Pyramid Scam, Standing Up for Yourself and Some Questions About Money

The friend I hadn’t seen or heard from in forever facebooked me: hey, you want to get together at this event that I’m doing at this place?

It seemed kind of odd, but she’s the awesome kind of friend that you make time for and even go to a dubious event that asks you to pay money to sell a product. The product being sold did the standard song and dance by making it seem like this was a legit way to make money. As my friend turned to me, convinced that if I didn’t join, I would miss out on a chance to be wealthy, I had the brief flash: was this what it was like to be a nonbeliever listening to a believer wax on the amazing benefit package of believing in the curative properties of the acai?


Later, after talking about it with my mom and boyfriend, I learned the name of this atrocity: pyramid scam. My first instinct was to dial up my friend and inform her that she was being scammed. I didn’t, of course. She really authentically believed in it and you just don’t do that to someone you care about. You listen with the heart and encourage them in the path that makes them happy.

Some weeks after that event, I was talking to her on the phone. She was telling me how it wasn’t so much the product that was changing her as it was the people. She felt she had a reason to dress nicer and one woman was showing her how to not be a pushover, but a strong woman. To fight against the system of inequality so firmly entrenched in our society. I must admit, I nearly caved right then. Who doesn’t want that experience?

A considerable amount of time has passed since that incident. She doesn’t speak about that product, she has returned to a more casual style of dress, and she doesn’t talk about people investing in her journey toward being more confident and strong. I think she is incredibly strong, but I sometimes wonder if she sees herself that way.

To be quite blunt, most times, I don’t see myself being strong either. Most times, I wish there were that someone who could give me a manual on how to keep from being a pushover. In the moments where I talk to my mom about being married, I always wonder if the choices I make are being made by a person who is weak.

Sometimes, I wish that the scam wasn’t a scam. That those people who encouraged her continued to encourage her not because they needed the money or were trying to get ahead, but because they cared enough to help her out with that weakness that society so often makes you feel.

But that’s not the way the world works.

Walking into a college type event the other day, I had a moment of cynicism as I watched the people fawn love over the students and wondered for a moment: if those kids weren’t there paying gobs of money and giving those in charge an economic reason to be there, would those same adults still care about those kids? Would they? 

Of course they would!

Those adults were part altruistic, caring anyway, right? But it kind of makes you wonder: just what isn’t a scam where money is involved? 

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Comments 4 comments

Stina Caxe profile image

Stina Caxe 5 years ago from Virginia

This is a great hub. There are so many money scams out there now and people will do and say just about anything to get your last dollar! I actually had someone seek me out and use my baby's sickness as a way to get me to sign up for her "pyramid scam"

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 5 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

That's horrible, yet so unfortunately common. I once made the mistake of sharing some information with a life insurance man about my family circumstances and oh did i regret it! Not that he got a dime from us, but some days, you just wonder what happened to humanity.

George Lopez has a really funny episode where the mom learns some of the scamming techniques from a scam artist selling makeup and then completely scams the scam artist. It was really funny, but really illustrated how scam artists prey on our weaknesses and insecurities. I know my most vexing scam experience came in the form of spending way too much on skin care products designed to fix acne marks left on my skin. Honestly, advertisers would never make a profit if we were comfortable with ourselves just as we are, but that's exactly what we need to learn to be.

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciated your comment!

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

ha! Welcome to the planet Earth, we hope you'll enjoy your stay here on planet Earth, just never you mind that the fiat debt based currency that people use to get stuff with is based on a giant ponzi scheme. It's no wonder that little bitty versions of the same pop up everywhere, but we, the owners of planet Earth wish you to pay no mind to the largest one, please disregard the barter system at any time that it's offered to you, you only want our debt based currency, that's right, there there, don't cry, want a tissue? That'll be four bucks, please and thank you.

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 5 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

Ha ha. That's so true! It's so ingrained in our culture that I fully expect future generations are going to start finding a way to charge us for enhanced oxygen!

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