Name
The Big Store

Aka
The Dollar Store

Victims
Victims of the long con

Crew
Many - including shopkeepers, croupiers, fake customers, office staff and more.

The Scam
The Big Store, rather then being an actual scam, is a concept con artists use to sell the legitimacy of their scam. Most scams are run in a straight or innocent surroundings. For example, a card cheat may go to an innocent card game with a room full of innocent rubes and try and scam them. Even if he uses an accomplice, the basic fairness of the surrounds is not in question. Whilst this is a simple way to run scam, it does create problems. The con artist is in enemy territory. Whilst he may only have one victim, he has many sets of eyes watching him. Also, he must prove his trustworthiness himself.

With The Big Store, the con artist creates an environment in which to run the scam which is completely under his control. Everyone, except for the victim, is involved in the scam. For example, imagine if the same card cheat rented a room, set up his own poker house and filled it will his shills and peers. He could then freely cheat and scam his victims within a controlled environment. Other people within the room could attest to his honesty. "Hey Barry - you going to try win back that $500 you lost to me that other night?".

This is the essence of the Big Store.

Variations
The Dollar Store: In 1870 monte tosser, Ben Marks set up a cheap 'dollar store' full of cheap merchandise. Once cheapskates and bargain hunters came into the store, he and his shills, would cheat them at three card monte.

Investments: Con artists selling investment scams and pyramid schemes need an office to show that they business has a solid base. Often, these offices are borrowed from legit businesses or rented for short periods of time. This style of big store can be found in the films Grifters and The Spanish Prisoner.

Sports: If the con artist is running the sport (e.g. a boxing match), he can fix the result very easily. If everyone in the room is in on it, he can be sure of success.

Case Study
The film, The Sting, features a fake bookie's agency. Filled with gamblers, a bar, radios and betting windows, the victim of the scam never questioned that he was being set up. The con artists stage a fake raid by the police and the victim runs off without his cash!

Take
The investment required for a Big Store requires a big take. In the Mad Magazine satire of the film The Sting, Robert Redford's character says "Well the good news is we made $500,000. the bad news is that the big store cost us $600,000"

Keywords: Long con

Created by Nicholas J. Johnson
Australia's Honest Con Man
www.conman.com.au