Sep 152011

Here’s a “grrrr,” more than a pet peeve.

Car dealers, right? Reputation for being shady, deceptive, underhanded? Maybe true, probably not, but not my issue.

I have a problem with something being sold as positive and awesome, and then turning out to be a scam.

Timeshare presentation? I suppose that may be a surprise to some, but at least the deception is expected. Smile So, nope.

Here’s the deal.

Yesterday, a loved one (I’ll refer to her as “Swelly”) who was looking for a job attended a career fair. This event was heavily advertised and promoted on the web, in print, via email, on job boards, and by 3 local radio stations. Several big name companies were mentioned. Swelly prepared for over a week. Diligent effort on her resume, with minute tweaking of each sentence. Rehearsing great answers to common questions. Even chosing her clothing very carefully with several outfits considered, each piece intended to deliver just the right message. In short, some very serious and professional preparation.

We’ll cue the career fair in a minute. I’ve got a supporting story first.

Something similar happened to me long ago. It was 1983. I’d been married less than a year, had a brand new baby son, and was completely naive and inexperienced in “the real word.” I got a job (Radio Shack) paying a little over $5,000 a year; we could afford only the tiniest apartment. I worked very hard, and we struggled financially every day. Thank goodness a bag of potatoes only cost a dollar at the time. We ate a lot of fried potatoes.

Several months into the gig, magic seemed to happen. I worked from noon-9pm, and about an hour before closing a buttoned-up guy with a suit came into the store to purchase something or other. Without being too arrogant, I’m fairly smart, and was able to discuss a solution to his needs intelligently and at good technical depth. It was just he and I in the store, and as he was checking out, he said something along the lines of, “You know, you’re an intelligent guy, and I’m looking for a few people like you. I’ve got a great business plan, and need to bring on some talented folks. Interested?”

My hard work, skill, and smarts were about to pay off! Of course I said, “yes,” and we arranged a time to meet. At my home, in a couple of days. Did I mention I was naive? I went home in a great mood, and joyously shared the news with my spouse. We were both nervous and excited! At the appointed time, the gentleman arrived, once again well-groomed and full of energy. He carried a portfolio of some sort, and a tripod. Ooooh, interesting. We were on the edge of our seats.

After some brief pleasantries, up went the tripod, and out came the presentation. All of you reading this already know the scoop. Yeah, Amw*y. Within 10 seconds my spirits were crushed. Frown

“This is just a multi-level marketing pitch, not a job,” I said.

“No, no! It’s not MLM, it really is an exciting business proposition, and I need your help to make it work! You can work your own hours, and the only thing standing between you and unimaginable fortune is hard work!”

Something like that.

How absolutely rude and deceptive. What a jerk. We sat, politely, not mature enough to be assertive yet, and endured the humiliation. I told him, “No chance,” at the end and of course he was incredulous and questioning my motivation and intelligence. Whatever. At least that arrow didn’t stick.

Ready for the career fair discussion? Yes? Well then, sorry, one more story first.

In college, two of my friends were wandering around their campus and noticed a sign along the lines of “Ice Cream Social! Come find your perfect lover!”

Two teenage boys, hmmmm. Wonder what they decided to do? They arrived at the event a few days later and, lo and behold, there was the campus Christian group, serving ice cream and ready to talk about Jesus and salvation! I completely believe that talking about Jesus and salvation is a great thing, don’t doubt that. My angry issue here is: Is Jesus so weak or uncompelling that one has to deceive others to come hear about Him? Really? Well, thanks for representing Christ so poorly, and rudely. Jerks. My friends had a bite of ice cream and left. They’ve never looked back. Who wants to be a part of a bunch of lying loons?

Sighhhh. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Wink

So, the career fair.

Swelly walks in, very excited and nervous, but prepared and willing confidence throughout her being. She follows the signs to the area at the back of a restaurant at the Red Lion hotel. Red Lion? More like red flag. Not so much a hokey setup, but a totally deceptive enterprise. Within seconds, she can see tables for several colleges (no worthwhile accrediation of course), two insurance companies, a financial institution, and a litany of other organizations all ready to sell something. How nice.

To be fair, there were two actual companies in attendance: *acy’s and Z-M*bile. Swelly steeled herself and though she was saddened, disappointed, and crushed, made her way toward the employers. Before reaching either table, she heard the respective representatives tell the hapless crowd standing before them, “go ahead and look online for our open positions, we don’t have anything here.” Wow. On her way out, stifling the tears, she was accosted by a professional looking guy from a customer service organization, recruiting employees to work in Texas and other areas down South for a whopping $9 per hour.

There you have it. Rude and Deceptive, outright. No debate. Just cruel manipulation. I feel so sorry for the naive or less than intelligent new workers seeking to gain employment at this debacle. A few were likely sucked in by the parasites, and convinced to throw good money into worthless things. I’m also very angry at the hurt inflicted on my loved one.

It’s not a rotten world, by any means, but there certainly are some rotten people in it. Too many, if you ask me.

Tune in next time for something upbeat, or at least weird. I promise. Smile

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