Surf shop owners and instructors who run businesses on Bali’s southern beaches have spoken up about their shock at the aggressive haggling skills of some tourists. Bali’s southern beaches are famous for their surf shacks and novice-friendly waves. Bali Surf instructors have told reporters of their shock that some tourists are haggling too hard for their services.
Jack Basri, a surf instructor from Denpasar, has been working on Kuta Beach since he was 11 years old. Now nearly 50, Basri has told reporters how much has changed in the 40 years he has been working on the beachfront. He started selling cold drinks, then moved on to being a surf instructor. He now has his own business on Kuta Beach, renting out surfboards to tourists and running surf school courses.
He told reporters, ‘If you study, the lowest price is already [includes] the teacher, IDR 150,000 (USD 9.60) per hour, while the rent for the board is IDR 50,000 per hour. He continues to explain that in busy periods and if the conditions at sea are more dangerous, the cost goes up. He said, ‘If it’s crowded, we also increase it because the stock of teachers is limited, and he has to be professional, I only have three teachers’.
Basri told reporters that too many tourists are trying to haggle too hard on the price of surf lessons and surfboards. He noted that in his experience, tourists from India have recently proven to be the harshest hagglers, stating that he has noticed many ‘do not hesitate’ to persist if the price offered is not what they want to hear.
He said, ‘They are bidders, the price is too crazy when it’s finished. Then after [the rental hour is up] he asks for a discount, if [he does not get] a discount the money is taken again with him’. Basri praised Indonesian travelers to Bali, who he said have proven to be more respectful of the pricing system. It’s noteworthy that Basri is complementary of domestic travelers after officials in Bali have warned local businesses to be respectful and grateful for domestic visitors.
Basri explained, ‘I don’t know that Indonesians are the best. In my opinion, if they have studied, they have accepted that price. And I like it the most when it’s school holidays because our people will be busy’. Fellow small surf business owner Aris Julianto, 28, also told reporters that the haggling on prices at the beach has become too much. For Julianto though, he says that the western travelers have been the most troublesome in his experience.
To solve the issue, Julianto has created a fixed rate policy, though that hasn’t deterred the ‘bules’ from bargaining. He said, ‘Nowadays, many guests are bidding, Caucasians are also bidding a lot, so we (set) it at the fixed range of IDR 200,000 (USD 12.80)’. This is the lowest Julianto can go without losing money.
I Nyoman Darsa, 51, has been born and bred in Kuta, now works close to Jery Bar. He told reports that he has also set a fixed rate at IDR 200,000 for an hour-long surf lesson and IDR 50,000 for an hour of surfboard hire.
He explained, ‘it’s a bit quiet, maybe the influence of the beach arrangement because we want to improve it, so we support the Samigita arrangement’. He admitted that his rates were ‘really cheap’ and hoped that the issue wouldn’t get worse for small business owners.
In recent weeks an Australian tourist took to social media to share her disgust at her fellow travelers’ behavior towards local people. Tanieka Monti, from Victoria, has told reporters that her holiday was ‘interrupted’ by tourists not respecting local people, culture, or tourist destinations.
While haggling is appropriate at markets, it is not acceptable to haggle on fixed-rate prices nor settle on a price that is way below the original price. As a general rule, when negotiating for souvenirs or goods at a market, the stall owner will offer a price, the potential customer will half it, the market owner will offer a middle point, and the potential customer suggests a final price of around 10% lower than the second amount.
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