Friday, October 29, 2004

Kuta: ripped off!

I can't believe it!

I was just ripped off in a very nice boutique!! (Balidesigns)

I had bought three of clothing items, two of which were discounted for 50,000Rp each. The first time the sales assistant tallied up the price, it was a shocking amount of rupiah. I asked her to do it again, pointing out that the two items were discounted. Turns out that she had given me full price for one of them. She then said that it was 50% off, which is still more than 50,000 Rp. I asked for the tag but it disappeared.

There were two sales assistants and they were vehement about the price. So ok, I drop it and I hand over the cash.

"I need 50,000Rp more", says the girl handling the money.

I'm surprised because I was very careful about counting the money before handing it to her. But I give her an extra 50,000Rp anyway.

After I get my change back, they ask me all these questions about myself. I'm annoyed but am kinda used to it because the Balinese are surprisingly more personal than Malaysians. I mean, we're a curious lot too but I doubt that everyone on the street back home would ask such personal questions to a customer. My gut instincts also went up because they were asking such personal questions in such an aggressive manner.

So I walk away, with a bad feeling in my stomach. I feel that I'm still being ripped off but I can't prove it.

I then remember that I know the exact cash I have on hand - I count it and guess what - I was 50,000 Rp short!

I'm incredibly upset at that time and I storm back to the boutique. The thing is that it would be my word against theirs.

When I get to the boutique, I run up to the discounted area and check the price - I was right. The boardshorts were only 50,000Rp. They had charged me a higher price.

I call one of the salesgirls and pointed out the price. She agrees immediately(!!!) and says that they would refund me back.

We get to the cashier and I vehemently told them that I had in fact gave them 50,000Rp extra and I knew it. IMMEDIATELY, the girl whips up the cash and wheedles to me, "oh, you dropped it on the floor. We were waiting for you."

FUCK THAT! If so, why wasn't it the first thing they had said to me when I stormed back to the boutique??

As well, when I went up to the cashier and was going to give my spiel, they had tried to overtalk me.

The old Cayce would probably just meekly listen and wait for her turn to speak.

But after that time with Richardo, I've learnt that I've got to be a lot tougher with these Balinese because surprise, surprise, they're a lot cannier, and untrustworthy than I had expected. I'm really disappointed actually.

So when she tried to overtalk to me, I tell her very firmly, LET ME FINISH.

I think with my change of tone of voice, and my new, tough attitude, they had immediately backed down and immediately gave the game up. It was a good thing too because I wouldn't know what to do if they had continued their charade. I would have insisted to speak to the manager but it was just the two of them.

I'M SO PISSED OFF. I'm really disappointed at the Balinese. I mean, this and other encounters.. it makes me really upset, as a fellow.. native asian islander. I think tourism has really ruined the island - they think it's ok to rip off a naive tourist because they have so little compared to us. I mean, I feel bad about my initial enthusiasm for Kuta because thinking about it, your average Balinese wouldn't be able to shop in the places that I've shopped, and eat in the restaurants that I've frequented. No wonder they think it's ok to be dishonest. I'm just shocked that it could happen in a really nice boutique - I would have been less surprised if it was a dodgy place or something. As well, I rather be ripped off by accepting a higher price for goods because at least this way, I have accepted the said price and I know what I'm paying for. What happened this evening was such a shock to me. It makes me wonder how many times I've been ripped off like that in Bali without realizing it. I think this was such a special case because I was walking away with a bad feeling in my stomach. So I knew something was wrong. It's true what they say, about trusting your instincts.

I was still mad and upset after leaving the boutique with the proper cash in hand that when the usual annoying calls from the stupid Balinese men on the street started again - I started yelling at them. Well, not so much yell but more like, SHADDUP! PIG!

It felt good but it's probably not the smartest thing because I still have to walk up and down the street for one more day. I can't stand them, the Balinese men. Oh, that reminds me, I'm definitely not going out to the beach again with that stupid Kuta cowboy.

I really do believe that we are meant to meet the people we meet, even briefly. And each new person would teach us something new. I'm grateful for meeting Richardo because he did teach me to be a lot tougher in Bali. The funny thing is that I didn't think that I was that naive, that overly friendly, toooo nice for my own good. It's a wonder that I've survived the two weeks of travelling on my own!

Despite it all, I have to say that I don't regret being on this holiday, and being on my own. I wouldn't have had the experiences I've had, good and bad. I wouldn't have deigned to travel with Richardo (sadly) if I were with a friend. I hope that I've improved as a person and I'm already thinking about my next solo trip! Phuket, maybe. I'd love to travel to Cambodia, Laos, Burma....

One more day in Bali - let's hope I get home safe and sound!

Addendum: The shop in question is Balidesigns. I just sent them an e-mail about what happened last night. I feel that they should know, especially considering that I may not be the only one whom they tried to rip off! I never received a receipt, and they placed my purchases in an unmarked black plastic bag. All very suspicious. I wouldn't be surprised if they pocketed my cash for the purchases!!

Thanks for your support and comments, guys!!


At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess you won't be sending people back home those 'wish you were here' postcards, eh?

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Jordan F. MacVay said...

That was me, by the way...I didn't realize I had selected anonymous....

At 10:41 PM, Blogger andrea said...

power to the consumer!

At 10:48 PM, Blogger mac said...

Well.... least now you know why some places are called tourist traps.

Take care.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Dee M said...

That's quite a bad experience isn't it?But hey,at least you stand up to what you believe.Well,I could always look to you for tips on travelling solo.Here's to coming back safely!*cheers*

At 12:32 AM, Blogger Froot said...

*applauds* You go, girl! Even though it took Richardo and theso two sales girls at that boutique to bring out the tiger in you, it's still good to know that you can stand up for yourself with no problems at all. It is sad that they have to resort to those kind of unethical tricks to make money though.

At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hhhmmmmm "hell hath no fury, like a young lady scorned"...comes to mind. Good for you. That'll teach em a lesson.

I was thinking of going to Bali but now eeerrmmmmmm, I think I'll go to Manado instead.

Have fun on your last day.


At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there in May this year, i love the place but not the people. I remember once i ordered a bowl of fish ball soup and i ended up paying for the price of a beef ball soup, i only realised that after i stepped out of the shop .It's also such a hassle having to bargain all the time,don't you think so? The only thing i find cheap is the DVD, i ended up buying plenty home.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Cayce said...

Thanks guys! Really appreciate your feedback. Am feeling better about the whole thing. sigh.. what an eventful two weeks!

Anonymous - yeah, the DVDs are super-cheap, considering when you convert it back to ringgit. But how's the quality? There are a lot of good movies for sale but am rather wary for buying cheap-quality DVDs..

At 12:58 PM, Blogger hyelbaine said...

Went through the same experience too when me and my friends were at a club. the same drink cost different every single time we ordered. tends to go up and up everytime :(

Cheers!!! :D

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have played all the DVDs i bought and the quality is good. I bought them from "Sakura" which is quite near to "Matahari" ,somewhere around the art market . Just make sure you try and play the DVD first before you buy .


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