We’ve all had the experience of seeing someone begin to participate in network marketing. Whether they were selling soap products, essential oils, bulk groceries, or 3.5″ mortar bombs, we appeared on their prospects list because we were friends or relations. In most cases it then became a race to see which folded fastest – the network marketing scheme or the friendship. In special cases the relationship to the in-laws could also be scrapped.
Was this necessary? did it have to be? Could it have been avoided? Would you like to try these essential oil soaps that come in 48-case lots? No?
I think it is time to step away from this model of seizing upon our friends and relations as sitting ducks for the benefit of shadowy pyramid schemes ( and that is really all they ever are in the end, after the denials and flapdoodle have evaporated…) and reverse the pitch. It is time that we annoyed the get-rich-quick confidence tricksters by turning our friends and rellies onto them.
Here’s basically how it works:
- You make up a list of your relatives and fiends ( I meant friends…) – from close family on out to second cousins. Do not neglect the odder ones – the creepy uncle who makes you uneasy at Christmas – the aunt who screeches – the sister who says she is a vegan but smells like sausage. Marshall all your resources and make the paper list a long, thin one.
- Get accurate email and postal addresses for each of them. Telephone numbers as well, and particularly mobile phone numbers. Put this on a separate long, thin paper list.
- Place the two lists side by side with the appropriate information for each person beside their name.
- Now slip the right-hand list down one division. each person now has false details next to them. False, but not terribly far from the truth. Photo copy this document and label it ” List A “.
- Now free up the right -hand list and slip it up one division. Photo copy this as ” List B “.
You are now armed with two lists of nearly-right information that differ in two directions.
At this point you select the group marketing scheme, pyramid, social network, or whatever they are calling themselves and settle into a good long session of sending them List A as prospects for inclusion in their next round of scamming. You’ll be supplying addresses and round-the-clock contact information that will certainly connect, but to the wrong person. However, the person who is subject to this bombardment of California sales hype and new York bullshit at that address or telephone number will stand a very good chance of knowing the person who the scammer thinks they are addressing. They will recognise the name of their cousin or friend or workmate.
And they will be madder than hell – ringing up the supposed dobber and giving them the serve of their life. However, in the meantime, this second contact will have been receiving the same commercial bombardment in yet a third name.
At this point – about two weeks after the initial plant, you take List B and send it to the scammers via another salesperson. Don’t be worried about finding one – the schemes have multiple teams that will target an area before the heat is on. This salesperson will do the entire exercise again, but with a different set of nearly-right contacts. Everyone gets pestered again but supposedly by a different relative or friend.
You will have achieved three very good things:
a. You will have annoyed your entire circle of acquaintance for a month without having to spend money on petrol or buy them meals.
b. You will have wasted the time of the scam merchants for a month. Often this is long enough for them to clap their carpet bag closed and get on the steamboat.
c. You will have sensitised your circle of acquaintance to the dangers of this sort of personal affront. They will not fall foul of it in the future. You will never be pestered to buy diet supplements, soap, or time-share holidays in Queensland.