Tuesday, May 01, 2007

No Con Do

Last night, as I stumbled my way from the office to my nearby hotel, towing K9* in one hand, and hefting my laptop back in the other, I was approached by a man in his 60s. He looked familiar, and as he engaged me in conversation, or more accurately, began his monologue, I realised almost straight away why I recognised him.

His opening gambit was to ask me to confirm the time showing on a big clock on the side of a nearby building. I confirmed that it was correct, 18:30. His next line was "Never buy a frickin escort". Little did he know that I'm a happily married 'mo, and therefore have no need of the services of such gentlemen. Although I was a little puzzled, since I'm sure the more usual approach is to hire an escort, not buy him outright.

Unaware of my internal non sequitur, this fellow was ploughing on with his monologue, explaining how he had locked himself out of his car and now couldn't get back into it; that he had locked himself out whilst wearing his slippers (he pointed to them as proof); that no-one was going to come and get him, his son-in-law couldn't pick him up, and he had left his wallet in the car, so he couldn't get a bus; the police wouldn't ... actually I stopped him with the following observation:

"I met you last week, mate. It was the same story then."

For this was indeed the case. Last week, he had approached me in exactly the same way as I walked from a restaurant to my hotel. Asked me for the time. Then straight into "Never buy a frickin escort". And so on.

The objective of this fellow's ruse is to con you out of £2.40 - his alleged bus fare. I'm not sure how many times he pulls this stunt, or how often he succeeds. He's certainly very plausible, on a first encounter at least, although I didn't give him any money first time, either. A second encounter makes the con that much more obvious.

This has been my defining experience of Liverpool so far.

*K9 is my Samsonite suitcase. I've had him for about 10 years, and he's still in great nick, despite having travelled all over the world. I call him K9 because when I pull him along behind me using the rolly-up cord thing that's build into one of his curves, he trundles along in a manner not at all unlike The Doctor's erstwhile robot dog companion.


Al said...

Ah, the old bus fare con - there used to be (in fact, there probably still is )a guy who hung around in Glasgow Central station, druggie looking girlfriend in tow who used the line "Sorry tae bother ye, me n the girlfriend ur 50p short uv oor bus fare tae Kirkintilloch...". I must have been approached by him every couple of days for a number of years. I so wanted to say something to him about always being short of his bus fare, but he looked as hard as nails!

Jen said...

A few days ago in Brighton I was stopped by a bloke asking for five quid for a mobile top-up. His credit had run out, he hadn't got his wallet on him,(no surprise there) & he was desperate to call a friend. I'd like more of a story for a fiver! Don't think he had much luck judging by the amazed looks he received!

DanProject76 said...

So is your suitcase off in space now shooting asteroids and stuff?

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted something inanimate that I could give a proper name to. I'm jealous. Sounds like you have a very decent relationship with K9*.

Tickersoid said...

Cruel bastard! That poor chap has been locked out of his car for over a week and all he gets from you is cynicism.

Qenny said...

al: I think I know the man you mean. It's such a relief these days to be able to say "Sorry, I only have my plastic with me"

jen: they have a thing in NZ when you can get some spare, emergency credit for circumstances like that - don't we have something like that here? It would take the wind right out of his sails. Either that, or offer to ring a number for him using one's own phone.

dan: that's it's day job, but it's been earthbound for a while now what with all this travel I'm doing

tff: I've had a few. My old car (a Skoda) was always Felicia. The suitcase has been K9 from the day I bought it. We sometimes refer to our current car as Alan (as in UK camp comedian, Alan Carr, whom we both like), but it isn't as strong a feeling as either K9 or Felicia.

tickers: serves him right for owning slippers.

jungle jane said...

My word, the price of begging has risen sharply. Used to be 'do you have a few spare pennies'...now the want 2 quid 40? Christ for that I would expect the dude to blow me at least.

You should have offered to smash his car window open with a brick. Pro-active, like...

Qenny said...

I was thinking of calling his bluff by pretending to have a car and to be prepared to drive him to wherever he needed to go.