Thursday, December 11, 2008

Con Artists Have All the Sweet Ideas

Ever feel like all the good scams are taken? I mean, really, my creativity is shot and I just don’t know how to fleece people any more. Let's look at the evidence:

First up, the Bogota Money Inspectors. Those guys rock – they come up in pairs, and claim they have to “inspect your money” to see if it’s counterfeit. Then they declare that it is, in fact, fake, take your money, and even give you a receipt. It’s genius.

Another genius? Anyone who has ever smuggled a monkey.

I remember being disappointed in Sarajevo, because all the Roma really managed to do is pick pockets and aggressively squeegee my windshield. I felt like I’d come all that way, at the very least they could do a few tricks before separating me from my wallet.

Next up is the New Orleans Classic: “I bet you ten dollars I can tell you where you got those shoes.” “You’re on!” “You got them on your feet. Pay up.”

Back home in Washington, we have the Fleece the Tourists Game. A cursory review of Craigslist tells me that I could rent my piddling studio for amazing sums to people willing to pay any price for a slice of history. Then I could fly off to the Maldives, and return to…an enormous clusterfunk jam of four million of the sort of people who stand on the left side of the escalator. No, thank you. I think I’ll spend the upcoming Touron Apocalypse under my bed, nibbling on my Economic Apocalypse supply of canned goods and gold bullion.

Also, a further review of Craigslist tells me I could significantly boost my income via a boob job and some yodeling lessons.

Politics is the heart and soul of the con. My first political consulting client was a man by the name of FoFo, who was implicated in a gay prison phone sex scandal in which his uncle reaped millions and a judge turned up dead. (The incumbent, however, was miraculously sleazier...he refused to support his illegitimate mentally handicapped son on the grounds that, "The boy ain't retarded. He's just lazy.")

And now, we have Governor Blagojevich, the man who makes my heart sing and my spellcheck explode. This guy tried to sell a Senate seat, use the Cubs as leverage to bully journalists, and set his wife up with some sweet corporate board gigs. The breadth of the accusations against him aren’t that shocking, really, when you consider it’s Chicago. But it does tell me that it’s all been thought of. It's all been done.

The world has run out of ways to fleece people. It’s sad, really.

In the comments, reaffirm my faith in humanity. Come up with a fantastic scam.


Lemmonex said...

I don't have enough brain power to think of a scam today, but regarding the Governor: I keep calling him Gov Bogdonovich, like the acclaimed actor and director Peter Bogdonovich. I think thats a better name.

Shannon said...

Lem - I bet Governor Bogdonovich has a real knack for depth of field.

FoggyDew said...

As Hard Harry said in Pump Up The Volumn, "All the good themes have been taken and turned into theme parks."

What you need to do is come up with and obscure topic, then create a museum to its everlasting glory and then charge tourons $20 to get through the door. Oh, wait, they already did that at the Newseum.

You could always set up a "Dick's Last Resort" type of tour guide service for that weekend. Surly local guides to D.C. landmarks.

brandonsavage said...

My favorite scam is the homeless people who sell the free maps you get from inside the White House Visitor's Center for $3. And tourists buy them. I guess the big "FREE!" printed across the front isn't a clue.

Shannon said...

FOggy - Surly tour guide? That's me after a few days of houseguests.

Brandon - That's almost...cute. Like, are the tourists being scammed, or are they trying to help a homeless dude out?

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget the night that some random guy was in front of a bar I was running charging a cover to our guests. That's a good scam if you don't get greedy and stay too long.

Katherine said...

"No, thank you. I think I’ll spend the upcoming Touron Apocalypse under my bed, nibbling on my Economic Apocalypse supply of canned goods and gold bullion."

You have your Economic stash, I'm still working on my leftover Y2K rations.

Shannon said...

Refugee - The trick to any good scam? Controlled greed.

Katherine - I was far too smart to buy Y2K stuff. But I do have lots of plastic sheeting and duct tape from the Great Chemical Warfare Hysteria.

Gilahi said...

There was a scam in Australia a few years back where porn was offered to folks, who would send in a check and wait in drooling anticipation. Some time later, they'd get a letter from the company telling them that the item they ordered was out of stock or the company was going out of business or something, and a check was included as a refund. The deal was that the check was from a company called something like "Hard Dicks and Wet Slits", and people were too embarrassed to cash them.

Shannon said...

Gilahi - I think that scam was also in "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels."

Gilahi said...

Guess that shows what I know. It was related to me as a real thing. Maybe it was and they just used it in the plot line. I dunno.

bh said...

I've actually done the cover charge scam. I was smoking a cigerette with a buddy in front of a cap hill joint before the hour they started checking IDs. two doofus staffers walked up, and handed me an ID. I said, "looks good, cover's 5 bucks" thinking they'd tell me to fuck off.

They paid.

As luck would have it, I was out of smokes, so I used the money to buy a new pack and another beer.

Yah for me!!

Shannon said...

Gilahi - Research project!

BH - Genius. You should have charged five bucks and a backrub.