This is gold???

goldOnce upon a bridge in Paris, I was taking an afternoon stroll with my husband. We were exploring the locks placed there by hundreds of other couples, when seemingly out of nowhere an old woman bent down and picked up a gold ring.

“This is gold?” she asked me, enthusiastically holding it out for me to see. I couldn’t help but notice her strange accent, I knew the woman was not originally from France.

I took the ring, inspected it, and tried it on. It was a thick man’s wedding band, and there indeed was a 10k gold stamp on the inside. But something was telling me this was some sort of scam. I shook my head, and handed it back to her.

“Yes, yes, it is gold, look,” she insisted, as she pointed out the stamp.

I shook my head politely, making sure not to take the ring again. Despite the skeptical look on my face, she thrust the ring towards me,

“It’s your lucky day, you keep it!” she said, making a last-ditch effort.

I just smiled at her as we walked away, settling on a nearby bench overlooking the beautiful Seine. She followed for a few feet, then eventually returned to the other side of the bridge, no doubt, looking to capture another unassuming tourist. We laughed and tried to figure out how this little scam works.

We continued on our little walk along the river side. We were less than a block from the bridge when suddenly, a young woman bent down in front of us, fumbled in the leaves, and came up with another gold ring!

“Is it gold??” she asked excitedly, in that same mysterious accent.

I burst out laughing, turned to my husband and said, “We must really look like tourists!”

My uncontrollable cackling was answer enough, and she walked away quickly, looking very annoyed.

I couldn’t get over how hilarious it was, and have since adopted “This is gold” as one of my personal catch phrases, funny accent included of course. I almost wish I had taken the ring, because it is such a funny story. But I still couldn’t figure out exactly how the scam worked, so I searched the web to see if anyone else had met this sneaky duo.

Turns out, it’s actually a pretty straightforward. First off, the ring is a fake; they pretend to find it in front of you. What they want is for you to take it, and then they follow you around begging for compensation.  Apparently they are so persistent that people generally end up giving them a few euros just to get them to go away.  I just can’t believe anyone would fall for such a blatant scam. I guess there really is a sucker born every minute!

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