Buying or wanting Aussie.coins
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jul 17, 2012 9:25 PM Last Post By: Lee52
Jun 11, 2012 6:26 AM
Buying or wanting Aussie.coinsHi
We are currently travelling in Vietnam. Hubby has been approached a number of times by some Vietnamese wanting either Aussie coins or wanting to buy Aussie coins. In most cases, he said that he doesn't have any which is true as he normally left them with me.
If it is a scam, not sure how it can become one?
Has anyone encounter this?
Jun 11, 2012 9:43 AM
1I have had locals come up to me, in various countries and over many years, with foreign coins (Cdn in my case) and with the story that a Canadian has given them the coin as a "tip" and they want me to convert it back to their local currency. However, when they ask for foreign currency, telling me that they 'collect' it, I know it is a scam. Admittedly though, it is also possible in some cases that a foreigner has, in fact, tipped them with foreign currency, and they are legitimately trying to convert it. Use your instinct.
Jun 11, 2012 2:17 PM
2I would hardly call it a scam, particulary in Vietnam where scams seem to be the norm. Resourceful locals, often children, will approach asking you for foreign coins as they like to collect them. Then when they have enough of them they ask tourists to buy them back off them giving them Dong in return. Its harmless, costs you very little, and helps them to put food on the table, to attend school etc. Try and remember many of these people are dirt poor and are doing the best they can merely to survive.
Jun 11, 2012 4:28 PM
3I do try to remember that this is a poor country, but on the other hand I don't want to be responsible for heaping on more misery. By that I mean I have heard of cases that adults have used children to extort money from tourist. Yes, it is easy to give them some dong to ease my conscience but I am of the opinion that it is better to donate money to legitimate organisations such as Reaching Out or Bread for Life.
Yes, it is easy to become paranoid and looking out for scams everywhere but it is just as easy to act the benevolent rich westerner.
Jun 11, 2012 9:27 PM
4I have had the same experience as ‘napper’ - and I contribute Canadian coin. I have fun doing it and the children get so excited so no one loses. Vietnam is full of thousands of minority people that do not get help - their poverty is beyond believable. And don’t forget that the progeny of those that fought for the south are also refused so much that others receive – even education assistance and work where they could be the most qualified, but will be refused as someone in their family fought for the south. What I am trying to say is that it is hard to distinguish who needs more – at least for me it is.
Jun 12, 2012 12:04 AM
Jun 12, 2012 1:35 AM
6It feels like you have decided whatever you do is wrong - you don't want to be part of a scam, and you don't want to deprive someone in genuine need. It seems to me that this is an inevitable part of travelling in impoverished countries. There isn't a right answer. I've been totally inconsistent - sometimes I'll find a few coins, and other times I walk away. And if I'm scammed, then I shrug it off as best I can (not always easy).
But souvenirs - I agree with you, and try to buy those from fair trade organisations.
Jun 12, 2012 7:27 AM
7"Totally understand the point you have made but I just felt conflicted about what is the right thing to do" .... no worries - I often can find myself wondering what is the right way to go at this - how to decide when right there has often made the big difference for me - and each time can be so different :)
Edited by: liamh
Jun 13, 2012 9:00 AM
The beauty of your dilemma is that even if you got it 100% wrong there is not harm really. Coins? Hardly going to be the heist of the century is it? If for instance some enterprising youngster asks for a coin here and there then changes it for Dong later on at least they have worked for their pittance. I cannot really see how this can be a scam in the true sense of the word.
It is easy to see from your posts that you have a conscience and do care, wish to do the right thing. I personally on this occasions would have just relaxed and handed over a coin.
Jun 13, 2012 4:26 PM
9It is not so much the giving that is the dilemma but whether it leads or perpetuates a negative consequence.
Perhaps, I have read and researched too much about scams and this has led to a state of being constantly on guard.......not sure if that is necessarily a good thing. :)
Part of travelling for me is not necessary to visit all the recommended tourist sites but rather to sit back and observe people going about their daily activities but it becomes hard when you see poverty.
Poverty is different from being poor, IMHO. A friend once told me "we were poor once but we were happy". The kind of poverty witnessed in Asia and perhaps in parts of Africa and South America (not that I have been to the last two continents) are of the kind not often seen in the west. Ooops! Sorry, if I sounded preachy. Just as you have said, my guilty conscience is getting the better of me. :)
Jun 16, 2012 5:55 AM
10Interesting point you have made but sometimes one has to take a leap of faith just as most people have to do that when crossing the road in Vietnam. :)
Jun 17, 2012 1:45 AM
11I usually drop any change (taxi to airport, coffee etc) in the charity boxes at the airport before boarding. I've visited India 10 times in the last 10 years (travelling and volunteering), and the only Australia coins I take with me when travelling the Sub-Continent are a handful of the 2001 Donald Bradman 20 cent coins.
Indians love their cricket and I find myself frequently engaged in cricket related conversation all over the country. Most aussies don't know much about Indian cricketers, but most Indians I have met have their favourite Aussie cricketers and even know most of their stats. Talking with many groups of youngsters you'll always get the Ricky Pontings, Bret Lees and Michael Clarkes, but every so often some little kid will come up with 'Sir Donald Bradman', and then rattle off his stats (Right handed batsman, 6996 runs for an average of 99.94 with 29 centuries !), amazing.
This young fellow of course is then presented with the 'Bradman Medal' much to his delight and the amazement of his friends. I have a friend whose sister works in a bank and has kindly put aside these 'Bradmans' for me over the years, but unfortunately now they are becoming a little scarce.
Jul 7, 2012 8:55 AM
12One of my three favourite such was the young lad (no more than 9 or 10?) who started walking alongside me in Siam Reap and, on asking if I was English, engaged me in almost perfect and appropriately idiomatic English, discussing (much to my surprise) the various political figures and the actual policies of the then UK Government - and, on engaging me in conversation, then trying to sell me his postcards. We had a brief discussion about price before I bought a pack (yes, I overpaid!!).
Three days later I saw him again in the same street - watching a UK soccer match on a large open air screen. He recognised me and clearly was thinking I was after some of my money back but, surrounded by others, reckoned that he could still carry on watching the game. At half-time, I had the pleasure of watching his face in open, completely gob-smacked, surprise (and literally speechless in English or Cambodian!) as I handed him a copy of a English/Cambodian Pocket Dictionary I had found the previous dayin a superb bookshop (full of interesting Eng Lang books on Cambodia).
My last memory of him is that open mouthed look as he held the book, almost reverently, while I walked away. I still don't know who got more pleasure out of it - him or me.
Jul 7, 2012 9:03 AM
Jul 17, 2012 9:25 PM
14"I still don't know who got more pleasure out of it - him or me. "
Both, I would say. :)
Thanks for sharing such a lovely experience. That reminds me, what does it matter if we pay too much for an item as long as it is not hurting us. Must remember that and not worry if I am paying too much as long as it is an amount I am happy to pay.
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