Ashamed to admit this but...

#1 Jun 2nd, 2014, 20:53
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  • Jesse44 is offline
#1
Alright, I'm just offering the pretext because I hate myself right now:

I'm not normally an idiot, and I ALWAYS ask what one is planning to charge me before the service. If I don't agree or suspect a ripoff, I shimmy down until we agree on something. I've stayed pretty well on budget so far and I have found a lot of wallahs and drivers to be surprisingly honest given the reading I've done bforehand. But, nevertheless...

This morning, in Almora, I needed a haircut.

I walked down the Mall Road, which I noticed has several barbers. I stopped in the first one I saw, apparently called "Looks". There was one guy inside without any customers so I asked him for a cut. He seemed to not speak any English, as I had to mime scissors over my hair and point at stuff on the tables. I asked him how much it would cost and he shrugged like 'I don't understand'.

Obvious mistake to just assume anything ever in these situations but I figured even if I got ripped off, it couldn't possibly be that much as no one in Almora ever bothers me and I haven't felt off about anything I've paid for yet. Actually today, I paid rs10 less than the list price for a plate of momos because the server didn't feel like getting proper change for 100 bill.

Anyways, he cut my hair. Kind of half-assed job, but I don't care so it didn't matter. Then he offered to shave, but I said no. Then he pointed to some cream and insisted I get it applied. Thinking he was insisting on a shave, and that I actually do need one, I just kind of accepted. It ended up being a FACIAL. Seriously.

After this whole uncomfortable face buffing and cream ordeal which probably did nothing, he typed 1,450 INR in his phone calculator. I was furious. I just paid and stormed out as I am very aware that I set myself up for this. Looking back I wish I would have refused and then bargained down again but it made me too upset to think rationally. I expected maybe 300 rupees or so at most.

So, no new tips here really. Just make sure you always know what you're paying before you agree to something. I was really impressed with how I was making out in India so far, but this has really bummed me out. It's important to never let your guard down. Sucks for me, but if I would have had a haircut at home before leaving, I would have probably picked something up to eat afterwards, totalling about 1450 rupees anyways. A sad balancing act today.

Good luck with your future trips.
#2 Jun 2nd, 2014, 20:57
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  • SomPan is offline
#2
You should have complained to the police - almora is a small town and sometime the fear of Police works.
#3 Jun 2nd, 2014, 21:09
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#3
Some of those barbers can be very persuasive and aggressive. I was also caught off guard and (pun intended) had let my hair down upon entering the buzzshop. But no, not in India - it's game on and these guys can be as manipulative as any tout, hawker or richshaw driver. Yes, you may have to hold on to your wig and keep your game face on - even in an Indian barbershop.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
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#4 Jun 2nd, 2014, 21:19
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#4
Peak - yes they try it with locals even in Mumbai. In marketing terms hair-cut is a loss leader but they try and give you a head message, a shave, , a shave with foam instead of bursh, a shave with foam and after shave, hair dye, facial ........

In the saloon that I visit the Hair-cut is cheaper than shaving + foam+ aftershave...
But 1450 is daylight robbery
#5 Jun 2nd, 2014, 21:19
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#5
Haha I thought Jesse was a gal until now!

Put it down to experience and laugh about it. You were seriously ripped off but luckily the amount is tiny in the grand scheme of things. You could have gone to the police and all that, but only you can decide whether it was worth all that bother.

When I am in Bandra, Bombay, at my barber's air-conditioned saloon, I pay Rs.100 + Rs.50 tip for a neat haircut and once a month or so have a facial including steam to clean my skin which costs Rs500 + Rs.100 tip, including haircut and head massage. Been going to the guys for years. They even offer a small bottle of Bisleri and coffee, which I rarely accept as I am always in a rush to get done with the chore.
#6 Jun 3rd, 2014, 01:02
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#6
We've done this "You pay how much for a haircut" thing before: I pay Rs.100, not bothering to take the Rs.10 change, but feeling slightly miffed that it is now 90 and used to be 50.

Jesse44, it reminds me of a cafe in Earls Court (London, UK) that I used to go to. The main item of the meal was always cheap and quaoted as "Only Łn.y." then a little of this was offered, a little of that was recommended, and why not try some of this? And the bill went up and up and up. And the ridiculous thing is that I used to go there regularly, and fell for this damned trick every time! .
#7 Jun 3rd, 2014, 01:42
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#7
I am amazed. I once saw tourists taken for 20 USD for a bottle of supposedly boiled water. But, then my Hindi was better, and I suggested to the perps that as their friend I should get a bottle of beer, justice I think. I think it happens to all of us at times..
#8 Jun 3rd, 2014, 02:53
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#8
Jesse, just put it down to experience and try to see a funny side to it.

It happens to us all.

about 5-6 years ago I walked in to a place close to Pahaganj to get a shave, not some posh place, just a backstreet set-up, he seemed really nice, in the end I had him trim my hair as well, then he slapped on all the usual stuff and charged me Rs300, at the time Rs100 would have been way too much, I was in a hurry, had an argument with the guy, then just threw 300 on the floor, the thing is, I knew the prices, and apart from Goa, I was charged more or less the same all over India, so didn't feel the need to confirm the price at the beginning.

But every negative in India normally has a positive to go alongside, and about 4 months later I went for a shave and haircut in Chitrakoot and had the full works, then was asked for just Rs60.

A slightly funny story from Chitrakoot, I arrived at the station and was told I'd need to get an auto to the main tourist area, but I'm always reluctant to use autos so spoke to a cycle rickshaw wallah, I think he said it would cost Rs30, and I got him down to Rs20 and off we went, it didn't take long to realise that it was a longer journey than I thought, and after the first 10km I was really feeling guilty, it tuned out to be about 15km and I was feeling like the meanest man on earth, I eventually give him Rs100, it really made his day.
#9 Jun 3rd, 2014, 19:00
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#9
Steve - Rs 20 for 15 kms great bargaining; should take you along next time I buy something big
#10 Jun 4th, 2014, 05:20
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post ... I pay Rs.100, not bothering to take the Rs.10 change, but feeling slightly miffed that it is now 90 and used to be 50.....
I also pay ₹100, which includes a ₹30 tip - that's for a haircut and beard trim.

AndyD 8-)
There is no such thing as art, the best is high craft - the rest is just flim-flam ©
#11 Jun 4th, 2014, 05:57
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#11
I bought a trimmer. Haven't paid a dime for the past 4 years.
@ OP I can understand you were upset and probably just wanted it over with, I think it would have been better to take your anger out on the guy himself, in the form of a few choice words, instead of paying up.
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#12 Jun 4th, 2014, 15:38
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#12
Even the "smartest" of travelers gets fooled at the moment they enter inside border.

But after their experiences they do get smarter than the "smartest".
#13 Jun 4th, 2014, 16:30
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnkitArora View Post ...
@ OP I can understand you were upset and probably just wanted it over with, I think it would have been better to take your anger out on the guy himself, in the form of a few choice words, instead of paying up.
I'd suggest a happy chuckle at his joke - and a Rs.100 note put in his hand (with another ready for when he argues).

AndyD 8-)
#14 Dec 26th, 2014, 00:09
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#14
Don't the police always side with the local against a tourist?

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