Friday, September 20, 2013

Excuse Me, Are You a AAA member?

I was just walking up Market St., back towards home, when a clean-cut, late-teens/early-20s white male said to me, "Excuse me...are you a AAA member?"

Right then and there, I said this: "Let me guess:  You're from Andover.  You're out of gas.  You can't get a hold of anyone right now, and you just need a few bucks to get gas and head back home."

I'll give him credit for the way he responded: "Yes...but hey, I'm just trying to eat."  At least he was honest.  I only knew to expect it because a neighbor had just explained to me two days ago how she had given someone money after hearing that story.

I then told him why I thought the "Stranger in Distress" story was pretty effective, and I actually asked him about his yield.  At that point, he looked at me kinda funny, and just said, "I hate to lie. Sometimes I'll ask for money straight up...but hey, I'm just trying to eat."

We parted ways after I explained that I actually didn't have any cash, and that even the coffee I was holding had been purchased with a credit card.

As CC Lorrey has explained in the Chamber, this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue downtown.  The other day, I was accosted three separate times getting back from 336 Bridge to 200 Market.  This is mainly a hunch, but I don't think Lowell produced these people...I think it drew them.


Renee said...

I 'dress down' when I go into downtown for DCF meetings. I like to walk home, and if I dressed like I was going to somewhere important I would be harassed.

Can I ask what you were wearing?

I would like to dress up more, I may bring a change a clothes just 'dress down' so I can walk home.

The New Englander said...


Great question...I bumped into Kad Barma yesterday and he also brought up another good point -- my demeanor. I sort of have this "head on a swivel" thing...looking around, taking things in, smiling, etc. It makes me a good mark for a grifter.

As for what I was wearing -- both yesterday AND for the triple-header walking through downtown from 336 Bridge the other day, I was wearing nice shoes, a collared shirt, and nice pants (my work clothes).

Very different from my typical strolling about the downtown attire (flip-flops, cargo shorts, and a brown t-shirt).

C R Krieger said...

C a u c a s i a n.

Regards  —  Cliff

The New Englander said...

Yup, all the grifters that I've experienced so far have been Caucasian. And young, as in sub-30.