Pyramid schemes or entrepreneur dreams?

By Melissa Martin

While profit is the American way—I want others to make a fair profit when I buy. And so do you.

Nonetheless, charming and disarming schemers and scammers are out to steal your hard-earned cash. They would sell grandma’s dentures if they could get away with it.

However, sometimes well-meaning but gullible individuals get caught up in money-making mayhem. And they want you to join in and purchase their items or help sell their items.

What is a pyramid scheme?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, pyramid schemes “promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public…Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.”

What is a Ponzi scheme?

According to US Securities and Exchange Commission, “In many Ponzi schemes the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors to create the false appearance that investors are profiting from a legitimate business.”

“The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket,” declared Kin Hubbard.

What is an entrepreneur? “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

“Entrepreneurs can change the way we live and work. If successful, their innovations may improve our standard of living, and in addition to creating wealth with their entrepreneurial ventures, they also create jobs and the conditions for a prosperous society.”

Folks (coworkers, friends, family members, neighbors, mutual acquaintances, Facebook and Twitter contacts), please stop inviting the rest of us to home parties where the products are extremely overpriced. We don’t want to buy make-up, perfume, lingerie, cooking utensils, baskets, diet food, vitamins, essential oils, or other pricey products from a home business. We don’t want to purchase high-priced health, beauty, and fitness products from your catalogue. We don’t believe in “miracle” ingredients. We are tired of feeling obliged to buy because we like you. It’s not personal—it’s called a budget. We don’t want to hurt your feelings by declining invitations; not showing up then giving weird excuses; or pretending to be sick.

And please stop trying to recruit us to be sellers. We don’t want to be in the world of multi-level-marketing or attend hyped sales meetings. We don’t want to buy starter kits.

We know you want to sell-sell-sell to make your bonus incentives for a free vacation, but we need to save our money for our own vacations.

Are the home businesses of Tupperware, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Avon, and other products coming to a halt or going full speed ahead? While some products may be quality items; prices are way too high—in my opinion. Are any of these products made in the USA? Where do the raw materials come from? How much money does the consultant make from each item sold?

Door-to-door sales people—you’re annoying. Don’t knock on my door and expect to schmooze me into buying a house alarm system, an expensive vacuum cleaner, or cleaning products.

And expecting kids to go door-to-door for school fundraisers is going by the wayside. It’s a safety issue. Who makes more money—the companies or the kids? Where is the fun in buying over-priced stuff? I don’t want more wrapping paper, cookie dough, or T-shirts. I would rather pay to attend a creative school event. Parents that try to sell their kids fundraising junk at the workplace—you’re annoying. Unless it’s Girl Scout cookies.

How can we be wise consumers in our own backyard? When do we spend and when do we save? And when do we invest?

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.”— George Lorimer

By Melissa Martin

Reach:Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County. Contact her at [email protected]

Reach:Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County. Contact her at [email protected]