Far before the Internet was around, with its seemingly endless supply of scams, we all had to depend upon the print media for our get-rich quick schemes. What follows is my review of these ancient ploys.
Apparently, I was one of the very few people in America still foolish enough to be working a full forty hours a week for less than $300,000 per year.
I discovered this when I received an unsolicited magazine in the mail, the cover of which talked – no, make that screamed – about the many wealth-building opportunities which could be found inside. Intrigued, I browsed through it quickly and found twenty-three – that’s right, twenty-three – separate full-page ads promising wealth beyond my wildest dreams with almost no work involved. All I had to do was send away for the various secret methods.
You’ve all seen the occasional ads in various supermarket check-out stand publications (just like me, you read them while waiting in line, I know you do) which promised to reveal the secrets of making large sums of money for little or no effort. Like myself, you probably passed these off as useless drivel peddled by a few unscrupulous con artists.
But what I received in the mail was an actual magazine, printed on expensive slick paper, chock full of money-making opportunities. There couldn’t be this much useless drivel in existence, could there? A sample of the headlines on some of the advertisements would wet anyone’s appetite. For example: (yes, these are the actual headlines. I even kept the ads, suspecting no one would believe it)
“$25,000 For a Few Hours Work Doesn’t Seem Fair!”
“$100,000 Per Year While Vacationing in Europe!”
“How To Earn $2,000 In 4 Hours Eating At Your Favorite Restaurants”
“The Fastest, Easiest $100,000 You’ll Ever Make In Your Life”
“$4,000 In One Day! Now You Can Really Have Money Quickly!”
“$200 Every Time I Answer My Phone”
And, my personal favorite, “I Earned $4,300 Lying In Bed With The Flu”
Enticed by these magnetic promises, I read the text of the ads themselves, no mean feat because they all contained a sea of very small type which gave the illusion of containing a tremendous amount of information The funny thing is, none of them actually SAID anything.
They told you nothing about what their secret method involves. What they did explain was what it isn’t. To quote one author: “My program has nothing to do with chain letters or pyramid sales, telephone soliciting, a mailing list business, selling or buying real estate, mail order or envelope stuffing, bothering friends or relatives, compiling books or coupon selling, import-export, franchises, arts, crafts, or special skill.” Now, that seems to leave out just about everything except running guns or selling drugs.
I didn’t think I’d send away for that one.
The authors all had a few things in common:
- They were desperately poor before discovering their secrets. Now their biggest problem was trying to find enough yachts, houses, and vacations on which to spend their newfound wealth.
- They obtained their secret by either (a) being befriended by some strange millionaire, or (b) it suddenly came to them in a burst of revelation as they lay on the floor among their unpaid bills and eviction notices.
- They wouldn’t sell their secret to just anybody. As one author explained it, “I am not going to sit here and tell you this program is offered to anyone who sends in ten dollars. It is NOT! I won’t sell it to anyone residing outside of the United States of America.” There you have it. It was definitely restricted to just three hundred million people.
And now, for the part I know you’ve been waiting for…how much did all this valuable information cost? It was surprisingly affordable
Basically, there were two price brackets, depending on the expected return For ten dollars, you could get the various methods that offer incomes of approximately three hundred thousand dollars per year. Not enough? If you were willing to spring for seventeen to twenty-five dollars, you’d get the methods offering incomes of seven hundred thousand to about a million dollars per year.
In the true spirit of American entrepreneurship, you got what you paid for.
As for me, I seriously considered sending away for all twenty-three. Near as I can figure, that would provide me an annual income of between eight and ten million dollars. Not quite as good as your average investment banker or corporate CEO, but then again I wouldn’t have to work full time.