Underground Cabling: The Reasons, The Map Will the minister please answer the question?

Civic Bus Fare Scammer

February 28th, 2006 at 11:15pm

People walking around busy areas asking people for a certain amount of money, supposedly for a bus fare, whilst not looking in the least bit hard pressed for cash are not new nor rare, but they are a problem. In most cases I completely ignore these people, however one such “non-hard-pressed bus fare scammer” caught my attention today.

About 11:30 this morning I was walking to the bus stop opposite the Legislative Assembly building to catch a bus to Tuggeranong, and on the way passed one of “the regulars”, the people who seem to spend half their life wandering around asking for a bus fare and never catch a bus, this particular regular was probably the most regular, being blonde, of slim build, about 25-35 years old and about 175-180CM tall. As per usual he was asking for 40 cents for a bus fair (seemingly oblivious to the fact that a concession bus fare is $1.30 minimum in Canberra, as would be most Civic office workers who probably don’t catch a bus to or from work anyway) and bothering many many people. I avoided him and continued on my way, not paying any further attention to him or his activities.

I went to Tuggeranong, had lunch with my bus driver friend, came back into Civic and had a coffee at the previously reviewed Coffee @ Helen’s. While I was in there enjoying a flat white, the previously sighted regular bus fare scammer walked in and asked the staff if they could change some coins into a $10 note, they agreed and he spent the better half of the next minute unloading his scammed booty of 20c, 10c and 5c coins, which was then counted by the staff and exchanged for a $10 note. The bus fare scammer then walked back home, which as I know is up at the top end of Ainslie Avenue in a set of apartment blocks I seem to have forgotten the name of.

I don’t know if there is anything legally wrong with this situation, but there is certainly something morally and ethically wrong with it. I spent some of the afternoon pondering the question of whether I should have intervened and pointed out that he had scammed at least 25 people to gain the amazing quantity of silver coins. Maybe I should have, but I tend to see, or at least pass this person once or twice a week, and would be in fear of my own safety if I had taken that course of action. Of course, it would have been nice to, at that moment, have been a Today Tonight reporter who had been following the scammers activities all day, and then pounced when he tried to convert his illgotten mini-fotune into a plastic note. There would have been an element of satisfaction in catching him red-handed, alas it was not to be, and I am left pindering the legal, moral and ethical ramifications of the situation.

I suppose I should summarise this by advising you not to give 40c “bus money” to someone in Civic who is blonde, of slim build, about 25-35 years old and about 175-180CM tall. That’s probably the best advice I can give you.


Entry Filed under: Bizarreness,Canberra Stories,Samuel's Editorials

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  • 1. Chuck Berry  |  March 1st, 2006 at 1:04 am

    I have also pondered similar quesions Samuel. I have decided to avoid these people.

    Recently while going for lunch in Richmond, I was approached by a female and asked for money. I declined. I was then verbally abused. Her boyfriend who was covered in green tattoos, then chased me into a restaurant and threatened to assualt me.

    It must have been my lucky day because about five members of Richmond CIB were having lunch in the restaurant and promtly arrested the man.

    If they were not there I would have been forced to defend myself with chop sticks and dim sims.

    People like him and other aggressive beggars are breaking the law in Victoria. I think in most states and territories it is illegal to beg.

    Spruikers with megaphones, people trying to solicit money and are all invading your private space.

    Buskers require permits. Why not these ‘beggars’?

    They just make it harder for those who are really in need to get assistance.

  • 2. wonko the sane  |  March 1st, 2006 at 1:52 am

    I can relate, chuck. I ended up in Concord emergency after getting ‘bottled’ (the glassed your getting when you’re not getting glassed) and the living sh*t kicked out of me by a gang of youths. Why? Because I didn’t give them a cigarette when threatened.

    Despite the numerous stitches and bruises, I harbour no bitterness towards the ethnic background of the people involved. I still give money and cigarettes to the poor, homeless and drug-addicted (when I have spare change, most of the time I’m probably poorer than they are — I definately am, being so far negative $10,000). I pay more for creativity. ‘Bus fare’ is lowest — it has to be more elaborate than that to get into gold coins.

    I also I know what it’s like to be hungry. Early in my work career, earning $16,000 as an editorial assitant year in Sydney and supporting myself, alone.

    Once you experience hunger, it changes your perspective on a lot of things. People have a lot of problems out there, Sam. If you live in a city and try to judge if every beggar there is genuine or not, you’d be exhausted. I just give them what I’ve got regardless, and trust they’ll find a way eventually through their problems.

  • 3. wonko the sane  |  March 1st, 2006 at 1:53 am

    I sincerely apologise for my atrocious spelling in that post. ‘Your’ for ‘you are’ is a pet hate, and one punishable by death. Sorry.

  • 4. wonko the sane  |  March 1st, 2006 at 2:00 am

    You also change your perspective about money when you don’t have any. And pay day is a long way away. Some people can suck it up and ask their mates for 20 bucks until next payday. Others don’t have friends, or a pay day.

    While scammers are an annoyance, I think people should try to hold a little compassion in their hearts. Otherwise, they become like TV programs like Today Tonight — a pitiless pestilence on the face of the earth.

  • 5. Samuel  |  March 1st, 2006 at 2:21 am

    I’m more than happy to help the needy (assuming I have the resources to do so at the time), but in this case I know that the person I referred to is not exactly needy, doesn’t need the $10, and is certainly not catching a bus. I think Chuck was right when he said that people like this “just make it harder for those who are really in need to get assistance.”

    Wonko, my payday is currently not coming, I’m actively seeking work, the trouble is that it needs to fit in with most of my existing schedule, which rules out just about every retail job in existence. I’m seeking, I’m applying, and I’m hoping. My payout from my last job (the one in December) will run out soon, I guess I’m lucky that I am living with my parents.

    If it was time for the next annual or biannual (I think I’ll go biannual next time as it works out cheaper, I just didn’t have the funds to go biannual last year…again, assuming I have the funds) payment on this website then I can tell you it would disappear from the face of the earth.

    Basically, yes I (almost) know how tough it can be, I just wish that scammers like the one I mentioned earlier weren’t out there making life hard for those who really are “doing it tough”.

  • 6. heatseeker  |  March 1st, 2006 at 8:29 am

    People who scam fake bus fares should drop big rocks on their heads!

    Take a photo of him Samuel and shame him to your many readers … better still interview him for your next podcast.

    And I’d bring it up with Lawsie next time you’re speaking with him.

    Good work!

  • 7. The RiotACT » Got s&hellip  |  March 1st, 2006 at 8:48 am

    […] Something of genuine interest over in SGS-land (BTW was I the only one who thought of him during “The Story of the Bubbleboy” at Tropfest?). He’s observed one of Civic’s beggars changing his “bus-fare money” into cold hard cash. While I was in there enjoying a flat white, the previously sighted regular bus fare scammer walked in and asked the staff if they could change some coins into a $10 note, they agreed and he spent the better half of the next minute unloading his scammed booty of 20c, 10c and 5c coins, which was then counted by the staff and exchanged for a $10 note. The bus fare scammer then walked back home, which as I know is up at the top end of Ainslie Avenue […]

  • 8. John B1_B5  |  March 1st, 2006 at 9:31 am

    I see there has been quite a bit of “pondering” going on here ……. On a ‘related ‘ topic , I presently have a “Peter Ponder” awaiting approval to join “Australia – The Land Down Under ” . He is one of a number in my “Penders” list …. i.e. …. members ‘pending’ .

    So what we have here is a ‘pending’ “Peter Ponder” , haha .

  • 9. punky_brewster  |  March 1st, 2006 at 11:06 am

    I agree with wonko the sane. I give money to creativity too. I had a guy give me a 2 minute speil in St Kilda the other day how he needed 98 cents for black & gold panadol for his pregnant wife… He had some sort of battery operated game thing that he was trying to offload for some money too. I gave him my change which was about $1, then 10 minutes later I saw him around the corner doing the same thing to someone else. But I was cool with that. He was trying… He was even wearing an oversized mismatched suit. A lot better than the forceful, rude beggars.

  • 10. petedixton  |  March 1st, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    I love the guy that use to hang around the pedestrian crossing in the middle of the Canberra Centre, wearing a big sandwich board saying “3 Jokes for $1”.

    Some mates of mine from interstate went through about $10 with him one night… all they said were his jokes were great, and he never repeated a single one whilst they were listening. Value for money, imaginitive and original.

  • 11. Chuck Berry  |  March 1st, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    With the Commonwealth Games approaching, I just wonder what Prince Phillip is going to think when these beggars ask him for some spare change.

    I propose we do what the Atlanta officials did back in 1996 and bus all beggars out of town for two weeks. This would give the impression that Melbourne is in fact the worlds most liveable city.

  • 12. John B1_B5  |  March 1st, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    Oh ….. I forgot to mention … Peter Ponder’s on-line provider is big Pond ……. I guess that gives him more scope for some serious PONDERING , hahar .

  • 13. Chuck Berry  |  March 1st, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    Wonko, your grammatical errors can be forgiven. I, with the help of others, are trying to improve on my poor spelling and grammar.

    Today Tonight has done many editorials on agressive beggars. I think they repeat the same story at least thee times a year. I have seen the silicone wonder bra story ‘pop out’ at least four times a year for the last four years.

    The Herald Sun in Melbourne has also tackled the subject of beggars. They have even sent one of the journalists under cover. He made more in one day begging than he did in a week at the Sun.

    In my opinion, the more creative they get, the more of my time they waste and time is money!

    I was walking down Elizabeth st in Melbourne and a beggar came up to me and asked if I had a gun because he wanted to shoot himself in the head. I was not packing heat at the time and told him politely to f#$k off! He then approached a dapper gent. I kept a close eye on them as I thought I may get to witness my first ‘bowling ball’. After a few minutes the beggar walked of with some money he had extracted from the dapper gent.

    Can anyone swing me $10?

  • 14. cunninglinguist  |  March 1st, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Sam, what are your long-term plans for your future? If your schedule is so busy, how are you going to fit in work? Do you plan to have a full-time career one day, a partner and possibly your own family?

  • 15. heatseeker  |  March 1st, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    I think a partner and a family would be great for Samuel.

  • 16. wonko the sane  |  March 1st, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Lots of little Samuels!

  • 17. Samuel  |  March 1st, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    cunninglinguist, I’m thinking about my short term plans at the moment, and work that would fit around study and a few other things I’m involved in.

  • 18. cunninglinguist  |  March 1st, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    That’s great, Samuel, but come on, don’t be coy!… you’re a young man of eighteen, you’re at your peak, there are lots of pretty young ladies in Canberra! There must be a place in your heart that longs for romance 🙂

  • 19. Goat Boy  |  March 1st, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    Why not just buy him a weekly ticket? Then if you see him begging, you’re legally entitled to glass him. It’s in the constitution.

    Love your blog, keep up the good work.

  • 20. Kooky_Pound_Puppy  |  March 1st, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Sam is still rather young in his biological age people, plenty of time to settle later.
    Let him do what he enjoys.!!!!!

    Would you ever breed dogs Sam?.

    Nattie is desexed?.

    If not im sure a handsome pooch would love to appreach her on heat.

  • 21. Samuel  |  March 1st, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    cunninglinguist, perhaps, but I’m more than happy being single for now. Relationships can come when I’m not so busy.

    Goat Boy, I doubt that is in the constitution, certainly doesn’t match anything I remember of it. 50 more cents and he has the funds for a 10 ride ticket, 2 more dollars and he has the funds for a weekly ticket.

    KPP, Nattie is desexed.

  • 22. Kooky_Pound_Puppy  |  March 1st, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    damn had great ambitions

  • 23. Chuck Berry  |  March 2nd, 2006 at 12:25 am

    I think an FAQ page might be in order!

  • 24. Chuck Berry  |  March 2nd, 2006 at 12:28 am

    For those who may be interested. Mac Mini Intel’s have been released.

  • 25. ricky wong  |  March 2nd, 2006 at 1:38 am

    I work in shall we say a very colourful street in Melbourne.
    Like yourself Samuel I have become aware of serial pests hasseling the general pulic with their hard luck stories. Not only do I find it offence that they a) insult my intelligence with their sterotypical stories, b) they never remember that yesterday they tried the same thing with me and c) they probably scam more money that I earn in a day at my honest job.

    Perhaps they should be targeting the people that were able to pay $2000 for the privelage of having an intimate session with
    Mr Humanitarian (Bill Clinton)…

    I would like to see how Mr Steve Bracks or the Mayor of Melbourne (what’s his name) handled an encounter with one of these ‘victims of society’ the day before pension is handed out…….

  • 26. Chuck Berry  |  March 2nd, 2006 at 2:31 am

    Hello Ricky Wong. The Lord Mayor of Melbourne’s name is John So. Are you turning your back on your Chinese background? Even Iggy Pop knows who John So is. He opened the set for The Stooges at Melbourne Big Day Out. He also got Iggy speed at a very cheap price. Later on they dined at Frower Drum.

    Bugger Bill Clinton, beggars should be targeting those who could afford a $10,000 table to celebrate Mr Howards ten year tenure.

    I am thinking of contacting the President of ‘Serial Pests’ Mr Peter Hore himself and demanding an explanation for the rise in serial pestering and aggressive begging. After he ruined Michael Hutchence’s funeral, crashed the Melbourne Cup and became the Messiah, I think he may be able to hold some sway with these scammers.

  • 27. Kooky_Pound_Puppy  |  March 2nd, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    Mr Peter Hore is a foul foul man.


  • 28. cunninglinguist  |  March 2nd, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    Samuel, how would you describe your future partner? What kind of girl do you admire? I imagine that you would be a romantic type of person, who would go into a relationship slowly and guard your heart carefully.

  • 29. pieface  |  March 2nd, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    Ah yes, the 40c busfare: this amount is not peculiar to the southern states, but is also up here in good old QLD. As someone who had to walk home about 8-9 kilometres once due to lack of busfare, I am sympathetic to this….but that is why it is so effective. How can you refuse something like 40c? So small, so reasonable….just hand it over and they will leave you alone…

    However as I strongly suspect that money will be used to buy alcohol, I instead try and buy the bus ticket, or when requested for money for food hand over something from the shopping bag. Of course this could then be seen to free up more of their own $$ for alcohol, but I don’t have all the solutions. It has also backfired on many occasions as I am not the only one who has tried this when asked for money. Here are some amusing stories where I was taught very good lessons for my non-compliant attitude….

    1. Once when asked for money for food I offered to go into Woolies and buy them food. What a shopping list I was given – “I don’t want a sandwich, I want a hot meal” I offered a quarter roast chicken. “I want salad as well” Okay….(teeth beginning to grind. Drew the line at the drink.) Was not asked by this person again though for money, so it must have made an impact.

    2. Another time I knew I would be asked for money as I was sitting at the bus terminal, so I bought a chocolate bar in preparation for the inevitable shakedown. Within a few minutes I was asked for money for food: I then handed over chocolate bar. “I don’t want that, I want a meat pie” – strangely enough the only type of food that couldn’t be purchased near the terminal. Sorry mate – this or nothing. Chocolate bar duly taken.

    3. Another time asked for a cigarette, then money. When I couldn’t oblige them with either as I only had enough for myself to get home, I was ‘punished’ by their sitting next to me and constantly touching my arm with ‘please, please, please’. Heartless as it was, I needed the money to get home, so I had to get up, go into a cafe to hide, catch another bus and walk the rest of the way home so I didn’t have to go back to that terminal.

    But the 40c? I was asked for this very amount in the last few weeks. I asked of course “what do you want it for?” The request for 40c was repeated. So I asked again “what do you want it for?” I was told “busfare.” I asked where to and was told the destination – I was unable however to buy a ticket for them unless I waited back and actually caught the bus, which meant missing my own bus (last service) – so I had to leave them without a ticket or 40c due to my “no money for alcohol” policy.

    Any point to this rambling? Nope – all I can say is unlike our other 40c friend, who was observed to be asking and taking more than what he said he needed, there

  • 30. wonko the sane  |  March 3rd, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Hey Chuck… cannive twenny centz?

  • 31. Chuck A. Spear  |  March 3rd, 2006 at 1:20 am

    Hello all. I have bad news. The artist formerly known as Chuck Berry is missing presumed dead. He was last seen at the New Orleans Mardi Gras dressed as Jack Van Tongeren.

    I am his replacement. I am looking forward to conversing with you all.

  • 32. Chuck A. Spear  |  March 3rd, 2006 at 1:55 am

    Wonko. I am sure Chuck Berry would have given you some silva.

  • 33. jam tart  |  March 4th, 2006 at 9:26 am

    RIP Chuck Berry.


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