March 11th, 2007

savvy?

Ponzi

At a pleasant birthday party in the park yesterday, one of the attendees chirped that he had started his own business when asked what he was up to. Naturally, his friends asked him what sort of business it was, etc.

He then proceeded to lay out what was clearly a pyramid scheme. So clearly that everyone present said, "Isn't that a pyramid scheme?" (Or something to that affect.) He affected ignorance of what such a thing was, even while spouting classic talking-points of the Ponzi scammers. "I don't know what a pyramid scheme is? What is that? Is that like, when you make money for your boss? Don't you make money for your boss?"

A basic rule of thumb; if someone can't describe in one simple, declarative sentence what it is they do for a living and what they're trying to sell - it's probably a pyramid scheme. "I sell legal insurance" is a job. "I'm in a nework marketing opportunity that's publically traded, that brokers legal insurance for agents, but what I do is inform people about the network and how they can get involved." is a pyramid scheme.

Because I didn't know the people there well, and because I won't argue with anyone, I kept my mouth shut - but it ticked me off. How is it that otherwise reasonable people can get sucked so thoroughly into these schemes? And listening to them rattle off what are clearly canned responses is disturbing - what brainwashing techniques teaches people to recite catechism like that so exactly... but they can't manage to say, pay rent on time?

I swallowed my irritation. But his prior propensity for squealing in baby-talk and constantly referring to himself in every sentence went from peculiar to grating. Freakin' scammers.
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