Nutwork Marketing

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  Place the two lists side by side with the appropriate information for each person beside their name.
  4. 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 “.
  5. 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.

 

The Birthday Howitzer

Or the art of dropping on people at short notice.

It is an art. A black art, mind, but notable nevertheless. In Australia it’s been been refined into folklore. The ” Sundowner ” was an itinerant who turned up at stations looking for work just at sundown…when hospitality would not be refused but no actual work could be done. The nearest modern equivalent is the person who calls at tea-time, sees you trying to prepare the meal, but will not go away. They stay until you give way and invite them to a meal.

Then they complain about the cooking…

The Birthday Howitzer is somewhat similar except it is fired when there is a family celebration in the offing. The gunner arrives at the start of the family party with a gift…and therefore cannot be refused entry. The gift can be as tawdry or cheap as you like – the $ 2 or Reject Shop is a good place to stock up. The wrapping can be terrible. It need not be appropriate in any way for the recipient. It can even be horribly offensive – the salient point is that it is a present, and thus a key to all the food and drink on offer. A good Birthday Gunner can consume half their weight in barbeque and beer before the cake comes out. If there are take-away lollie bags for the kids, several of them can be snaffled as well.

A very special variant of the BH is the hospital visitor that brings in a magazine that they got out of the waiting room but stays to share morning tea and lunch and then departs with the patient’s fruit bowl.

You must excuse me -I’m feeling a bit peckish and I heard the rustle of a crisp packet opening…

Forging And Uttering

I have a friend who forges many things. And unlike the ordinary common trickster, he uses an actual forge. I think that this should attract a stronger penalty in the law – after all he is using up bottled gas and charcoal and other valuable resources to do this forging. Also making a great deal of noise.

I also know other friends who utter things. In some cases they utter them all day long, and would probably be capable of doing so under wet cement. I cannot understand why they are not taken up by the police and jailed.

For myself, the only false document that I have ever seen resulted in beer. Coors beer, as it happened, and that would probably be considered a crime in itself – at least against the taste buds.

I have gone undetected and unpunished until now. I have no need of suspect documents to buy beer at the local Liquor Barons shop as the man there knows me. He would probably peer suspiciously if I bought expensive things, but as long as he is prepared to sell vin ordinaire for $ 5 a bottle I am safe. Connoisseurs and foreigners may quail at $ 5 plonk but Australian vineyards are not that bad.

This whole topic has arisen with news reports that a number of the members of the British Royal family may not be all they seem. There is a suspicion that at least one of them has been substituted for Paul McCartney and that many of the pound notes that Her Majesty has been passing down the local Tesco’s have been hand-drawn selfies…

Blaming The Blamer

Or ” Polishing The Mirror of Introspection “. Polishing it to such a lustre that it will provide light where the sun don’t shine…

Has someone blamed you for something? Were you guilty of whatever they complained about? Are you ashamed? Or are you secretly proud of shelling that orphanage or running the 3-card monte game at choir practice? You would do well to ask yourself whether you should hang your head in shame or go looking for a rope and someone else’s head.

If the former, do your best. Sackcloth and ashes are not commonly seen these days, and you may not get the forgiveness you expect if you come into the lounge room or studio trailing bits. Likewise wailing and beating your breast may be mis-interpreted. Certainly beating anyone else’s breast will…

Take your cue from the American television evangelist who was caught red-handed  and dissolve into a flood of tears and self-flagellation. Fall to your knees and implore forgiveness – just remember to do it towards camera and in decent lighting. A down spot from heaven is a good choice for this, gradually growing brighter. Offer complete restitution but leave the country before the banks open. Remember that thoughts and prayers are extremely cheap…as, frequently, are those who offer them.

On the other hand, if you’d like to mount a spirited defence, there is no better target than your accuser. No-one is free of flaws, and if you can get a little prior notice you can work up a good list of them to throw back. And throw a lot – mud will eventually stick to any wall. Sex, money, politics, religion, war service, and questionable associates are the good traditional topics. Do not reject the small things you find – with a good spin they can be worked up into deadly weapons. Nowadays an opponent need not fail in a complete manner – even a bad sound-bite can tip the balance.

And you know which end the sound will bite…

Licensed Merchandise

A recent post by a friend showed a find of some figurines in the local warehouse store set me wondering about licensing of things – particularly as it applies to merchandise offered for sale.

We see it very day and everywhere – Each time I purchase a die cast model car ( not so often these days  with the contraction of the hobby ) I look to see if it is licensed from some large motor corporation. Often it is, and you can trace the ownership changes in the car making industry by the successive names on the toy-car packet. Interesting to see that they all still want their stack of pennies when the toy is sold in the shop…even when the design for the car is older than I am.

It’ll be the same with anything that has ever been a motion picture from any studio. The lawyers and brokers have been trading the rights to whatever was made long after the actors, directors, cameramen, and wardrobe makers are dead and gone. If a product is made to be recognisable from the 1934 production of ” Kansas City Sewage Farm Follies ” you can bet that someone is claiming ownership of it and wants their cut.

For model makers who build scale replicas of old battleships, trains, and planes, I wonder if they are being asked to provide money to the firms that made the original weapons. Do Krupp get so many Reichsmarks from the 1:35 plastic model of the howitzer? Or is it too late to demand it?

I am going to have to start looking at the things I design – these posts for instance, or the photos I take. or the scraps of Foamcore board, balsa, and plastic that I pour into the bin every week. Surely they can be licensed and someone, somewhere has to pay and pay…

You pay, You pay.

I love you long time.

 

Whitening A Reputation

No character is so bad that it cannot be made worse – and frequently this can be accomplished by praising the person in the hearing of others.

Really awful individuals know themselves to be so. They may start out thinking about justification for their sins but eventually have to admit to themselves that they are rotten. Then they either reform and become moral monitors for the community or become proud and arrogant in their waywardness. They boast to others and believe their own words.

They become bad-asses. Generally without realising that this means that they are still asses, but not very good at it…

Here is where you step in and whitewash them. Do it in the hearing of others and you may be thought a lickspittle, but do it to the face of the miscreant and you will become their worst nightmare; the person who lets their air out. The fact that it is bad air is beside the point – a balloon deflates no matter what you let out of the valve.

If you are kindly, sweet, pleasant, and polite, no-one else will suspect a thing.

BTW, I have always admired you…

The Welcome Wagon

As a child we moved about North America a great deal. It was my father’s work that occasioned this. No, not train robbery…that was never work as such…more a hobby. I mean heavy construction, mining, and dredging. Its the sort of profession that whirls managers and engineers from one job to the next and can uproot their families 3 times a year for decades.

Every time we arrived in a new city or town there seemed to be a Welcome Wagon. This would be generally ladies meeting my mother and bringing cake or cookies  plus what seemed to be special gifts, but were in reality advertisements from the local tradespeople. In many cases the Welcome Wagon ladies were the wives or employees of the tradesmen. This was in the days before professional girlfiends so there was never anything juicy in the gossip line.

My mother would have them all in, serve tea, coffee, and whatever was in the kitchen at the time. The ladies would introduce themselves and then gently probe for answers – much like Facebook does now. Age, marital status, education, children, hobbies, income, religion, politics, preferred brands of tobacco or liquor, etc. The answers would then lead to additional probes and/or discrete advertising for whoever had filled the Welcome Wagon basket.

I listened to my mother respond to some of this; fence with some questioners, answer others,  then supply them with what in retrospect was a very friendly form of obfuscation. I think she would have been good in front of a Royal Commission or Senate Enquiry. It was the time of  Senator Joe McCarthy so I think she realised the value of keeping family information private.

In any case it was always the same – as soon as the welcome ladies found out that we were birds of passage, likely to be there for only a quarter of the year, the welcome mat would be rolled up and they would vanish. To be honest, even though I was only about 7 or 8 at the time, I got to be quite cynical about the whole exercise. I got far better treatment from teachers ( and far worse from students ) at the schools I went to.