Of Hot Phone Deals

I like to think I am a morally sound person, and my ethical compass points true; given hypothetical situations I can usually pick the right course of action and there’s lines I would never cross and other lies I tell myself.

How incorruptible do you think you are?

I like to think I am a good person and would never capitalise on another’s misfortune…

This would have held true until this one time, I was walking downtown, minding my own business and this very artful dodgy type looking person accosts me…

Wagwaan Rasta

Which is the colloquial patois for saying what’s happening Rasta. We bump fists three times then shake which is a secret respectful greeting one does when they meet a rasta (note this was before COVID) The youth has an unlit cigarette in his hands and asks me for a light… “fires fayah

can I have a light

I go through the motions of rifling through my pockets for matches or a lighter even though I don’t have one (I usually make it a habit of carrying one because I am no longer surprised by the number of people who randomly ask me for a light or a cigarette or even some weed aka mbanje aka cannabis aka mary jane or offer me some…. Its probably a hair thing)

Rasta Beaton

Anyway, I shake my head, to indicate my lack of matches and mumble up something along the lines of  “I am all out” its easier than explaining that I don’t smoke…

The lad makes some small talk which is the usual thing you can expect, the weather, inflation and how its impossible to catch a break in this country. Lowering his voice he conspiratorially informs me he has a phone he is trying to get off his hands…. “Pane scene randatsara…” meaning that he has just pickpocketed the phone.

Pickpocket

He says “Pakaipa Rasta” meaning things are tough Rasta and informs me how he will sell the phone for enough money to buy a plate of food and some taxi fare to go home since none of his regular hustles in the city paid off, the day was slow and council police were arresting vendors on the streets.

police chasing vendors

Isimbi Rasta” he says implying its a high-end phone, as he hands it to me to see.. I am shocked to see it’s an ultra-expensive smartphone (since no one is paying me for brand placement I wont mention the brand) it’s a phone I have had my eye on, its got an infinity display with a crazy wicked screen resolution and the pixels on the camera are mind blowing, it’s the perfect companion a blogger would need.

Grudgingly, I hand back the phone telling the guy that I don’t think I can offer him anything that would be reasonable… (a little voice in my head tells me what I should say is I don’t deal in stolen property) He says “Ok, thats fine, I will trade you for it. Give me your phone and top-up with whatever cash you have on you right now and it’s a deal…

I do some quick math, my phone at the time was a very basic smartphone and just earlier in the day I had attempted to sell it to some street phone dealer and he had asked me if I had a baby at home because the only thing that phone was good for was as a toy for toddler.. I had a couple of dollars cash on me and think, this is destiny.. I had already deleted and backed up everything on the phone anticipating selling it.

I hand over my phone and the loose bills to the lad and he tells me that suspicious people, dem Babylon, are watching us, so he says he will slip the phone into my pocket and when he does, we must quickly go in separate directions and I must not look back until I have gone a couple of blocks.

He slips the phone into my pocket, I pat it to feel its reassuring weight in my pocket and begin to walk away, he reminds me not to forget to do a factory reset before I use it, to disable any tracking software.

“Good idea” I think to myself as I nod and walk briskly away…

I can feel the heat and excitement of having done town deals and scored a very nice phone… I felt a tinge of guilt for the person who had lost their phone…

Finders keepers, losers weepers” chimes a child hood voice in my head..

I can picture the next edition of blog posts I shall do, which will have amazing pictures, I might even post short videos and add voice narrations which I haven’t been doing because my old phone had poor sound recording…

When I was block away I took out the phone to look at my new acquisition…

It was a shop display dummy replica phone….

Welcome to the big city, I had been scammed.

~B

25 Comments

  1. Don’t you judge me is what first comes to my mind if I was in your shoes as we all know better, I would think but I can’t walk in your shoes or others. I think of it also like karma, cuz really you knew better so maybe you got what you deserve and am hoping that the person or people who are scammers get their karma eventually. It just goes to show there are all types of scams!! As I was reading and as he told you I’m going to slip it into your pocket, I’m thinking OH NO, he’s giving you something other than that really nice phone. Exactly…. Thanks for sharing! 🙃🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In hindsight it’s easy enough to say I should have known better…
      But in the heat of the moment you don’t think clearly these guys will mess with your emotions drawing you into their confidence, putting you on their side against the cruel system, in a way I felt like I was doing a good thing the man needed money to buy food he had been contemplating walking all the way home as he said he did not have bus fare, of course materialistic greed took over once I had held the phone and had first hand experience of its features… then the adrenaline rush as I tried to stay calm when potential undercover cops could suddenly swoop down and arrest us made me not question if I would be getting what I thought I was getting or question any red flags…

      I read somewhere that scammers take advantage of our need to help and our capability to trust people then couple that how we are somewhat hot wired to never want to miss out on a very good deal… the conman’s trifecta lol

      Even corporations use these tactics in their ad campaigns they will tell you that a product is on sale or discount and that a certain percentage will go to a charity feeding homeless and how for generations their brand has been trusted…. it’s all lil bits of manipulation….

      ~B

      PS I bet the phone had been scammed from someone else too… I tried looking for the guy but weird somehow he never presented me with the opportunity to actually look at him… I would never recognise him again or describe him (except maybe under hypnosis lol)

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      1. As I’m reading your reply I’m thinking if all the movies that have been made with some of the most elaborate scams. One of the most famous The Sting. The Usual Suspects another and there are many more. I agree with you that many, possibly myself have been scammed at one time or another and don’t even realize it. Such interesting psychology behind us humans as you so deftly point out, and is a very interesting subject indeed! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Harare scams never grow old, one day I’ll tell you how my money misteriously changed to newspapers lol in my defence I was 8. But then there was also a time all my money, belongings and scammers were gone when I came back, that time I really should have have known better. Its just that I never thought Harare scams would follow me here. Other than that I am usually very alert when it comes to scams, but everyone falls for 1 every now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha you would be surprised to see how a scam than can work on an 8 year old can easily be given a bit more sophistication to dupe a woke adult…
      Students of psychology will tell us how the human bring like hard wired to fall for scams, so you should not entirely blame yourself for falling for one, being alert is help you not fall for the obvious.
      I would say that someone who hasnt fallen for at least one isnt because of their vigilance and care but more of just luck in not having run into the kind which would have worked on them or had you not heard it before, maybe you were scammed and you arent even aware it happened, you think it was simply a bad investment, yet it was a well executed con…

      ~B

      Like

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