We found him! He really exists!

July 24, 2009

You’re not going to believe this. The guy in the photo below, according to our caption, is a snake oil salesman.

That’s right. The very phrase synonymous with hooey, bunkum, hogwash, and still he’s making a living at it in Myanmar. Don’t they have thesauruses over there?

I personally like to imagine that he even has business cards saying, like, “Lonnie Johnson, Snake Oil Salesman Extraordinaire!”

Joey, our snakes have been squeaky lately. Run up the street to Lonnie’s blanket and buy a worthless preparation, please.”

“Oh Ma, isn’t there someplace else we can get a quack remedy?”

“No young man, Lonnie has the best worthless preparations in all Yangon. That’s why he has his own blanket!”

“Okay, Ma. Can I get some magic beans, too?”

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A man displays snakes while selling snake oil street-side in Yangon July 22, 2009. The oil is used as traditional medicine to treat pain. REUTERS/ Soe Zeya Tun

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We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Kewl, Reuter’s snake oil guys have sold the little CAPTCHA box. In my case it was ikea.Well done!

Bob, I think the snake oil people are exploiting weaknesses in your spam filter . . .

Posted by Aaron | Report as abusive

What spam filter?

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

Quick someone make a snappy comment about the spam filter being snake oil.

Posted by Warll | Report as abusive

«The very phrase synonymous with hooey, bunkum, hogwash, and still he’s making a living at it in Myanmar. Don’t they have thesauruses over there?»English is not a superior language to wich all other language should refer too. Not many English idioms are universal.The photo indicates snake oil salesman because the guy litterally sells snake oil. It’s as simple as that.

Snake oil is a Chinese folk remedy (which Western medicine would say doesn’t work, I’m sure), and the term got its meaning about fraudulence because people were selling other oils calling them snake oil. So I’d say it’s not too surprising that there are people in the Eastern world selling snake oil, and judging by those snakes I can even believe it’s actual snake oil.

Posted by Zith | Report as abusive

But, is there a web link where we can buy some? Does this guy have a Yahoo! Storefront or something?

I AM JUST CURIOUS & TOO LAZY TO LOOK IT UP.Have heard teh phraise = “Snake Oil Salesman”.However – as i viewed the pic of the guy with the snakes and the big glass jug – My thought was =”What is Snake Oil?” – Obviously – It comes from SnakesBut – How – What – When – Where ?as i began – Just curious – I leaveOR – i thought – if snakes give no OIL – especially enough to fill a very large glass container – is snake oil just a term for “DOES NOT EXIST” ? AKA – Let’s go snipe hunting !

Posted by ted | Report as abusive

When my sister was backpacking through Burma/Thailand/Vietnam she often came across snakes/scorpions preserved in whiskey in demijohns much like the one in your picture. The locals claimed it added an extra “kick”.Could the guy pictured above possibly be selling snake favored whiskey and not snake oil?Here’s one on Youtube: Bottle of Laos Snake Whiskeyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8B zqFOkCPRA

Posted by Ausmith1 | Report as abusive

Congratulations!@GoingLikeSixty you wouldn’t believe it, my CAPTCHA is ikea too!

It’s thesauri.

Posted by Oxymoronic | Report as abusive