The Paris ring scam or unfortunate ‘bon chance’

For those who haven’t experienced it, you’ll see some guy (or maybe a girl) off in the distance suddenly come upon a ring as they walk towards you. He’ll offer it to you when he sees you, showing that it doesn’t fit on their hand and you should take it, but how about some money for a sandwich? It has to be one of the dumbest scams I’ve ever heard of it, but it must work on greedy idiots because there are so many holes to the scenario, that only something thinking they’ve suddenly hit the jackpot would fall for it. You can read a more detailed description of it here.
The guy who tried to pull this on me did it verbatim to the example I’ve outlined exclaiming ‘bon chance!’ (good luck) to me and forcing me to take the ring. But, it’s ridiculous. For starters, why would someone give you a gold ring? For seconders, the ring is obviously crap. You can feel it in the weight of it that it’s simply not gold. It doesn’t even look like real gold, but like costume jewelry. And thirders, why would someone who, once they give the ring to you, then be asking for money instead of keeping the ring? Obviously, it doesn’t add up to anyone who thinks about it for just a minute.
I ended up giving this guy a 0.50€ and told him ‘pour l’effort’ as I was mostly amused at his trying this on me, although whomever tries in the future will just get the ring tossed back at them since I don’t need multiple crappy rings in my life. Of course, he then pleaded for a few Euros more for a sandwich with a Coke. I just told him no and walked off. He followed briefly and I told him I couldn’t speak French (which is pretty much completely true.) Naturally he asked if I spoke English to which I said no, Croatian. He shook his head and cussed at me, then walked off to try his next victim, whom I’m sure will give him a 20€ or something outlandish, thus making the money and time he lost on me balance out.
Honestly, I was more worried about someone getting behind me and getting in my bag, which is why I backed up against a wall. Distraction is the #1 pickpocket method. But the funny thing in all of this is that I mentioned it to Parisian friends and they had never heard of the scam which shows that either: I obviously stand out as a tourist or that Parisians never go to the Eiffel Tower or Quai Branly, which is where I encountered this guy. Perhaps due to my shaving every other day instead of the requisite twice a month as is typical for French guys, it is a combination of both.
In the end, it was an amusing adventure that required me to get the 2.50€ sandwich for lunch instead of the 3€ one to be good and try to stay on budget which is oh so incredibly hard with all the delicious wonderfulness that abounds in Paris.
The Paris ring scam or unfortunate 'bon chance'

2 Replies to “The Paris ring scam or unfortunate ‘bon chance’”

  1. Had a woman try this on my wife this afternoon outside the Louvre. Funnily enough she didn’t look very happy when I rejoined my wife and told her to bugger off ! It seems to be a constant in Paris, my daughter had a similar experience last year.

    1. My girlfriend and I are fairly regular visitors to Paris. The last time we were there (’09) in the walk from Musee D’Orsay to the Louvre we were subjected to four attempts. The brass rings were bouncing off the pavements as we walked. Hilarious.

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