Monday, November 04, 2013

Ponzi Steals the Show

Or like Poppy Ponzi calls it - in a more politically correct manner - all about Network Marketing.

From Charles Ponzi all the way down to Poppy, that infamous moneymaking scheme frequently revamped, rehashed and rebranded to fool a whole new gullible generation. Vaguely based on a pyramidal scheme with new deluded members adding to the ranks with mindless fervour - while parting with just a negligible fraction of their hard-earned wages.

All in a bid to double, triple or compound their investment in a matter of months.

Don't ask me how... but I somehow got conned into attending a Network Marketing spiel for an obscure new company whose name currently escapes me. Actually I was unwittingly ambushed and dragged there. After practically forcing you in at gunpoint into what seemed like an unfortunate captive audience, the entire crash course on marketing their products comes out firing like a rapid-fire hail of bullets.

Of course I remained utterly impervious to their oft-repeated spiel. Sorry Poppy but I ain't buying.

Seriously? Didn't Ponzi schemes go out with the 90s? 

Yet for cynical disbelievers like me, there's always the idealized images of those who have come before with their ill-gotten gains - usually in the form of a lavishly decorated luxury automobile. Nothing like a shiny sportscar to convince the naysayers.

Poppy : Do you understand the entire lecture? 
Paul : It's not that complex. You didn't actually have to read every line on the slide. 
Poppy : Must lo. In case you no understand. 
Paul : So to be a member you have to hand over money, whereupon you'll give me some dubious products in exchange. Then I'll have to con a couple of my friends to do the same for me to continually feed this entire pyramidal scheme. 
Poppy : Well not to put it that way. 
Paul : And then I could be a Knight? Or a Marquis or something? Is there a ceremony?
Poppy : Knight first!
Paul : In your entire lecture, you hardly ever talked about your products. Doesn't sound like it's all that good. 
Poppy : Sure good one la!

Of course I never said that. Wouldn't want to be hounded out by the overzealous advocates with broken bottles of their inferior products. Obsessive multi-level marketers might get their immediate downline to come beat me up - and you do know their downlines go on literally forever.

Don't get me wrong, I can easily see the allure. Sounds like a good idea to most young idealistic cash-poor youths who would do literally anything for a quick buck. Judging from everyone else seated in the room, obviously their target audience. What more for those with the unenviable gift of the gab, certainly easy enough to convince a few unfortunates to part with only a small portion to be a member creating a downline.

What I wanted to ask was what would happen when there's finally no one left to fuel the entire payment scheme. The perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to sustain the scheme. So never be the last to join in on a Ponzi.

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