Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New York Scam Artist

About four or five months ago a friend and I were walking along 6th Avenue and it appeared that my friend bumped into a man who was carrying food. The man's food went all over the ground. I don't remember anymore what the man said, but to summarize he was a homeless person and this was the only food he had been able to buy all day and now he was going to have to walk all the way back to the deli to get food and he had a hurt foot and it was going to be a huge ordeal for him to get more food.

The homeless man had a friend with him and he starts picking up the food and putting it back into one of those plastic deli food containers. My friend, who shall remain nameless, (Brian) reaches for his wallet. . . now call me cynical but I never give anyone money. I may have just lit them on fire accidentally with my capricious cigarette ash and burned up all the money in their pocket and I still wont give them any money. I'll call an ambulance and apologize profusely, maybe even throw some water on them, but I'm not giving them money. Besides, who picks up food off the street unless you're going to use it again?

So I tell Brian, "Don't give him money. Just apologize and lets move on."

"Don't give me any money? How am I supposed to get some more food?" (throw in your own urban slang for realism) - says the man in outrage? His friend (with some more urban slang) chimes in with similar pearls of wisdom.

So anyway - we move on. . . Brian's (or whatever my friend's name is) co-workers agreed when he got back to the office that the man was most likely a scam artist (although the term artist brings to mind a more sensitive soul than might have resided in the person of our food-flinging vagrant).

Well today, less than an hour ago i'm walking along 6th Avenue once again (it is a place i wander often) and what do I see before me, a man picking up food off of the ground and another man in a suit reaching into a wallet. It was the same homless person that tried to scam my friend. In a tremendous showing of noble spirit, I told the man, "Don't give him any money, he's a scam artist." Then I discovered that the suit with the wallet was a frenchman and I wished I had bit my tongue, but too late at that point.

So anyway, I found it fascinating to find the same guy four months later canvasing the same neighborhood. I wonder how much money he makes with that scam. All you have to do is get some food out of a dumpster (it's not like you're going to be eating it) - walk along, find someone who's paying more attention to the skirt in front of him than on the tramp walking his way and dump food all over the ground and complain about how your foot hurts, and the food is so expensive and what with gas prices these days you'll never be able to afford decent food again because you keep getting gouged when you go to the pump to fill up your H3.

And then, just when you think you've reeled the fish in (hehe fish, get it? frenchman? whatever - tough crowd) and he's reaching for his patent leather wallet . . . along comes some altruistic meddler who breaks up your whole show.

I think next time I see the noisome swindler i'm going to follow him from a distance, and every time he spills food on the ground and someone reaches for their wallet, i'm going to pop out - "Don't do that! he's a scam artist." :) ahh, good time.