This story was told to my by my grandmother who is currently ~94years old. That puts the story to have taken place around 1920-1930.

When she was little; living in Hungary, the country was in the process of installing electricity poles to deliver power to suburban houses. A con-man came around to her house and the houses on each street and offered to take a bribe from the residents in the houses to try to "convince" his friend the official to install the poles on their side of the street instead of the other side of the street. The effect would be that connection from their homes to the grid would be cheaper because of the shorter distance between the house and the poles. After the poles were installed, he would come back to the houses which were on the wrong side of the street and give back the money, claiming he couldn't manage to bribe his friend. he was never caught for it. (its not clear if she heard the story, was told it when she was a little girl, or lived it herself)

For all the searching I have done; I seem to find no trace of the story. Perhaps breaking the story down to verifiable premises would help:

  1. What year were electricity poles installed in Hungary (although this story may have been told to her when she was little, I think she said it happened when she was little)?
  2. Are there any known conmen in Hungary at that time?
  3. Has anyone heard of this story before? Is there a record of anything like this? (its not unreasonably possible to have happened as far as I can tell)
  4. Are there searchable newspapers from that time that mention it?

I have spent an hour on google and half an hour on wikipedia trying to find relevant information before I posted the question.

  • 2
    I've heard the story many times, but not this variant. Usually it was taking a bribe for passing an exam. If one did pass, the man said "I made my work", if one didn't, he said "I'm sorry, I couldn't help, take your money back". I think the story you say is just a variant of this cheat, probably the scheme is much older, maybe even dating ancient times. I suggest you remove it from your question as this is not relevant for this group and change the question to ask about installing electricity in Hungary (the first sub-question is ok) – Voitcus Jun 12 '15 at 6:00
  • 2
    This question is clearly no a "Request for trivia or basic historical facts are off-topic if they can be easily answered by looking up the relevant topic on Wikipedia. We're trying to complement common historical references, not duplicate them.". If it were to be closes, it would be for another reason. – Pere Dec 3 '18 at 14:28

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.