Hard hustle

          When I posted this picture of the Sacré-Cœur,  “Robin asked” about the story behind the picture.

DSCF0265. Sacré-Cœur.

          I’ll see if I can oblige, but first you must take a few steps back, mind the traffic and join me on the other side of the road.

DSCF0263. Hard hustle.

          Now, from a safe distance we can watch … see the “gentlemen” behind the railings ?  Not the one in the suit without his tie, the ones with the hats and jackets on, if you look closely you’ll see they have little lengths of embroidery thread in their hands, with a loop already made in one end.  As an unsuspecting tourist approaches, lets say the young couple slightly to the right, the “gentlemen” hover in their way and slip the loop over one of their fingers, pulling the loop tight enough to make it difficult to remove and saying they will make a souvenir bracelet.

          Having spotted what they were doing I stuffed my hands into my pockets but Hubby got hooked.  It took a little while for him to untangle himself and I needed to pull him away from the aggressive traders as the argument started to heat up.  Now I’m all for a good hustle, sometimes they’re even worth the money you’ve been conned out of for their entertainment value, but this was intimidating, a rather uncomfortable few moments in which I decided to just take a photo and leave.

          I felt another uncomfortable few moments just now while looking at the second picture … why was the gentleman in the dinner jacket with no tie watching me taking my photo ?  Is he perhaps in charge of the other “gentlemen” ?  Perhaps taking a cut in their hustled profits as rent for allowing them to work on his patch, maybe he thinks I’m taking photographic evidence to report him ?  Oh no !

          But not to fear, on closer inspection of the original, bigger picture, he’s not looking straight at me at all, he’s looking down at his friend who is trying to take a photo from just in front of him and below to capture the Sacré-Cœur  in the background … never a good position for a picture though, I always find the subject comes out with at least a double chin, if not a treble.

           More from before: “Paris” … and not just in the springtime.


4 thoughts on “Hard hustle

  1. Ah, you poor thing! This is only one of many, many tourist scams you may run into around Paris’ big sights and monuments — and sometimes these folks do get pretty forceful. Glad you got away relatively unscathed, though, and I hope it didn’t otherwise dampen your enjoyment of Sacré Coeur.

    • I have been to the Sacré-Cœur area before and walked around the gardens, they are very pretty but on this occasion it was just included in a whistle stop whiz around on the metro for photo gathering of the main attractions. We stayed in an area new to us, the left bank and student area and spent most of our four days exploring places we hadn’t seen before.
      I must admit though, the Monmatre area, from the Sacré-Cœur to the Moulin Rouge and there about don’t leave me with my most comfortable feelings in Paris. Maybe next time I need to spend some more sunny daylight hours there looking for the pretty bits.

    • You’re very welcome for the story, thanks for pulling it to the foreground. 🙂
      My very first experience of haggling was made on the steps of the Sacré-Cœur, way back in my school days on my first trip to Paris, (finally a good memory surfaces from that disaster of a trip) …
      I remember a little leather purse made up of a flat piece of leather, folded in three. The first fold was sewn around the edges to make the pocket and the last fold opened and closed with a popper to make the purse. The whole thing was attached to a shoelace type string to hang around your neck.
      We had been warned before hand not to buy anything, but a bus load of 11 year olds must have been a picnic for such experienced hustlers. I really liked the purse, but not the price (not to mention that I wasn’t the type of eleven year old to always do as I was told), I don’t remember how much I actually paid for the purse, but I do remember offering way below the price which was asked and meeting the “trader” somewhere in the middle.

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