The Waiting Game
Being scammed is quite common when you’re in a foreign place. You aren’t too familiar with the local currency and in your head you’re juggling with conversions from your native currency to the local currency. You’re a sure target because locals can capitalize on your ignorance of not knowing how much the local prices are.
A Belgian guy I met in Kathmandu, Nepal paid 700 Nepali Rupee ($6.70 USD) for 2 medium-sized mangoes. I paid the same amount for 7 mangoes.
One of the best ways to prevent being scammed is to be patient. Wait. Watch locals buy the same things you want to buy and pay attention to the prices they are being charged. No locals around? Compare prices at different vendors. Or just be even more patient and buy another day. Practice discipline.
Bargaining is a common practice at the market. You’re only spending more money than you have to if you don’t bargain. Don’t succumb to the flattery. Be firm and hold your ground.
It’s a common mistake to constantly convert to your native country and to compare prices to back home. You need to compare apple prices in one store to apple prices in another store in the same country. Who wants to pay $4USD for apples while a local lady is only paying the equivalent of $3USD for the same amount?
At the farmer’s market in Taipei there are vendors selling all kinds of produce and products. The tea lady. The strawberry guy. The pumpkin man. The cacao bean husband and wife. The fishmongers. The little old lady making her sweet buns. You get the picture.
Will Durant once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
I’m going to take this one step further.
We are what we repeatedly eat.
The vendors at the farmer’s market are your signals. It is likely the vendors consume the products they sell. The tomato lady will have rosy cheeks. Want rosy cheeks? Eat tomatoes. Don’t like the way the baker looks? Probably don’t want to be eating too many of her baked goods.. Sure it’s being judgmental. Why is being judgmental a bad thing?
Seek out the healthiest looking people and those are the people you want to buy from (if you want to be healthy). Are they selling weird food? Time to get out of your comfort zone.
Maybe this philosophy can be applied to clothing and accessories too. I was with a friend at this boutique clothing and accessory store where she was buying a cell phone case. The woman working there looked like she was from a video game.
You become the people you buy from.