Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting Conned!!

You know, there’s nothing worse than being conned...

It makes your stomach just sick when that horrifying feeling hits you that you’ve just been had. It sucks that you end up losing property or money, but I think those things can be replaced. It’s the brutal blow to your intelligence that really hurts, and it makes you feel stupid. Combine these 2 things, and you are left with a story that hurts to tell, admit to, or remember which brings back that ugly feeling every time it comes to mind.
You think to yourself, “How could I have been so stupid that I didn’t see it coming?” Looking back in retrospect, it may have been so easy, but the truth is, many people fall for the same things over and over again. Most of these scams have been around for centuries, and keep re-appearing over time.

After watching the Liam Neeson movie “Taken”, I came to the understanding that I was very na├»ve. Things like that happen in a split moment, and when you get to the point where you wonder how you got there, it is too late. Movies like “Hostel”, “Derailed” and “Taken” are sad tales of woe, but thank god they are movies. Now, I know that things like this really happen in life, but at least watching these movies, make you aware of bad situations so that you can avoid being made a fool of.

I want to share my story or woe with you…

I was in Europe over 10 years ago and I was in Barcelona on the Rambla. There were many street performers on this wild strip at night, but one that caught my attention was the game where a guy was playing “Hide the ball” There were 3 small shells and he was hiding the ball and you had to guess where it was hidden. Well, there was a guy who was playing with him and he was betting, and I was short on money so I just watched. This guy ended up guessing right the first time and made $50. He then walked away and a new guy came in and lost a lot of money. I only had a few minutes, so I left thinking that I should’ve bet the $50 as well and I would’ve drank for free that night.

Boy was I wrong…

Ever since that day, I’ve remembered that game and swore to myself that if I ever saw that game again, I would play it and win. Well, about 10 years later from first seeing it, I got my chance.

It was summer a few years ago, and I was in Stockholm, Sweden. I was in the city square when I saw this guy have the same game I had seen in Spain a decade earlier. True to form, I saw a bunch of people playing there, and I watched people come and go before I tried to play. Well, let’s just say I lost, and it felt like I had been sodomized.

And it wasn’t until today I figured out how the scam worked. And it is rigged that you can never beat it. It’s a scam, not a game. But everyone doesn’t understand how it works…

I’m going to share this with everyone reading this, and if you think what you’re reading is valuable to someone travelling, backpacking or whatever, forward this to them to warn them. It may save them a lot of hard earned money changing hands to a scam artist.

There are many of these scams that you should be aware of and how not to put yourself in harm’s way, so I’m going to put the youtube video links up so that you can watch them all.

The point is, that if something looks like it is too good to be true, it really IS too good to be true. Don’t be afraid to be cautious and challenge a person to make sure that you feel good about something that may appear not right to your instincts. More often than not, if your gut feeling is sensing something wrong, IT IS!! Your brain tries to make you think that everything will be alright, but this is very usually not the case.

I could tell you many stories from fellow backpackers in Europe that I’ve travelled with, known, or heard accounts of these cons, but it would be too long to write. But after you read this, you can arm yourself with knowledge so that you better your odds in noticing these things. I look back and think it was blind good fortune that I escaped certain situations I put myself in, and got out luckily unscathed. I would like to save you from the mistakes that I and others have made so that we can learn from them.

Check out Real-Hustle on Youtube and see what to watch for. It may just save you from that one moment you regret for the rest of your life.

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