The oft-discussed topic of scam artists in Bangkok is a touchy subject. Convincing unsuspecting foreigners that their chosen temple/museum/attraction is closed and shoehorning them into a finely-tuned scam that’s designed to part them from their money is big business. Despite promises of crackdowns, the scams still exist in large numbers, and it never ceases to amaze me just how many foreigners fall for them. I guess a large part of it is that you’re in a strange city, disoriented, maybe a bit lost, hungry, thirsty, whatever, and a friendly voice is always a good thing, right? Still, I often wonder what would happen without the smiling face, so just for fun I made a little phone text experiment here that mimics how a typical scam plays out and the answers that one should give.

I should mention that on a recent bike ride I rode past the Grand Palace, which is where most of these scams are centered, and noticed one good thing – loudspeakers were blaring a constant stream of instructions and warnings to tourists in multiple languages, so at least that’s something. Still – how often do you stop and say “Shhh…there’s instructions to be heard…”

So, this is my idea of how a conversation with a scammer should go:

Tuk Tuk

Of course, many victims fall into the trap, and you’ll find yourself at a gem shop or tailor or fortune teller or shoe maker or some such thing. Once inside the staff will be extra friendly to you, but as soon as they realize you’re not interested in buying their crap, they suddenly turn very cold for some reason.

Gem Store

One of my friends once fell for both of