scam or not scam?

Recently, when i was in dublin at the Ireland -v- Slovakia match, i went for lunch in Burger King – as you do – in a city centre shopping centre.

So i’m eating my bacon and cheese burger when i notice some guy coming from behind me, placing a small sheet and a few keyrings on the table. I’m like WTF 😯 Before i had time to say, no i’m not interested (as i thought he was selling them), he had walked on and gave out the same keyrings and sheet to other tables.

On the laminated sheet, were a few sentences strung together. I should have taken a picture of it, but anyway, it basically said “i’m deaf and from china, i do not beg, but i find it very difficult to live in your country as i have no job, please buy one of these keyrings for €2 or a teddy bear for €4”.

My gut instinct was ‘scam’. But if it was a scam, it was extremely clever and well worked. The laminated sheet showed about 20 small thumbnails in sign language for various answers. The fact it was laminated also added a degree of professionalism to the whole thing. As i was pondering whether or not to give him anything, other people had already taken out their wallets, purses etc.. and now i’m feeling under pressure and a bit guilty in case this guy really is deaf.

So i end up giving him €2 and taking a keyring off him. About 70% of 20 tables or so, all gave him something. He was in and out in 5 minutes. So i reckon he gathered about €30. Not bad for 5 minutes ‘work’. Obviously he didn’t speak a word but did make a few gestures with his hands – waving them about quickly – as a real deaf person would.

So either this guy was genuinely broke and trying to make a buck or else he was an evil piece of work taking advantage of people’s generousity. Either way, i thought he deserved the cash for having the balls and brains to come up with such a project. I never give anything to beggars, and rarely to collectors for sports clubs or hospitals etc… but this guy managed to get to me.

What do you guys think? Scam or no scam? 🙂

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