Telling someone that you’ve just moved to Los Angeles can potentially open the doors to a great conversation. You may receive some valuable recommendations on things to do your first few weeks in town or may unexpectedly share the love for your home city’s football team.
There are, however, a handful of people who you should avoid telling that you’re new to LA at all costs to avoid any potential problems. Be cautious when or if you tell these five people that you’re new to Los Angeles, they just may try to take advantage of your friendliness and lack of knowledge of your new home.
1. Potential Landlords
Obviously the person you choose to rent from will eventually learn where you’re from when they request a reference from your previous landlord or ask out of curiosity where you’re moving from.
While there is certainly no reason to lie to landlords why you’re looking for a place, starting the conversation off with the fact that you are new to Los Angeles may provide you with a lot of exaggerated or untruthful information. Your lack of knowledge of the city will land you a sure statement from landlords backed by a lot of B.S. that their property is in one of the best neighborhoods, regardless of where you actually may be.
And although it’s not common with people who rent entire complexes, landlords who own scattered properties or are renting out a single room in a home will jack up the price for everything they possibly can if you let them know early on that you need a place quickly due to your recent move or you show eagerness right away.
2. Hollywood Tour Guides
As a neighborhood, Hollywood is not as exciting as I had originally expected it to be, but I still find myself wandering through every now and again. Probably the most aggravating thing in Hollywood is being approached by the tour guides who just don’t take no for an answer. Typically they wear blue shirts so they’re easy to spot. These guys will do anything to get anyone on that tour, but tell them that you’re new to Los Angeles and it’s game over. They’ll follow you for a little while, telling you they’ll knock the price down since you should see the sights of your new home. In the case of tour guides…. just don’t even make eye contact.
3. Herbalife Zombies
Herbalife is a Los Angeles-based multi-level marketing ploy that sells weight loss shakes. If you have never heard of them, consider yourself lucky, because that means that you haven’t been approached by their zombies. Yet. (Remember, it’s still early for you.) I once met a girl who asked me to go to a community workout with her, and it ended up being a recruitment event for Herbalife.
They looked at me like I was the first cheeseburger they’ve seen since beginning their protein shake diets when I told them I had just moved to Los Angeles. I could literally see their mouths watering and the dollar signs in their eyes as they realized I could be a major commission-making level beneath them to tap into with friends and family from across the country. I had signed into the event with my phone number (big mistake) and was nagged by them for weeks.
4. Cab Drivers
Going to a bar one night, I used a ride-sharing app to take a car from Torrance to Hermosa Beach with a friend who was visiting for the night from home. I disregarded the weekend surge pricing since I figured the five miles or so wouldn’t be too bad to pay.
The driver was super friendly and we were in conversation about Pittsburgh since he saw the Steelers lanyard on my apartment keys. But as soon as I told him I had just moved from there last month, he turned off the main street for the remainder of the drive saying that he was going to cut through all the traffic with a shortcut he knew. By the time we wound up at the bar, suddenly the 5 miles had turned into 9, and I owed $40. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
5. Agents or Recruiters
This is mainly for the people who come to Los Angeles in search of a job in the entertainment or creative industries, but really anyone looking for a job may run into this issue. Bigger agents or recruiters or firms that manage talent scouting won’t pose a problem, but unless you really know who you’re talking to, you could potentially set yourself up to be scammed if you give them wind that you’re new to Los Angeles and don’t know many people in the industry here. They will talk a big game about getting you through the doors where you want to be, but their “expertise” and “efforts” will cost you a fee, which you should always be wary of.