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OldandRambling Oct 26th, 2017 09:46

Probably nothing new, but...
Hi folks,
I was sitting in Connaught Circle, Delhi yesterday, watching the world go by. I noticed a mature western couple being intensively "advised" by a tout. He failed to get what he wanted, and the couple moved on. The thing that slightly alarmed me was that I saw the tout then signal to a nearby guy and gave instructions to him. The second tout then caught up with the couple and he started another "innocent" conversation.
The point of this post is to alert tourists to the fact that quite well dressed teams of touts are working together now, which seems a step worse than the individual barrages of "help" offered.
I did catch up with the couple myself and told them that they were being targeted by a relay of touts, thankfully they were experienced in India.
Probably all the individual touts talking to me there were in teams too, observing others gives a clearer picture of what is going on, sometimes.


Sungazer Oct 26th, 2017 10:29

Ooohh,Connaught Circle...
Some seven years ago i had my first(and last) "shit on the shoe" experience there [rolllaugh "Sir, you have something on your shoe!"
Something!!?:D Looks like bloody cow took a dump on my shoe and i haven't seen any cows around.
I heard before about the scam and returned the shit to the "sender". Guy was quite surprised when i smeared the shit all over his pants leg...

OldandRambling Oct 26th, 2017 11:34

Not heard of that scam, is it just to get you to pay for a shoe clean, or something else?
I am amazed at the number of offers to shoe shine my sandals that I get :D


blackfog Oct 26th, 2017 13:29

Thanks for helping the couple and for informing us all. Ganging up by suave-looking folks is not new AFAIK. Even Indians fall for it many a times. They crowd-source the profiling part to find out soft targets. Part of the profiling involves tailing someone and noticing their walk and talk at different shops.


Originally Posted by OldandRambling (Post 2062650)
Not heard of that scam, is it just to get you to pay for a shoe clean, or something else?
I am amazed at the number of offers to shoe shine my sandals that I get :D

Shit-on-shoe or a big insect on shirt are distractions. Leads to snatching, pick-pocketing, etc. Another diversion and theft in progress

Nick-H Oct 26th, 2017 14:07

Probably nothing new, but...
The only time I have been to that place, a guy struck up what seemed like a normal conversation with me. I don't mind having short normal conversations with strangers when it doesn't seem they want to sell me something and my alarm bells did not ring.

Luckily I was with an old hand who knew exactly what was going on, sent him away and hurried me on.

He was a tout? I asked. Absolutely, she said; no doubt at all.

With touts and con men, you cannot just trust your gut. It's the first thing they know how to fool. That's their job!

Sungazer Oct 26th, 2017 16:04


Originally Posted by OldandRambling (Post 2062650)
... just to get you to pay for a shoe clean...

Yeah, that is what i've red. Allegedly,they ask for some ridiculous amount.
Might be as well what Blackfrog said.

dcamrass1 Oct 26th, 2017 16:12

The shit scam
I got caght on that scam some twenty years ago :mad:but no way did I pay what he wanted/demanded [whoa] but he did somthing for his effort ;)

a_f_d Oct 26th, 2017 17:28

Central Delhi around Connaught Circle is about the only place in India where I have felt physically frightened. Even getting to/from there is fraught, with Rickshaw wallahs picking up large threatening touts and dropping you only where the touts want you. Return fares to the suburbs are then around five times the inward fares.
I have no plans to visit Delhi again.

AndyD 8-)

OldandRambling Oct 26th, 2017 20:13

I don't feel any physical threat at all in Delhi, just that it does seem to be scammers paradise. Shame to have to be on alert all the time though. As an old bloke I don't encounter any threats at all in India. I did loose all my valuables last year, on a train, but it was done in a nice way, while I was asleep :D


RWeHavingFunYet Oct 26th, 2017 22:57


Originally Posted by dcamrass1 (Post 2062699)

In Sam Miller’s investigative research about the history of shit scam in ‘The Guardian’ he mentions
its possible British origins ..... from 1948. ….. There is one scene in which boys hidden in a cellar use flit guns to spray the shoes of passers-by with muddy water. Two other boys are waiting a little way off, next to a sign reading "SHOE-SHINE – 3d". Flit guns were a household device for spraying insecticide – and they're still used in India.

The flit-gun scam is similar to one shown in 1921 Charlie Chaplin’s hilarious movie “The Kid” :)


Nick-H Oct 26th, 2017 23:09


Flit guns were a household device for spraying insecticide – and they're still used in India.
If I was to dig to the bottom of a pile or seven, eventually...

I didn't feel physically threatened in Delhi, but I was under the protection of a woman ten years older than me... with connections in the local tourist trade herself, and she knew exactly how to deal with those people.

Another of my errors: One of the few things I can say in Tamil is I do not want. Thought this might come in handy. Silly me! For many years I had known that what you do not do with unwanted salesmen, cold callers, etc etc is to give them any kind of an in. Offer no hooks, or you end up on the end of one.

dcamrass1 Oct 27th, 2017 02:51

{offtopic}Feel I must add on to the flit gun but not a scam ;). When we were kids in Jerusalemin the early 50s, and the narrow and uphill road that passed our house, the few cars crawling up the the road with no aircondition on a hot summer day with the windows open for a bit of air,we would hide behind the garden wall and wait till the car got to the crossroad and was going slow and then we let go with the flit gun that we had taken of the cannister that held the spray and filled the pump part with water and squirted water through the open window. But it was only water(clean :rolleyes:) and then ran for our lives (never got caught!) {offtopic}{offtopic}reminds me of the water bombs but ....

OldandRambling Oct 27th, 2017 05:10

As Nick said, any response to unsolicited attention will be detrimental to ourselves! The scammers rely on new arrivals natural politeness... My grumpy old man personality helps protect me, I guess. :D


Nick-H Oct 27th, 2017 15:26

Stay grumpy, Ed!

Stay grumpy and enjoy! :D

RPG Oct 28th, 2017 05:23

Anyone in the tourist areas of North India who approaches you unsolicited is trying to scam you. They know that western tourists are trained to be polite and will respond with a "Why thank you, that is so nice of you, I'd love to some day, that's fascinating isn't it, I'll certainly think about it" stuff and thus fall into the trap.

I know it goes against the grain, but never say anything to them other than "no". Why was the couple in the original post continuing to talk to one tout after another? Touts can't force you to respond. If you feel the urge to connect with regular Indians, follow the rule an old friend of mine gave me about bars and singles parties and such when we were both young and single. She said 'I always avoid those who come up to talk to me; instead I go and talk to people who aren't obviously interested."

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