Almost every day, I hear from people, or about people, who feel that they have been scammed by someone who recruited them into some sort of business opportunity. While there definitely are scam artists out there, and some pretty bad ripoffs, sometimes there’s a little more to it than that. The following tale is my adaptation of a joke told by Tom “Big Al” Schreiter in his fantastic little book, “Big Al’s Super Prospecting: Special Offers & Quick-Start Systems”.
My ol’ buddy, Bob, is from Arizona. A associate of years ago, he got offered a job up in the Pacific Northwest. Ol’ Bob had never seen so many trees in his life. It was kinda overwhelming at first, but he began to get used to it and then to really enjoy the beauties of character he found all around him.
One thing he didn’t enjoy, however, was his new job. The hours stank, he never got to use time with his family or in the fantastic scenery that he only saw on his excursion to and from work, his boss had studied under Hitler, and the pay was lousy. Bob was really frustrated and began looking desperately for a way to turn his life around.
One day when he was out watering his yard, his neighbor, Jim, strolled by. Bob suddenly realized that Jim, and most of his other neighbors, drove new pickups, dressed casually, worked comparatively short hours, always seemed to be making enough money to have nice things, were in good physical condition, and seemed to have things in shared to talk about. He thought of his growing pot belly, office pallor, dwindling bank account, and without of friends and asked, “Hey, Jim! Would you mind telling me what you do for a living?”
Jim replied, “I’m a lumberjack!”
“You can make money at that?”
“Sure. See all these trees? They’re just big stacks of money. The guys and I go out and cut a few down, sell the wood, and get paid really good.”
Well, Bob knew what a lumberjack was, but being from Arizona, he had never thought about making money cutting down trees!
He looked around his garage, found an old axe the past tenant had left, and headed for the woods. Finding a nice looking tree, he began chopping. After several minutes, he was depleted, and had hardly made a dent in the tree. After a short rest, he tried again, and had to stop and rest some more. He was nearly give out, and the tree was barely dented.
Just then, Jim wandered by and saw what was going on. He laughed and said, “Bob, you’ll keel over dead before that tree goes down with that dull axe. Take it down to the hardware store and get it sharpened. Oh, and by the way, nobody will buy the wood from that tree, it’s riddled with termites! Those two over there are pretty good, though.”
Bob thanked him and went to the hardware store.
The clerk at the hardware store said that he would be happy to sharpen the axe, but he had something already better. He laid this way cool looking gizmo on the counter.
“What’s that?” asked Bob.
“A chainsaw,” replied the clerk. “With one of these, you can get ten times as much done as you ever could with already a sharp axe.”
Now, Bob might have been from Arizona, but he had seen pictures of chainsaws. He wasn’t quite sure how to use one, but the clerk seemed to be giving him some straight info, but he wasn’t quite sure.
“I’ll be back later for the axe,” he said.
He went over to Jim’s house. Jim would give him the scoop.
“Jim, how long does it take to cut down a tree with a sharp axe?”
Jim told him. It seemed like a lot of work and a long time.
“How much do you get paid for each tree?” he asked.
Jim told him that too. Bob did the math and realized that he made more at his office job. Before he could ask his next question, however, Jim said, “Of course, you could cut down ten times as many trees with a good chainsaw.”
Bingo! That was the second time he had heard that from someone who should know. This time, the math told him he could triple his current income while working fewer hours a week…out in the open air, without the commute, and without having to listen to his boss or get up with the crack of dawn any more.
“Jim! Down at the hardware store, the clerk offered to sell me a chainsaw, but I wasn’t sure if I should buy it. Now, I think I will.”
“Wait a minute,” Jim said. “They’ll charge you an arm and a leg for a chainsaw that wasn’t designed for logging, just cutting brush. I have got an additional chainsaw I’ll sell you. It’s the same chainsaw we all use, and I will sell it to you for $100 less than the hardware store would charge you for the little brush cutter.”
Bob reached for his wallet, and in less than 5 minutes, he was on his way to the woods with his new buy. Jim had offered to scrounge up the instruction booklet for him, but Bob was in a hurry and said he would figure it out himself.
Later that evening, Jim’s wife was having her boss over for a cookout, celebrating her new promotion. This promotion was moving her up in the world, and she didn’t want anything to go wrong.
Just as the festivities were getting underway, Bob drove up like a madman and screeched to a stop, nearly hitting a associate of guests in the time of action. He jumped from his car and headed towards Jim, chainsaw in hand and rage on his confront. He was filthy and sweaty. His clothes were tattered and torn. He seemed either drunk or depleted and weaved from side to side as he approached Jim.
“Here’s your d***** chainsaw back,” he snarled, slamming it onto the table with the food and the punch bowl, a family heirloom which promptly shattered into several pieces. “Give me my money back, you crook,” he growled, his confront red, eyes bulging, the veins standing out on his neck. “You fed me a line about how to make money with my own business, then reeled me in with that stuff about having to have a chainsaw so that you could make money off my desire to be independent, pretending to be my friend all the time.”
“Well,” he continued, “I’m onto you, and I’m going downtown right now and tell everybody what a crook you are. That chainsaw you sold me is a piece of junk. I spent all day trying to cut down one tree with it, and it barely dented the tree. I’ve already stopped several people from going to the hardware store because they are crooks just like you. I saw the mayor and the newspaper editor down the street on their way here, and I told them what a crook you were. They headed for their offices saying they were going to get to the bottom of this and see you in jail for stealing my money. I’ll ruin you for this.”
Enraged, Jim said, “You can’t come in here like this making all these accusations, ruining my wife’s party, not to mention my lawn and maybe my life. I gave you the best information you could hope to get and sold you a great chainsaw at a fantastic price because I thought we were friends. After you have treated me, my friends, and my family like this, I will never give you your money back! Get off my character.”
With a curse, Bob jumped back in his car and drove madly off to his house a few doors down the street, leaving the chainsaw on the table.
With a shake of his head, Jim picked up the chainsaw and pulled the cord. The chainsaw roared into life and with one quick movement, Jim easily cut by several pieces of firewood piled up nearby.
Getting out of his car in his own driveway, Bob looked up at the noise and said, “What the heck is that racket?”
Get the point?