There are lots of things people believe which I cannot make myself believe. I only rarely try to make people unbelieve. Religion, for example I don’t mess with usually because it’s important to so many people, and just like proselytizing, anti-proselytizing makes you seem like a jerk. It would get way too exhausting.
On the other hand, there are times when I try really hard to convince someone of my point of view, when I cannot do so. I had one of those this week when my tenant called me out of the blue. She and her husband are darlings. I love having them for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they always pay the rent early and she always includes a hand written letter with the check. These letters are pleasant and informative, if a bit weird. She tells me about the wildlife they’ve seen this month, neighborhood activities and how their life is going in general. They’re usually about a page or two long, and generously sprinkled with happy-faces, hearts and exclamation points.
Honey (not too far from her actual name) called just to let me know about a program she and her husband had gotten involved in. The description was a bit fuzzy to me, but I never claimed to be a genius. She talked about paying 300 dollars to buy into the program, and that if she sells 3 memberships, she’ll make her money back. Everything after the first three is pure profit. I said I didn’t understand what she would be selling memberships in, was it a discount club? Was it an investment club? She said she didn’t understand exactly how it worked, but she was going to a meeting where they would explain it all to her.
From the get-go it sounded like a pyramid scheme, aka a multi-level marketing scheme, aka a Ponzi scheme… It sounded to me like a text-book scam. I told her this. She laughed and said she still had a number of questions about it and she’d be checking it all out. While I was talking with her, I plugged the name she gave me into google. It popped up with lots and lots of hits. 33 thousand hits. A fair number of them were alerts from people saying the company was a scam.
Didn’t sound like a good deal to me. I like Honey, so I told her I had done a quick google search on(XXXX) (the company she was joining), and it didn’t look reputable. She was a little taken aback, but soldiered on, talking about how nice the people were, how they went out of their way to help her out, although they wouldn’t get any proffit from her. I asked her the key question one needs to ask in a situation like this, “Honey, is there anything I could tell you that would convince you this wasn’t a good idea? ” Her heart was already set on this path. I could tell. I should have let it go.
I got off the phone, promising to look into it further, and extracting from her a promise that she would as well. Why did I do that? I was only going to be convinced I was right, and she was only going to be convinced that she was right.
Tomorow, I will tell more of what I found, if you’re interested.