Friday, September 07, 2007

“Excuse me, do you speak English?”

The 4 different gypsies women asked me this question. Strangely, they all had English accents and I suspect that was the only English they spoke.

“Excuse me, do you speak English”

If you say “non”, they walk to the next person, If you say “yes” they give you a postcard to read which, presumably, has some hard luck story with a request for money. I took a break from writing to go to Notre Dame. I’ve already seen the church but I wanted to look for pickpockets I thought it might be fun to film them in the act and put it on the blog. My days are pretty much mine and that’s how I chose to spend them, sad I know but a good pickpocket can be more interesting that another cathedral I did not see any pickpockets but I was mesmerized by the gypsy women.
First of all, in my opinion, they are beautiful and not in that white bread, Princess Diana way. Secondly, they are seemingly immune to the fear of rejection. Everyone fears rejection- that’s why successful salespeople are so few. It’s hard to not take “no” personally. I watched these women for a couple of hours while keeping an eye out for suspected pickpockets and loud Americans. They are rejected constantly and it doesn’t affect them one way or the other they go right to the next person. They are constantly moving through and working the crowd and from what I could gather rarely take a break. It’s really very impressive- some telemarketing firm needs to hire the lot of them.


Anonymous said...

When I was in the metro in Paris in June of 2001 with my family I felt this hand in my pants pocket and I immediatley brushed it away without looking. When I turned around in was a "gypsy" girl of about 8 years old. She looked away from me as if pretending not to have done anything. My 20 year old daughter was sitting down in her seat and the little gypsy girl had her back to my daughter and was standing. My daughter did not know that the little girl had tried to pickpocket me. Like the child and standing next to my daughter I gave a litte tug to the little girl's pocket knowing that she would think it was my daughter since she had our back to both of us. She immediately turned around and started yelling at my daughter in a language that I do not know. My daughter was totally mortified and said "dad what did you do that for? Are you crazy?". I later told that the girl tried to pickpocket me and she didn't feel so bad.

I observed however that the little girl was working with her mother and two other siblings as a team. They attempted to hid that fact that they were working together but it was obvious.

Pickpockets 0 Dumb american tourist 1.

~Michelle~ said...

I was traveling in Paris just this last March and saw several of these gals at the Arc de Triomphe area. I too was amazed at how they asked over and over and kept on asking despite how many times they were turned down.

lansky said...

when i was in paris in november of 06 i went to a money changer near the louvre. it was a booth like setting, inside out of the rain, but with a glass window to exchange through. my french is lousy and i was very anxious. i asked the money changer if she spoke english. she said, "a little," then when i handed her the money i hadn't stated the amount and i saw her drop a five dollar bill into her lap. then she handed me euros. i counted the euros as she said, "be careful of pickpockets." as i exited i realized the receipt and the amount didn't match. she had cheated me twice while warning me.

the friend i was with was waiting with me for some euros (he had asked for help with "food money") and turned out not to be much of a friend. when i told him i had been cheated as we walked in the rain, his broken black umbrella not shared, he said, "you're just paranoid." he had insisted on going to this particular money changer saying the rate would be good. i suspect i was paranoid. and had been ripped off by the money changer.

self taught artist said...

misplaced, i think you know that i can't help but to read your blog more from a standpoint of knowing you want to be a i keep thinking, wow, i really love your writing.
my next thought/question is this: do you have anything percolating? are you settling down some and feeling a tug to write seriously? I doubt you would write it on a blog, but I am curious about your more personal writers life, is it starting to bloom? I hope so, you have a gift.

sarala said...

I like the idea of the gypsy women working as telemarketers. Too bad you couldn't find the pickpockets. I was fortunate to live in Paris for 6 months and never be robbed. Just got my purse lifted here in the good old US of A though.