Lets face it, we have all walked somewhere in Pattaya and felt harassed by a street vendor at some time in our lives. It may be someone walking along the street selling leather goods or visiting a stall and feeling that we have paid way over the odds for something. Regardless of what you own particular experience may have been, it is always worth understanding that a certain level of behaviour is expected in order to stop either the vendor or yourself losing face.
Never Get Angry
Getting angry with anyone in Thailand will not get you very far with anything and the same goes for when you are dealing with street vendors. Smile, and acknowledge their presence and try to move on. If they persist, try to ignore them as this is common ploy that is adopted by Thais and isn’t seen a being as offensive as we may find in our own cultures. This response will be understood and appreciated which should lead to the end of the harassment.
Smiling, regardless of how forced it may be, will always help to calm the situation. Smile and walk away if you are not interested and this will get a polite but firm message across. If you are interested but you think the price is a little expensive, a smile is likely to help bring down the price and show them that you are willing to negotiate.
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Learn to Negotiate
Sometimes bartering and negotiating with vendors is something we are not comfortable with in the West. However, in Thai and other Asian cultures, it is something that is expected. Prices will undoubtedly start high as the vendor expects you to enter into negotiations. Offer a lower price than what you are willing to pay and there is a good chance that you will meet somewhere in the middle. Don’t be shy, just retain your smile and if the price is still too high, walk away.
Mai Aow Khrap!
Mai Aow Khrap (Kap), or “no thank you” is something that you could use if the negotiations have come to end. One, you are being polite and two, it may lead to negotiations being reopened with a deal looking increasingly close. It is also something that you can use if you are simply not interested in their wares.
It should go with saying but being polite will get you far further than if you are rude or aggressive. This type of behaviour could also put you in a potentially dangerous position if your attitude leads to the vendor losing face. Remember, they are likely to have a family to feed and are only trying to do a job where they can provide for their loved ones. A little humanity goes a long way.
This is Thailand
I am sure that we have all had our frustrations at times but this is Thailand and this is their way of life and not ours. Just because you don’t like or agree with something doesn’t give you the right to be rude and you certainly won’t change their ways.
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