Beggars CAN Be Choosers in Paris

On a rainy day at a café on the St. Germain, NLEH and I sat behind a stylish Parisian couple with their little Bichon Frise.  A homeless woman approached them with a cup and the gentleman dug in his pocket and retrieved a coin which he deposited.  All hell broke lose as the woman cussed at him and asked him how she was supposed to buy a meal like he is eating and he needed to give her more than that!  The gentleman’s wife became involved in the situation and asked the woman to leave but she wouldn’t’ budge, continuing to have a fit until the Maitre D’ shooed her away – proving the point that no good deed goes unpunished.

After leaving the restaurant, NLEH and I walked down the sidewalk to see a stylish woman with her hair in a chignon, high heels, a skirt and a brown velvet sweatshirt that said “Georgio” down one sleeve. As we came closer the woman shoved a cup in our face demanding a coin.  This was the best dressed street beggar I have ever seen! I have to give her credit for marketing—she blended in with the crowd so people didn’t avoid her by walking on the other side of the street.  However, it was hard to be sympathetic to someone so very chic.

"Would you like to buy a gold ring?"

Today, NLEH was approached by a gypsy playing the old ring game.  This is the oldest trick in the book, and every tour guide that I’ve read warns tourists about it.  A gypsy approaches you holding up a gold ring telling you that they found it and would you like to buy it. Of course the gold is fake and who would buy a gold ring off a gypsy but the amazing thing is that PEOPLE DO!

After NLEH told the gypsy that the ring was so lovely she ought to keep it, she walked away and approached two British women.  Next I saw them digging in their bag for coins to buy the ring! I should have minded my own business but I said, “Excuse me, but this is a popular scam This woman is a gypsy and her husband is over there watching. Don’t buy the rings!”

This infuriated the woman who then put a curse on me – something that was a little scary — and of course her husband came over to curse me, too. I wasn’t afraid because there were police nearby, but the really shocking thing was that they walked right over to another nice tourist and we watched as he looked at the ring and dug in his pockets for change, too!

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