I’ve just read a news article that is even more unbelievable than most. At least is is unbelievable in America and Australia. It seems that in Turkey some police dressed up as doctors, in white coats and and stethoscopes, and went knocking on people’s doors, telling the residents they were screening for high blood pressure. They even handed out pills (which were actually harmless placebos, of course) to the residents. The aim of the ‘exercise’ was to see how easily people would fall for a confidence scam. Would you believe…in 86% of the houses visited residents swallowed the pills immediately! The police returned to the houses later to warn residents to not be so gullible. It seems there had been a local gang who had used the same ploy to give the residents a heavy sedative so they could return later to burgle the house.
Full marks to the Turkish police–and the burglars!– for their ingenuity, but can you imagine something like that happening in America? Or Australia, for that matter. No one would believe for a moment that a doctor would be making a house call in the first place, and no one would believe they were being offered free medicine.
In an even more bizarre project to test the people’s gullibility, Turkish police in another region knocked on doors and announced through the intercom, “I am a burglar. Please open the door.” Police were stunned by the number of people who opened the door. In America no one would open the door–they would just open fire.
I don’t know whether I’m more charmed by the naivety of the citizens, or impressed by the dedication of the police. It all sounds pretty stupid from where we sit, but perhaps that’s our loss… MM