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Tour operators and local guides make millions recommending jewelry shops in Santorini

Discussion in 'Europe' started by johnsmith, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. johnsmith

    johnsmith New Member

    Beware! Do not follow the advice of tour operators or local guides when your shopping is concerned. You will end up paying much more. They are not your friends. They are friends with the business owner. Shop freely and trust your taste and judgment. Believe me, I have been burnt already.
  2. BruinSteve

    BruinSteve Well-Known Member

    Re: Tour operators and local guides make millions recommending jewelry shops in Santo

    This is not exactly news...
    Except, it is not just Jewelry shops and not just Santorini...
    This is pretty much the way business works in all tourist ports...
    Also beware of the cruise ships' "Recommended Shops"....

    Yes, even the cruise lines get kickbacks from the vendors...Ever shop at "Diamonds International"???

    If you travel to Istanbul, your guide will gladly bring you to a carpet shop...
    In Venice, you can even get FREE tours to Murano to visit Glass Factories...Your hotel desk clerk will even set this up for you...because they get a kickback...

    In Gdansk, it's amber...

    Caveat Emptor...
  3. stanj

    stanj Well-Known Member

    Re: Tour operators and local guides make millions recommending jewelry shops in Santo

    It is true that some tour companies(Cruise ships do not organize tours, they contract with local tour operators to host and organize the ship sold tours), if not most, have arrangements with shops for some sort of commission or fee for bringing visitors to the shop. Often it is with the guide themselves who might get 5-10% of what any visitor they bring spends in the shop.
    Some independent tour operators make it a sales point to not allow their guides to do that but since most guides are independent contractors, a tour operator does not have much control over it unless they hire the guides as statutory employees.

    It is sometimes amusing to see visitors shop, there is a belief that if they use their own home country currency, it is somehow worth more and sought after by shop owners. Just the opposite is true, unless spending local currency, the store has to increase the price to cover the cost of currency exchange and in most countries it is illegal to trade in foreign currencies, so prices are higher to mitigate the risks involved.
    Another interesting assumption by travelers is that shops with price tags are more expensive than street vendors who have no prices set, where the visitor can haggle and get the price down. Does anyone honestly believe they they have more knowledge of what the vendor's item is really worth or how much he is willing to accept than the vendor? Those bargain hunters almost always pay more for the pleasure of beating down the price by haggling.
    Almost anything in local tourist shops are made in China and have little or nothing to do with the country or culture being visited. If you want something that is relevant to the local area, get away from the tourist shops and visit some artist co-ops or crafts fairs that are attended primarily by locals, buying from locals, locally made items. But you will have to be adaptive and flexible, and KNOW the local language.
    An important point is to buy based on your notion of value to YOU, not the market or some intrinsic value. A trinket might be valuable to you because it forever brings fond memories of the trip for example, and be content that the price was one that you felt fit its value to you regardless of what someone else might have gotten it for.
    If you are looking for bargains, it requires knowing the market and what its common value is....both things you can't know in a foreign country, do not stress over cost. If it is comfortable for you, it is a decent deal. If you need to worry about it, it is not worth the stress or worry.
    To the OP, how were you ripped off? Did someone tell you that you HAD to buy an item you did not want? Did someone lie about its authenticity or origin? How did you determine that at the time, it was worth buying but later decided it was a rip off? I am not sure I understand how an item can devalue so quickly after being of a value you, at the time, felt was worth the cost, only to have it drop in value later.
    Maybe you could supply more details, along with why you also think your ship and cruise line was also bad one. Are the reasons related to the reasons why you felt ripped off by shops?

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