Embarrassing Confession

I got swindled today and learned something about Derren Brown’s tricks. The hard way.


34th and 7th on a Saturday afternoon (ie Pandemonium).


Me, a young guy with a stack of CDs, my wife and a billion other people.


I’m walking down the street with my wife and estabalished brief eye contact with our erstwhile hustler, locking me onto a social collision course. I either had to be rude or engage.

Rude normally works, but today I didn’t just engage, I engaged with the inexplicable urge to do this guy a good turn.

He handed me a CD and said a bunch of things about the kind of music it was, sensing weakness. There were some key phrases in there, too, which (now) suggests to me that he was either deliberately or instinctively manipulating me. I should have a looked for cameras.

One was “any donation is welcome”. He said that one twice. The second time, I felt a pang of guilt and almost couldn’t control my actions as I went for my wallet.

Next he noticed I was agitated for time and said something about my wife (not offensive, just acknowledging her presence), which distracted me further. Strange feeling, discombobulation.

The second phrase, as he watched me leaf through my bills was: “I’ll change a ten for your twenty”. I didn’t want to give him 10 bucks. I wanted to give him five (I wanted to give him ZERO!). But for some reason I felt like I could only do this if I actually had a five dollar bill. I was trapped mentally from changing the twenty into fifteen.

So he got $10 bucks and I got a CD. Which he freaking signed right there.

I feel humiliated.

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