Photo Spotlight: International Markets

international shopping

Around the world within tourist locations (traps) the traveler will always experience a shop owners lined up selling their items of choice. Each country is different according to their style of selling. Most Western countries the price is a set fixed price. Most indoor malls around the world the price is fixed too. Countries such as Egypt and India the traveler will have to bargain which requires overcoming the western fear that might prevent bargaining skills. The Balkans are easier to shop than the Middle East. Bosnia, Albania, and Bulgaria might try to charge slightly more that the going price, but my experience that most of the Balkans are mostly fair unless in a tourist town such as Budva or the old town of Mostar. Within the old town of Mostar everything is price as Euros, so the traveler will pay double for everything they buy including food.

The Middle East and India the shop owner will start the price three times the amount that the item is worth. Egyptians and Indians are very good at scamming a traveler with fake silk products and other items at a radical high price. Understanding how to bargain in these countries is essential. The skilled merchants will greet you in your native tongue: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Hebrew, Cantonese; they learned all the major phrases. Using their master skills, they size you up and try to “reel you in.” Then they “analyze what you may be interested in.” They may ask you if you been to their country before or how long you have been visiting; your answer show if you know the going prices in the country or not. It is important to understand that most shop owners are at their shops 12 hours a day every day dealing with tourists and travelers. They are very skilled at scamming their customer. A skilled merchant can size up the perspective buyer and know what price to start at which will sometimes be 3 to 5 times the amount of what the item is worth.

If you are a long term traveler you may want to avoid buying anything because then you will have to carry it, and shipping anything back to your home country is very expensive.