Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Scam It!!

"It's Paris. You don't come
here for the weather."
~ Adrian Leeds

It was raining when we woke up this morning, so hard so that I decided to stay in bed a little longer than Mike (well, two hours longer). By the time I yanked myself out of bed and got ready, it was around 10 am. Oops.

After we had our morning croissant and cafe, we headed to Notre Dame in hopes that there wouldn't be a long line to get into the church. The line for the tower was more than a block long, and the line to get into the church itself was probably double that.

Scratch that idea.

Off we went to St. Chapelle with the same hopes. . . and the same results.

"What time do they open tomorrow?" Mike asked me.

"At 9."

"If I can wake you up in time, we can go to Mass at Notre Dame at 7:45 and be here be 9." Mike was being optimistic.

"Don't hold your breath." I was being realistic.

Next we headed to the Louvre which, like all museums in Paris, was closed because it was Tuesday. Sigh. From there we headed to the Place de la Madeleine, dodging raindrops until, as we got to the Madeleine area, the skies opened up. To make a long story short, we walked in and out of shops around the Madeleine and finally, around 2:15, decided to head back to our flat. It was pouring rain. Our flat was miles away. i was tired. We still walked. :-P

We were in a very haute shopping district when a lady (Photo above) bent down and "picked up a gold ring. She showed it to me.

"Zhou drope theez?"

Coincidentally, this was the same woman who had shown me the same ring on Saturday when we walked to the Eiffel Tower.

"It's a scam, lady," I sneered at her. "Scam."

"Gobbledy-gook. Gobbledy-gook." She sneered back at me and laughed. I turned around half way and saw another woman showing a similar ring to a different tourist. She tried to put the ring on the woman.

"Scam," Mike and I both said.

I turned to see where my friend from Saturday was, and she was in the process of "picking up" the ring again and shoving it into another lady's face. That lady was less-than-pleased and tried to gab the woman. The scammer took off with the scam-ee in pursuit, and Scammer #2 took off across another street. I pulled my camera from under my poncho and followed #2 across one street and back to the original corner where she disappeared in the crowd.

Low and behold, though, Scammer #1 was "picking up" the ring again and trying to pass it off on yet another tourist, this time a man. I aimed the camera at her.

"GOBBLEDY-GOOK!! GOBBLEDY-GOOK!!" she screamed at me, turned, and grabbed her butt in what, I assume, was a grand flip-off-French style.."GOBBLEDY-GOOK!! GOBBLEDY-GOOK!!"

About five blocks later, we crossed another street and a teenage girl asked me to sign a petition for something. I refused and again grabbed the camera. When a second girl approached Mike and asked him, I turned to snap her photo, and she raised her cardboard "clipboard" to hide (Photo below).

"Why zhou take mah photo?" she wanted to know.

"Scam!" Mike said to her.

"GOBBLEDY-GOOK!! GOBBLEDY-GOOK!!" She and her four cohorts took off down the street, and when they saw we were walking the same way, they started to run, the "petitions" flying all over the place. (We were't following-following them.They just ran in the direction we happened to have to go to get home.)

We've seen the scams all over the place. The petition scammers ask you to sign to end drug or child or something abuse, and once you sign, they demand a "donation" to help out. The Parisians are not the only ones doing it. We saw it in both Rome and Prague two years ago.

The ring scam. though, is a bit new to us. The scammer supposedly finds a gold ring on the round, and he/she approaches someone who "dropped" it. Of course, being generous, the scammer insists that the scam-ee take the ring and keep it.. . . . and maybe reward him/her with a few Euro for being so generous for giving you a nice piece of "gold" jewelry.

"How can anyone fall for that?" I asked Mike as we continued home in the downpour. "Are people that gullible?"

"They have to have some victims are they wouldn't keep doing it," he said.

I guess he's right.

I'll have to tell you about the beggars at some point. They're pretty interesting, too.

Side note: We got home around 4:00, and my pedometer showed we walked almost 17,000 steps. According to my calculations using Mapquest and the average number of steps in a mile, we walked about 7 miles today, most of it in the rain.

I guess I walked off that croissant.


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