The Current Situation - Hassle E.T.C

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The Current Situation - Hassle E.T.C

Post by Zooropa » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:03 pm

In my opinion several things that have come along together has made the situation in Luxor/Egypt what it is. Obviously the global economic downturn was always going to result in fewer vistors to every holiday destination. The uprising has made many first time and regular visitors put on hold or cancel potential trips for fear of their safty. And apparentely the hassle levels which we all know have always been present appear to have been ramped up beyong any previous level. I say "apparentely" because ive yet to go to Egypt since these issues have come into play. Im happy to say that i will be able to see for myself in under three weeks time as im booked to go out there. Im a frequent visitor to Luxor, i love the place, the culture, the history and of course the monuments. I am a buyer by profession and so i know how to haggle and how to trade. It is often said that Egyptions are amongst the most talented and canny sales people in the world, i cannot, equate that to the current practice of this apparent over the top hassling. It is not clever or canny to actually engage in tactics that are going to almost guarantee you dont get a sale, thats plain stupid and futile. I dont buy the excuse that its because they are desperate. That is irrelevent, i know they are but the current tactics are going to make what is an apalling situation even worse. The few people that have decided to get over the hurdles of the economy and the political situation there are then confronted it would seem, by constant hassle, in some cases intimidation and are not left alone for a minute to actually relax and enjoy their holiday. The current tactics have potential long term consequences as well, when things settle down politically 9 if they do settle at all) and the economies of the world recover, Egypt may find that they have alienated themselves with this current behaviour. A repuation is easy gained and much,much harder to lose. I know its all been said a million times on a million forums but it seems escpecially pertinant to point it out now as things are so bad. I am mild mannered and as ive already stated my job puts me in a situation or haggling every day. Even on previous trips when things were much better regarding tourists ive never had a holiday there where i have not lost it at least once by a local not taking no for an answer and going over the top. Yes, they say its always been this way in Egypt and thats true, well what is also true is that like every economy and business in the world if you dont move with the changing times and give the customer what he wants or rather what he does not want then Egyption,English,Indian or whatever country you are you will have the same result, no business! Yes if you want to carry on with the same tactics thats there call but they have to live with the consequences. I know its been said before but there needs to be a collective effort to change hearts and minds, i dont accept that things cant change, women would never have got the vote and slavery would never have been abolished had that been the case. I mean seriously why are these magnificent people effectively putting a gun to their own heads? I care and its enough to make you cry with sadness and shout with range. STOP SCREWING YOUR CURENT AND FUTURE LIVES UP. PLEASE!



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Post by jewel » Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:45 am

Agree zooropa.....they've had it coming a long time I'm afraid yet STILL don't get the message it seems! I know many people been put off Egypt all together by the Egyptian men's attitudes (especially to women) and the relentless hassle really pisses people off, when all they want is to relax and enjoy a well earned holiday instead of this constant as you so rightly say intimidation........not good at all especially these days as people just won't tolerate it, and why should they?
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Post by Alistair1967 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:40 am

Very well put, Zooropa. The 'Egyptian Way of Business' will kill that business altogether if the hassle is not seriously moderated. It makes me wonder about the mentality of some of them, alienating potential customers (those few that still visit Egypt) for good with their aggressive-persistent tactics.

Does such silliness actually deserve the reward of a good living?

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Post by Teddyboy » Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:46 am

"I know its been said before but there needs to be a collective effort to change hearts and minds, i dont accept that things cant change,"

I don't suppose for one minute that you will be of the first generation to say exactly the same! But, haven't you realised that there are significant bodies of people in Egypt today who are actively working AGAINST any moves towards 'change'? (At least, in the sense which you are using the word.) That it suits their purpose to have a dirt poor, ignorant population who will repeat the well-worn mantra that "Egyptian life very hard, Basha", and wear their traditional suffering like some badge of honour?

As long as the 'new' rulers of Egypt (whoever that turns out to be) don't destroy the ancient monuments; then Egypt will always have foreign people wanting to come here. After all, where else can be found such a goldmine of fascination? And, as long as those people are allowed to come; then they will experience the same treatment from these locals who often view their own poverty as a result of Western excess and the victimisation of Arabs in general.

Of course, we shouldn't generalise, but it's very difficult not to in some cases.

Harking back to my own schooldays; the terms "Lying Arab" and "Thieving Arab" were common classroom insults. Whilst I'm fully aware that such expressions would be roundly condemned in today's society, they must have had some foundation in peoples' experience of the said race?

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Post by Arthur » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:32 am

Teddyboy wrote:Harking back to my own schooldays; the terms "Lying Arab" and "Thieving Arab" were common classroom insults. ... they must have had some foundation in peoples' experience of the said race?
Since when has racism had any basis in fact? I'm sure your school was full of Arabs, and that the insults were solely based on factual analysis. Are you saying that your current experience of Arabs is that they are 'liars' and 'thieves', confirming your schoolboy prejudices?

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Post by Morgita » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:52 am

It's short termism. The hassle continues because in a proportion of cases it works. Visitors can be and are intimidated into paying for goods and services they do not really want just to make it stop. Of course it means that some of those visitors will never return to Egypt. Not a problem when the supply seemed endless but of much more significance now. I would return to Egypt in a heartbeat but my husband will never set foot in the place again. We did meet with some kindness but even that was disguising efforts to make us part with more money. It wasn't the money that mattered, it was the lack of respect and the sheer annoyance factor. In some instances the kindness was no doubt genuine but on a short visit it was impossible to tell the difference. If the visitors return in large numbers none of this will matter and it will be back to business as usual.

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Post by Teddyboy » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:52 pm

Since when has racism had any basis in fact? I'm sure your school was full of Arabs, and that the insults were solely based on factual analysis. Are you saying that your current experience of Arabs is that they are 'liars' and 'thieves', confirming your schoolboy prejudices?”

So Arthur, are you suggesting that Negroes are not black, or honkys not white? You certainly make some daft comments in your rush to label people with some ‘ism’ or phobia!

Not many schools, around where I grew up, had Arab pupils in the 60’s, most of the examples from which this name calling sprouted were the experiences of soldier fathers who had served in Egypt, and North Africa in general, and while there, were constantly on their guard against the lies and thievery of the Arabs with whom they dealt on a day to day basis. A bit like the tourists who have written in the posts above, although the lies and thievery now come in the form of hassling to gain extortionate prices, instead of stealing your Tommy Gun or boots.

In the peculiar mindset displayed in your above post, it seems that it’s OK to call the people of Luxor upside down, to denigrate their business practices and offer a form of cultural imperialism as a cure-all (i.e. ‘our way’ is better than the ‘Egyptian Way’). But to mention that the very culprits, or modern-day **** Turpins, are Arabs is forbidden on the grounds that it then becomes racist. Are they not Arabs (in the main), is this not the experience of the above posters, are they out and out liars?

After trading with Egyptians for a number of years, my current experience is that most of the folk, with whom I now have dealings, are not thieves, still quite a few seem to be almost compulsive liars I’m afraid. But these particular people have taken years to find!

The poor tourist who is here for a couple of weeks finds (or rather they find him/her) the very type of Egyptian Arab that perpetuates the bad reputation which they have as a race. It’s not a new phenomenon; everyone knows that it’s been going on for millennia!

So, MY current experience is NOT that Arabs are liars and thieves, but I believe that if you stood at Luxor airport and asked the returning tourists; then the answers you receive would, more than likely, be in the affirmative!

It is possible, you know, to discuss something and make rational observations objectively.

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Post by Arthur » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:32 pm

Teddyboy wrote:In the peculiar mindset displayed in your above post, it seems that it’s OK to call the people of Luxor upside down, to denigrate their business practices and offer a form of cultural imperialism as a cure-all (i.e. ‘our way’ is better than the ‘Egyptian Way’). But to mention that the very culprits, or modern-day **** Turpins, are Arabs is forbidden on the grounds that it then becomes racist. Are they not Arabs (in the main), is this not the experience of the above posters, are they out and out liars?
No Teddyboy the above posters were recounting their particularly frustrating experiences of being hassled by people selling goods and services to them as tourists in Luxor. I'm sure many of us have had similar experiences and there have been numerous threads, serious and lighthearted, about how best to handle such situations and what might help the perpetrators understand, as the above posters suggest, that the hassle is counterproductive and not in their, or their country's, longterm interests.

Neither Zooropa, Jewel, Alistair1967, or Morgita mentioned Arabs at all or cloaked their observations in racist terms.

Perhaps, I am alone here in finding the terms "lying arab" or "thieving arab" objectionable and racist.

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Post by Teddyboy » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:37 pm

OK then, how about "Lying Luxorian" or "Thieving Upper Egyptian". Are the people who the other posters are referring to NOT Arabs?
I'm at a loss as to why a person being referred to because of his racial characteristics should be offended, unless the person in question is, or thinks he should be, ashamed of his racial make-up. Or are you contending that there are no such things as 'racial characteristics'?
(In my opinion the same goes for his sexual make-up, but that's already been covered elsewhere.)
I see you glossed over my cultural imperialism accusation. After all, why would we want the indigenous Egyptians to have a more comfortable life. They're used to suffering, and they only have to put up with it for 70 years or so before they reap their eternal reward.

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Post by Arthur » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:31 pm

Teddyboy wrote:...are you contending that there are no such things as 'racial characteristics'?
For brevity's sake - Wikipedia: "Among humans, race has no taxonomic significance; all people belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens. Regardless of the extent to which race exists, the word "race" is problematic and may carry negative connotations. Social conceptions and groupings of races vary over time, involving folk taxonomies that define essential types of individuals based on perceived sets of traits. Scientists consider biological essentialism obsolete, and generally discourage racial explanations for collective differentiation in both physical and behavioral traits."
Teddyboy wrote:I see you glossed over my cultural imperialism accusation.
It's not clear who you are accusing of what...

Personally, I don't see how the behaviour of street vendors or touts towards tourists in Luxor has got anything to do with their ethnicity... or any racist stereotypes you learned at school.

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Post by Beryl » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:43 pm

If I learn nothing else from this thread, I will at least have a greater understanding of splitting hairs. ;)

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Post by Zooropa » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:03 pm

The sense of the word "change" was not in altering their entire way of life, thats up to them. I meant change in the sense of their selling tactics, back to more tollerable levels. As for them being poor because of the excesses of the west thats complete tripe. They are poor because of the oppressive regime they have had to live under. If it had not been for tourists i dread to think of how they would survive. As for the comment from one poster about the tactic of the hard sell will work sometimes, thats very true, well done youve harrased one person into buying something they didnt want and put off another 20 who might have done if they had been left alone! The net result is less sales and a reputation that spreads on forums and websites like wildfire and stops hundreds from even bothering! Real dumb!

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Post by Zooropa » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:11 pm

Alistair you raise a very interesting question! I fly out 2 weeks on wednesday and im cruising, i wont even contemplate stopping in Luxor at the moment! How many people have on their wish list for a holiday: hassle,insults,intimidation,threats,attempts at robbery, taxi calleche,tax tax tax felucca tax tax tax tax!

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Post by LivinginLuxor » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:06 am

You will find the prices you may pay on a cruise ship for souvenirs, jewelry etc is far higher than you would pay in a local soukh (after a bit of a haggle), as you are part of a captive audience.
I might agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong!
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Post by Mad Dilys » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:51 am

And because they are part of a captive audience the amount the vendor has to pay to be on the boat is many time higher than the rent of a shop on dry land.

Don't forget that it is likely that others on board will expect commission too. :)
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Post by Arthur » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:15 am

From my experience of being on a nile cruise, you were trundled round the sites at lightning speed with no time to wander, before being herded to chosen papyrus shops and alabaster factories, with their 'special' cruiseship prices.

With a pair of earplugs, sunglasses and an mp3 you can easily negotiate the few hassle hotspots. Or hire a bike and avoid them altogether. There's a whole world outside the Corniche, Gezira, the hotel bars and the hermetically sealed tours, where the genuine Egyptian hospitality is still to be found.

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Post by KJB » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:26 am

MD is right about rental prices - I know the cupboard-sized shops on board, which granted, included the selling of jewellery, cost over LE40000 in rent alone per month and that was more than 3 years ago. It's also common practice, when demand is high, to expect the (up to 3) salesmen to sleep on the floor in the shop. Oh, and the guides/tourleaders very often take their guests to shops outside or, if they deal with the shop on board, they expect (quite high) commission. It's not all plain sailing ( :oops: sorry about that!).

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Post by Teddyboy » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:26 pm

40000le? Are you sure about that KJB? It's an awful lot of money to extract from a few captive tourists! (Unless you're holding them to ransom, of course.)

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Post by Zooropa » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:24 pm

Yes Stan you are correct. Ive cruised many times and buying from the shop is a no no unless you are not bothered about the price. As for being hurded round the sites i dont find that at all with the company i usually travel with. Ive heard all the talks before so i normally ask the guide where to meet and when at the end of the visit and i go off and do my own thing so there is always plenty of time.

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Post by Who2 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:35 pm

2 days ago I paid 4Ole for pick-axe with handle, today a Coptic 'chippy returned a piece of wood I gave him to carve me a rough canoe paddle, he charged me 5Ole, fool, I will never employ him again his loss not mine, Iv'e never found too many problems when dealing with people, here or in the UK there are fools everywhere......8)
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