The Snake

A man in Marrakech, Morocco.

At the main square Jemaa El-Fna you and a dozen other men were playing the flute and making the snakes in front of you “dance” to it. Everybody knows that it is a fraud, everybody is aware of the fact that only naive tourists sincerely believe that you can make snakes dance – which often stay on the floor, by the way.

In Morocco I had the idea to start the column Faces Of The Earth on my website, and on my last day I thought that I could create an authentic blog post about you. That is why I decided to ask you for a photo.

As I kneeled down in oder to get the perfect shot, your colleagues tried putting snakes around my neck, which I did not want at all. Only when I started yelling at them in French did they stop.

Which brings me directly to my first notice: The first rule for Moroccan businesspeople seems to be that every single traveler is dumb. Fun fact: we are not. We are well aware of the fact that the painting is not worth 900 (=90€) DHR and that me bargaining at the price of 400 DHR is realistic and fair for a foreigner but probably still twice the price a local would have to pay. And once you notice that one speaks French fluently and can discuss with you on a higher level, you are suddenly much nicer and much more willing to agree to something. And people who have already had an experience in the world or two in other countries get bloody angry (as you can probably sense at the moment).

I was probably only at your stand for a minute to take the photo and I obviously had to give you a small amount of money even though it went against the grain for me. Nevertheless, I gave you 2 DHR. I knew that it was too little for you greedy man, so I turned around and walked away quickly. Your colleagues started shouting, but I would never have expected them to run after me, grab me by the arm and make such a scene in public just to receive a total of 5 DHR. They were still protesting as I smacked a bill into their hand, but eventually left me alone.

And this incident made me furious. Because frankly, it is not the tourists who are stupid, but rather you in terms of ripping them off and stealing every single dime out of their pockets. If you weren’t as greedy, people would probably be more open to giving you 100 DHR more for a lamp or a carpet. By being impudent and persistent you are annoying everybody to be honest. People then only give you money if they really have to and only buy the things they desire and not the small “aw this looks cute”-souvenirs as well because you are being too intruding.

The best example of Moroccan salesmen on public squares: I was only walking through the streets and stopped to take a simple look at a henna design stand when the woman grabbed my hand and instantly started drawing a henna motive without even asking me. I was not able to pull my hand away and as I did not even ask for the service, I was not ready to pay her full price. She eventually gave in after a 12 minute discussion in French.

But by all these small moment, you annoy the crap out of people and drive them away from your country in the long-run. If you must be such intelligent businesspeople, then think of the consequences as well, will you.


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