I already know I’m a loony magnet but now it seems I’m an obvious target for con artists too.
I’m just wandering along the side of the Philharmonie when a car pulls up next to me and the driver leans over and winds down the passenger window. I assume he is in need of directions and in my best German I tell him I’m English.
“Ah eenglish! I am Italiano, from Milano.”
We continue the conversation in mixture of Italian and English, though he’s doing all the talking.
Well, you’d never believe it but this guy, very smartly dressed, has just finished a fashion fare in town and not only that but this friendly and total stranger wants to give me two leather jackets! Free!
“You know Emporio?”
“Er, no…”
“Emporio Armani?!”
“Well, yes…”
The bag he is showing me doesn’t say Armani anywhere. Just Emporio.
He takes out the jackets and my first thought is “yuck”. The black one looks plastic and the other, a suede job (antelope? Is that what he said?), doesn’t look much better. He tells me to feel them. I’m not convinced but I’m no expert. He’s pointing at labels and telling me they are exactly my size. He puts them back in the Emporio bag and stuffs its handle in my hand. “They are present for you!”
Oh yeah?
“I just need to ask you a leetle favore.”
Here it comes…
“I was in casino in Potsdammerplatz (he has a leaflet from said casino and I’m thinking “why would you have that?”) and my credit card, five thousand euro, he is feeneesh. Basta. I need to buy da gasoline to get back to Milano. Look!” He points to the petrol gauge but I can’t see it and besides, he has switched off the engine.
Ah, so that’s the scam.
I release the handle of the bag containing what I am now absolutely convinced are two five-euro jackets, look at my watch and exclaim that I’m late for a meeting. I walk away while he yells something which leads me to think he isn’t my newest, bestest mate anymore.

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