There are a lot of things that people can say to get me to buy stuff. I admit it—I am a sucker for a sap story, cute face, or irresistible price. I like 2 for 1 sales, second hand stores, homemade and original things (especially art and jewelry). I know my weakness!
So, when traveling, especially in foreign countries and markets—where I am more apt to be haggled, bargained with, followed, extorted—I have come up with a few key strategies. First, I pretend not to hear. Second, I pretend not to understand; often this is coupled with babbling in a foreign language. Third, pretend I am in a hurry. And, finally, under no circumstance do I stop and look at merchandise or the person selling. This theory has some flaws—the story I am about to tell does not illustrate one of them.
While traveling in India, I was often followed by people shouting out sale pitches. Some of these were good. Some were incomprehensible. Some worked. This was the worst! Here is the number 1 sales pitch in the world that will not work on me:
[Shouted by a man who sold marble candle covers that were carved so that the shape of elephants could be seen on the side. He followed me for quite a ways.]
“Madam! Stop. Buy my candle. Good quality! Look at this work. Very hard. Very tiny. You need tiny hands to do this. We have children who have learned. They are the only ones that can do such tiny work. You buy and I can bring you to the factory and see all the children do this work! Madam. You buy!”
Child labor is not a good selling point for me.