Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Get Rich Quick Scheme #2: Mailing People Money

Get Rich Quick Scheme #1 was the paper route, by the way. 

When I was in middle school or so, my mother stumbled across another get rich quick scheme.  I don't know where she found it -- the mail maybe? -- but it involved mailing two dollars each to a long list of people.  If I recall correctly, she requested a second list because she wanted to earn double the money.  I remember my mother sank over $500 in postage and envelopes stuffed with two dollars a piece.  It seemed like a massive sum of money to me back then, and I questioned how she could possibly recoup her costs. 

"Why are you doing this?"  I asked.  "What is this supposed to do?"  She claimed she would receive $2 each from even more people, and it would be like winning the lottery.  What were they paying for?  What were they being paid to do?  It sounded fishy to me.  And nonsensical.  If someone mailed me $2 and some instructions, I'd put the money in my wallet and throw the instructions away (those charities that mail people nickels and address labels must hate me).  My dad explained that it was a pyramid scheme.  This was my introduction to pyramid schemes.  My primary takeaways at the time were that it was a scam and that only the people at the top of the pyramid would make money.  Everyone who joined later -- like my mom -- was going to lose their money.  We had this conversation in front of my mother, but she did it anyway.  She was sure she was going to be rich. 

Ultimately my mother received one envelope with $2 inside.  She argued that the net loss was actually less because several of the envelopes were eventually returned to sender.  

No comments:

Post a Comment