Yesterday, I read this awesome post on Oma’s Blurt Blog, titled “A Lesson In Panhandling And Communication“. Go read it now; I’ll wait.
Alright well, in case you didn’t listen, Oma begins: “I had a friend who pointed out that things happen to and around me that do not happen to other people.”, which reminded me that my sister Amy once said something similar of me. I must get it from my mom, who looks like a sucker too. Amy looks like she doesn’t take shit from anybody.
Oma goes on to describe how a panhandler approached him and, based on my interpretation, tried to scam him (only, Oma is probably not a sucker, because he walked away).
Anyway, his story made me reflect on all the ways I have been scammed, or otherwise taken advantage of, in my adult life. These are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. Sadly, I’m sure there are others.
1- I once bought Chinese food for a woman, gave her 10 dollars, and listened to her life story (although I believe she actually needed it).
2- I once put an old woman’s long gray hair up in a scrunchy for her because she asked me to as I was coming out of the subway. I looked around for pick-pockets the whole time. This apparently was not a scam, but just proves that I can’t say no if I don’t have an excuse lined up.
3- Based on the same principle, I once gave my Skype phone number to an Hasidic Jew, who I did not expect to hit on me since he was an Hasidic Jew and I wasn’t. He then proceeded to call me 11 times in 24 hours and made me glad I didn’t give him my mobile number.
4- I was legit scammed out of $40 by some guy who gave me his car keys and told me he just needed the money to put a deposit on a gas can, then never came back. I felt really stupid after that one but he was a professional for sure.
5- This woman outside my building, who did not appear to be in need, saw me walking up looking like an easy target, and asked me for some money. “Even $10 would be fine.” Luckily that time I didn’t have any cash, or I probably would have given her whatever was in my wallet because I’m a sucker!
6- I have signed up for monthly contributions to every major charity that employs clipboard people on the streets of New York City. Four so far. Not technically a scam but not exactly a calculated decision on my part either.
7- I once asked my car service driver to carry my luggage up 4 flights of stairs for me. He said he would in exchange for a hug and a kiss. I laughed and said “No, that’s ok” but he parked at a hydrant and carried my suitcase as I nervously followed, clutching my keys. Sure enough, he came in with his toothless mouth for a kiss and when I rejected at him, he gave me the evil eye before turning on his heel and storming down the stairs. I was living with Alice at the time and she recalls how she heard me calling from the door “Thanks anyway but I’m not a prostitute!”