It all started when I left work one day...
I was leaving work, and I always cut through the Brewer Hannaford parking lot to make my way over to the 395 on-ramp. When I was getting ready to cut through, I could hear someone absolutely killing it on an electric cello. I noticed a woman over in the corner of the lot with a baby carriage, a little speaker setup, and a sign.
The sign said something to the effect of having trouble making ends meet, and any bit of money could help. No big deal... people have been busking on street corners for money for centuries. I did think it was a bit odd that she had a pretty elaborate karaoke style PA to crank her electric cello through, though.
Then it all took a bizarre turn.
When I got home from work, just a couple hours later, a coworker that lives in Hampden, said there was a man playing violin in the Hannaford parking lot there. At first, I was like... Wow... that's crazy! I told her about the woman I saw at the Hannaford in Brewer. And then Facebook had an additional surprise...
A friend on Facebook posted a video of a man playing a fancy electric cello through a small PA, just like the girl in Brewer, but in another area altogether. That's when I got a wee bit suspicious. So, I did some internet sleuthing, and on Reddit, people were saying this was happening last week in southern Maine at various Hannaford's and at Whole Foods.
This could all quite possibly be scammers.
In the video of the guy from Ellsworth, he didn't even look like he was really playing when I looked closer. In that same Reddit thread, someone posted a link to a YouTube video, showing how people were using this scam all over the country. It's just probably finally getting going around here.
It's not like they're scamming you out of a ton of money, and they probably actually do need money. Who doesn't? But let's face it, they're quite possibly pulling on your heart strings a lot harder than they're pulling on their violin strings. I mean, you get to hear a beautiful song for some pocket change. It's not the worst thing that'll happen to you.