A Fool and His Money . . . and His Banana: Man Loses Life’s Savings To Carny and Gets Over-Sized Banana

mqdefaultHenry Gribbohm is apparently irate. He went to a carnival and played Tubs of Fun hoping to win an Xbox Kinect. The 30-year-old man from New Hampshire continued to play until he had spent his entire life savings, $2,600, in a game that he now claims is rigged. When he complained the next day, he was given $600 back plus an over-sized banana. He was not satisfied and has filed a complaint.

First, I will admit that I have always wondered why the clearly rigged games at carnivals was not a violation of state law. Some games are simply overtly difficult like tossing rings over the top of bottles. That is fine. However, there are many other games which have miscalibrated or altered equipment from shooting games to throwing games. It is the stereotype of the Carny but it can also be fraud if the equipment is intentionally tampered with.

Second, and more importantly, most of us have been clipped by Carnies at one time or another for $5 or $20. However, only a fool would pour almost 3 thousand dollars into a carnival game in the hopes of winning X-Box Kinect that you can buy for $150. In this case, Gribbolm lost $300 in the first few minutes and then ran home and got his life savings to continue to play. He said that the balls kept bouncing out of the tub.

Gribbohm insists “It’s not possible that it wasn’t rigged.” Putting aside the double negative, there still remains that problem of running home to get your life’s savings, but Gribbohm explained “You just get caught up in the whole ‘I’ve got to win my money back.’” Well, not everyone, Henry. We tend to get ripped off and stop short of running for the family’s nest egg to resume the fight with the laughing carny.

Here is the New Hampshire provision on theft by deception, which could be a good fit if there was something wicked in the Tub of Fun:

637:4 Theft By Deception

Last revised 1971 § Leave a Comment

I. A person commits theft if he obtains or exercises control over property of another by deception and with a purpose to deprive him thereof.

II. For the purposes of this section, deception occurs when a person purposely:

(a) Creates or reinforces an impression which is false and which that person does not believe to be true, including false impressions as to law, value, knowledge, opinion, intention or other state of mind. Provided, however, that an intention not to perform a promise, or knowledge that it will not be performed, shall not be inferred from the fact alone that the promise was not performed; or
(b) Fails to correct a false impression which he previously had created or reinforced and which he did not believe to be true, or which he knows to be influencing another to whom he stands in a fiduciary or confidential relationship; or
(c) Prevents another from acquiring information which is pertinent to the disposition of the property involved; or
(d) Fails to disclose a known lien, adverse claim or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of property which he transfers or encumbers in consideration for the property obtained, whether such impediment is or is not valid, or is or is not a matter of official record; or
(e) Misrepresents to or misleads any person, in any manner, so as to make that person believe that the person on whose behalf a solicitation or sales promotion is being conducted is a charitable trust or that the proceeds of such solicitation or sales promotion shall be used for charitable purposes, if such is not the fact.
III. Theft by deception does not occur, however, when there is only falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed. “Puffing” means an exaggerated commendation of wares in communications addressed to the public or to a class or group.

IV. A person commits theft under this section notwithstanding that the victim has suffered no actual or net pecuniary loss.

The alleged rip-off artist works for New Hampshire-based Fiesta Shows. Fiesta is investigating, but the carnival has moved on to Dover while police investigate.

Source: CBS

34 thoughts on “A Fool and His Money . . . and His Banana: Man Loses Life’s Savings To Carny and Gets Over-Sized Banana”

  1. I would bet (haha) that this guy is an inveterate gambler.A gambling addict has no more control over his betting than a drug addict has over his craving for a hit. I feel sorry for the guy, but he needs Gambler’s Anonymolus, not a lawyer. If he wins his money back he will just bet it –and lose it–on something else.
    PS..The fact that this 30 year old man has only $2300 life savings and keeps in cash at his home is a BIG clue…

  2. You gotta love the Arrested Development clip! No touching!
    This idiot, as mentioned earlier, could have saved money by just leaving after losing the first $300 and then buying an Xbox. The banana has more brains than this idiot.

  3. This guy didn’t have his brain in gear. Once the money goes to the carny it doesn’t come back. You give the money away so you can win something of less value than what you gave them to play their game.

    I tend to stay away from casinos but on one vacation, I spent several hours in one. While waiting in line to go in the dining room for dinner, I put some coins in a slot machine. I won. I spent a grand total of $1 of my own money and played for the entire evening, until 1 am. I won several times my “investment” and put it all back, but there aren’t many things you can do for so many hours for just a buck.

  4. No way a guy like this, that throws it around like that, saved up that much money….I have a feeling the wife is gonna blow her stack when she finds out!

  5. A fool and his money are soon separated. What was he playing three card monte?

  6. The fact that gamblers have the highest % of suicide of all addicts was surprising to me.

  7. OS, I’m a gambler. It’s entertainment for me and most Americans. In Europe it’s deadly serious. Little laughter, no tipping, etc. They think they’re going to win big if they’re deadly serious about it. Americans have the correct attitude.

  8. But JT, the CIA is immune … you know the king can do no wrong thingy … besides Karzai, the Iraqis, and the Saudis say good stuff about us sometimes.

    Enjoy the bananna republic bro.

  9. I once made my wife really aggravated with me. When the casinos opened on the Mississippi gulf coast, I took her to one. She had never been to a casino. I handed her a couple of hundred dollar bills to play with. She didn’t know how to play any card games, so made a beeline for the slots. She won enough to keep playing for a long time, so a hundred dollars lasted much of the evening. It got late and we headed back to the hotel on the shuttle bus. Several newly minted gamblers were on the bus and they all talked about how much fun it was.

    I was the wet blanket when I polled the passengers about how much money each had won. They all hit a few jackpots on the slots but kept playing until they lost it all. I suggested that no one ever take more money to the casino than they would be willing to throw into the fireplace and burn.

    What aggravated my wife so much was when she asked me if I had a good time. I allowed that I did indeed have a good time. Told her being in a lab that big with so many lab rats pulling levers for Variable Interval Reinforcement was most interesting.

  10. Jack B. and Gene H.



    “…all he has to show for it is a stuffed banana with dreadlocks.”

    Not just any banana…., but one with dreadlocks. I feel another reality show comin’ on…

  11. Well, if he didn’t lose his money @ the carny he would have just spent it on more tattoos.

  12. JackB, Not w/ Gob always getting free ones. New shows in a few weeks on Netflix! Every character gets a show from their perspective. I’m counting the days.

  13. Jack B.,

    Well done with the “Arrested Development” shout out.

  14. Hey, Henry, you’re now a national laughing stock, perhaps you can cash in on that. Reality show with the giant banana maybe?

  15. Then are games if skill…. Right…. Skilled con artist taking your money….. Psychopaths…. Hey congress and the executive office have a job for you…

  16. The guy is a complete idiot, obviously. He says he was, “caught up in the whole ‘I’ve got to win my money back”, but he had no prospect of doing that!

    At least if your playing poker or Blackjack you’ve got a possibility of doing it (as ill-advised as that is), but here he’d have to win 25-30 of the Xboxes (having to sell them for a discount) to have any chance at getting all his money back. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.

    A moron and his money will soon be parted.

  17. Gambling addiction. He had already lost the amount needed to buy the stupid thing he wanted but decided the answer was to double down.

    Of course the games are rigged. They are rigged in the exact same way employment law is rigged to favor the house while still being legal and hiding the fact that they are rigged. It was a very expensive lesson for him, hope he retains it

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