Friday, January 13, 2006

Tourist Trap

The phrase "Tourist Trap" doesn't really sound that bad. While Merriam-Webster describes it as simply a place that attracts and exploits tourists. Wikipedia takes a more friendly perspective.

Tourist trap, sometimes called T.T. for short, is a catch-all term for any establishment or set of establishments that have been created for the purpose of drawing travelers in to spend money. While the term would seem to have a negative connotation, such establishments are typically viewed by travelers as being fun and interesting diversions, with realistic expectations as to their true importance, or lack thereof. In the Southern United States, these attractions are often called "Yankee" traps.

Read moreWhile the lovely lady walked home the other evening, she met a couple of Brits who had been severely ripped off. New to the city, they'd gone to the most touristy places in town and ended up having beers in a place on Vaci utca. You can see where I'm going with this one. I'm not sure of the full details but it seems that after having the beers they were presented with a grossly inflated bill. Now it wasn't just an extra tip added on, or a few extra drinks. Instead it was a whopping 400,000ft bill. That's over 1,000 GBP and getting on for $2,000!

Gobsmacked by the cheek of it all, they refuted the bill. Then they were threatened. What they were threatened with, I don't know but it was enough for them to pay. Apparently their chances of just legging it out was scuppered by the fact that one of them was in a wheelchair.

Worse still is that they were so glad to finally get out of there that by the time they were recalling the story to the lovely lady, they had forgotten which precise establishment it was. This means that even if they go to the cops the next day, they're stuffed.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be that rare to happen in certain parts of the city. I told the story to a friend who brings in tourists and he wasn't shocked about it at all. An everyday occurance perhaps. He's of the opinion that even if the victims do go to the police to report it there's nothing that can be done and the police don't care about it. Apparently, if tourists are getting ripped off in this way, it's just bringing money into the economy. They're not bothered about the longer-term effects of frightening away visitors because of the horror stories.

It's basically theivery and should be treated as such. It's shameful that places like this exist.

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At 12:12 AM, Blogger Your Humble Servant said...

Please email over your contacts

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Timbo said...

At first I thought your comment was some weird spam but then I checked out your site. I went to it a while ago and am looking forward to the updates.

However, I don't really have any twatty contacts to email you. Of course, I've met some pretty twatty people, some of them ex-pats, in my life, but then I don't take their details down. Most likely, I forget their name after 2 minutes (but that happens all the time with my terrible memory).

At 11:03 PM, Blogger FEHÉR DELFIN said...

The US Embassy (as well as other embassies and decent travel guides) has been warning tourists about these rip-offs for years.

Why do they exist?

Sadly, because the rule of law (despite an insane bureaucracy) doesn't.


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