Any unexciting circumstance that usually comes out with traveling is when taken advantaged or being a victim of a scam. It’s inevitable, regardless of how careful or organized you planned your trip, this ill-doing exist. This post will explain how we were scammed during our trip to Chiang Mai.
In my previous post, I wrote about the destination sites we visited and how I was enjoying every moment of it. I was having a blast in Chiang Mai. Everything was going out well until this horrible event.
Where it happened
Specifically, it took place at the food area in Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden. It was lunch time and we’ve strolled the garden for roughly 2 hours without a break. So, I was hungry but happy at the same time because of those beautiful flowers and trees we’ve seen inside.
When we found the food area, I was relieved because at last, there was food to supply us with energy for our non-stop stroll. There were stalls lined up where they sell different food and drinks (yum!) and you can sit on the cute chairs next to the table under an umbrella.
Then, the scam.
The three of us immediately scattered like bees looking for our own nectar. One of us stopped in one stall where they sell chicken and rice and this was where the scam happened. The conversation went like this, in which some lines were spoken in Thai.
Buyer: How much is the total, please?
Seller: It’s 100 THB.
Buyer: (checking the shorts pocket, it has 100 THB) [No, not that money. Instead, I will use my 1000 THB bill from my special wallet so I’ll get smaller bills as a change.] (Took that money out and paid the old lady)
(Looking at the tray with the food bought.) [Hmm, let me first put this tray down somewhere and will come back for the change.] (Found a small table close by and put the tray on it.)
(Then returned to the stall.) By the way, all these happened in like 15 seconds.
Buyer: Uhmm, can I have my change, please?
Seller: What change? No change.
Buyer: (???) I just gave you 1000 bill. So, I should get 900 THB change.
Seller: No, you gave me exactly 100 THB, no change!!
That was how it all transpired, like what you thought and did before was a dream or a lie. Obviously, it was an ill-mannered trick. If we were unsure, maybe we could agree and accept that it was a mistake in our part. But it wasn’t. 100 THB bill was still on the shorts pocket, check. 1000 THB in the special wallet, gone.
Happy ending? eh?
The problem was there were no witnesses except the two sellers who maybe conspired it together. There were no cameras too. How could you defend yourself when all you have was your thoughts and short-term memory?
In the end, we let it go unhappily. The old lady was raising her voice while we were defending ourselves and people started looking at us, which when I think of it now, was actually a good thing. I mean, come on! Do we look like we’re some con artists? What could we possibly get from that embarrassment? In which I would add that not one of us enjoy confrontations like that. If my feisty cousin or aunt was there, I know they will not stop until the end but not us. We prefer peace and quiet. Besides, we still didn’t have the money so we were still at a disadvantage.
After we ate, we met our Manong driver and told him the story. He wasn’t happy about it and he encouraged that we report it to the information desk. One of us went with him to talk to the staff and thereafter, went back to confront the old lady again who obviously won’t back down. If she, for some reasons, changed her mind and admitted that she lied, she will be in a huge predicament because everyone in that area will know she is a fraud.
Therefore, reporting the incident didn’t really solve it but at least the staff knew and the other vendors, who were maybe her friends knew too. They wouldn’t do it with anyone ever again, I hope. Also, the other old lady who served the food was sitting at the back, looked scared and guilty. But again, what happened was already done and they had to stand up for it.
Thoughts and lesson learned
I don’t generalize all the people in the country because even our driver relentlessly apologized for what happened. He felt bad about it but we told him it was not his fault.
Finally, we thought of some precautions that may prevent it from happening again to us in the future and I’m going to share them with you. One, when you want to buy something, try not to go alone, bring a second person with you. Two, talk loudly when handing over or receiving money (like in fast food restaurants), “I am paying you one thousand” or “I received twenty baht.” Ha!
I hope nobody will be a victim of this scheme. 900 THB was lost somewhere, we could have bought more food with it. Anyways, we tried to think that maybe they need the money more than us; maybe a sick child, no food or no money. But still, what they did was wrong, period.
Have you ever experienced being scammed in your life? What did you do about it?