Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to avoid "salespeople" in a foreign country

I've had it happen to me many times while touring in a foreign country. I'm walking along minding my own business when someone says loudly "Do you speak English?" and when you turn to look they shove a piece of paper in your face with some sort of sad story asking for money. OR You encounter an overly aggressive shopkeeper or panhandler who won't leave you along and gets in your face. This happened to us when we were touring Sacre Coeur in Paris.

The secret to a clean getaway: Speak Dutch to them. They can't quite figure out where you're from and are so befuddled they'll leave you alone. We used a few key phrases like "No thank you (in Dutch)" while in Paris and it cut our delay times down to seconds. Thanks to my Dutch colleagues for the handy tip! That's one advantage to speaking a less mainstream language.

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