Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dodging the Slammer

Odd Encounter of the Week: Internet Marketing (Scam?) Recruiter

I was in Target late last week looking to buy a manual canopener for the apartment. They were all pushing $10.00, so I continued up and down the wall, hoping to find one closer to, say, $1.00. A balding, mid-50's gentleman standing next to me all of a sudden asks what exotic contraption I am looking for and not finding.

I tell him a $1.00 canopener.

Ed is looking for an ice crusher. He likes crushed ice.

Before long our conversation went from non-electric appliances to the Carolina Panthers to Ed's internet marketing business. He tells me what he does but doesn't really tell me what he does. I need to come to a "workshop" that night to find out more, but I have dinner plans. Alas! Opportunity missed.

The next day my cellie blows up with an unknown, Charlotte-area number. Maybe a callback on a job interview! Nope. Well, kinda. It's Ed. Wants to have coffee Tuesday afternoon to talk more about his "business concept". At this point, I have no job, no one to hang out with, and no gall to outright reject the offer. I accept.

So yesterday, I met Ed for coffee, and he walked me through his business concept, again without ever really telling me what it is he does. The company sells no prodcut, and the word "pyramid" came up once. I don't know much about business, but these seemed like red flags. In this context, usually the adjective "illegal" is placed in front of the noun "pyramid."

Ready to run, I told him that money really wouldn't motivate me enough to put in 5-15 more hours a week. He tells me that 10 out of 10 people want more money. I think this was his way of calling me a liar. Regardless, he eventually reads that he's barking up the wrong tree and ends our conversation.

It was fascinating listening to him though. "Get rich quick" people are a segment of the population about whom I know very little, as I'm too intimidated by their mind games to approach them. I did learn a lot about him and what his values were, and I did it while not entering into a business deal which potentially could have landed me in prison.

The biggest lesson I learned though: When trying to sell someone on your ideas, at least buy their coffee.


Jenn Pappa said...

ok I think these people stalk out Target cause I have a friend who had this same experience (without as much insight into the morality of working for money alone). They are using Target to find easy targets! hooligans!

Em the luddite said...

I find this very interesting in the light of the "Dream Realized" post on 9/14. It's sorta like a really good novel, in a sense: you have the theory, the rubber meets the road, and then it's put to the test (maybe not really since you can assume this kinda thing is a scam, but certainly it would be if you didn't know that). Your theory promotes a poor life if it involves doing something you enjoy; you get the job, take a deep breath, and move forward despite your hesitation about actually being poor; and then someone comes at you with a suggestion to get richer and compromise your standards. You passed the first test. Way to go.

Ben said...

I can so easily see the whole targeting Target customers thing. I mean, honestly, an ice crusher? I've never heard of a hand-held ice crusher. It should've sounded fishy from the start.

Em, I think the scam and/or potential incarceration probably had more to do with me hesitating than moral integrity. So maybe the first test hasn't come yet.

Ah what the heck, for the sake of the story, I'll take my A+.

Tammy O said...

A hand-held ice crusher? For me, that would be a bag of ice and a soup can. Although, if I were really in dire straits, I would just bang the bag of ice on the counter.
You have quite the knack for attracting characters, it would seem. Maybe you looked "shady" ;o)

Em the luddite said...

Sometimes we gotta take what we can get in the victory department; if a teacher was gonna give you an A on the test for getting your name right on the top of the page, you'd hardly protest, would you? Next time may not be so easy!

One way or another, I'm glad you'll surrender the point for the sake of the story... spoken like a true English major!