Businesses for Suckers: Growth of the Human Remoras!
Life today. It ain't for suckers!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Even a Remora is Company to a Shark!
One of the most enterprising denizens of the deeps, the Remora, or Suckerfish, has evolved to be able to attach itself to a much larger host where it dines on scraps and/or faeces and gets a free ride around the oceans.
Remoras have an unusual relationship with their unwitting or benign hosts. It is one of "Commensalism," specifically "Phoresy," where the remora gets all the advantages and the host, none, or very few.
Remoras have been with us during recorded history: Romans thought they could attach themselves to ships, stopping them leaving harbour; fishermen in the East have used them for thousands of years to catch turtles, allowing the remora to attach itself with its slat-like suckers, found behind the head, to the turtle's carapace allowing the clever fishermen to reel it in.
There are four species of Remoras with several sub-species. Perhaps that's all evolution allowed, because their hosts: sharks, rays, swordfish, tuna and dugongs, etc., were the only "suckers" amiable enough to coexist with the scavengers...perhaps they like the company!
Which brings me to the real subject of this article, the slew of businesses emerging from the shadows, like remoras homing-in on their free lunch.
You only have to switch any amoral commercial TV channel on in the UK to see dozens of crafty advertisements for these marginal predators, swimming as they do on the backs of other well established businesses, some going through bad times and bad press - like the banks - while others: travel agents or insurance companies and individuals, are going through debt crisis and the rest.
These "debt relief" agencies are high on my list of the worst offenders. Their ads trumpet, "Get debt free and get your creditors off your back." "Beat the bailiff," etc. My memory of the exact message fails me, but you know who we are talking about. Of course, someone has to pay for the ads and the staff of these clever con-men. This is not to mention the huge cut they take from the payments they arrange with your creditors, plus other fees. My advice is to see your local council help agency and perhaps declare bankruptcy for less than £500. I did a few years back and it worked for me: (see my article on bankruptcy)
Another set of swine gaining prominence are those offering to sue the banks for miss-sold payment insurance (PPI‘s), not that the banks are the innocent parties, but you could easily recoup the money yourself without handing over part of it in fees, etc. (contact the Regulator).
Suing insurance companies is becoming de rigueur in 2011 as the nation becomes a litigant society along the lines of the USA. Of course, anyone hurt through no fault of their own, should be recompensed, but these inflated settlements have sent vehicle insurance costs through the roof, so much so that youngsters are being asked to pay many thousands of pounds PER YEAR to get their first cars insured. Most can't afford it, of course, so they get their parents to insure the vehicle with the gray area of how and who can actually drive and the parents having to assume all the financial risks for their novice driver.
While we are on motor vehicles I have seen a couple of agencies say they will "buy any used car" on TV. They are depending on Britain's "throw-away" convenience culture where people are too lazy to repair anything and as soon as it gets a scratch or two, into the skip and buy new. So for the sake of doing the work of selling their own car, they employ these scammers and loose hundreds or thousands of pounds from the vehicle's real book value...use eBay for goodness sake! I mean, folks, you know they won’t be able to pay a proper price; do you need to let a tiger get you by the throat before you see it’s dangerous!?
Same applies for personal injury; these lawyers and the celebrities they employ to front their ads are gathering like ants round a helpless caterpillar. Is there no shame among these monied personalities, often in the twilight of their careers, that they need to represent these “remoras?” Apparently not. Why don’t we learn from other cultures who have endured these scandals for years and supressed them, to a certain extent?
Insurance is contaminating every area of our lives and although many of these offers have been around for some years, advertising them on the telly, or online, adds credence to their marginal activities and nets thousands of new customers. Banks, building societies and private companies - even the major supermarkets - who are rapidly becoming big players (just check all the offers by the tills) - offer credit and bank cards, home, car, trip, pet and even dental insurance. They should be competitive, but their skilful brochures and ads negate much of the need to charge competitive rates...these are all 'much of a muchness when you dig deep.
Once, life insurance was a good way to save for a rainy day and cover your risk in the advent of early demise. You can still get these traditional policies, but they are not the ones getting all the attention on TV and the Internet, are they Mr. Parkinson (famous retired TV dolt in Britain). These are the policies, mainly directed at the aged, insuring against death, but with no accumulated value: Why bother? You die, they put you in a hole or cremate you. Why should you need to pay £20 a month of your precious pension for 20 years, or more for that! Jeez!
The doleful refrain is there's no money for anything, but you'd find that hard to believe if you saw all the ads for loans in all the media and online. Names like "Quick Quid" catch our eyes (a quid being one pound Stirling). The bankers have no money to lend, they insist) but these private money lenders are around by the scores, charging draconian rates of interest. Have no credit; bad credit? No worries, there are high interest plastic options for the indigent where you can pay more than £250 per year on a debt of £500.
Got any gold you don't want? Agencies vie for your business, many trying to steal your precious metal with rip-off rates. It's let the buyer beware all right.
Many of us call this country, “Rip-Off Britain.” and we try to avoid as many of the scammers as possible: the lying TV offers, the remora car mechanics, all the labyrinth of prices and “bargains” in the large stores. We watch as our dues to the government go up and up; as kids are jailed for throwing stones, a council pays millions to eject travellers (who own the land!) from a few acres of dirt, while MP’s dodge prison owing thousands. Bankers, who live on another planet called “Remoraland,” continue to play with our money and are not even grateful when we bail them out to the cost of billions to the taxpayer every so often (They are due again). Heck, even a remora is doubtful company to a shark! We wouldn’t want to be in the same room as these establishment bank-robbers!
And these sociopathic swine are far worse than the Remora who may live free off the host but does little real damage: our two-legged suckerfish are destroying the very fabric of the society we depend on.
Note: Ironically, Google Adsence has just attached three ads to this hub of just the type I am condemming! Ha! Should we all just give up??