Friday night, I took my wife out to get some coffee to get her a few minutes away from the house. There’s a corner in the front of the store next to the window that we always sit in, and it seems like some huckster is always huckstering something there.
And did we ever find a doozie on this Friday night.
It was a pyramid scheme. He had a myriad of products and services to sell, so vast I couldn’t keep them straight. I know he talked about reselling cable TV, Internet, and cellular phone service at the very least. She heard him say something about weight-loss products. So I don’t know how many things there were, total. I also didn’t catch the name of the organization, but a bit of searching suggests it was probably ACN.
“So, let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that you get 500,000 sales. That’s a hundred dollars right in your pocket!” he said, excitedly.
That’s a pathetic sales commission if you ask me, but what do I know, right?
Then he started talking about perks at different tiers. Get to one tier, and they’ll pay $800 a month toward a BMW. He did add that she’d still be on the hook for $115 of the monthly payment.
At the next tier, in between exhortations to keep a babysitter on speed dial, he said they’ll send her on a weeklong all-expense-paid vacation. I didn’t catch where, because I was losing interest.
At the tier after that, he promised a Bentley. I wonder how many people reach that tier. Not him. I didn’t see any Bentley in the parking lot. For that matter, I didn’t see any BMWs either. Maybe his was in the shop, but I doubt it.
At that point I needed a break from listening to the pitch, so I got up to go get more coffee. By the time I got back, he was explaining how it’s a pyramid scheme without saying it’s a pyramid scheme–“Everyone makes money!” was how he explained it–and he was trying to close the deal.
“So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you?”
“Five!? Why!? This is the opportunity of a lifetime!”
“It seems like a lot to understand.”
“Then ask me questions! I want you to ask me questions! Now tell me, on a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you?”
“Five!? Why now?”
“It seems like a lot of time.”
“It’s not a lot of time! You tell me, how long do you think it takes to have a conversation you don’t wanna have?”
I think she was humoring him, given that the scheme pays tiny fractions of a penny on the dollar for competing with companies with a presence on every major streetcorner, having conversations you don’t want to have, while contributing a few bucks to this huckster’s Quixotic quest to get a BMW.
Needless to say, I didn’t hand the guy my card on my way out. More like I snuck out the door being careful he wouldn’t see me.
But on our way home, I did ask my wife how long she thinks think it takes to have a conversation she doesn’t want to have. Several times, actually.