India ruined by looky looky men

#31 Dec 10th, 2005, 21:31
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#31
It's the Banana wallahs I feel sorry for, Geez there lined up on every street corner with the same solemn look and expression and identical merchandise. Very mindful of your privacy and never ever chase you down the street saying "buy these dam bananas will ya". How do they all make a living selling them? I usually go to the one in the center of the pack who customers rarely get to, buy a big bunch and then distribute them accordingly to the needy street kids.
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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#32 Dec 10th, 2005, 21:33
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#32

Sensory overload

India is about sensory overload, and that makes it difficult and wonderful at the same time.

Everybody drives with their high beams at night, to be brighter than the next guy, and everybody honks their horns.
Every building is covered with multiple signs for each small business housed in it.
The noise, the colors, the light, the smells, the tactile (or imagined tactile) impressions from the mobs and the textures around you, the taste of the food is intense.
You're often so overwhelmed that you don't notice something because of the general chaos. Horns are no longer meaningful, and you have to read 50 signs of different design in Tamil, Hindi and English before you can tell that the Internet place you're looking for is actually located in the building you're staring at.

Is there any wonder that in this setting touts should compete in such a way as to cancel each other out?
#33 Dec 10th, 2005, 21:35
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#33
Well, Tomi, only thing we can do is persist in not buying from those guys.

Hopefuly natural selection will benefit future generations....
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#34 Dec 10th, 2005, 21:39
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#34
I have to say I just get lost in these threads, I must have the skin of a Rhino as for most of the time I just don't even notice all this stuff and I seldom waste much time arguing the toss with the touts. I just kind sail though it all.
I think it's because I don't feel any guilt in ignoring them, when I so choose. I think sometimes others have trouble ignoring people and it impacts on their general demeanor and mood!!

To be honest I like my India just how it is I don't want to see change, selfish bugger that I am
#35 Dec 10th, 2005, 21:43
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#35
I am so determined to get some shopping done, that hopefully I can pacify a few of these 'looky-men' as you call them.

In Istanbul, they use similarly high-pressure sales tactics and like another poster to this thread, I eventually ended up running away from the Grand Bazaar without buying anything. When I think of all the great stuff I wanted to take back with me, I regret that now.

When I was reading more about that part of the world, it became clear that it's just the way that they do business, and people there expect it. In fact, they'd think it was odd to come to one of our American malls where no one is asking them to come in and look at the store. And I can always spot someone from the Near/Middle East when they run a booth in the middle of the mall, because they will be calling out to passersby to look at their booth. I just pass by and say "No thank you" while looking them in the eye. This also works for beggars in the states...or even just looking them in the eye and saying "Good morning". I lived in one place where I was panhandled three or four times per block that I walked to work, so I got used to it.

I think these techniques or at least an understanding of where it comes from would help people (like myself) when they are put in that situation.
#36 Dec 10th, 2005, 21:46
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#36

Glandwr? Glandwr? Glandwr?

It would be interesting to get Glandwr's feedback with the range of opinions that have been entered. Perhaps he's headed back to India to buy that Chess set after all!
#37 Dec 10th, 2005, 21:50
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#37
Glasndwr is a one-post wonder.
I suspected he was either a troll or a subnic for a senior member who lost it.

Ruins, what you say is very true, but it is also true that in their hard sell they go after tourists much more than after the locals, because they suspect we're richer, and in so doing deviate a little from the established business style.
#38 Dec 10th, 2005, 23:47
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#38
i really have not encountered this much of a problem the three times that i have been in india. yes, the men look, sometimes as if they've never seen a woman before. and they're usually in packs, so having an entire group of liscentious men looking at you can be a bit intimidating. but i don't let it be, because that is when they know they've got you. when i smile and say hi and just keep walkin they don't quite seem to know what to do with that. i sometimes wonder if they get a charge out of seeing just how pissed off they can get women. it may be a fun game for a lot of these men who seem to stand around bored with life.

as for the touts, i either walk by as if i do not see nor hear them, let them chase me down the road without reacting to them, or say nay, nay, nay. sort of like hanging the telly up on a sales call. i start by saying, thanks for calling but i am not interested. sometimes they quickly hang up to dial the next call. sometimes they say thank you and tell me to have a good day. it's the persistent ones that get hung up on after i've told them no.

i have kashmiri friends who are salesman. most of them are fairly low key and seem to better understand this issue. my hindu friends tell me that they despise these guys who come and set up shop and take all of the business. maybe it's because they are not being as obnoxious.
Not all who wander are lost
#39 Dec 10th, 2005, 23:49
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#39
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They are simply not good businessmen. With everything that India has to offer, people return home with far fewer purchases and having spent far less than they should, simply because of the hard sell and the bad marketing.
Perhaps that's looking at a mass level rather than an individual level. That is, I would have been more likely to support "the Indian postcard industry" if it weren't for the in-your-face salesmen; however, each individual salesman may not feel the rising tide that raises all boats (or however that saying goes). Rather, he wants to make an individual sale, and make the profit off that sale. That is, an overall increase in tourist spending isn't the visible end result he wants. He wants a specific increase in his own sales.

So, yes. If all the salesmen stayed in their own stalls and waited for people to come to them just like stores in the Mall of America, they would make more overall sales, and probably each individual would make more money. But as long as some segment of the population is aggressively selling, then there's little choice--sell aggressively, or lose sales to those who do.

This is also related to my major economic lesson of India--that supply and demand happens at an individual level there. In America, supply and demand happens at a systematic level--the mall stores determine the best price point to reach the highest profit from mall shoppers, and every shopper pays the same price. In India, most purchases you make force you to ask the questions, "How much are you willing to pay for it? And how much are they willing to take for it?"

Most of all... it's India. I loved it because it's NOT the Mall of America.
#40 Dec 11th, 2005, 01:14
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#40

Sales pitch or bitch

The only sales bitch that ever gets under my skin are the Kashmiri kids usually the commissioned children of the dealers who even if you are polite and raise your hand in a friendly gesture and say no or just keep walking will say "What's the matter you don't like Indians?" In which I usually replay "Love Indians - Hate Smart Asses!"
#41 Dec 11th, 2005, 05:15
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#41
It all depends on your personal state too.
If it's been a long day, and my legs are sore, and the sun's starting to give me a headache, then getting hassled isn't going to get a very polite response.

Try and catch me when I've got more energy and enthusiasm, and I'll take it good naturedly.
#42 Dec 11th, 2005, 10:28
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#42
India is about sensory overload, and that makes it difficult and wonderful at the same time.

That one sentence sums it up very nicely, Tomi.
#43 Dec 11th, 2005, 18:33
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#43
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Originally Posted by Nick-H The crazy thing is that it must get them results or else they wouldn't do it!
Nick, I am surprised and I must say, disappointed that you are still applying logic to anything regarding India and Indian behaviour!

In Varkala a couple years ago, some cliffside restaurant had hired a guy to stand out on the path and say to every single foreign passerby, "Would you like some niiiiicccce chocolate mooooousse?" I sat there having tea one day for an hour, having to hear this over and over and over and watching every bypasser get so irritated, and not one, single person stopped and said, "Why yes, I would like some mousse." In fact most of them quickened their step when they saw the guy was going to speak. It's totally counterproductive, but they don't seem to be able to put 2 and 2 together, in the same way they don't seem to understand the germ theory (you know, washing your hands with soap can prevent spread of disease? been proven for about 150 years?? people still dying all over India of fecal-to-oral disease like diarrhea, still not changing their habits? Logic is out of the question in the face of habit!).

My sister worked for Coach Leather for 10 years. In the 1980s, the Japanese were really flush and everyone wanted to corner their business. So Coach actually had meetings and presentations about how to cater to the Japanese; the particular way they liked to be served; they like you to put change down on the counter, not drop it in their hand, etc. And guess what? It worked. They made money and created a huge Japanese clientele. This is what you do when you want to sell to a particular bunch of people - you figure out their ways. You don't need such an elaborate procedure either - It should be more than obvious from all the hostility that chasing me down the path to the Mysore Maharajah Palace (true story; I actually had to threaten to hit this man) does not produce results. Therefore, I have no guilt in ignoring these people. The only nice thing I can say is, at least they are trying in their fashion - they are not exactly begging (though they are begging you to buy their junk). That is something.

Someone else (sorry, I think it was RuinsExplorer?) said that "they would be puzzled by our malls." As a matter of fact, malls are BOOMING throughout India and the people love it - they love the service, the fixed prices, and the ability to browse in peace. Personally I would hate to see India become one big mall, which it rapidly is, but it just goes to show that Indians don't like the hassle either and it doesn't produce results. People are fleeing marketplaces and heading for the mall (last week's Time magazine Asia was all about this).
"Why do people go to India to find themselves? India is where you go to lose yourself."
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#44 Dec 12th, 2005, 00:04
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#44
Yes, I still have kittens about some things...

recently my fiance called a courier to send some importand documents to UK. They had been carefully wrapped in one of those Indian cloth-lined envelopes and sealed with much sticky tape.

They included an insurance policy, issued to me twenty years ago.

I was on the phone to her when the courier arrived.

The courier enquired if the documents included any staples. Yes, staples put there 20 years ago. Sorry, staples not allowed in packages to London.

WHY THE **** ARE STAPLES NOT ALLOWED IN PACKAGES TO LONDON?

This is India, she told me, calmly, as she set about undoing it, taking the staples out and repacking it.

So, if I can't figure out why staples should not be sent to London, perhaps there is a hole heap of stuff that I'm never going to understand

Spencer plaza in Chennai has got lots of shops, especially the Kashmiri goft shops and the leather shops that have people that try to drag people in. One woman tried to sell me jeans: I pointed to my vesti and asked if I looked like a person who bought jeans! The kashmiri shops I use are the ones that don't do it.
#45 Dec 12th, 2005, 03:36
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#45
On the subject of women in India...After reading this thread I have become a bit concerned about the safety of my 14 year old daughter who we are taking to India (south and north) in Feb. We have talked with her about how to dress but I guess we need to be with her at all times. I don't want to be paranoid but I don't want her to be sexually hassled either.
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