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Aggression from traders

Leeds
Level Contributor
539 posts
76 reviews
Aggression from traders

I've read much on this subject and I know you have to be balanced re this as everyone's experiences are different.

What concerns me is when I read that if you refuse to buy in the square or don't want to take photos of snake charmers/monkeys/ take menus to look at etc ..many people have reported they are sworn at told to f..off.

Would they do that to morrocan people too or just tourists? Whatever..it us totally wrong and unacceptable. I think there us much wrong in the U.K. but if traders here did that there would be outbreaks of fights all over. I know my partner would take exception to anyone being aggressive to me or swearing at me!!

I may be over thinking the potential problems and in all reality will spend little time in the square or souks which is a shame as I think it will be so interesting etc.

Luckily there are plenty of other things to see and so and I am really looking forward to our first visit here.

29 replies to this topic
Castril De La Pena...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
Level Contributor
13,028 posts
68 reviews
1. Re: Aggression from traders

Please don't avoid the souqs or the main square, you will miss one of the best aspects of Marrakech. If you show no interest in the snake charmers or monkey handlers why would they take offence? I don't normally get within 3 metres of them and just walk on by. I had never experienced a trader swearing at me.

What you need is a confident, light hearted manner, with a ready smile and laugh off any suggestions you are not interested in. If you don't want something just say "no" and keep saying it with an exaggerated waggle of the finger.

So... when you first arrive at Djemma el Fna, take a seat at one of the pavement cafes, order a coffee nus-nus, and spend ten minutes people watching so you are not so overwhelmed. When you are ready to explore, avoid the 'henna hags' (women doing tattoos), the snake charmers and the monkey handlers. Everything else will be just fine.

Then head into the souqs and prepare to get lost, but don't worry, just wander around for a few hours and when you want to return to the main square just ask one of the shopkeepers for 'la place'. The souqs are generally arranged with similar type shops in one areas, so there's weavers, dyers, metal workers, carpenters, fruit, and so on. It would help if you have a guidebook with a map of the souqs to explain.

Leeds
Level Contributor
539 posts
76 reviews
2. Re: Aggression from traders

Thanks Tim very reassuring. I'm no shrinking violet and have a sense of fun and can speak French so I should be fine.

I will give a wide berth to anyone with animals as I don't agree with animal exploitation at all....

England, United...
Level Contributor
1,345 posts
49 reviews
3. Re: Aggression from traders

I've had abuse and witnessed it against others. But it's not as common as some reports might suggest. You are also unlikely to become involved in anything more than persistent (albeit annoying) pressure to buy (i.e minus abuse), especially if you conduct yourself in the manner described by Tim. The Medina can be a bit of a cauldron at times, and frustrations can occasionally boil over, but rarely to the extent where it's serious. And if you are unlucky enough to find yourself in that situation, it will be immediately defused by the locals around you. It's in nobody's interest to cause a scene... enjoy your trip.

Castril De La Pena...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
Level Contributor
13,028 posts
68 reviews
4. Re: Aggression from traders

I doubt anyone on here agrees with exploiting wild animals.

Working animals is a different matter and you need to understand that Morocco is where the UK was 100 years ago when we had tens of millions of working horses and other creatures, and when eight million horses, mules and donkeys were killed in the carnage of the First World War. So we are not really in a position to lecture people who still have to rely on working animals for their livelihood.

As Gigi Kaye at the American Fondouk (charity vet in Fez) says, it's hard to criticise an 80-year old owner when his ribs stick out more than his mule's. If you have an interest in animal welfare you might consider visiting SPANA (society protection animals north africa) at their Marrakech centre.

Edited: 6:45 am, October 13, 2018
England, United...
Level Contributor
1,345 posts
49 reviews
5. Re: Aggression from traders

Oh, and I should add, the most serious aggression I've witnessed has not involved traders. It's come from wandering young hotheads who are up to no good from the get-go. If traders throw insults - and they occasionally do - it's generally done in a way that can be passed off as humour...

Kenitra, Morocco
Level Contributor
2,539 posts
107 reviews
6. Re: Aggression from traders

Would they do that to morrocan people too or just tourists?

If they said it to a moroccan person in there own language in most cases I can just imagine the problem it would start!

With the exception of swearing at someone something I think people can not get there head around is the difference in communication with a moroccan and a more reserved tourist. Big difference. What can seem as aggressive or pushy etc is not always what it seems. (unless it gets physical etc!)

I've been here awhile and time to time I'll see 2 Moroccans having a conversation but the way I interpret it with the body language and very high voices it honestly looks like they are about to break out in a fight, but at the end they hug, kiss on the cheek, they were best friends just having a regular conversation about something!!

But really if you saw this for the first time you will think there is a problem about to happen 😂

Sydney
Level Contributor
744 posts
112 reviews
7. Re: Aggression from traders

Hi,

I am here now in Marakesh, staying for a week as hubby developed a cold, whilst we were in London which he found difficult to shake off. On the first day, I was quite overwhelmed by the sight, sound and smell of Marakech. And, yes, I was most perturbed by the sight of donkeys being overburdened and whipped by owners, a poor monkey almost strangled it’s self on the chain whilst it did a tumbled Due to sheer boredom. I hated the sight of poor starving cats, horses in horse drawn carriages being used to transport well to do tourists around the square ect but I have yet to encounter rude traders. Perhaps, it could be that I tried not to interact with them. I was polite when asked to buy their goods. As for the henna women, same treatment, polite and a firm ‘no’.

Thank you, Tim Cullis for the explanation you have given about their treatment of working animals. This gives me a better understanding of the interdependence between owners and animals. :) I will attempt to be less critical when I witnessed certain upsetting sights.

Leeds
Level Contributor
539 posts
76 reviews
8. Re: Aggression from traders

Tim..I am not lecturing at all about people needing animals for income. Each to their own and if people want a photo with a monkey or snake then that is their choice .it is just not my thing and yes if someone wrapped a snake around my neck without my permission and expected money to remove it I would have objections. But I will just give them a wide berth and all should be fine

United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2,196 posts
35 reviews
9. Re: Aggression from traders

Caz, I was in Marrakech earlier this year. We spent most of our time in and around the Square and in the souks.

Not once were we sworn at or insulted if we did not buy from traders.

I had no intention of taking pictures of animals/snakes etc. I'm guessing Morrocans have been spoilt over the years with tourists taking photos of animals, so assume we all want to do it.

The only time I got a bit annoyed was passing food stalls where the young men could get a bit forceful trying to encourage you to enter their establishment.

I do appreciate all these people are trying to make a living so didn't judge them by my own standards/ morals etc

I think you'll be fine.

Edited: 10:15 am, October 13, 2018
penna
Level Contributor
4,965 posts
40 reviews
10. Re: Aggression from traders

@ northwest

On the young men bullying for " tips" , You have to understand where else are these kids going to get money to buy their glue if they dont force it out of you any way they can ( sad really sad)

@ Spotboy

Yes ,the food guys can be most persist and forceful but I have yet to see one that did not stop as I rubbed my belly and made I am full motions.

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