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What to do when muggles show up?


WillRoar
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Generally speaking when muggles show up I say "hi." Then if they appear interested in what I'm doing I say, "It's a beautiful day and I'm geocaching." At which point they'll usually ask what that is. So then I'll explain and say, "Hey lets look for the cache together."

 

Problem solved usually. If they don't linger around I just continue to do what I'm doing. I find the cache and then put it back. I don't sneak around. Most people are oblivious to what is going on around them if they're not paying attention to it.

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If the cache is in hand and the log being signed when a muggle approaches I usually just sit/stand around, play with dog, take some photos, pretend to be looking for something in my bag. Anything that one might normally do when out for a walk and need a break.

 

If approached while searching then I have lost either the dog's ball, or a clip off my bag or something else that is of no value so they don't offer to help look for it.

 

If they actually ask if I am ok or need any help, I just say I am playing a treasure hunting game that was set up for the previous day or weekend and am just going round collecting up all the pots and recording who found it now the event is over.

That way, if they saw me with a pot they will think it is being taken away and forget about it. This avoids any possibility that curiosity will get the better of them next time they are passing.

 

Sometimes you get: "Ah yes, I've seen several people looking for that and wondered what it was" or even "It's not there any more, it used to be in that tree but the last people here couldn't find it" (happened once).

 

On the whole, most people pay little attention unless you are acting oddly. And you will act oddly if you think people are watching you. So just go about your business and mostly you will be ignored.

 

We have a cache in a phone box and a lot of people are uncomfortable going into the box to look for it, thinking everyone is wondering what they are up to. But think about it, you are walking along the street and someone walks up to a phone box and goes in. Do you give it a second thought? Or look at them twice? Or watch what they do when they get in there? No, probably not.

It's only because people know they are going into the phone box not to use the phone that makes them feel self conscious.

Act reasonably naturally and no one will take a blind bit of notice.

 

Having said that I would not return a cache to its hiding place in front of a muggle. I'd walk off with it, wait till they'd gone then return and replace when the coast was clear.

 

Don't think I would ever take one home though, in someone else is following on behind me.

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ok, thanks all.

Advice taken and noted.

I won't be so paranoid next time.

 

The problem was that the cache hiding spot could be seen from the parking lot. It was raining so I took the cache to the car to sign the log and try to stuff another token into it. The muggles ended up parking between me and the hiding spot. So I would have had to intentionally walk past them to re-hide the cache. I waited ten minutes and just couldn't wait any longer.

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ok, thanks all.

Advice taken and noted.

I won't be so paranoid next time.

 

The problem was that the cache hiding spot could be seen from the parking lot. It was raining so I took the cache to the car to sign the log and try to stuff another token into it. The muggles ended up parking between me and the hiding spot. So I would have had to intentionally walk past them to re-hide the cache. I waited ten minutes and just couldn't wait any longer.

Tricky situation. I had a similar one where the cache was on a fire escape of a motel at a motorway service station. Access was via the car park and was in full view of the car park.

Took the cache to the van to sign then an AA breakdown truck pulled in and the driver started having lunch. In full view of the hiding place.

 

So I wandered over to the staircase with my phone glued to my ear pretending to be deep in conversation.

Got to the stairs and leant against them while still 'talking' on the phone.

Casually glanced back at the breakdown truck, spotted when the driver was looking the other way, and popped the cache back. Then sauntered back to the van.

 

I really don't think the man in the truck was paying any attention to me whatsoever. I was just a bloke on a phone, wandering around while talking.

 

Mind you, if it had been raining that would have been more tricky. Wandering around in the rain on the phone is a little more unusual. Time for some improvisation :laughing:

But rarely are people watching you as closely as you think they must be.

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Sometimes all you can do is wait it out. I was caching in a park in the small suburb where I live. I found the cache hidden in a shelter house. I took the cache out of its hiding place and sat down at a picnic table at one end of the shelter house to sign the log. Just then, the entire city council walked up and sat down at a picnic table at the other end of the shelter house to have lunch! Fortunately my daughter was with me and we had brought a basketball, so we played on the nearby court and waited them out. Just as they were packing up to leave, a large Indian family was walking across the street and divided into groups, some of them playing soccer, some basketball on the other half of the court, and some sitting in the shelter house. I don't know how long we waited when all was said and done, but finally everyone left and we had a chance to slip the cache back in place. Whew!

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Sometimes all you can do is wait it out. I was caching in a park in the small suburb where I live. I found the cache hidden in a shelter house. I took the cache out of its hiding place and sat down at a picnic table at one end of the shelter house to sign the log. Just then, the entire city council walked up and sat down at a picnic table at the other end of the shelter house to have lunch! Fortunately my daughter was with me and we had brought a basketball, so we played on the nearby court and waited them out. Just as they were packing up to leave, a large Indian family was walking across the street and divided into groups, some of them playing soccer, some basketball on the other half of the court, and some sitting in the shelter house. I don't know how long we waited when all was said and done, but finally everyone left and we had a chance to slip the cache back in place. Whew!

 

This problem happened to one of our cache hides. The finder couldn't put it back because a group of teens decided to hunker down in the parkette. So the finder took the cache to another one of our nearby hides and left it there. They emailed me. I disabled the cache. I retrieved it the next day and took it back to the hiding spot. (Then enabled the cache). I thought it was a great solution.

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Why not just tell them... it works wonders!

 

"We had to look up the pictures on the "cheat sheet" on google images... And even then we had major trouble. I never thought I would finish it! That was, until the lady that worked at the women's humane society came up to us and asked us what we were doing. I told her the truth... We were geocaching! She said she heard of it before and was really curious about the whole thing. Luckily for us, she knew all her dog breeds. She made a puzzle that would have taken a few more hours of painstaking google searching into a quick 2-4 minute puzzle... Once I got the correct coords I noticed it was a drive, I asked her if she wanted to follow us to the final as it was really close. She said she really didn't have anything else to do! We drove to the correct parking lot after a few dumb moves... (Going into the wrong parking lot.) We walked the path up to the cache, and as she was a lady she didn't come with me to get it. I bushwhacked through all the grass (luckily no poison ivy or thorn bushes). I then found in pretty quickly. I brought it out to show her, I really wanted to souvenir penny as I collect them, so I took it without leaving anything. I feel bad about that, I usually bring my cache trade bag. That's not really how the sport is played : (, I made this a one time exception because of how important souvenir pennies are too me! I gave her the GC code so she could look it up when she got home, and gave told her the name of the website."

 

From a log.

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Thanks all.

 

The Cache has been returned.

One or two people might have seen me put it back, but it was quite obvious that they didn't care or didn't want to know what I was doing.

 

EhFhQ, thanks for the comment, "I pick my nose while staring intensely at them. They normaly leave within a minute." It really made me laugh... knowing it would likely work.

 

I hope this never happens again and if it does I now know how to better deal with it.

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Personally, I always think of what I will say if muggles are approaching when I arrive at GZ. Some places, such as parking lots, I would say, "Oh, my brother dropped his keys here yesterday and he's at work today, so I'm looking for him." If I'm looking around somewhere more remote, I might say, "Oh, I'm getting my master's in horticulture (plant-life) and I'm examining a this such-and-such plant."

 

I've found 103 caches, and I've only been approached by a muggle once, and that was on a DNF cache actually. The woman who owned the bar was wondering why I was poking around her front patio at 11:00 in the morning (well before the bar opened). I think this is when you're most likely to be approached--when you're on a business's property and the owner is unaware of the cache. Anyway, I told her I was Geocaching, because I was a newbie, and didn't have any better excuse. She said, "Why would someone hide one here?" When I told her that it was to attract people to the location, she seemed pleased! :ph34r:

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Make up several stories in advance but make it your goal to conceal your plight. If a muggle is just generally curious and I have my camera - I just say I love to photogragh bugs and something neat flew over here a minute ago.

 

If the cache is out and exposed then consider if the muggle saw you find it, then maybe tell the truth.

 

Evaluate the muggle - friendly folks see you searching may offer to help you and they make great future cachers. They can be discouraged by saying you saw a snake and want a closer look. Maybe not!

 

If the muggle thinks you are up to no good and wants to get in your business - I put my hand in my day pack and stare him down without saying a word.

 

However consider the muggle might be the landowner and has a right to know. In this case be exceedly friendly and answer all questions with welcomeness to know anything, including your id.

 

Here is the deal! While searching look around and see if anyone is watching and consider what a pain it is to have to do that. If someone is watching move away from the cache and look at random, poke at logs and rocks and let them not be surprized that you are looking for an animal, bug or plant. Tell them you are looking for anything of interest and are not doing very well.

 

I avoid the truth and always in a friendly way, if they want to chat I welcome it. Most muggle are great and wonderful people just enjoying the outdoors.

 

I also make it a point not to place a cache where muggles frequent - I want my finders to be free from muggles and all the bother caused by having to be stealthy.

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I pick my nose while staring intensely at them. They normaly leave within a minute.

 

Okay, this made me laugh. In fact, I'm still chuckling over it. :ph34r:

 

We almost always have Jr Puddington with us, so tbh, I spend a lot of time supposedly fussing over him. Either fiddling with his shoes (he's 19 months old) or otherwise chasing him around.

 

The folks saying to just act natural have it right. We've had one situation where the cache was right next to some picnicing muggles, so that took some clever thinking (pushing his pushchair right up to the fencepost it was behind and complaining to my husband that I thought his nappy might need changing or something else mundane that no sane adult could be interested in overhearing) but for the most part, we've been lucky so far.

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I am willing to use take a few pictures if it is in an appropriate area for that, or get out the iphone and use the phone call ruse. But if anybody asks, I tell them what I am doing. As one person told me (after I retrieved a cache placed on a flag pole skirt, surrounded by landscaping, circled by park benches that were always occupied), "people seem less strange when you know what they are doing."

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Highly situational and wholly dependent on the group of heathens you have to contend with.

A mature couple, a set of parents with kids, or perhaps a group of teenage boys looking for trouble?

There is no pat answer.

Sometimes it's OK to just explain what you are doing, sometimes it's best to take the container and bring it back later.

 

In ALL cases where law enforcement personnel are involved, ALWAYS tell the true and complete story. They can tell when you are lying, so don't even try.

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Everything I do is circumstantial...

 

but this also brings up the point, should a cache be hidden in high traffic areas where muggles are around a large percentage of the time? If it is that busy, it should not have been hidden there to begin with.

 

As to the original poster, could have just acted like you are looking for something on the ground as you slowly walked back to replace it.

 

I used the "GPS as a cell phone" trick the other day with one by the local library when a lady was looking at me a little strange standing there looking at my device.... until I made the "call".

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My friend was with me and just showed his Badge. They looked pale and left.

 

He has been doing this a while, me I am a newbie.

 

But I will answer questions, I make no bones and tell them not to disturb the cache. I will avoid young people for the most part unless accompanied by a parent. Kids might go and get the cache.

Edited by easytrekker
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What am I to do when muggles show up before the cache is returned to it’s hiding place? :blink:

 

I kept it with me and I have full intention to return it later today. I feel really bad but I didn't know what else to do. ;)

 

Please advise!

theres a lot of actions you can do as you rehide it and no-ones the wiser.

however if its a screechy lamp post just leave and return it later. people don't usually hang out very long in parking lots.

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I think this is when you're most likely to be approached--when you're on a business's property and the owner is unaware of the cache.

Then the hider fails at getting permission.

A on the patio hide i would think would need more explicit permission than a LPC would on the lot.

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In ALL cases where law enforcement personnel are involved, ALWAYS tell the true and complete story. They can tell when you are lying, so don't even try.

And in some cases that doesn't stop you from going to jail.

that happened to me where the city bought some property where a cache was hidden prior with permission.

it was a high crime zero tolerance spot. I got out free and clear after explaining the situation to the judge.

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I usaly go caching with the baby or friends, so we just stop and talk. No one wonders why i stop anywhere to talk to the baby, mothers do that.

 

If i'm on my own i usally just say "have you seen a (pet) ferret?" i don't like to lie to people, i think i have plenty of tells, so i prefer that one. And also that allows me to look around a bit without looking suspicious. And when i "give up" it is not so strange eigther.

 

But i DO get some strange looks when i go out buying little zip-lock bags for putting in containers. I think the asume i'm into drugs. Someone even told my friend that they didn't sell "drug bags"...

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