Going to Absurd Lengths to Avoid Pickpockets in Europe

Angela Volkov
Oct 12, 2019 · 3 min read

Decoy wallet

I should say, decoy decoy-wallet. And really, it was more of a purse than a wallet, containing just enough coins to purchase a snack or beverage. It served as a decoy for the real decoy wallet.

The decoy wallet was a thing of beauty. It contained some folded up papers to give it the illusion of thickness — and the masterstroke — an expired credit card cut in half, wedged into one of the card slots.

Booby-trapped pocket

I don’t even know how this particular (harebrained) idea came to me. Anyone yanking anything out of my front pocket would find the back of their hand sliced open by the hair barrette hidden inside.

Trust me, it was effective. I know this because several minutes after inserting the clip I forgot about it and dug my hands into my pockets. Ouch.

If my wallets and pockets contained only coins, decoys and hair clips, where did I keep my money?

Money stuffed down bra and in sock

A perennial favourite of women everywhere. Any thief interested in absconding with my cash had to be prepared to commit two crimes.

Nobody wants sock money.

Trust no one

In London, the only person I allowed to take a photo of me during the entire trip was a Spanish tourist who offered me her camera first. It was the same make and model as my camera, so I felt comfortable enough to hand mine over so she could return the favour.

Looking back, she was clearly a thief with a penchant for pink Sony cameras.

Constant in-vigilance!

Some scams just demand too much of a tourist: read the thousand-word sob-story on this card while I pat you down; look at all the people who have put themselves down on this pledge to help build a school for the blind*, notice the typical contribution was between ten and twenty Euros.

Isn’t it enough that they part you from your valuables? Must they also force you to mentally exert yourself? Whilst on holidays, no less!

I escaped being the victim of a too-sophisticated scam more times than I can count. Sometimes it pays to be inattentive.

Camouflage

The trick to solo-travel is to take with you the sort of suitcase no self-respecting thief would want to steal. Mine was battered and fluorescent orange. I left it unattended in ports and outside train station bathrooms with nary a care.

The fastest gazelle

I was so worried about Prague. Late nights spent brushing up on every scam: the tossed “baby”, the dropped “gold” ring, the shattered bottle of “expensive whiskey” et cetera.

I entered the city armed with all of my anti-theft techniques.

Excuse me, Reader. Did you drop this ring? It’s gold, must be expensive… Would you like to buy it off me?

And what did I find on Charles Bridge? A procession of Chinese tourists with the latest iPhone at the ends of their poorly-minded selfie sticks. Easy pickings. Why would any thief even bother with me? Lions are known to go for the slowest gazelle.

*Now, I saw right through this, but in my neuroticism I couldn’t let this charlatan think, even for a second, that I did not support the education of the sight-impaired. I gave her two Euros. Still, it wasn’t twenty.

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Angela Volkov

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Glutting myself on all that life has to offer and writing about it. Art, language, science, humour, and whatever else takes my fancy…

GOAT Humour

Angela Volkov’s humour and satire all in one place

Angela Volkov

Written by

Glutting myself on all that life has to offer and writing about it. Art, language, science, humour, and whatever else takes my fancy…

GOAT Humour

Angela Volkov’s humour and satire all in one place

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