Taken Advantage of?
As very noticeable tourists we are very susceptible to being taken advantage of. The language barrier has been difficult at times, as has being in an unfamiliar city, but we have all survived with very minimal issues. We have been warned about paying too much for products and that the vendors will give locals or people of chinese descent a better deal than us. This has been evident, especially when bartering with vendors selling goods. It is often very difficult to know how much a good should cost, and how much it cost the vendor to purchase it themselves. It is interesting to listen to people in our group buy similar or identical goods and pay completely different prices and have the starting price be very different. Times that I have encountered being a victim of being charged different prices have been in purchasing drinks from the store across the street. This has happened when the cashiers are different and with that change comes the change in price. Also, when taking cabs in Beijing it was very interesting to hear the different rates each group paid when we left the same place and had the same destination. Not being familiar with the city left us at a disadvantage and susceptible of being taken advantage of. At times the price differences were up to 15 yuan. I wonder if this is a universal trend. It is very different at home where prices are set firmly for most products. It will be interesting to see how other countries operate in SE Asia when I continue to travel.