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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