Balinese Street Vendors

There is one thing I didn’t really like in Jakarta, but which I really hated on Bali: The hordes of people trying to sell you junk. In Jakarta this was mostly limited to people trying to sell you stuff at traffic lights, such as newspaper, water, or plastic World Cup balls. On Bali, these sales people are everywhere. They lay siege to any place a tourist may tread, and as soon as one gets out of the car a small crowd of them will form, talking excitedly, trying to sell you their goods. T-Shirts, cloth, miniature motorcycle models, necklaces, wooden statues, sunglasses, pretty much anything. Others offer services, such as a woman offering a pedicure at Kuta beach. Naturally their prices are way too high, but it’s easy to haggle if you really want to buy something. Just say no until the price drops to about 10% of the initial price.

My Indonesian host was more used to this and displayed more patience than I did. I’ll freely admit that these people did annoy me. I do realize of course that they have to earn a living somehow, but I still feel that one has a right to be fed up with it after seeing the same junk for the umpteenth time. And some of them are quite agressive. A “no”, a declining gesture, an angry look, a “go away”, all is lost on these people. Some will even follow you around for a while, hoping you’ll buy something so just they’ll leave you alone. Not really a good way to make business.

The worst of this was along places that are visited by planned, regular tours. If you’re going to places that are even a little off the beaten path, the frequency of the sales pitches decreases dramatically.

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