Nothing like getting a top expert to forewarn us about the latest dangers to unwary tourists on the sunny streets of Spain. So, without further ado, our Top 5 series continues with an appearance by a famous Barcelona detective. Ladies and gentlemen, in his own unique voice, I give you Larry Kovaks, P.I.:
“These rainy days. Strange for August. But that’s the way mother nature intended it for this old mudball and you better goddamn well accept it. Means the guiri crime wave is ebbing, so there isn’t much work for me. Good thing they asked me to do this top 5 thing.
But the idea of a top 5 scam report irks me. What exactly does top 5 mean? The top 5 most successful scams? The top 5 best scams? The top 5 five most ingenious scams?
The virulent underbelly of guiri scamming is truly a menace to this society. I couldn’t, in all due consideration to the respectable author of this blog, say that there is a top 5 of any scam. A scammer, a gypmeister, a short conner, what have you, has one m.o. And that is to pull the deed and not get caught. Therefore, by any means necessary and he or she is happy as, well, a sauced-up guiri in Lloret.
Considering the nature of my work, and the highly compromising situation I would put myself in if I were to reveal my perceptive insights into crimes I am going to solve, I will limit this list to the 5 most nefarious and dastardly scams I have confronted yet. Gypmeisters should not take this as sloth on my part. I am hard at work on the next cases.
1. The Drop Cigarette Con
My first face-off with vice in this dissolute burg started with this one. I was subjected to perhaps the most common form of gypmeisting. In Barcelona, at least. What these fellows do is block you in a confined space (usually an escalator, or a narrow staircase). They do this by dropping a cigarette or other meaningless personal item, and impeding your exit while they "tryâ€ to retrieve it. An accomplice of theirs sneaks up behind you and bumps you. As they bump you, they snake their gypmeisting fingers into your pockets and steal your wallet. They got me one time â€¦
2. The Bouncing Cartoon Con
Some of the dirtiest rat bxxxxxxs to have scurried across these piss-laden streets. What they do is sell these cute little bouncing cartoon cutouts. Often they are Simpson’s characters, but they just as well may be Mickey or even Minnie Mouse. A goddamn shame. What they do is put seductive pop music on and "makeâ€ the cartoon cutouts dance. Foolish associates have ventured the notion that the bouncing cartoons are actually powered by magnet fields. No such thing. It’s much more sinister than that. There’s a little motor behind that stolen boombox. And much more â€¦
3. The Soccer Trick Con
With world cup fever on the wane, this might not be a "top 5â€ scam. But it is definitely a scam. And a dirty one at that. What these fellows do is throw on some knock-off Barí§a gear and dribble a soccer ball around. Only in the most touristy spots. I encountered them on the Ramblas a few weeks ago. They dribble up to you, do a fancy trick, and â€¦ well, even vigilant eyes like mine can’t spot gypmeisters like these. They beguile you with their "elasticoâ€ moves. And before you know it, your vacay plans go blooey.
4. Crap On Clothes Con
This is a fairly old con. There are several variants, but one of the most common goes like this: The gypmeister hides behinds trees or bushes or what have you and he or she squirts a foreign substance onto your clothes. They say something is on your clothes and offer to clean it off. BEWARE! This moment is key. What they are about to do is relieve you of your hard-earned euros.
5. American Tourist Con
As shocking as it might sound, there are gypmeisters who, con mucho morro, don tourist disguises in order to rip off tourists. I encountered these fellows on the Ramblas, of course. The Ramblas is a veritable paradise for gypmeisters of all races, creeds, and filthy intentions. They are in cahoots with other scammers and gather around them in order to attract real tourists. Real tourists are innocently lead into their tempting world of gypmeisting (in my case it was the classic "hide the pea conâ€).
In this world you can’t judge by appearances. Just remember that.
I would like to thank Ben for the opportunity of sharing this invaluable knowledge with potential tourists of Spain. Please, watch out. If you ever see any suspicious behavior, don’t hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goddamn palookas. Poltroons. ‘Bout time someone took them to the cleaners.”