For the Love of Christmas

At the risk of sounding all bah-humbug, I can’t help but observe that the following two threads on Milepoint – while very different in purpose – appear to me to possess some eerily similarities.

Scams, Touts and Cons: Tourists traps and other travel warnings

Christmas Markets

Unfortunately, scammers are everywhere, and they find tourists particularly appealing targets. Fortunately, scammers around the world tend to use very similar tactics and ┬átravel forums provide us travelers with a terrific way to share the scams we run across so that the next tourist won’t be quite so unsuspecting.

So how do scammers and pick-pockets relate in any way to Christmas Markets?

Well, they don’t really. And I should confess right off that I have never actually been to a Christmas Market. But I have browsed through some of the photos posted by Milepoint members and so I consider myself an expert now ­čÖé

What is a scam really? Typically it involves a distraction of some sort designed to part you from your valuables. And what is a Christmas Market? By the looks of it, it’s a cute little village scene designed to part you from your valuables. One could argue that the scam offers nothing in return, whereas if you purchase something at a Christmas Market you have that something … and I can’t argue with that, other than to observe that the value of anything I have ever purchased at an outdoor market has been dubious at best.

Ah, but what about the value of the experience itself, you might say. Fair enough. Though here again, one could argue the memory and story of being scammed might very well equal the memory and story of a visit to any given Christmas Market. And this being the age of security cameras on every corner, in the very near future you might even be able to procure photos to commemorate the heist.

See, I told you this was going to sound all bah-humbug (and as it turns out, a bit anti-capitalistic to boot).

So, before I turn you off this blog entirely – hopefully that isn’t already a foregone conclusion – please read both of these threads and learn all you can about scams and Christmas Markets so that you might avoid and/or seek them out on your future trips.

And I wish all of you a very Happy Holidays!

Image by ReneS at flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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