Like most New Yorkers know, every good hustle starts with a compliment. A person could compliment your shoes, your fly hairdo, or your bag. In the half-second it takes you to bask in the glory of your good looks, they have managed to sign you up for a list to buy shoes for orphans in a country, or get you to buy their cd.
“For you, I’ll make a deal,” they always say.
I have always been vigilant against these sales tactics. But this morning, in Western Mass, I was almost hustled.
My arms were loaded down with papers and a laptop, and I had that air of distraction about me. In other words, I was a perfect candidate for a hustler. I was busy and confused.
A white janitor started with a compliment. “I noticed that you always wear abstract, large, earrings,” he said. He paused. “I make earrings.” He fished out an old cell phone–circa 2006. “Would you be interested in buying a pair?”
He took a moment to look up pictures. But his phone was too old for him to find them quickly. I sighed, agreed to look at his earrings later, and went on to teach my class.
I clearly have been living in the country too long. In NY I would have seen that from a mile away. Maybe it’s time for me to move back to a city.
If you don’t want to get hustled:
1. Be suspicious. Everybody is trying to sell you something.
2. You need to walk with purpose. Do NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT.
This is part of the reason why everyone thinks New Yorkers are unfriendly. We’re not unfriendly, we’re just trying to protect our hard earned money.
2. If you made eye contact, KEEP MOVING. Do not stop.
3. If you stopped, that’s fine. Just extricate yourself by telling them that you are absolutely broke. In fact, you can ask them if they have spare change.
4. If you end up getting hustled, make it a funny story to tell over brunch. And enjoy that mixtape/book/useless item.
No offense to Diamond.
don’t get hustled!