Scammed

June 7, 2022

   Even as I was still completing the personal information for the online order, I had an increasingly uneasy feeling I was falling for a scam. In the end I decided the most I’d be out was $40, and it could still turn out that it was totally legit. After all, the ad claimed Tiger Woods was a co-owner of the company. They couldn’t lie about that, could they?

   Back in the 1980s I led some Atlanta coworkers to my hometown of New Orleans for a Mardi Gras weekend. The idea was that my experience of growing up there would keep us all out of all the trouble spots that are part of a drunken street festival. Within ten minutes of arriving at Jackson Square, my entourage was approached by a pair of street hustlers that bet one of us he could tell him where he got his shoes. My associate looked at me and I looked at him and shrugged. “I know it’s a scam; I just don’t know what it is.” My associate accepted the bet. “You got one on your left foot and one on your right foot.” Ten dollars lighter, we moved on with me no longer in charge of security.

My reward for that act of insightful skepticism was to be pickpocketed later that week in precisely the manner the Rick Steves guidebook had warned I would.)

   (A couple of years back, Carol and I were in New Orleans and I was approached by two young fellows with the same bet. “I think I knew your grandfather,” I said and moved on.)

   I remember one time I was in Paris with Carolyn. We’d been approached twice by young women claiming to have found a gold ring on the street, and since it didn’t fit them, they were offering it to us for free. By now, though, with my two feet solidly on the ground (and in shoes that I knew where I got them) I waved the young women off. Back at the hotel, I Googled “gold ring scam” and learned it was one of the more popular gypsy-run frauds in Paris. ( if you accept the “gift” of the ring, the gypsies circle back and hustle you for cash compensation. My reward for that act of insightful skepticism was to be pickpocketed later that week in precisely the manner the Rick Steves guidebook had warned I would.)

   And so it was, armed with these many decades of attempted scam experiences that I opened the confirming email of my CBD gummie order to find my potential $40 exposure had ballooned into $199 (tax included). What made falling for this obvious flim flam worse was not that I’d been duped by Tiger Woods. (In fact, all the claims by other PGA professionals to have been helped in their aches and pains by these CBD gummies were evidently faked as well. I suspect this because Carol, in one of the very, very, I swear, very rare times I was not listening as she talked, had related the exact same gummie scam her sister had been involved in, except in her sister’s case, the testimonials came from movie celebrities.) It was that once again, like the Rick Steves heads up, I had forewarning, and still fell for it.

   You’d think I’d be a prime target for Q-anon conspiracies, but I’m not. At least I think I’m not. 

  Time to go. Hmm. Where are my shoes?

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