Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Doing The Gold Ring Fling Thing'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Doing The Gold Ring Fling Thing ~

BONUS: For Street Photography Fans!

These guys are great, there's a whole bunch of them who hang around the Passerelle Solférino just next to the Gare Musée d'Orsay which I'm using quite a bit at the moment.

Their dodginess is rivalled only by their wacky schemes for extracting money from you.

The one we see here is quite bona fide, if illegal of course: buying little packs of water from the cheapest supermarket they can find and then selling them from a bucket at a 600% markup to parched tourists.

The other one they are really hammering at the moment is the old 'found a gold ring' ruse. It's so ridiculous it's hilarious.

What they do is, as you're walking past them they crouch down and pretend to have found a shiny gold ring. Techniques vary, but they will often ask you if you dropped it, and you thinking it's very valuable pretend you did and give them a few euros for their honesty, and to ease your conscience for being a greedy liar, so if you do fall for the trick (the ring's practically worthless) you almost deserve to be duped anyway!

The very first time I had it tried on me was years ago, and although I wasn't taken in, there was a moment's temptation I have to admit.

Other schemes include signing some petition or other and then being asked to contribute something towards 'the cause', which is, of course, non-existant. I'm afraid to say, although without absolute certainty, that it almost always tends to be Romanian types, both men and women (and boys and girls) who are doing most of this stuff, and they are probably the same ones I've already written about who come in from their gypsy encampments along various rivers and motorways in the twilight zones of the suburbs.

What you do have to admit, though, is that they're enterprising. OK, there are those who simply beg, but most of the time these guys are either selling something somewhere, however tacky or cheap, or have invented some money extraction scheme in the best entrepreneurial spirit.

I still don't see how they manage to eke out a living though, as I've rarely seen anyone fall for their tricks. What a strange existence that must be, a world away from comfortable middle-class meandering through life with the proverbial 'proper' job. I can't say they don't get me thinking anyway.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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