I’ve heard multiple times that “You can’t con an honest man”, usually from people realizing that some confidence tricks work based on the dishonesty of the pigeon. However, I also got through watching Paper Moon this afternoon, which is all about a short con based on the pigeon being honest enough to pay for a bible someone else had purchased. There are multiple short cons like that I can think of (depending on what you think of as a ‘con’*) so I’ve never really understood where the saying is coming from. Was it in a movie or a novel? How does it survive in the face of so many honest pigeons being taken?
*(Is a homeless person begging for ‘gas money’ running a short con? Certainly someone selling ‘magazine subscriptions’ is. The people who play tricks with change are as well, but I don’t know how common that ever was. The people who fill transmissions with sawdust are as well.)