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question about Egyptian shopkeepers

by realhedonism Online Now Apr 16, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Hello everybody, I'm new here, I'm Vicky.
So I've read here travelomantic.com/winter-in-... that Egyptian shopkeepers are really annoying and rude with tourists. I am considering booking a hotel in Egypt, so I have some doubts here. Maybe somebody who was in Egypt can shed some light here.

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12 Answers
  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by leics Online Now Apr 16, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    I have not found this to be the case, although one must expect shopkeepers to tout for custom.

    It is simple enough to say 'No thank you' and walk away if one is not interested. One does not enter into discussion or haggling if one is not interested in buying: that is entirely inappropriate (and may well, undrstandably, result in annoyance onm the part of the shopkeeper whose time one has wasted).

    Perhaps you should read some of the excellent VT Egypt pages and travel tips, all of which are written by VT locals and visitors?

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  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Apr 16, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    Rude? Not in my experience. A bit pushy at times, but hardly what I would suggest as this being rude behaviour. On the other hand if the customer is rude, this kind of behaviour could be expected in turn.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by leics Online Now Apr 16, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Absolutely agree. And, I fear, rude behaviour by customers is not uncommon....

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  • eugini2001's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by eugini2001 Online Now Apr 16, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    A friend of mine advised to watch local girls and their behaviour with those men.It helps a lot,just don't wear something that make them want to touch you,because they will and it entertains them.If you stay firm and not interested in a conversation they will loose interest in you too,but don't give them the faintest hint or idea,you are interested or would like to talk.The "ignore" thing helps the best somethins.

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  • Lauren5020's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by Lauren5020 Online Now Apr 16, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    Hi Vicky,
    I was just in Egypt over Christmas...did some great "marketing". You have to be "game" for these situations. Know that you'll experience a bit of a hassle and have to haggle if you want to buy (hard for this Canadian girl). I found if you just smiled and said "No, but thank you" they were happy to leave you alone. I agree though, if you show interest, you'll have a harder time getting away. Make sure you're really interested if you ask for the price or pause in front of the stall. I found they up the prices by 50%...but this is common in most of my travels.
    **I just read this post to my husband and he described the sellers as "relentless"...but not RUDE necessarily! :)
    We loved Egypt!! So much to see, you'll have a great time.

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  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Apr 17, 2010 at 5:03 AM

    "A friend of mine advised to watch local girls and their behaviour with those men.It helps a lot,just don't wear something that make them want to touch you,because they will and it entertains them.If you stay firm and not interested in a conversation they will loose interest in you too,but don't give them the faintest hint or idea,you are interested or would like to talk.The "ignore" thing helps the best somethins. "

    I disagree with this advice. This may work for the locals, but as a tourist, you will certainly not be treated as a local. We were with a local friend in Egypt and tried to bargain for a particluar item, and they would not come down in price for her because we were along. Another shop, we stayed out and she did things solo, and she got the "Egyptian price".

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  • vdoortje's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by vdoortje Online Now Apr 17, 2010 at 5:18 AM

    Well, I can't blame them. Life in Egypt is hard. Even harder when they see tourists strolling around with pockets filled with money. Sure they will come to you to offer their products!!! And they will start with the most rediculous price. If you go for it... seems you have the money to spend and they gained a days wages.

    BUT.. I wouldn't advice you to go that way. If you want to buy: BARGAIN! And bargain hard. They will expect you to do that since this is bargaining country. On my VT site I have given some tips on how to bargain in Egypt.

    If you don't want to buy just ignore them. Never look them in their eyes, just walk on.

    Learn some Arabic phrases:

    La shukran, mush aiza. (No thank you I don't need it. WHEN YOU ARE A WOMAN! A man will say Mush aiz).

    Buy an arabic newspaper and walk around with that under your arm. They will assume you speak Arabic and are familiar there. Ignore the comments you will get.

    Egypt is such a wonderful country, and the people are very hospitable. Respect them and they will respect you.

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  • Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by alisadekmohamed Online Now Apr 17, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    hi there

    egyption not rude pepole.
    most work here be by commission ,& most of cites depend on tourist activity ,so you must get a bit pushy,pepole need to sell.
    enjoy your trip

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  • July2's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by July2 Online Now Apr 17, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    I didn't do much shopping in Egypt (a few small souvenirs) but when I did I didn't find the shopkeepers rude at all, Quite the opposite, in fact. They were friendly but stood back until me and my companion needed some assistance. This was at a tourist site so I can't comment on shopping in a city.

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  • GlobeTrekr's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by GlobeTrekr Online Now Apr 17, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    Was in Egypt last year and didn't find the shopkeepers annoying and rude at all, just a bit pushy at times. We were budget traveling and I bargained HARD for empty glass perfume bottles my wife wanted to get for family and girlfriends back home. I was going back and forth with the shopkeeper for about 10-15 minutes!! At the end of it all he was very happy, which let me know he still made some profit, and even told me...."you bargain like Egyptian".

    They are also EXTREMELY helpful. On another occasion, at Khan el-Khalili one night bargaining for a Bedouin palm weaved basket, one guy said..."you don't like, I show you more, different. Wait here, don't leave", and just ran off into the darkness! After glancing around neighboring stalls for about 10 minutes, he returned, tired, with about 5 more different baskets. That was enough for me to stop bargaining and purchase one.

    Our experience with shopkeepers in Egypt was great but it may be different for you as a female and if you're traveling alone. Keep in mind that foreigner/tourist = money, and you really can't blame them. I guess it can get annoying if they think you're filthy rich and you're on a shoestring. Have fun!

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  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Apr 17, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    I remember going into one shop in Egypt that had a sign outside that said "fixed prices". The shopkeeper told us that this was "an Egyptian joke", i.e. haggle away; so we did.

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  • Re: question about Egyptian shopkeepers

    by sborder Online Now Apr 21, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Hi Vicky;
    We just returned from a tour of Egypt. We learned a few things. The actual shopkeepers were very nice, but the vendors at some of the sites are very pushy. We had name tags and our guide wrote our names in Egyptian on them, and that let the vendors know your name, and then they would call us by name, and say we were either a good friend or related, and then wouldn't leave us alone. Most of the shopkeepers expect you to bargain, and the vendors really bargain. One thing the vendors will do is put what ever they are selling in your hand, or over your arm or shoulder, and then won't take it back untill you pay them. One lady in our group would drop whatever on the ground and walk away. One other tip is that if you take a picture of some of the guards or security people around the sites, they will want a tip. There are always some native men around the statues and temples, and if you get them in a picture, they will want a tip. At all the hotels we were at had very tight security. We had to go through the detectors at the doors, and also most of the hotels are fenced in, and have security at the gates.

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