Friday, 30 September 2011

Annoying short con in Westminster

Traffic Lights Out and about again in 28 degree Westminster today. When I'm with other people in the know, we usually cross over to the upriver side of Westminster Bridge if we are heading across it. It's a way to avoid some of the barricades of tourists who are making the most of the fine weather and decidedly out in force.

It's actually quite funny walking along chatting to someone and having to dodge dozens of people taking pictures of Parliament, buses, traffic lights, taxis, the River, the Eye and so on. It requires a sort of crowd mastery to stay close and able to talk in a tourist mayhem.

To make it even more challenging, there's one of those gangs of tourist fleecers operating on Westminster Bridge at the moment, complete with home made plastic disks and metal cups for the three shell game.

Its always interesting to watch the edges of such games. There'll be someone standing in the road looking for police. There'll be a couple of extra large people around for 'management purposes' and the actual crowds around the makeshift tables seem to comprise quite a few people of similar ethnicity as the people operating the games. The marks seem to frequently be from the far east.

A couple of days ago a single policeman on a motorcycle arrived and in seconds half the bridge's hustlers had disappeared.

But I don't think of this offshore short-con as a London thing. I've seen it in Paris and Milan, but in truth am a little appalled we have it operating across the road from Parliament.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Do you think this is some kind of flaw in us HUMANS? There are always people working a "con"...! All that ingenuity could be put to a-so-much-more positive force---at least I think it could. I think we see this everywhere in the world---And certainly here in the states, too...And some of these "cons" are much more sophisticated than the Shell Game--but, basically,
they are the same. It is sad, isn't it? There is the Shell Game and then there is Bernie Madoff...AND, everything in-between.

Pat said...


Ellie said...

Navigating the crowds of tourists is certainly a skill ... and to chat w/ a colleague simultaneously! Kudos.

rashbre said...

Naomi: I think it has something to do with paths of least resistance.

Pat: I still like walking around the area, however.

Ellie: I can sometimes walk and chew gum too (although not very often - I prefer Strong Mints)