Discussion: What is the best way to handle touts in India?

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#1 Feb 6th, 2003, 08:53
i enjoy country living and relaxed pace in life.
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  • chrissawka is offline
#1
what is the best way to handle touts?

i don't want to disrespect/be rude to them..yet i must stand my ground as well.

being a little asertive and pretending to not be a first time travellor<i am virgin travellor to india,and they'll smell it a mile away i bet!> i think ?
by being up front and vocal won't get them 'angry' at me will it?
enjoyed 6 weeks in southern india and saving up to go back..
i never hated.....yet loved<more>a country soo much
words cannot truely describe the satisfaction it gives u
#2 Feb 6th, 2003, 11:03
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  • talskeddy is offline
#2
I have just come home after 6 weeks.
The main thing to remember is that it is YOUR holiday.
Be polite and smile, but once only.
Don't shake hands or tell them your name or where you're from.
In built up areas, if it gets bad, threatening to call the police works well.

Stop walking and remain silent ... tell them that they can go on.

If you are catching a taxi in Mumbai etc, after getting the right price, get them to put it in writing. (keep a small book for this or a voice recorder) This works a treat and though you may have to put up with some whinging, there is no sudden increase in the price at the end of your journey. It works for railway porters, rickshaw drivers too.

Only put up with what a local would.

In a very touristy area like Varenassi, have some touts adopt you and the others will stay away.

Have fun.
Don't lose your temper
#3 Feb 6th, 2003, 21:17
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  • Watson is offline
#3
Just ignore em. I found it quite entertaining to see who could be more stubborn. The thing is though, with me I actually didn't mind talking to most of them. After you get beyond the hard sale crap most of them can be very fun and interesting to talk to. And if you don't have time in India for a chat then, well just ignore em...
#4 Feb 7th, 2003, 04:14
i enjoy country living and relaxed pace in life.
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#4
thanks guys.hey watson where's your dog?
just thought of it.guess i could just speak french or spanish to them as well<although not totally fluent..might get caught in my on trap with that one>
days are at a stand still but s l o w l y getting closer to mumbai and the begin of my life changing trip
everyone on this site has helped inspire me..right on
#5 Feb 7th, 2003, 04:56
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  • tanpopo is offline
#5
i always treat touts with humour. And, I thought most of them did play it like it was a game, I never really came across any that were nasty, or threatening.

I found that with most things in india, touts, bargaining, rickshaw drivers, keep a smile on your face!
#6 Feb 7th, 2003, 12:35
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  • steven_ber is offline
#6
I was in Bangalore going out for a drink with a NRI (non-resident Indian) and he said he would get us a cheap rickshaw.

What followed was a ferocious argument in Hindi, I was sure there was going to be a fight and I felt quite uncomfortable.

I知 not sure what was said and I never asked, but I think rickshaws were insulted along with facial features, clothing, home countries, accents, attitudes, local cricket teams and mothers.

I wanted a passer-by to stop this before they killed each other, but nobody else on this street took any notice.

Eventually, after consultations with corner men they were separated by the agreement of a price.

The rickshaw driver then turned to me, 登h no, its my turn now, he's been wound-up so he'll take it out on me, I値l give him Rs100 for the short journey, I値l walk, I値l buy his rickshaw, anything, I知 in a foreign country what the hell do I do now?

The rickshaw driver smiled at me winked then got into the rickshaw and drove us to our destination.

My friend informed me that this was normal, and since then I look around on Indian streets and see these 'wars' going on all the time.

It痴 no wonder the rickshaw drivers love us 'polite' westerners who put up only a token argument over price.
Last edited by steven_ber; Oct 18th, 2003 at 02:06..
#7 Feb 7th, 2003, 13:01
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  • picklepak is offline
#7
It's hard to have a catch-all rule for touts... so often you want to avoid them, but sometimes (when you're in a remote part of the country, for example) you might want to use them.

Never had I experienced anything like the touts in Delhi on my first trip to India. Oh, I was so green and they saw it right away. I could write a story just on my experiences trying to find the New Delhi Train Station reservation office for foreigners without having a map or otherwise any idea of where it was. I got sucked in by almost a dozen touts that afternoon alone. At least I can laugh about it now.

Your best bet in Connaught Place in Delhi is to ignore them -- they are far more experienced in tactics than you are. Don't make eye contact with them and don't even look at what they're trying to sell or they'll follow you for four blocks, holding out that ?#!!@ portable chess set that you never knew you wanted.

As a Canadian, I used to tend to err on the polite side of life. But it doesn't matter what you say, or how polite you are, or how many times you say no... what drives the touts most crazy is when you just ignore them. And by the way, if they're really driving you up the wall it's better to forget you're Canadian and not be quite so polite.

Then when you've got that mastered, try to figure out how NOT to ignore them anymore after you've been in India for a while... considering they may actually have something to offer that you want. You can get desensitized to almost anything.

cheers,
k
#8 Feb 7th, 2003, 14:13
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  • Watson is offline
#8
Ha! picklepak, you just reminded me totally of me and my girlfriend's first green-eared expereience in Delhi. Jeeeze we had the EXACT same MAJOR problems finding the reservation area in the train station. Boy those touts were something else! The initial conforntation with first time Indian tout expereince can be very hard to handle. They can smell a newby a mile off! Didn't you notice though that after a while in India they (the touts) know that they have less and less chance pulling one over on the battle hardened traveler.

chrissawka; I thought the dog looked to snobby - since I`m not at all, I didn't want to convey that here in the forum; Besides I like the moby figure- think it's funny
#9 Feb 7th, 2003, 19:30
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#9
I was surprised that it was much easier to ignore the touts than I had thought it would be. They do follow you a long way if you don't ignore them immediately.......but hey, how boring it would have been in my room at night without my portable chess set....a small price to pay for learning that lesson!

Really after the first day I loved the crowds and yelling, all the excitement of such activity and yes, they do sell some really cool stuff and you have to stop and look sometimes. It's so much fun!
#10 Feb 8th, 2003, 03:49
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  • rab is offline
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Picklepak is so very right. My first time in India I had heard about the New Delhi Railway Touts before I left home and still got taken to the travel agents across the road. When I realised what I was being drawn into I left rather hurriedly!

You have just got to tell yourself - the ticket office is upstairs - the book says it is - Indiamike says it is - why has it suddenly been closed!??

One thing that really really p*ssed me off last year was in Mumbai when I took a taxi from the domestic airport to the hotel in Colaba that I had chosen - LP said it was good - Indiamike said it was good etc etc - then when I got there having dodged about 25 touts the final most persistant tout of them all who was stood outside the place tried to follow me up the hotel stairs to claim his commission for "bringing me" there.

I thanked the tout, checked in then told the hotel owner that the tout was a complete fraud and not to pay him. I got a discount, a great room and fantastic service for three days!
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#11 Feb 8th, 2003, 22:05
MisterUK Future Member
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#11
And how do you handle those TIME SHARE TOUTS in Spain?
And the beggars?
#12 Mar 26th, 2003, 00:53
Sanjay Sharma Future Member
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#12

Thumbs down Indian Railway Reservation System

FRAUD ON INDIAN RAILWAY RESERVATION SYSTEM

Yesterday, on 25th March-03, I tried to book a ticket for 25th May-03 by 2904 Golden Temple Mail in the 3-tier AC class. A message flashed on my screen saying I can only book a ticket 60 days in advance. However, to my utter surprise, I found that the 3-tier AC seats are completely booked atleast 8 hours before the booking is actually supposed to start.

Isn't it a pity that the much touted railway reservation system is working against the interests of the public ?
#13 Mar 26th, 2003, 04:34
archits Future Member
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#13
i thought of putting up a download - humorous poster that tells the tout in Hindi - hey listen i do not want a room,massage,drum,taxi... what I want is peace ... thank you very much...
#14 Mar 26th, 2003, 04:53
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  • -m2- is offline
#14
I'm reminded of a post on the TT some time back on this subject. The poster was considering bringing a can of pepper spray along to discourage beggars. I think the guy was actually quite serious, but it provoked a pretty interesting, and funny, exchange.

note to Sanjay: try again after bookings officially open, probably just a procedural thing.
#15 Mar 27th, 2003, 04:46
kbarrett Future Member
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#15

Re: Indian Railway Reservation System

Quote:
Originally posted by Sanjay Sharma
FRAUD ON INDIAN RAILWAY RESERVATION SYSTEM
.... book a ticket 60 days in advance. However, to my utter surprise, I found that the 3-tier AC seats are completely booked atleast 8 hours before the booking is actually supposed to start.
This sort of thing makes a 2ndAC/1stnonAC indiarail pass worth its wieght in gold. I bought a 30 day pass when I first arrived.

During my entire stay, I never failed to get a seat, and never bought one in advance ... the worst that happened was a seat on the floor in 2ndnonAC on a train full of religious pilgrims ( actually a damned interesting ride ). The station folks will go way out of their way to accomodate pass holders.

The most memorable passholder moment was sitting at the rear of a huge line in the tourist railway office in Callcutta. The person at the front of the line was trying to buy five tickets for a party, and the clerk told him loudly that there were only three tickets left ... I waved my railpass wildly from the back of the line, and the clerk looked at me, and then said " Correction, there are only two tickets left."

I got the most amazing assortment of glares and comments from the rest of the tourists, as all but the few at the front of the line left.

A small group of Japanese college students asked about the pass, got back into line behind me, and bought one each... I saw them later in a packed train in second non-AC.... the station master did shoehorn a place for them.


Heh.
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