13 October 2005

The best deal of my life

I just received a $20 service for 40 cents. The catch... it was a set-up, a scam. I felt somebody coming up behind me fast -- my first thought -- I'm going to get robbed. So I turned around and the guy steered off and started jumping around like we was crazy. Okay, fair enough, another crazy guy in Rio, nothing new. I cross the street and get to the beach where I am confronted by another guy with a shoe shining kit. He is asking me if I want my shoes shined. No, you idiot I am wearing sandals! Then he points to my foot which is now covered a lovely pile of fresh dog poop.

How did dog crap get on top of my foot? It is not as though I went around sticking my foot under squating dogs. So obviously the guy that came up behind me threw it on my foot so that the guy on the beach could get some business (creating your own demand!).

As I had poop on my foot I allowed the guy on the beach to clean it up. My theory was confirmed when the guy that threw the poop, not suspecting that I knew he did it, as well as a couple other shoe shiners came up to watch my shoe shiner clean up my foot and shoe.

After all was cleaned up, I pulled out 80 centavos (40 cents) and said that was all I had. The now rather irritated shiner said, "that's not going to pay for anything. I just cleaned *explicit* off your foot" (in portuguese). He then pointed to a marking on his shoe shining kit, which had been conveniently hidden from view, that set the service at R$50 (US$20). I almost laughed. I could get some people here to eat dog poop for R$50 (only a slight exaggeration). And besides I knew I had been set-up. I don't know if the law is on my side or his, but I placed down my 80 centavos and took a hike.

So if I disappear over the next few days, blame it on a band of three shoe shiners working the intersection of Santa Clara and Avenue Altantica at about 10:45am on the 13th of October, 2005.

Addendum: I told my friend Dudu, the famous samba artist, judge in training, kiosk owner, and English student about this incident and he gave me kudoos for not paying up ("They're robbers"). Anyway I am sitting at his kiosk talking to this married couple from L.A. when the shoe shiner passes by again. Dudu asks if that is him and I'm like, yup that's him. Dudu then chases the guy down and has a few word with him. The shoe shiner turns to me, rather sheepishly, and gives the thumbs up, signifying perhaps, that I am relieved of my outstanding debt (R$49.20).

1 comment:

thricesplice said...

Wow, pretty good story.