Hawkers in India

Hawkers in India are really annoying.  They swamp you at any tourist attraction, trying to sell you junks and spoil your traveling mood.  From our experience in Mystore, we learned that the best way to deal with hawkers is to ignore them.  We also found that my ignoring is more effective than Mark’s ignoring.  Somehow I sense there is a subtle difference between my ignoring than Mark’s.   As engineers, we have the observation, now we have to find a theory to explain the observation.  After some insightful discussion with Mark, we come with a even more effective method dealing with the hawkers.  To avoid hawkers, you have to think like a hawker.  To think like a hawker, you have to understand the Indian culture

First of all, let me explain why say NO won’t work.  When you are saying NO to the hawker, you are talking to them, you are more or less treating them in equal terms.  Even you are yelling at them, the fact that they got your attention is a signal to encourage them try harder.  When you ignore the hawkers, you have to ignore them like they are the untouchables.  They are no difference than a swamp of flies.  No only you have to ignore them, you have to show you are despising them.  Once you establish your superiority over the hawkers, they will feel shameful about themselves and stay away from you deal to their instinct in the Indian caste system tradition.

When you ignore the hawker, you should not ignore them passively.  If you show any sign of noticing their existence, such as change your path to avoid them, you are inviting them to swamp you.  Instead you should ignore them actively, make the hawkers avoid you instead of you avoiding them.  You should focus on your destination, walk straight ahead like no one is there.  Magically the swamp of hawkers approaching you will yield a road for you like Moses dividing the Red Sea.

In the civilized world, we teach our kids to treat every human equally.  Unfortunately, this ideology only works if every one is educated or at least know some basic manner.  It is sad the only way to deal with the street hawkers in Indian is to treat them like dirt.  At first I felt a little bit guilty about this.  Hey! What the hack!  The hawkers are so annoying.  They are not deserved to be treat like a human!

2 thoughts on “Hawkers in India”

  1. Wow… you’re so mean to establish ‘your superior outlook’ again!!! What’s going on? Why the heck do you always have to think on the outside-path?? That really gets on my nerves, buddy!

    Anyway, I agree you with the ignoring part – and the superior-showing part.

    Just like treating little kids at my work, all you have to do is to ignore and keep going to engage in positive behavior. If they make a mess, they clean up themselves! If they get your attention is an inappropriate way, the best way is to IGNORE – that’s all! Get it???

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