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Variations on a theme...another scam?

Atlanta
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161 posts
7 reviews
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Variations on a theme...another scam?

We were in MBK yesterday, when a lovely woman started a conversation with us out of the blue. After quite a bit of chit chat, she mentioned a sale of native Thai crafts at some government center. It was the last day and we should definitely go. Not 5 minutes later, a well dressed gentleman approached us, saying he worked at our hotel (named it), recognized us, and then told us about the same sale. We had mentioned our hotel to the previous woman. He went on to say that there was an advertisement on TV and that no one from the hotel would tell us about it because they could not get a commission....."take a tuk tuk.....not 8 minutes away". Now, my ears pricked up on the words commission and tuk tuk. We went on back to the hotel - I was convinced it was a scam, my husband not so much. So, what do you think? I have to say, both interactions were very warm and we were left with a great impression of the generous Thai spirit. Am I jaded and suspicious?

Nuremberg, Germany
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8,266 posts
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1. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

And why would a Thai women hang around MBK all day long to tell tourists about that "once in a lifetime chance" to get a special sale.

Therefore a thumbs up and well done to you.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Thailand
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9,562 posts
160 reviews
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2. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

Yes it was a scam.............................but then you knew that didn't you having done your research on TA before travelling to Bangkok.

General rule of thumb if you are approached by a stranger in Thailand there is something wrong as it is certainly not the Thai way to go up to perfect strangers in the street particularly foreighners and start up a conversation.

Bray, Ireland
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867 posts
41 reviews
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3. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

100% definite, it was a scam. Go to any of the popular temples looking like new arrivals, flash your camera around and the exact same thing might happen!! Export market selling really cheap jewelry is their most popular one, they're at it for years. My brother went to Thailand for the first time 13 years ago and walked into the same thing and spent about €1500 on a ring that was worth nothing after been convinced it was worth double at home. The following year, they approached me and my friend, a well educated Thai woman, a teacher was just interested in learning about our country but could also recommend more temples for us to visit, the nice lady even walked to us to a tuk tuk so she could make sure he didn't overcharge us!!! Then at the next temple, a well dressed Thai man who worked for the government started up a conversation, he even knew all about Ireland, a great conversationist! He was amazed we hadn't heard of the export market where you could get rings for unbelievable prices!!!! It was only then that I put two and two together and told him about my brother and that he could forget about it!! "Oh no" he said "those people are an embarrassment to our country" that was the one lie he didn't tell. We ditched the tuk tuk and jumped in a taxi.

The rule is in Thailand and especially Bangkok, do your own research and planning and never take any advice from strangers, taxi drivers or tuk tuks about where to go or where not to go. Make your plan for the day and stick to it no matter who tells you what.

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Bangkok
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6,001 posts
43 reviews
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4. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

Next time when a friendly woman starts up a conversation, say you are staying at a different hotel (say Mandarin Oriental, unless you're staying there of course, that should get their greed meter up). Now if a friendly gentleman comes along and says he works at "your" hotel you'll know its pure bollocks.

Brooklyn, NY
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16,015 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

Why oh why do people who visit other countries just feel the need to speak to random people who come up to them and start talking?

London, United...
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13,965 posts
124 reviews
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6. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

Scam for sure... Would your husband fall for that crap if it happened to him in US ?

Vancouver, Canada
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64 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

Definite scam....on the way back from thailand I stopped in bejing for a day and within a few hours 3 seperate people approached me telling me to come check out an art gallery

Im assuming this is along the same lines...they get commission from bringing people to these places

Atlanta
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161 posts
7 reviews
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8. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

Thank you everyone....glad that my instincts were confirmed. Americans tend to be open to conversations from strangers, and,Dodgeririshinlondon, my husband may have fallen for it in the US, too! He resisted the tuk tuk drivers and sketchy people around the National Palace, but these well spoken, lovely people just looked too legit! Mind you, we have found the people in Thailand to be lovely and polite so their behavior just reenforced our initial impression. I appreciate all of you for your sound advice as I've lurked this forum for the past year!

Chiang Mai, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Dubai
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77 reviews
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9. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

''Why oh why do people who visit other countries just feel the need to speak to random people who come up to them and start talking?''

Why? Because for some a lot of people travel is about meeting people, talking and chatting, learning, as well as just ticking off temples. I'm amazed anybody has to ask such a question.

Atlanta
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161 posts
7 reviews
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10. Re: Variations on a theme...another scam?

Ter1413 - this might be a regional difference...in NYC we would dodge someone speaking to us at random, but after living in the South for 30+ years! people still speak to strangers!