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Saturday, October 5, 2013

When Rude Begets Rude

Thinking about travelling again.
A repost from a year and a half ago . . .

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!"

16 comments:

  1. Good for her...enough is enough.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Have baguette; will hurl!"
    Love you, Tiana!
    Aunt Chris

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good for her, I am sure I would have said worse... I don't try to be in someone elses space and I expect them to stay out of mine... or they will will hear a word or two they don't want to....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oooh ... I SO dislike confrontation, I don't know what I would do in a similar situation.

    Or, at least, I DIDN'T know a minute ago. Now I do! Please thank your spunky daughter from me!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Those pushy vendors are a plague. They are in every country. Your daughter has the right idea. I think I would take an un-needed cane, and relish it now and then.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's interesting when you're at a resort where they say the beaches are patrolled and none of those pests can get in,
    the pests/entrepreneurs resorted to simply sailing in from the sea. They beached their boats then enthusiastically ran up and confronted the poor beleaguered tourists. I've been told that the Bahamas was actually losing tourists because of that riff-raff ganging up on you. The only way to get rid of them is to get downright nasty (sometimes ignorant?) with them. It's tragic when a no-thank you doesn't work and you have to resort to being downright mean. But it's a good thing that we have the capabilities to get that way when necessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't like it, but it's all about surviving.

      Delete
  7. Good for her!! I'm applauding here.
    I had a friend similarly accosted on a beach in Bali. She sat down on the sand and not a minute later was surrounded by little girls not more than 10 years old, they knotted bracelets on her wrists and braided her hair without even asking first, then surrounded her with their hands out for money. Right then is when I decided to never go to Bali.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! I would have an even bigger problem with that! I'm such a push-over for children!

      Delete
  8. Yay! A story of triumph! That picture at the end is the perfect ending to a perfect story!

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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