I’ve observed gypsies engaged in some pretty ignoble behaviors, such as stealing donations in Berlin from a memorial dedicated to those killed attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. However, despite these prior observations, some of the
extortion begging techniques of the gypsies in Tbilisi, Georgia still raised my eyebrows.
The picture below demonstrates one popular method:
A gypsy mother will abandon her baby on the sidewalk for the day with a bowl next to him or her. Passers-by are expected to feel sorry for the baby and leave some coins for them in the bowl. However, there is nothing stopping any of these passers-by from snatching up the baby and making off with it. And there is nothing stopping the baby from crawling out into the street. And there is nothing protecting the baby from the elements. Or more practically – there is nothing stopping anyone from taking the baby’s coins either… Get the idea?
Another technique I observed, that was quite effective, starts when the baby is a few years older. The children, dressed in rags, will pick out a target and will hurl themselves at the person’s leg (or legs) and wrap themselves tightly around the target’s body with both their arms and legs. This will be accompanied by intense wailing, which maximizes the attention brought to bear on the scene. Simply to get out of an awkward situation, the victim will frequently relent and hand over some coins to be rid of the nuisance. This technique seemed to be particularly effective with men out on a date. The men don’t want to appear callous and cold by kicking a wailing child off of their leg and in every instance I observed, the men would immediately hand over money to the children.
The gypsies can be quite resourceful, no?