Dealing with touts in India, and just about anywhere else

Everywhere there is tourism there are touts, especially in developing countries, where the incentive to make money to survive is greatest.

Here are some tips

  • If you stop walking when a tout approaches you it can
    be hard to get going again, if you don’t want help keep going.

  • If someone follows you go into a book store or
    somewhere where you can loose them. If they are really persistent walk towards
    police or an official, the tout will normally disappear before you get there.

  • If somewhere like an airport or ticket office, and
    you don’t need help, take charge of buying tickets or arranging things. Don’t
    let the tout take over, as they will expect a tip (and will have started to
    earn it).

  • Be polite, but if you don’t want help tell them.

I’m not sure of the best responses to these guys. I never want to offend, but I am also never interested. Here’s what I do:

  • When touts approach me I never stop walking
  • If they approach from the side and rear I ignore
    their first calls, as they often walk away

  • When they ask where I am from I normally make
    something up, or I tell the truth and say I am from Cornwall (in England),
    which is fairly unknown. Despite this they know where I am from, have friends
    there, and they are often ‘quite famous in London’.

  • I’m always polite, but firm, I don’t want their help.

Here are some of my favorite lines

  • “I am quite famous in London”
  • “Why do you travel by train, I can take you by
    car, you can have hubba-bubba pipe in the back while I drive”

  • “Is your shirt from India?”
  • “Are you Indian? I thought you were.”
  • “Why do you spend so long here? I can take you to
    better places.”

  • “Hey remember me?,I’m Raj, from last year.” – particular obvious on your first visit to India
  • “Do you want to buy the crap I have in my
    shop?”

  • “Do you want to give me your
    money?”

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