The Seiko Watchdog

The casbah of the Ouidayas. Rabat, 1968.

In the sixties, a frequent scam involved an approach by a stranger who offered for sale some precious item that he had found on the beach. Even Peace Corps volunteers, who surely should have known better, were occasionally taken in by the scheme.

One volunteer, in Tangier for training, bought a beautiful Seiko watch, which, not unsurprisingly, stopped working soon afterwards. He took it to a medina shop in Rabat, which serviced watches, and the watch repairman took a look and quickly related the bad news. The watch was a fake.

The volunteer, who had paid good money for the watch, was beside himself. Not able to express himself in either Arabic or French, he began ranting, gesticulating, and jumping about the small shop.

Unfortunately, he stepped on the owner’s dog, which bit him severely enough to draw blood. The watch cost him far more than what it was worth, and he had to undergo a series of rabies shots to boot!

If this were a Thurber fable, I would have a good moral here. Perhaps a reader can supply one for this true story.

Author: Dave

Retired. Formerly school librarian, social studies teacher, and urban planner.

3 thoughts on “The Seiko Watchdog”

  1. This is one of the endless variations of the ubiquitous gypsy ring scam, that, last time I was in Paris was being acted out on the vast Cour de Napoléon that surrounds the Pyramide du Louvre. Young Roma women roam about the plaza, mysteriously coming across a golden ring on the ground in proximity to one of the many tourists ogling the pyramid and the Louvre. “Oh look! I found this gold ring that someone must have dropped.” announces the woman. If the tourists show the least interest, the con artist will “give” the “gold” ring to the tourists, who, if they accept the gift, will be asked for a “reward” in exchange. If you know what’s going on you can actually see more than one of these little rituals being re-enacted simultaneously at various corners of the plaza. By now, word must have gotten around, and it seems unlikely that the scam works at all, but years ago there were enough gullible marks to make the effort worthwhile. Plus ça change…..

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