Monday, December 15, 2008

One bad apple

Trina asked me to add my thoughts:

I too had a frustrating experience at the Mariamman Hindu Temple as well.

First, we were basically forced into the temple with the goods in hand. To appreciate this, understand how assertive I tend to be. The stuff was pushed into my hand and I definitely asked for the price. The man shook his head, and cut his arms across each other and outward in a very clear "no", while shaking his head aggressively. I didn't remember that in the confusion until a few minutes later.

The woman at the end, finding a hundred reasons to charge us, was shrill, dismissive, and physically aggressive. I was very good; I didn't yell, I didn't run her over, and I didn't say anything I regretted. My tactic of acting out of money was very useful, if a bit dishonest.

Well, there was one thing. At one point when she was waiving her hands dismissively at every thing I said and making shrill sounds at me, I did muster a very good imitation though. That was my only real cultural snafu.

And yet, it wasn't a snafu. This women was defiling a temple. The amount she was wishing to charge us for a few cents of stuff was enough to pay for three big meals with appetizers and dessert.

I got taken, and it made me mad.

For anyone in such a situation. Ask others in the temple what they were charged. Buy one from another vendor for nothing and give it to her. Take her picture and say police. But don't give her the 400K unless her cousin Vinny (or Vinh in this case) is there to enforce things.

By the way, as soon as I was certainly there was no cousin or mob, we got out of there.

This was a very bad experience. The woman definitely made us think a mob was going to form. It really scared Trina. Unfortunately, it was a bit tainting.

It's so sad when people misrepresent their own populations so horribly (my antics notwithstanding, of course). We have met hundreds of Vietnamese people. They are, perchance, a bit aggressive in soliciting business, but who can blame them for that? In our experience, they are fair, friendly, and very warm. I feel very comfortable here.

But this lady, she was a bad apple.

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