• Dr. Melissa Martin

Try not to lose the things that money can't buy; beware of schemes

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.”

Here's some good advice: “The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket,” declared Kin Hubbard, the late American cartoonist.

What is an entrepreneur?

Folks (co-workers, 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.

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

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 U.S.A? 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, editor, The Saturday Evening Post.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator and therapist. She lives in Ohio.


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