Nearly taken for a sucker

Penelope Green, Fish Hoek

I was in Shoprite in Fish Hoek on Tuesday morning, January 30.

Someone behind me persistently said “hello” a couple of times, so I turned round to see a young man looking at me. He must have seen the look of no recognition on my face, because he said: “Don’t you remember me? I’m Carl, the painter”.

If I hadn’t my house painted very recently, I think I would have been suspicious. My handyman had painted my house, but his usual assistant, whom I know well, had gone to Zimbabwe for Christmas, and my handyman had brought in a couple of other painters.

My immediate reaction was: I must be getting old – my short-term memory is not as good as I thought it was. So I politely asked him how he was, and he said he had been in hospital over Christmas – he had fallen off a 16-foot ladder, and now he could no longer climb ladders. So I expressed sympathy. He then went on to tell me that his mother had just died. So once more I expressed sympathy.

He then said he wasn’t asking me for money, but could I buy him a large pack of chicken pieces so that he could make curry for his mother’s funeral and he would come to my house to pay me back. I wasn’t very happy with that, so I made the excuse that I didn’t have any cash on me. He went on to say again, that he didn’t want money from me – he wanted me to buy the chicken and he would come to my house to pay me back.

I was even less happy with that, so just said that it was a lot of money and I couldn’t afford it and walked off.

It was only afterwards that I thought I should have challenged him and asked him what my address was. And it was only after thinking more about it that I realised that he was hoping to get my address out of me – and who knows what might have happened then.

I phoned my handyman when I got home and asked him if he knew Carl, the painter, which he didn’t. I don’t think I would’ve been taken in if I hadn’t had my house painted in the last few weeks.

So please be careful, all you elderly women.