Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Con Men Buzzwords Serve as Tip-Offs, Warnings: Watch for similarities to Politicians' Antics

--In every Area of Business, Con Men-type Warning Signs are Flashing--Buzzwords and Catch Phrases--for You to Pick Up On, and Benefit From, in Protecting Yourself from Financial Losses, and from Politicians' Con Games

It's a fact: 100% of all people who eat carrots die.

It's this kind of unarguable certainty with which sales persons (con men?) in all areas of commerce try to hit you up. They constantly lob buzzwords at you--to compel you to buy. Never offend people with substance when you can offend them with style. This seems to be the credo by which many of these sales persons (con men?) live. (Politicians too?)

Here are some examples:

> It's free? What's free? Is it a "Free Lunch?" Must you pay shipping and handling? A redemption fee? Gift, or other tax? Buy 2, get a 3rd free? There are all kinds of "Free" offers that do not match up with that word as we know it. Keep in mind the Second Rule of Band Practice: Noise is not music.

> It's 50% off. Off what? Manufacturer's suggested price? Regular retail? Bulk price? Sticker price? This is usually nothing more than an attempt to make everyday business propaganda sound like folksy truisms... A con men specialty. Even when things go wrong, having to eat their words never seems to give them indigestion.

> It's a Going out of business sale. Particularly stores in Manhattan, N.Y.C. have been going out of business for years They are prime examples. Be careful. When true, where are you going to take that laptop for repair, if and when needed,? Is your warranty really worth the paper it's printed on? Read your warranty carefully. The bold print giveth, the fine print taketh away. Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

> We will not be undersold; we will match the lowest price in town?
Are you really going to run around town, to 6 different stores, to check out whether you can save $2.95 on that $29.95 toothpick sharpener you wish to buy? They (con men?) know that the easiest way for you to find a lost item is to buy a replacement, and are playing on this fear. In reality they know that 95% of their customers are not going to bother.

Sounds good, though, doesn't it? Gives you more faith in the uprightness, honor, integrity, and honesty of the merchant. Good PR for them. (And, especially great for politicians.) This warranty is about as valuable to you as insurance that covers everything except what happens.

> You've just won. Won what? Did you even enter?--to give yourself a chance to "win?" Most common are those low cost vacation trips. How about charges for all the extras? Often substantial. It's the vacation rip-offs that have served as a template for all the other "You've just won" con games. A rudimentary premise underscores this "pitch." Taken from Carson's Law: It's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick. (Particularly a great ploy to line up legions of suckers to back a political candidate.)

> Work at home; make a fortune. Yeah!
Sure! How many self-made millionaires do you know who amassed their fortunes by stuffing envelopes at their kitchen tables?
As Forest Gump's mother said: Stupid is as Stupid does (For politicians the wrinkle is:
Sit at home by your telephone, call all your friends and relatives, get them to promise to vote even if you have to line up transportation to get them to the polls. The most successful of these are moved on up into the party political apparatus so that they might participate in future graft, like signing up felons,, dead people, and fictitious names--in return for bigger monetary rewards out of the "walking around" money.)

> We have an IRS-endorsed retirement plan. The only thing the IRS heartily endorses is the collection of every last drop of blood from you at tax time. Failing this, about the only further thing they would endorse is confiscation of all your worldly goods and a stiff prison sentence for you. Don't believe any of this "IRS-endorsed" hogwash All foam, no beer. If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions are not likely to be very good.

In sum: Never buy anything while talking to a salesman.

If you stay fully aware that hypocrisy is the Vaseline of social intercourse, you will always be in a better position to protect yourself from rip-offs of every kind--by delaying a decision until you've had ample time to review, reflect.

Sadly, many of these day-to-day offerings are as valid as a supermarket tabloid news story about a space alien having sex with a vacuum cleaner.

It's a fact: 100% of people who carefully question, ponder, investigate, and evaluate, make better decisions.

28 comments:

Terry said...

The buzzwords are much the same all right.

Dolcett said...

I have got to agree with you on your first example. The word Free is the most abused word in the English language.

Gene Kranik said...

There is nothing like the old American free enterprise system to spawn catch phrases that the political people grab up. We're seeing all of this kind of propaganda again as this political season unfolds, in slightly varied form.

Ione Hesber said...

I thought spin cycles were supposed to be restricted to home chores like washing and drying. But this is a cycle that seems to go on forever in business and political circles.

Harrry Lewis said...

Was just watching the latest Great Debate. Very boring. It fits in with all the high points about slogans, jargon, and just plain hogwash that you expose here.

I still believe that socialism is the equal distribution of poverty.

Bern said...

Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of social intercourse. Love that line, Jack.

Belinda said...

I think the work at home schemes are the biggest rip-offs of them all.

Jack Payne said...

Way back in my college days, while studying Commercial Journalism (advertising copywriting) I learned that the word "free" was the most powerful one in the entire advertising vocabulary. You've got that right, Dolcett.

Just a few variation in themes, and there you have it, Gene.

This kind of "Spin Cycle" started way back--early in the 19th Century, Ione, well before the washing machine and dryer were even invented.

Jack Payne said...

Your views on Socialism are most interesting, Harry. Is this what drove yo away from the Debate?

Work at home schemes were the King of Mail Order con games, before birth of the internet, Belinda. Seems they roll ever on now that we are well into the cyberspace age.

Sebastyne said...

I once received a phone call of a holiday "I won", after I had actually filled out a competition form, but a lot later. They called me from USA to Finland, and I asked whether or not the flights were included. No, just staying at the resort. Then the person continued on. "Just give us your credit card details..." That is when I interrupted her. "Um.. Sorry, not gonna happen. You told me I won something and now you want my credit card details?!" She sounded genuinely surprised that I refused to "claim the price" by giving my credit card details. :D Do people actually go for that?

The Logisitician said...

Really enjoy your writing. My favorite line of yours? "Never play leapfrog with a unicorn."

Chaotically Calm said...

It's so hard to resist the pull of a penny. Everyone loves a .99 sale!!! LMAO.

Pearl said...

I eat carrots. Guess I haven't got much to look forward to.

Dee said...

With the assistance of carrots, Carson and Forrest Gump's mother Jack helps us to cut trhough the bull and they say Joe the plumber is a straight talker. Hell Jack you should be running for President.

Swubird said...

Con Man:

You are so right on with this post. Be ware of barking dogs!

I have two little stories to add.

I once read a how to mail order book wherein the guy said that he gave away a free hunting knife - just pay for shipping and handling. The catch? He made a fat profit off the S&H fees!

In another case, I saw a young man of meager means win a $40,000 automobile at a slot machine in Las Vegas. He was stunned. And I bet he was stunned again when he received the $10,000 bill from the IRS!

Nothing is free in this old world.

I love your line near the last of this post: Never buy anything while talking to a salesman. That's exactly how I've lived my life. In fact, the only time I talk to a salesman is when I where the restroom is.

Great post.

Happy trails.

Elaine said...

Work at home is the biggest scam of them all. Sad to say but I have relatives who actually bit on some of these frauds, and lost a lot of money.

Earl T. Clydson said...

Four weeks before Christmas, every year for the past ten years, a furniture store owner in my town has had a "going out of business" sale. He never seems to quite make it.

Cleve said...

You are right about Walking Around money in politics. This has a lot of political payoffs for a lot of illegitimate purposes. Very freauently a lot of left-over Walking Around money is pocketed by the political dispenser.

McAlee said...

With election day coming up these comparisons are valuable. Thanks.

Jack Payne said...

Sebastyne, that was one of the orginal ways (travel scams) used to fish for credit card numbers.

Logistician and Chaotically Calm, you are zeroing in on the fundamental flaws.

Jack Payne said...

Thanks, Dee, but I do not choose to run. If nominated anyway, I will decline, if elected, I will not serve. I am too busy answering my email and taking out the trash.

You are right, Swu, instuctions as to the whereabouts of the rest room is about the only advice you should take at the time of talking to a salesman.

Earl and Elaine, I see I am getting through to you. Now, when I can get you to read my book, Six Hours Past Thursday, you will be born-again
Con Artists Recognizers.

Cleve, you have said it perfectly when it comes to the infamous "Walking Around Money" of politics. There is nothing to add that would clarify your statement on this subject better.

Roger said...

You are such an expert on cons, Jack, that I don't see why people aren't hounding you for technical questions to their personal problems all the time.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

I think you are the most colorful person at Blog Catalog. :D

Cheers! JJ

Wilma T said...

I'm afraid a tabloid story about a space alien having sex with a vacuum cleaner is one of he funniest lines I've seen in years.

Jack Payne said...

They do Rog. I am hit up for counsel all the time. But, I gave up consulting a long time ago (investigative agencies and watchdog groups). Now, I only refer anyone to dig for answers to their personal problems in my extensive Archives. At one time or another, over the past 18 months, they will find something very close to an answer appearing there to a persoal question about a particular scam they are involved in, or are risking participation in. Lots of digging. Lots of work. But, it's all there.

Thanks, Nature Nut. I've been called a lot of things: Curmudgeon, Arrogant, Opinionated, Genius, Expert, Bumbler, Humorous, Eccentric, Jackass, among many things, but never colorful. I regard myself as dull and bland. My favorite color is plaid.

Cat Health Problems said...

I have got to get impressed

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