The Smoke Signal

Why You Don’t Let Strangers Give You Free Items While Traveling

Will Sanford, Sports Editor

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The capital of an ancient empire who defined the Western world. Home of the Roman Catholic Church and the site of major achievements in art and intellect, Rome is the Eternal City. It remains today as a political capital, a religious center, and a memorial to the imagination of the past. Seems to be an amazing place, but if you go DO NOT GET CONNED.

The thought of going to Rome seemed like all fun and games until my sister got conned outside the Coliseum while we were out sightseeing. When you’re going sightseeing in Rome it’s impossible to not come across vendors trying to sell you trinkets and souvenirs. Personally, I just say “no thanks” and keep walking, however this clearly isn’t the case for everyone.

My sister and I were walking around when a vendor came up to us and tried to sell some bracelets. I said “no thanks”, my sister, on the other hand, let the vendor put one on her wrist. In a place like California, the vendor would take it back after you tried it on… not in Rome. The minute the bracelet touched her wrist I knew what was going to happen, she was getting conned.

The vendor refused to take the bracelet back after she tried it on. He stated “the bracelet looks so nice on such a pretty girl, you can have it for free.” Sounds like a nice gesture right? Wasn’t as free as she thought it’d be.

I made the call for us to walk away, we got about five steps away before I got a tap on the shoulder. How surprising, it was the same person who just gave us a “free” bracelet. Immediately I knew what he wanted. He asked for a spare “dieci (ten) euro” for “charity.” Turns out I would be the one paying for the bracelet after all. Afterwards me and my sister had a “friendly”f conversation over how she could be so utterly oblivious.

Word of advice, if you are on vacation, don’t let people hand you things they are trying to sell you. If you do, don’t be surprised when someone comes up to you asking for charity, after giving you a “free” trinket.

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