.... what I like to call it, others may call it overcharging. I am not talking about grossly overcharging, scams, rip offs or pick pocketing.
What I'm talking about is what I would consider fair all around. Personally I wouldn't knowingly mind paying up to 25% more than the local population on smaller purchases and up to 10%
on big purchases.
Some folks give tiddings, 10% of income to their churches, a lot more of us tip 15-20% at a restaurant, even if the service was subpar you still tip some. So paying a bit more is no news to most of us, so why don't we just consider the reasonable overcharge as a tip and a way to thank the local folks for all that one gets for free especially goodwill and many times priceless information at no extra cost.
One of the best lesson I learned in life....
August 1986, Montego Bay, Jamaica
It's my fourth year in a row going to the Sunsplash Reggae Show. Ackee and salt fish is Jamaica's national dish and is also my fave Jamaican dish. Jamaicans can't afford Norwegian salt cod so they use dried carp instead, still very delicious.
That was my second stay at Mrs. Krieg guesthouse a beautiful true born Jamaican black Jewish lady. This time I had brought some Norwegian salt cod in its own wooden box to make ackee and salt fish. While she cooked I went buy some fruit. I checked out how much a vendor charged the last customer, I though that the price was fair so I brought. He charged me at least double, I paid but I got pissed and went home to complain about the incident over dinner. I told everyone about the incident and Mrs. Krieg says " they do me that way". I was so pissed I didn't "hear" her and kept bitching, she repeats herself " they do me that way " I still wasn't ready to listen I kept on complaining, for the third time she says " they do me that way " it finally penetrated my thick skull, my preconceptions of fair and maybe a lot more. I finally understood.
That fruit seller success depends on a great deal of sizing up the potential customer, some been doing it all their lives so if they read you as someone that can afford to pay more, they will try to charge you more.
The point that most expats seem to miss is that in its purest form the overcharges have nothing to do with him being a foreigner, but just someone that just by virtue of being able to come from where they came from to Vietnam, means they can afford to pay a bit more.
Take two Vietnamese and two foreigners one ostentatiously rich the other a walking hunger factory, one rich and one poor in each group.
I would venture to say that the rich Vietnamese and the rich foreigner will be charged more, in the majority of cases.
So has nothing to do with being a foreigner or not, but ability to pay more in the eyes of the fruit vendor. That is what I call Social Justice, that vendor, as subjective his decision may be, is in a small way evenning up the score.BTW has anyone ever seem a rich road side fruit vendor?
In my travels I found that rich fruit vendors are scarcer than chicken with teeth.
So folks count your blessings.... not just your bitchings