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Ah the guys with flowers

I know it is a scam, and I am not falling for it, but some of them are quite good at what they do, and sometimes it is entertaining to engage.

Two summers ago I am in Rome with my daughter. We are sitting in some piazza eating a gelato watching the crowds and a young man, kinda cute, approaches us and offers her a bunch of roses. Tells her they are for her. I, of douse say no, she says no. She knows it is a scam. But, he is quite convincing, and very, very sweet. Big on the sweet talk, telling her they are for her beauty, that no, he just wants to give them to her, free, no money. She smiles and takes them. He immediately turns to me and say, "Now you pay." I laugh and say "NO." HIs sweet look immediately turns to disgust my daughter laughs and he grabs them and leaves. It was not that quick, and he got a bit threatening. I am not an easy person to threaten so it was not an issue for me, but a warning to others.

Posted by
484 posts

This happens in Venice as well. Some are not so aggressive; some are pains.

Posted by
3790 posts

Oh yes - at the Trevi ftn for our first visit to Rome in 2008. We didn't have prior knowledge of the scams (just keeping stuff safe from pickpockets) and of course the guy comes up and hands me a rose. (I now know - don't take anything handed to you!). Tried giving it back, but of course...no no - he wanted money - I think hubby gave him a few euro because that was all he had in his pocket...the look of disappointment on the guys face was priceless, but he let us go...

Posted by
6749 posts

@ Nicole, I would call that being held hostage.

Posted by
11411 posts

If you try and hand it back and they don't take it. Drop it and walk away.

Of course it's best to not stop , not take anything etc.

I find these types of scams not really scams , because it takes two to tango and you are in fact accepting something for " free' which surprises me people do that since my mom taught me from childhood to never accept anything from stramgers

Posted by
3790 posts

Well, being Canadians, we must keep up the façade of politeness while away ;) - and this was our 1st trip out of North America (and prob like day 3 of the trip) so we were still in awe...I guess it was just an automatic response to take it. But knowing what I know now, would prob just set it down and walk away (well, I wouldn't take it in the first place) - then again, what's wrong with having a lovely red rose for a few euro...it prettied up the B&B room!

Posted by
4354 posts

If i'm in a certain mood and someone 'gives' me flowers (or a string bracelet, a 'gold' ring), they're mine ;-)

I don't expect a police report will be written up...

Of course, it's always best to try to avoid all of this, but sometimes they won't take 'no' for an answer. You tried but he wouldn't leave, so you had a bit of fun with him. Kudos. Luckily, your daughter wasn't scared by the whole episode; that would be a completely different thing...

Posted by
11613 posts

Sounds like the guy was counting on your not wanting to make a scene in front of your daughter.

Some of the people selling flowers are the hostages - mostly from Eastern Europe. They have a quota to meet to pay their "hosts" for bringing them to Western Europe. It can get ugly. I know this from research in human trafficking, not from a sob story from a scammer.

Posted by
1352 posts

I had almost the exact same scenario at the Trevi Fountain several years ago with my then 9 yr old son, except it was a toy instead of a flower. Annoyed me to no end that they would prey on children. I felt like the whole time we were in Rome it was a constant battle.

Posted by
5486 posts

Flower vendors stroll the tables in tourist spots here in the States too but not as aggressive as your Italian and usually women. Your Italian may have thought that your daughter was a lady friend and you wouldn't want to look cheap. When you're an old married its not a problem looking cheap.