I feel compelled to blog about this because I was looking all over the internet to find similar experiences, and I managed to find a blog (link at end of the post) but I wanted to add my story in case anyone else is walking around scratching their heads after experiencing his hustle.
I was in London yesterday stood near Bond Street station at the end of a long tiring day, feeling quite spaced out, deciding what to do with my last hour in the big smoke.
It was half eight and whilst it was still busy on the main road but slightly quieter where I was stood (South Molton Street), leaning on a large plant pot type thing.
A group of 4 middle aged Indian guys were walking past – one broke off from his friends – a tall man in a bright orchid shirt and a Tom Selleck moustache and approached me.
“You have a lucky face”.
It’s the Mancunian in me that compels me to talk to people who might seem a bit strange, it’s like charity. We talk a lot to random people up North. I should’ve just said, No, no no, go away or just walked away, seeing as I was all alone and miles from home. Instead I said,
And then he begins telling me he is an Indian Astrologer, an expert in Meditation (ooh I like meditation), Yoga (ooh I like Yoga) and was trained is such and such a temple. He talks fast, I can barely remember everything he said because I was staring at that moustache and he gives you so much information you can’t really process it all because at the back of you’re mind you’re thinking, PLEASE DON’T KILL ME. Or steal my phone. I need my phone.
So this whole act went like this – he pulls out a burgundy leather wallet, and inside is a pen and some paper (handy!) and he says he’s going to tell me some things.
I worry a lot (I was frowning). My body is present by my mind is always somewhere else (I was looking at the sky). I need to be careful around friends and not tell them what is in my heart because then I will be successful (I am a bit too honest). Blah blah blah. Ok, ok I say.
Then he starts writing a load of dates and stuff on a piece of paper.
Today’s date is….
Your name is….
He tears of a piece of paper and starts to scribble something down, literally scribble like he’s not actually writing words. He folds this up and tells me to hold it.
I love all this mystical tarot-astrology-fortune telling nonsense so I am going along with it. My mum would have walked away long ago. I can hear her voice saying, REALLY?
Then on another piece of paper he writes a few things…
What’s your biggest worry?
What’s your biggest goal?
What is your Husbands name?
How many kids do you have?
What is your favourite number?
He scribbles each one down with a line between each.
If this is a hustle, I think, I am well and truly suckered in because I am actually TELLING him this stuff.
He suddenly scribbles down a number.
“You will live a long life until you are ……”
HOLD ON A MINUTE TOM! My Nana had her fortune told when she was 50 and was told she had 82 years…and she had 82 years. Now, Nana Candy always had balls of steel, me…I would’ve been mulling and mulling if he told me I had say, 40 years to live.
Oh phew. That’s a long life. 97? Shit. Don’t think I want to last that long. No amount of firming essence is going to keep my skin looking good of almost 100 years.
“3 good things will happen to you by the 30th of August, money, family, career. Don’t worry” blah blah blah this bit goes on and on about how all my worries will be over in the next month. Great! I think I’ll just stay in bed until then!
So the next bit of the hustle.
The man starts chanting telling me to put my hand in his leather wallet, wishing me peace and happiness and all that stuff. Oh! I just realised who he looked like – Indian Matt Berry (The boss in IT Crowd. Google him).
At this point – and I honestly can’t remember how it went exactly he told me to put the piece of paper down in-between the magical leather folder and he kept chanting. He gave it back to me and I opened it up – TA DA! Written down on this paper (which I wasn’t allowed to keep) were the same answers that were written down in his big piece of paper. HOW DID HE DO THIS?! (Note: He didn’t let me keep the small piece of paper). Was there some kind of carbon paper perhaps? It was a clever trick!
Wow! I said. Amazing! Cool.
Now here comes the really cool bit.
He writes down three figures, £500 – Rich, £300 – Average, £100 – Poor. Which one are you?
Oh I see what is coming. Poor I said. Great! So now you give me £100.
No, I said. I’m not giving you money.
The tutting starts…the looking away, tapping his foot and sighing like I am a naughty school child who won’t do as I am told.
“I give you all this and you give me nothing in return?”
Ok, I say. I have coins.
“No – paper money only”
No, I said. I don’t have paper money on me. You can have some coins.
“You have a card? There is a ATM just over there”
Oooh he’s starting to feel like a guy selling insurance for a sofa.
I am not going to the card machine, sir.
“But I give you all this! You give me nothing!”
He shows me a picture of a “temple” which he says has been ravaged by an earthquake, and a picture of some old Indian men which is probably from Google Images (LAMINATED!) and he says the money is going to these nice men and their temple.
Still not giving you the money you want.
To be honest if I had notes on me now I might’ve have given him £10 to make him go away. But I actually did not have £10 on me, and I was not going to the cash machine for him, no way. This is England. It’s a free country! If he really started on me (because at this point he was looking really pissed) I’d kick in him the balls then scream and shout and run towards The Disney Shop (they can’t hurt you in The Disney Shop).
Look in my wallet I say (show him coin section). That is what you can have.
He tuts loudly.
He shakes my hand. “Have a good life”
Thanks, strange man. I will.
And away he goes, back to his patiently waiting friends who have seen this 100s of times before.
It was a really strange experience. I actually met an Astrologer lady a few weeks ago at a baby Dance class and she just told me lots of interesting things that were weirdly true and we just had a genuine conversation, none of this cross my palm with silver crap – naively I thought perhaps this guy was just engaging in conversation too! So daft!
Judging by of the same hustle and the comments, this is quite a common trick and it is just a trick as opposed to some mystical gift.
Or….if you enjoy a bit of street magic, you can give them a few quid if but certainly don’t feel pressured to give them anything. The eye rolling and pressure tactics, followed by the ‘paper money only’ and THAT WAY TO THE CASH MACHINE was unpleasant although I didn’t get stressed by it I can definitely see how people end up handing money over.
In hindsight, being alone and on a quiet side street, I wouldn’t engage in random conversation with a mystical fortune teller again even if I do have skills like a Ninja.
If anyone else has had this experience or similar I’d love to hear about it!