While Thais love bargaining, they do not appreciate haggling over a few baht. Sometimes such tourists will be impolitely referred to as kee neow (meaning "stingy" or "cheapskates" in Thai). If the initial asking price is more than twice what you are prepared to pay, it probably isn't worth entering negotiations.
Customs officers in many countries are now actively searching bags of tourists returning from Thailand and confiscating any pirated CDs and DVDs, designer knockoffs, and copy watches. In places like the U.S., U.K., and Australia, the import of counterfeit merchandise is a crime and you, as the buyer, will have your holiday purchases confiscated. A purchase may be "low dollar" to you, but when thousands of copies are sold, it damages the businesses that create and pay for the copyright of these models. Every year, media reports also confirm that earnings from these underground counterfeit industries go toward money laundering, drug production, prostitution, and child trafficking. By not buying fake brands, you are not just abiding by the law, but helping stamp out racketeering that ruins lives.
Gems, fake goods, illegal betting: Every year naive tourists take the bait and get caught in a scam. To beat the cheats, follow these simple rules:
- If anyone approaches you on the street and offers to take you to a shop (or anywhere, for that matter), refuse.
- If a tuk-tuk or taxi driver wants to take you shopping say, "No thanks" (or "Mai ao, khop khun").
- Be suspicious of strangers who flash TAT, Tourist Police, or any other "badge" in order to get something from you.
- Know that there is no such thing as a government auction, government clearinghouse, or anything "government"-related to the gems industry.
- There is no such thing as a tax-free day for gemstone purchases.
- Do not agree to let any gem purchases be shipped to your home address.
- As with any purchase you make, if you use a credit card, keep the card in your sight at all times and watch the store assistant make one print of it.