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Istanbul Shoeshine Scam Annoying

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Istanbul Shoeshine Scam is Getting Annoying

Filed under Travel Scams

Sometimes, in various parts of the world, a hustler comes up with a creative scam and rips off a few tourists. He then brags to his friends about his artfulness and they all copy him in mass. The result is a whole bunch of wanna-be con men trying to run the same scams on the same tourists.

I remember the mustard and ketchup on the pants pick pocket scam in South America.

After the first time a scam is pulled on a traveler – or they hear of it being pulled on another traveler – it is a dead scam. A traveler often cannot be fooled twice by the same scam, and all subsequent attempts are not only futile, but annoying.

The shoeshine scam in Istanbul is an example of a very overuse tactic to rob money from tourists.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Istanbul, Turkey- February 24, 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos — Travel Guide
All Travelogue Entries
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It goes like this: a shoeshine man drops his shoeshine brush in front of a foreigner. The foreigner, wanting to be nice, picks up the brush and returns it to its owner. The shoeshine man then offers to polish the foreigner’s shoes for free to show his gratitude for returning his brush. As soon as the foreigner consents, the shoe shine man begins with a hard luck tale in an attempt to get money. If this does not work he tries to charge an outrageous price for the shoeshine and his buddies gather around the foreigner to intimidate him into paying.

This works, as the foreigner usually ends up paying a wad of cash just to be left alone.

This is perhaps a clever scam the first time a foreigner is approached with it, and I was initially taken in by the first stages of this scam myself (Discounted Shoeshine in Istanbul), but now it is just plan annoying.

It is difficult to walk anywhere in Istanbul during the day without some jerk dropping his shoeshine brush in front of you. This scam is endemic. The last time this happened I gave the brush a good kick out into the middle of a busy highway. Perhaps this asinine shoeshine hustler got ran over trying to fetch it. The next time some idiot tries this scam on me I am going to take the brush back to my apartment and set it up as a friggin’ trophy.

“You’re out of work, Jack. Go try another scam.”

Related Pages:
Discounted Shoeshine in Istanbul
YouTube – Istanbul shoe-shine scam

Istanbul Shoeshine Scam is Getting Annoying

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Filed under: Eastern Europe, Europe, Turkey

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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