Tuesday, May 08, 2007


At first, I felt like a real slimebag.

A man approached me as I drove up to the curb at Starbucks and asked me to roll down my window.

“I’m out of gas. I’m so humiliated to ask, but can you help me with a couple dollars.”

I’m sorry, was my reply.

I always wonder about these exchanges. I didn’t trust the dude from moment one. He had a vibe that said “scam” all over it. I parked and walked into Starbucks. This guy preceded me and without looking back, held the door open. I paused, then entered and sheepishly said “thanks.”

“Oh,” he said, noticing it was me, “I didn’t actually mean to … help you.”

So now I feel like total sh#@. You gotta understand, I normally take great pleasure in giving money away. My wife’s a saver; I’m a giver. We make a good balance sheet. But now I’ve had the door held open by a guy who I turned down because he had Scam Face on, and he rubs my face in it. Stupidly, because I feel guilty, I remain silent. I repeat in my mind good comebacks, something about my having grown up in New York and getting taken one too many times. Fed up with it.

I order my coffee with him standing less than five feet away. Great. A coffee that would practically get him a gallon of gas, if he indeed needs it.

I sit down and he is milling around the place, looking at CDs, coffee mugs. Then I see him start to walk out, a wad of bills in his hand – where did this come from?! – backed by a bill that was at least a ten if not a twenty. He gets into a car on the passenger side, driven by a young guy, baseball cap on, smoking a cigarette, and they drive off.

I am enjoying my $1.84 coffee, thank you very much.


JayMonster said...

Oh, this drives me insane as well. Not only is he scamming you, but to be indignant about it as well, is just enough to justify the cynicism that people tend to feel these days.

I often try to help as well, where I can. Attempting to decipher between those that need and those that are just scamming. It can be tough. And I will admit, that I will sometimes cave to ones that I know are a scam when they have gone through the trouble of coming up with a really outrageous story. Since I realize it is a story, I don't consider it being scammed as much as I consider it a "tip" for them entertaining me for a minute or two with a creative tale.

Mom101 said...

He'll get his. I have to believe in karma.