In the comments on The Keshik Feigned Retreat Ambush, Lingaholic related a story --
I've also had some more or less scary experiences in the developing world. I think the one I most vividly remember was back when I arrived in Saigon, Vietnam, back in 2009. I decided to catch a cycle-rickshaw, or whatever you call them there, and I asked the price beforehand for a ride that would've taken something like 10mn. I knew the usual price went by US$1 (around 15,000 Vietnamese dong I think). The driver responded, cheerfully, "You pay what you want. No worries. Just pay any amount you want." I kind of insisted in knowing how much he charged (rather than firmly making my offer), but just got the big smile with the same response.
I decided to take the ride, and after getting driven around to shops owned by his buddies, and pressured into buying some crap, I finally arrived to my destination. Disembarking the cycle-rickshaw, I tended a $1 bill to the driver, and said thanks. He then looked at me and said, "No. You pay me $15. This is the price for the ride." At that point I basically laughed and categorically refused to pay him the exorbitant sum he asked. He continued, increasingly more aggressively, to insist on me giving him the equivalent of US$15. After about 10mn--which felt like a long time believe me--where I basically just stood in front of him replying "no" over and over again, he started shouting "I going to kill you. No joking. I kill you right now."
At that point I started freaking out a little bit, but luckily it was midday, and there was a lot of people around, as well as curious bystanders (all of them Vietnamese, none of them really interested in helping either of us, but most seemed to sympathize with the driver). At that point I basically tended him the equivalent of $5, which is still hugely overpriced, and walked away, never looking back.
Lesson learned that day: always agree on a price before taking a taxi/rickshaw ride.--
Bold added by me -- that's precisely why people do it. By making exorbitant demands, they usually get something more than normal.
Two pieces of advice -- first, if you get caught up in one of these, don't discuss with them -- just hand them something and leave. And laugh a little instead of taking it as a serious argument.
Once you get caught up in a "serious" conversation, they know they've got you. When someone asks for money like that, I go, "Haha, that's a good one. Here's [whatever]" and then walk away just like you did.
The line, "Come on dude, I live here" is pretty useful too (even if not necessarily true).
For more complex transactions, a very simple piece of advice that helps a lot -- write down numbers. Take out any scrap of paper, write down a number on it, and write TOTAL in caps. Circle it.
This isn't necessary for a short taxi or motorbike ride, but very useful when buying multiple articles of clothing, or getting some package tour. You'll often get extra charges tacked on or the price changed, but people seem to be unable to do it as ridiculously if you've written numbers down. If it's a multi-element transaction, break it down with numbers related to each item.
Also, you really don't want to pay beforehand, almost ever, in developing countries. Things go wrong too often. But yeah, a lighthearted chuckle and smile, along the lines of, "Hey, I don't blame you for trying, but c'mon man hah" is far more likely to get you out of there with problems than trying to reason with unreasonable and unscrupulous people.
Yep, definitely agree with you here. I should've simply taken his request lightheartedly and chuckle at it, tend a $1 bill, and cheerfully walk away. I must say, though, that his face expression, which I still remember vividly, was pretty damn serious, if not scary, when he told me he would not accept anything less than $15. Below is a picture of the guy in question, before things turned sour :)
??? ??????? ?? ??? ? ??? ??.?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? 5??? ?? ??.???? 150? ???? ???? ????? 5??? ??.??? ??? ? ?? ? 5??? ??? ???? ??? ??? ????. ?????? ??? ???? ??? "?? ??????" ?? ?????? ????? ?? ?? ???.???????? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ???? ????? ? ?? ??(?)? ??? ??
First off, quick refresher - what is negotiation?
Good negotiation is about discovering things you value a low amount that the other party values a high amount, finding things they value a low amount that you value highly, and exchanging. I wrote about this in "How to Avoid Exchange-Based Relationships" -
A lot of people don’t understand good negotiating. They think it’s about getting the best price – no, no, no. Good negotiation is about figuring out what you can offer that’s worth more to the other person than you, and what they can offer that’s worth more to you than them.
it’s okay to have pure exchanges sometimes, like if you’re just buying something once. But if you can transcend that, move it beyond the exchange and into looking out for each other, that can be a beautiful thing.
Going to Bali is a rite of passage for any West Australian. It is the Cancun of Australia. People go there to party and take advantage of the ridiculously cheap way of life. It is cheaper to get to than Sydney You can rent a scooter for 5 dollars per day, my accommodation was never more than 10 dollars per night, meals were never more than 5 dollars with the cheapest and coincidently most enjoyable being the 75 cent Nasi Goreng (an Indonesian staple) purchased at a sweaty night market outside of Lovina.
But I must say, I hated Bali from the start.
On the Airplane, people were just there to party and have fun. There was total disrespect for the flight attendants and obnoxious behaviour. I was ready to get off the plane and get away from tourists.
Upon leaving the airport I was surrounded by "taxi" drivers wanting my business. A taxi driver in Bali is a guy who owns a car and hangs around at the airport for so long that he forgets where he parked his car while his family is sleeping to earn a few extra bucks. I was told to go for the "Bluebird" metered taxes because there is no arguing about the fare. They were right. I got into an argument with him because he specifically told me one price at the beginning, then changed it at the destination saying that it was his accent. The price difference was the equivalent of $2.20. This is not a significant amount of money to me but it was the principle of the matter that annoyed me. I soon learned that this is common in Bali.