A lesson in hustling.

Okay, firstly I don’t mean to be melodramatic. In a recent trip to Tangier, I managed to spend 40 euros on a pretty poor quality tour and some dodgy tourists tat, I wasn’t robbed, but paid 4 times more than I should.

How did I manage to pay this princely sum? Well I was old school hustled, using some charm and age old tricks. It did occur to me I could try and learn from this a few general life/marketing lessons…

The Welcome

Pretty simple but being nice and helping me into my hotel had him tagged as a nice man.

Always be nice to strangers, you don’t know when you might need ’em. And familiarity helps, a preview is always nice before you start the sale, the punter is more responsive to someone they’ve already met.

The approach

Go in quick, stick to your mark and keep talking, treat them like your best friend. You instinctively assume some familiarity with them or why else would they be walking and talking to you?

It’s one you get everytime you get chugged in the street, and still surprisingly effective. Even when you know they want something most people’s instincts are to be polite and chat back. Get ’em talking.


My hustler was known and loved by everyone, so he’s got to be honest right?

The old testimonial is still a winner and one that often gets forgotten when you’re trying to come up with a “big” idea. Even if they’re a little suspect, a lot of them will convince you.


The hustler was actually a pretty decent guide, so I was happy to give him something.

You’ve got to deliver something if you want a return.

The Other Guy

By the time I was dragged into the inevitable shop I knew I was on to a loser, and was happy to be taken for a few quid by the shopkeeper. It was a nice change of scene/pace.

You don’t always need to be shouting the loudest, timing is still everything. Being the other guy, even if you’re doing the same thing can work, if you play it right you’re a welcome change.


As I realised I was going to end up in every shop in North Morocco I started to become dismissive and abrupt until my “guide” took the hint.

Know when you’re losing.


As I was lead back to my hotel mysteriously my hustler’s “friends” gradually joined, as if by random. Being outnumbered always makes you more likely to agree.

Outside of a minor bit of intimation the lesson here is always to be ready for the final sell.  It’s easy to get distract by the content, but a strong finish can make even mediocrity work. 

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