The Banterist: souvenir shopping in Xi'An
The Banterist is in China and this is from his report on visiting Xi'An and the terra cotta army.
At some point you'll tire of looking at thousands of terra cotta soldiers - impressive as it all is - and you'll want to leave. Can you leave the way you came? No. You need to be directed to the Gauntlet of Aggressive Souvenir Peddlers.
The G.A.S.P. is the roundabout route to the parking lot that corrals thousands of poor tourists into a channel about ten feet wide. The distance between you and the parking lot is about half a mile, and that entire distance is filled with people who want you to purchase terra cotta figurines, postcards, chopsticks, guide books, tea sets, bracelets, necklaces and other items. The logic is thus: Ask a man once, he may say no. Ask a man three thousand times, and perhaps he wants your ceramically-challenged tea set.
Hallo! [insert product name] Good price! Hallo! Sir! [insert product name]! Lookee! Yes?
You're like a lacerated hemophiliac in a gnat factory. They just keep coming. They don't take no for an answer even if you can pronounce it the right way - which you can't. Stay strong. One by one you'll watch your comrades fall by the wayside. Christ! Okay! Give me the figurines. How much? But don't be the one to give in. That's why they keep trying. They know it works on the bulk of the tourists who are willing to spend $2 for five feet of silence. All you're doing is making it worse for someone else.
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