Friday, March 23, 2007

WOW! What luck! We found a GOLD ring!

It seemed too good to be true. Just walking along midday in London's west-end theater district, minding our own business, a couple of tourists from stateside, and right there on the sidewalk of a quiet side street a young woman in front of us stopped, stooped over and picked up a huge gold wedding ring! What luck!

And of course she had to share her luck with us. Because we were just behind her, and looked so - I don't know - gullible? Imagine our shared joy at discovering the "18CT" stamp inside the band. And no other inscriptions indicating any method in which to trace ownership. What good fortune!

It turned out it was not really so fortunate for the young woman. She was homeless, jobless, in the country illegally and destitute - we soon discovered from her broken-but-understandable English. And on top of that she was "Muslim", and - of course (didn't see this coming) - was not permitted by her religious laws to wear jewelry. So she graciously gave us the ring.

(All this while 49er couldn't believe Mrs. Dweet was being so kind and believing - I did say "gullible" once before, didn't I? - and was looking around for the cohort to come up and continue the old "found fortune" scam - but that was not about to happen).

This was a new twist on an old scam. It was a one-person trying to play on the sympathies of visitors operation. It ended when Mrs. Dweet reached in her pocketbook and withdrew a crumpled bill to press into the hands of the kind and benevolent found-property-finder. What a crushed look of defeat sprang to her eyes when she unfolded the bill and discovered it was merely a £5 note. But how could she back down when Mrs. Dweet was being so kind, sympathetic and understanding? It probably only cost her 80p, but still an investment is an investment!

We now possess a slightly used size 9 highly polished brass ring with a faux 18 caret stamp inside the band. What luck? So how do we know it was a total fraud? Well, sir, since you asked, during the next week or so we were present when three other "gold" rings were discovered by other individuals - rings that were just quietly lying there on London sidewalks as we strolled in prominent but temporarily quiet sight-seeing areas. My conclusion is that either Londoners have become quite careless with their wedding rings, or there is an organized scam going on. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

And yes, the found ring turns your finger green when worn for a half-day or so.


PS: While at Hampton Court a day or so later couldn't help noticing the large "gold" ring one tourist-type gent was wearing on his pinky as he walked past. I almost said something, but decided to be nice - instead - it was a challenge, though.

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Bill said...

That's hilarious ! Reaching for the brass ring has new meaning in the UK.

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Good pun, Bill! And good for Mrs. Dwight, only coughing up five pounds. There's no shame in it, I figure, as long as you don't fall for the same scam twice.

49erDweet said...

Thanks, Bill, it apparently does. Stephen, we're thinking of forming a "London Brass Ring" club for experienced London tourist-pedestrians. Our common insignia would be a large, size 9, brass ring strung through a chain or fabric necklace/lanyard proudly looped around our necks.

It was fun to see the others' faces when they offered to show us the rings they had just "found", and we said, "No thanks. We've already been scammed"! Crestfallen.