us tourists to not only ignore those vendors who behave unreasonably, but to reward those that DO act reasonably. (I'm thinking of those who just spread their goods out on the street and await the customer to approach, rather than nagging the customer.) The trinket or postcard rarely costs that much (one can also counteroffer) and one would at least be rewarding enterprise, rather than begging. The one exception might be a boycott on toys, as these might not pass consumer standards laws (loose parts could be swallowed by a very young child.)
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 06:42 AM
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"cringe-worthy" is exactly how I felt reading this OP - great phrase!

I question someone's common sense that they think this is a socially acceptable thing to do, and worse think it is cute enough to post here and tell us all about it.

suze is online now  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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It is really a graphic example of the stereotype of the proverbial UGLY American and that fall out negatively affects more thoughtful polite travelers.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:44 AM
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Why do you people keep using the term ugly AMERICAN? In my travels and here in the States the ugly visitors are the Asians, English and Germans. I have personally seen a group of German vacationers in Paris YELLING at a waitress in a cafe across from St. Michel and at the little cafe right across the street from sacre coeur (here it was an old man waiter). I have personally witnessed Asians almost knock down people trying to get to the front of the line at Paris and Munich tourist sights. I have never seen an American in Europe be anything but kind and polite to the citizens there. Maybe in the 50's or 60's US citizens acted differently while abroad but that's not the case now.

Feb 27th, 2008, 07:48 AM
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<Maybe in the 50's or 60's US citizens acted differently while abroad but that's not the case now>

well at least one does and this one incident will remind locals of the UGLY American stereotype

Anyway i was speaking only in regard to this one American - and he was an UGLY American IMO - if he would have been German he'd been an UGLY German, Asian an UGLY Asian

No matter of the nationality this was simply an UGLY thing to do IMO and then to boast about it is even UGLIER IMO
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:50 AM
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PalenQ, maybe you've read something in another post, but I didn't learn the nationality of daveesl from anything he wrote. Are you making an assumption, or do you know that from another thread?
thit_cho is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:54 AM
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No i don't know and should not have presumed

but since he didn't contradict that in his above entries i thought and do think he is - simply because 90% or so of Fodor's i think are Americans

But you are right and i should not have used the term UGLY American - just Ugly Foreign Tourist

Sorry for my mistake
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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On another thread Dave said he has a home office in Florida ...
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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Yes, I am from Florida, which makes me a citizen of the United States of America. "Americans" are those of us that live in both the northern and southern continents of America.

As usual, a posting meant to be light-hearted has turned into something totally different.

I am so very sorry if I have offended those of you that are absolutely pure in heart. I guess none of you have been upset at a telemarketer, after all, they are only trying to make a buck. What about the waitress that doesn't bring your order EXACTLY as you wished for it, never went after her I guess. Why it must be wonderful to never get upset over anything or try to turn a situation around.

Yes, I have taught conversational English to over 6,000 students in 65 + countries, over the internet. I have spent time over a period of decades HELPING people in many 3rd world countries, at NO CHARGE.

Gee, living in Florida I get to see the lovely, calm, perfectly polite people from all over the world.

So, next time you get that call in the middle of dinner, don't hang up, just be nice and let them sell you whatever they want.

Also, if you tell someone NO, and then you say it again, and again and again and they still keep trying, just what do you recommend? Once again, read my post, I said "I wasn't nasty, just being a vendor"


daveesl is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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daveesl, there is good advice that is often given: when in a hole, stop digging.

I am sure that I am not the only one here who can claim not to have been rude to telemarketers or to waitresses (or even waiters). Nor do I see a point in being rude to street vendors. None of that means that I am a patsy. I look after my interests. That does not mean that I have to leave people bruised.
Padraig is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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The street vendors bothered you so you got in their faces a bit. Then your story bothered some people so they got in your face.

As you said in your original post, it's not about being nasty. We are all just opinion vendors.
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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especially bruising little people who don't count - waitresses, telemarketers, street sellers - just going about making a living
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:36 AM
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"well at least one does and this one incident will remind locals of the UGLY American stereotype"
I don't believe that for a second!
We have always been treated very well in Europe. I have never heard a citizen of a European country say UGLY AMERICANS. I believe they're smart enough to know that one person's mis-step or act doesn't mean everyone from that person's country is doing the same thing or acting the same way. Just as I believe if one guy was giving away 100 Dollar bills in front of Norte dam, they don't expect everyone from that country to do the same. It's 2008 you people need to stop carrying on the tales your parent told you in the 50's.
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:03 AM
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I am sure that I am not the only one here who can claim not to have been rude to telemarketers or to waitresses (or even waiters)

I can claim to be another.
One of my fierce schoolmistresses told us that a lady is never rude to somebody who is not allowed to be rude back,
I find with street vendors that if you walk as though you are going somewhere and say "no" in a firm but good-humoured way, they shrug their shoulders and give up.
I also don't even glance at what they're selling.
MissPrism is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Wow - just overheard two old rich bags in a swank part of London talking and they said - about some nationality

:no they're not ugly like the Americans"

no fooling - i guess they were anomalies
PalenQ is offline  

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