What annoys me, is the "commission boys" in Aluthgama. Their "base" is around the fish market and the railway crossing. They will approach you and offer to show you around. If you don't go shopping, they will expect a fee for the "guided" tour. But if you go shopping with them, you will pay 20-30% more than you should pay. Even when you decline their services, they will follow you discretely and if you go shopping they will tell the shopowner, that they are with you.
Fun Alternatives: To avoid the "commission boys" you can do your shopping in Dharga Town, a small muslim village a couple of kms from Aluthgama towards Matugama. There are plenty of esp. clothes shops in Dharga Town.
To get there, either jump on a bus (will cost about LKR 15) or hire a tuk tuk (LKR 100-150), but don't keep the tuk tuk driver with you as he will also try to get a commission from the shops. It's very easy to find a tuk tuk in Dharga Town to take you back.
Ranga-Wine Stores is certainly one of the most modern and well-assorted on Sri lanka's westcoast. Liquors of local origin, some imported brands and a small assortment of wines are waiting for the well-off customer.
Unfortunately not all of the shop-employees are meeting those high standards:
it happened to me and some other guests frequently,(easily to be classified as tourists), who tried to buy the excellent local Arrak, that an overcharge of somewhat more than 100% has been (or has been tried to be) applied.
(Mendis 3 years Arrak sells countrywide for SL-Rupees 900,-the price charged was yet SLR 1875,-)
Unique Suggestions: 1. Do not enter the shop with your taxi - or 3-wheel-driver; he seems to participating at your buy.
2. Before buying any liquor, consult the barman of your hotel; he usually will be well informed about the valid prices!
3. Do NOT go into a discussion with the shop's employees, they will suddenly claim to speak only the local language/dialect
Fun Alternatives: Ask the barman of your hotel or your host where to buy. AVOID this shop, just to stay on the safe side !
4. Call the local, helpful tourist-police (below)
Phone: 034-2276049 Moragalla Station
Following the events of 26th dec 06, Sri Lanka has changed a little, Many people who once had a home have received little or no help from their goverment, others have had new homes re-built when there homes were once timber shacks, therefore a lot of jealousy has erupted. Up and down the coast you will hear many heartbreaking stories, Some which are true, But some are not..
Unique Suggestions: If you wish to donate, give to friends you know, We were going to donate to a lady beach seller, who sadly advised us that she had lost everything, Only to be advised from hotel staff, that her home and business was fine.........