Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, March 4, 2012

When Rude Requires Rude

Our family loves taking holidays.
And for a simple country family from Southern Alberta, we have managed to cover a good portion of the globe.
We have had wonderful experiences.
Sunsets over the Mediterranean.
Fresh bratwurst in an open-air mall in Frankfurt.
Moving church services in an old cathedral in Cork.
A wild bus ride through the streets of London.
The smell of the dust in the air on a hot afternoon in Turkey.
The bustle on the streets in Paris.
But, sometimes, when we travel, we have . . . 'adventures'.
Let me explain . . .
We were touring one of the great cities in Europe.
And enjoying seeing things that for us, had existed only in pictures.
We wandered into a very popular tourist site.
And were instantly accosted by a small, but determined group of 'entrepreneurs'.
These people had made little bracelets and were anxious to make a sale.
At first, it seemed as though they wanted to present you with a little gift.
They would smilingly knot one around your wrist.
And I do mean 'knot'.
Pretty.
Then stand back and loudly demand money.
Great scam.
We had seen it happen to people walking just ahead of us.
“Keep your hands tucked in!” Grant whispered urgently to the rest of us.
“Don't let them grab you!”
I should point out here that we had no intention of letting them grab us.
And, through our travels, we had learned the great art of 'obtuse and avoidance'.
The tourist's best friend.
If you don't make eye contact and pretend you don't hear, you avoid a lot of unwanted purchases.
This didn't work here.
If you looked away, a pair of enthusiastic salesmen would move alongside.
One would grab your hand and the other would tie the bracelet firmly.
There was no way of getting rid of it, short of cutting it off.
You would be forced to pay.
We managed better than most.
You learn to be agile, working on a ranch.
But two of them had converged on our youngest daughter.
An outspoken girl of 21.
She had tucked both of her hands against her body and said, “No, thank you.” And, “I'm not interested.” And, “I don't want a bracelet.” several times.
Firmly.
Then she tried to break, as politely as she could, through the closed ranks around her.
Politeness and patience were wearing thin.
And not working in the slightest.
The salesmen had resorted to trying to physically take her hands, chattering enthusiastically in their native tongue.
She shifted back and forth, eluding them.
We started towards her, intent on rescue.
We weren't needed.
Before we could reach her, she suddenly shouted loudly at the two men, “Get the hell away from me!”
Did I mention outspoken?
All heads in the square turned.
Smiles broke out on many tourist faces.
The two would-be salesmen fell back and stared at her.
Finally, one of them drew himself up and sniffed, “There is no need to be rude!”
They disappeared, taking their little bracelets with them.
There was laughter and a small smattering of applause.
Okay, it came from us, but why haggle over details?
I was proud of my daughter.
She had tried to be polite.
She had tried to be firm.
But, faced with a situation in which neither of these tactics proved effective, she became fierce.
And won the day.
This was an isolated incident.
Fortunately, one of very few negative experiences we've had in our travels.
But it proved to us that when patience and good manners don't work . . .
Good old 'country spunk' will.
Travelling?
Take a farm girl.
"I have a baguette and I know how to use it!"

20 comments:

  1. Seems like every time we go to the grocery store now there is a relative of one of those salesmen trying to catch you before you spend your money on, Oh, I don't know, food? You can try to avoid eye contact but they are very very insistent...next time I go shopping can I borrow your youngun?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Avoiding eye contact was our first lesson. You're right. It isn't as effective any more. And I'd gladly loan you my daughter. She is also fun to visit with!

      Delete
  2. A Canadian in Paris? Oui Oui!! And a very hearty tres bien!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good one. And no baguette needed!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That whole incident makes me angry, How dare they assault you in that manner?! Good for your granddaughter, I'd love to travel with her anyday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is quite the travelling companion! Fun. Funny. And spunky!

      Delete
  5. Diane, feisty seems to be the best word to describe your girl! Good for her for not allowing the men to bully her into buying the bracelets. In a continent where pick pocketing abounds, you can never be too careful and the idea of a stranger touching me, gives me the creeps. I say it's better to be rude than sorry! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sad, but so true, Bella! Rude-ness wins! :)

      Delete
  6. Woo Hoo!!! She rocks!!! A shame the tourist scam existed in the first place - but great to see it didn't work this time!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's my hero, Red. I love the girl!

      Delete
  7. That's awesome! Good for her! Sometimes rude DOES require rude!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunate, but true, Ginger! Her solution to the problem helped every tourist on the street! It was a good day!

      Delete
  8. It sounds as if you've had some amazing adventures.
    - And I love your daughter's spunk!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Reminds me of travels with my father. We were in a restaurant and the waitress was extremely rude and short with us. My father was a very easy going fellow and told us all to eat our food and not worry about her rudeness as it was not our fault. He even tried talking to her politely but she continue to be rude. When we were done he paid for the meal and told us to get ready to leave. (It was customary at that time to leave the waitresses tip on the table). He then took some pennies and nickels from his pocket and dropped them into a glass. Next he filled the glass to the brim with water, put the menu on top, held it tight and turned the glass upside down. Then slid it off the menu and onto the table. We were all in shock! This was our lovable father doing this nasty trick. We knew that the pennies and nickel tip was an insult and that she would have to allow the water to spill everywhere to move the glass. My Dad said that sometimes when talking doesn't work you have to show people that it does not pay to be rude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I would have really liked your Dad, Marlene! Smart, smart man!

      Delete
  10. You know I have become rude too. People have just become scammers looking to get you into trouble. The nicer you are the worse it is.
    I especially don't answer the phone cause if I am not rude and politely say no they become angry and rude.
    Then they have schemes whereby you answer the phone to say hello and get charged thousands for answering by the phone company. So unless you know the number you don;t answer.Today with pay as you go phones, they can't do this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it sad that we have to resort to being rude, just to avoid situations we didn't ask for in the first place?! I don't answer any number I don't recognize, either.

      Delete

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