80s Oxford Street Scam Shops

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by paolo, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    Anyone remember these?

    A bunch of guys (it was always guys) behind a big counter, whipping up a crowd with ‘amazing bargains’. Some kind of bidding thing went on, then the goods were handed over in opaque bags.

    I remember watching as a kid, knowing it was a scam, but not quite figuring out the whole setup.

    Would love to know the deeper story.
  2. dessiato

    dessiato Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono

    Basically there'd be a couple of plants in the crowd. These would get the boxes/bags what have you that had the good stuff in. They'd open it up and show what they'd got. This would fire up the crowd who'd start buying the rest of the stuff. After they'd find they'd got rubbish.

    It was country wide.
  3. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    There was a payday loan shop closed in Dalston recently where people like this opened up a scam shop. Was past it this morning, someone giving it the large about how he'd give this auld dear a discount, he wouldn't do it for anyone else, the auld 80s patter oozing out of him like grease from a doner
    mod and pinkmonkey like this.
  4. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member


    I wonder how it got shut down? Trading Standard officers?
  5. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    They were around well into the 2000s, but they didn't survive Crossrail.
    DietCokeGirl likes this.
  6. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    Blimey. I really thought it was a flash in a pan thing.
  7. dessiato

    dessiato Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono

    I expect so. There was a lot of negative publicity about them operating in Oxford Street.
  8. MrSki

    MrSki Who am I to say you're wrong

    Used to be a £20 fine in the magistrates court but I think they got a bit tougher as it moved into the new millenium. Not sure which laws changed though. A mate used to work it in the 80s
  9. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Yeah, I remember them happening for quite a long time. With increasing property prices and landlords kicking people out I just don't think it was economical any more. There are way fewer tat shops generally on Oxford Street now, let alone ones which run scams.
    Fozzie Bear likes this.
  10. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    There were one off items that were desirable - videos and Walkmans. These would get bought by the shills. Then there be a big build up for buying a whole bag of different remaindered crap for £20.
  11. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    I got done in one of these when I was about fourteen or fifteen and payed twenty pounds for a clock radio :facepalm: It did last a very long time and was quite good as clock radios go but I didn't want one and it wasn't really worth twenty quid.
    marty21 and Ax^ like this.
  12. DietCokeGirl

    DietCokeGirl All lost in the supermarket

    It always amazes me there used to be enough gullible people who weren't aware of the scam to keep them in going - their main customers must have been tourists, I guess? Still occasionally see one pop up in Croydon.
    Spymaster likes this.
  13. DietCokeGirl

    DietCokeGirl All lost in the supermarket

    I always assumed they squatted empty shops until they got thrown out.
  14. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    Some people can't overcome their greed.
  15. Mumbles274

    Mumbles274 running from law and the press and the parents

    Used to love watching them at the local market when I was a kid. Im assuming it's the same sort of thing. Big lorry open at the side. Geezer with a mic and a sheepskin coat.. Building up the 'package', a bit of a veg cutting demo, cheap electricals, a set of spanners...He's not asking 50 pand, not even 40 pand, not 30, not 20... Yours for a tenna!

    Lots of coordinated throwing and catching as the goods go out.. Tenners held aloft blowing in the breeze :D
  16. I remember one of these at Scarborough on the promenade. A nice eye catching ghetto blaster or two atop a pile of goodies but mostly tatty blank cassettes being sold by the Delboy waxing lyrical over the mic.
    Spymaster and pinkmonkey like this.
  17. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Yup - went on for years, well into the 2000s. Spreading out to the rest of the country after the major cities got wise to them.

    Short let on an empty shop and permission for an 'Ad-hoc' sale room. Then they would be gone with full pockets before trading standards got their act together and shut them down.

    Last one I remember seeing was in Lincolnshire somewhere in 2010/11.
  18. Ax^

    Ax^ Silly Rabbit

    Happen to me as a kid in black Bush market
    For a tenner you got a mystery item after see all sort of high end crap being passed out

    End up with the alarm clock and my da telling me well don't be so fucking stupid with your money

    Could of told me that before I spent the tenner but that was my da view on a life lesson

    Celyn and maomao like this.
  19. souljacker

    souljacker A bit of skullduggery

    That was more your Delboy sort of thing. Not so much a scam, more like selling iffy goods. You would get what you'd asked for albeit not necessarily working properly.
    Mumbles274 and dessiato like this.
  20. pinkmonkey

    pinkmonkey 2.4 hour party person

    I used to go raving with a girl whose husband ran the counterfeit perfume racket on Oxford street. She was a proper gangsters moll and always seemed to have lots and lots of cash on her. You could earn money as a shill, pretending to buy the perfume - it would then draw a crowd of punters who would stump up and buy the crap.

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    I made a TV show once where we analyzed some of that perfume, it all pretty much had piss in it. The piss somehow does the job of some other expensive ingredient.
  22. crossthebreeze

    crossthebreeze Well-Known Member

    used to love blackbush! I never got scammed at the mystery bag stalls, but used to watch them, and the del boy stalls. Mostly used to spend my money on the counterfeit sportswear/fashion stalls - and then used to meet up with my family at the end for the fruit and veg & meat auctions!
  23. souljacker

    souljacker A bit of skullduggery

    It was also ace for pirated games. Used to get loads of Spectrum and Amiga games from Blackbushe.
    Ax^ and crossthebreeze like this.
  24. isvicthere?

    isvicthere? a.k.a. floppybollocks

    Sham 69 did a song about them: 'Rip off'.

    "It's just a fake/Make no mistake!"

    (Would link to YouTube, but on phone).
    pogofish and pinkmonkey like this.
  25. pinkmonkey

    pinkmonkey 2.4 hour party person

    Awesome, I wonder whose piss it was, hers? his? someone elses?
    crossthebreeze likes this.
  26. pinkmonkey

    pinkmonkey 2.4 hour party person

    I remember those, my mother used to love them. She didn't dare buy anything, she just loved the drama.
  27. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen Sparkly cat whisperer

    I remember the scam shops on Ox Street from when I was a teenager in the 90s. My friend wanted to buy something I think it was a walkman or radio or something. Anyway she wouldn't listen when I told her it was blatantly a scam :rolleyes: shit didn't not work :facepalm: :thumbs:
  28. isvicthere?

    isvicthere? a.k.a. floppybollocks

    My earliest independent visits to London were in the late '70s and I clearly remember Oxford Street for these chancers and also the protein man.

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    They still pop up in Croydon, I saw one or two just before Christmas. I find them fascinating. As Thimble Queen mentioned, they are a blatant scam, and even if you couldn't see that, word must have gotten around by now.
  30. mod

    mod A modernist

    Yeah I remember them. Always found them entertaining and use to be amazed people fell for it.

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