So one of my friends just got robbed in London. It is really unfortunate, and it led me to think of some of my past experiences so far.
- The shell-game
I was in the capital of Germany: Berlin. I was walking along the Berlin wall, admiring the many murals painted on it, and then I came across this guy, hiding a ball in one of three cups, shuffling the cups, and asking people to make bets on where the ball was. Being curious, I observed further and I realised that it was so easy to spot where the ball was. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The rule was, if you bet 50 euros, and guessed which cup the ball was at, you’ll get double of that aka 100 euros. SO EASY?! A woman was betting, and when they asked her to guess where the ball was, she appeared to have some difficulty guessing the right one. Being a nice human, I kindly pointed the right one to her. But somehow, she just picked the other (wrong) cup. The guy then shuffled the cups again, and this time, he looked at me directly, with the woman encouraging me to place my bets this time. I was very naive but also quite skeptical, so I offered 1 euro as my bet. I think when they saw the 1 euro they were like “wtheck” in their minds HAHAHA. The guy then told me that only a minimum bet of 50 euros was allowed. 50 EUROS?! I am just a poor student on exchange.. So i walked away and continued admiring the murals. But I took another glance, and I noticed that the same woman kept on betting. And losing. And winning. And losing. And then I realised. Oh my god. I am so naive hahaha. The guy (and the woman) would’ve won no matter what, if someone else betted. The game was rigged. But thank god they were greedy bastards, if not I would have been scammed of my 1 euro. And there could’ve been other accomplices, lurking nearby waiting to pickpocket those who play the game too.
- The free roses
- This happened in Rome. Didn’t happen to me, but I witnessed countless cases of it. A friend and I were at the Spanish steps and simply enjoying the atmosphere and people-watching, when we saw groups of guys, holding a bunch of roses, targeting mostly couples. They would go up to the couple, act friendly and compliment the girl, giving her a rose and saying that it is free. If the girl accepts, the guy would start asking the girl’s boyfriend for a little “something”. It’s free for the girl, but not for the guy! It was quite funny watching all the different couples react to it. I liked it when people called their bullshit the moment they offered the rose. They either rejected it immediately, or asked “what do you want?” directly. Then there are others, who, I guess, are afraid to lose their egos and paid the guy anyway. Urgh. There was this one guy, who I thought would be taking out his wallet to pay, but he was so adamant and refused to pay, and was went all like OH I SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING when he was asked to pay for it. Woohoo! I think the funniest case was when a guy gave a girl, walking on her own, a rose. I think the girl felt like the guy admired her and happily accepted it and walked away rather quickly. The guy was shocked and hurriedly asked her for money. She then rejected the rose, and probably walked away with a little disappointment as well. (Not an admirer? Oh well.)
- Friendship bracelets!
- I think I saw this in a few places- Italy, France? So a guy walk up to people and try to tie bracelets around them. And if you let them do that, they will pester you until you pay. There was this once, in Milan, where I was with my family. And my mum, when approached by one of these guys, reacted quite strongly by turning away rather abruptly and shocking the guy LOL. Ok la, felt quite bad for him because although its a scam I think the guy was just trying to make a living too.
I’m sure there are a few more that I can’t remember, but I’ll update this post when I do.
Another random story (in Singapore):
I was in Bugis, near Toastbox. I was trying to find my way to somewhere to meet my friends, but this old guy asked me if I had $2 cuz he wanted to have a meal. Being skeptical, but also feeling guilty for being skeptical, I tried to be pragmatic and told him, “Hey, follow me, i’ll buy you a meal.” We walked to Toastbox. And the meal was >$2. But at least I know that he is truly hungry and can eat finish the meal.(Or maybe because he had no choice cuz I was watching him lol). I mean, I was late in meeting my friends but this… I guess it did fill my heart while it filled his stomach.