As the economy continues to slowly tank, I suppose quirky business scams will be on the upswing.
Here are a few guidelines that I use for evaluating those business "opportunities", not that evaluation is even needed if you're a thinking person:
- the use of lots of testimonials is a bad sign.
- if you go to a group meeting to get introduced to a fabulous "opportunity", don't take a checkbook or any credit cards. Leave them at home! Anyone can be seduced if the meeting is done well, and being in a crowd of "opportunity seekers" can get you mentally drunk and cloud your judgement.
- don't pay to play. Paying a princely sum to make money is a bad sign.
- if there really was money to be made, the company or person offering you the "opportunity" would be doing it themselves and not trying to get you in on it.
With that said, I still find the psychological aspects of a MLM (multi-level marketing) pitch fascinating.
Some things, however, have happened, most not directly to me, fortunately.
A friend of mine with a known weakness for these things informed me that he was signed up to go to an informational meeting for a business opportunity. A flyer for this probable pack-of-lies meeting had even appeared on my own front door the week prior. I tried to prohibit him from going, which I really couldn't do. I made him swear that he would not take a checkbook, credit card, debit card, or more than a few dollars cash with him. I remember myself yelling "don't you sign anything" into the telephone at him. I never saw him again! Just kidding. He got out of it alive and is doing OK.
Years ago I was perusing the Linux section at a Borders bookstore when a sweet, handsome, geeky guy started chatting with me. I knew right then something was too good to be true. Even so, I gave him my phone number in the vain hope that it was real. He called a few days later and wanted me to meet him at the bookstore again to talk about something. I went just to see the cute geek again, and as I suspected, it was not for real. It was a damned MLM "opportunity." In hindsight, there were many warning signs: sweet, handsome, geeky, liked Linux, and willing to talk to me. I should have known.
The next two examples involve a company I don't want to name (H****life). These "opportunities" can be cult like, and I don't want to come under attack.
Brian and I were eating out in Cancun, Mexico, one night, and next to us was a party of about 25. They were all sporting lots of swag with the aforementioned company name on it. I thought to myself, "oh no, not Mexico, too." All the members of the party looked dour and nobody was talking. I assume the dinner was to cap off an evening with the overly energetic presenter. I think everyone knew that they had been had. I just hope they didn't part with the money.
A myopera friend from Vietnam called me at 5 o'clock one morning (time zone difficulties). He was at a meeting for a business "opportunity" for what he thought was an American company, and he wanted to know if I knew anything about it. I asked the name, and it was the aforementioned one again. I thought, "oh no, not Vietnam, too." I told him that this company's reputation was so shot in the USA that it was now crawling the planet to lure people in. He thanked me for the input and said he suspected as much. Whew! He can just drop a saved-your-ass-on-this-one fee in the mail to me later. He's sweet, and I was glad to help.
Maybe I should go into MLM consulting and offer opportunities to others to get in on it with me. :devil: