Dec 15, 2007

How To Say No To Street Vendors

How do you say no to the street vendors offering you goods they sell? Easy. Just say No, Thank You.

Right, but often it is not as easy as it seems. The reason? They don't take no for an answer. They keep offering you post cards, chess set, T-Shirt, wooden statue, beach sarong, bone statue, a pack of chop sticks (we don't use them here) and a lot more. So, how do you "handle this situation"?

When you are in Bali, especially in tourists area you will meet many street vendors. You will meet them at tourist objects like Kintamani, Tegalalang, Goa Gajah, Kertha Gosa, Bat Cave, Ulun Danu Batur, Lake Batur, Seribatu village, Lovina Beach or in the street outside your hotel.

The street vendors are just the Balinese people who work to earn a living. They don't have stall, or capital to start their own business. The easiest thing to take part in tourism industry is to become street vendors or "pedagang acung". They just need merchandise to sell, and off they go.

They way they offer their merchandise is a little bit unique. Although not all, some of them can be a little bit pushy. Usually as you get out from the tourist bus, they come to you and offer their goods. (They probably give you better price than those stuff you bought at galleries, but if quality does not matter for you, then it is not a big deal.)

Sometimes they just keep asking you to buy even though you don't want them, or you just don't need to buy things. You just want to enjoy the scenery. But where ever you go, they follow you.

They ignore what you said and keep lowering the price of goods they sell to give you better price. Or they say, they only sell their goods for "good luck" (a term referred to the first sale for the day hence it should be a good price).

So, how do you get rid of the street vendors if "no thank you"s failed? Well, there is a very simple way of doing this. How?

Just by saying "Tidak" or "Tidak, Terima Kasih." (Pronounced "tee dhuk, tree ma ka sih") This is actually Indonesian expression of saying "No, thank you." And as it works like charm, they won't offer you any thing any more.

A friend of mine, Ted, concluded if you say "no thank you" it means "keep asking me" however "Tidak terima kasih" means "I don't want to buy your goods no matter what."

Why is Indonesian expression more effective? This is because the impression it makes. If you speak Indonesian, they will think you already lived or stayed long in Bali or Indonesia and souvenir is the last thing you need. And if you want to buy things, you will go to proper shop at another time.

But there is nothing wrong with buying from street vendors. You will get good deal sometimes if you want to buy T-shirt or sarong, just use your bargaining skill. And most important thing, it helps the local people if you buy from them.

Disclaimer: This article here only discusses about how to get rid of the street vendors if you don't need to buy anything from them. It might not always work.

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