Almost every day, I hear from people, or about people, who feel like they’ve been scammed by someone who recruited them into some type of business opportunity. While there are definitely scammers out there and some pretty bad scams out there, sometimes there is more to it than that. The following short story 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 old friend, Bob, is from Arizona. A couple of years ago, he was offered a job in the Pacific Northwest. Ol’ Bob had never seen so many trees in his life. He was a bit overwhelming at first, but he began to get used to it and then really enjoy the beauties of nature that he found around him.
However, one thing he did not enjoy was his new job. The hours sucked, she never got to spend time with her family or in the fantastic scenery she only saw on her way to and from work, her boss had studied with Hitler and the pay was lousy. Bob was really frustrated and he began to search desperately for a way to change his life.
One day when he was watering his garden, his neighbor, Jim, walked by. Bob suddenly realized that Jim, and most of his other neighbors, drove new trucks, dressed casually, worked short hours, always seemed to be making enough money to have nice things, were in good physical condition, and seemed to have things in common. He thought about his growing belly, the paleness of the office, the shrinking bank account, and the lack of friends, and asked, “Hey, Jim! Would you mind telling me what you do?”
Jim replied, “I’m a lumberjack!”
“Can you make money with it?”
“Sure. See all these trees? They’re lots of money. The guys and I go out and cut some down, sell the wood and get paid very well.”
Well, Bob knew what a lumberjack was, but being from Arizona, he had never thought of making money cutting down trees!
He looked around his garage, found an old hatchet, the previous owner had left, and headed into the woods. Finding a pretty tree, he started shopping. After several minutes, he was exhausted and had barely made a dent in the tree. After a short rest, he tried again and had to stop and rest some more. He was about to faint, and the tree barely had any teeth.
At that moment, Jim walked by and saw what was happening. He laughed and said, “Bob, you’re going to drop dead before that tree falls with that blunt axe. Take it to the hardware store and have it sharpened. Oh, and by the way, no one will buy the wood from that tree, that’s it!” plagued with termites! Those two over there are pretty good, though.”
Bob thanked him and went to the hardware store.
The hardware store clerk said he’d be happy to sharpen the hatchet, but he had something even better. He left this cool looking contraption on the counter.
“What’s that?” Bob asked.
“A chainsaw,” the clerk replied. “With one of these, you can do ten times as much as with 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 direct information, but he wasn’t quite sure.
“I’ll be back later for the hatchet,” he said.
He went to Jim’s house. Jim would give him the scoop.
“Jim, how long does it take to chop down a tree with a sharp axe?”
Jim told him. It seemed like a lot of work and a long time.
“How much do they pay you for each tree?” she asked her.
Jim told him that too. Bob did the math and realized that he earned more at his office job. However, before he could ask his next question, Jim said, “Of course, you could cut down ten times as many trees with a good chainsaw.”
Bingo! This was the second time she had heard that from someone who should know. This time, the math told her that she could triple his current income while working fewer hours a week…in the fresh air, without having to go to work, and without having to listen to his boss or get up at dawn. . .
“Jim! At the hardware store, the clerk offered to sell me a chainsaw, but I wasn’t sure if I should buy it. Now, I guess 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 for cutting brush. I have an extra chainsaw I’ll sell you. It’s the same chainsaw we all use, and I’ll sell it.” delivers it to you for $100 less than the hardware store would charge you for the little brushcutter.”
Bob reached for his wallet and in less than 5 minutes he was on his way to the woods with his new purchase. Jim had offered to find the instruction booklet for him, but Bob was in a hurry and said he’d figure it out himself.
Later that night, Jim’s wife was treating her boss to a cookout to celebrate his new promotion. This promotion was elevating her in the world and she didn’t want anything to go wrong.
Just as the festivities were starting, Bob drove up like a madman and screeched to a stop, nearly knocking over a couple of guests in the process. He jumped out of his car and headed for Jim, chainsaw in hand and anger on his face. He was dirty and sweaty. His clothing was tattooed and torn. He seemed drunk or exhausted and was pacing as he got closer to Jim.
“Here’s your fucking chainsaw,” he growled, smashing it against the table with the food and punch bowl, a family heirloom that promptly shattered into several pieces. “Give me my money back, thief,” she snarled, red-faced, bulging-eyed, the veins in her neck bulging. “You gave me a line about making money from my own business, then you tricked me into having to have a chainsaw so you could make money from my desire to be independent, pretending to be my friend all the time.”
“Well,” he continued, “I’m on you, and I’m going downtown right now and tell everyone what a thief you are. That chainsaw you sold me is a piece of junk. I spent all day trying to cut a tree with it, and barely dented the tree. I’ve already stopped several people from going to the hardware store because they’re thieves like you. I saw the mayor and the newspaper editor down the street on their way here, and I told them what a thief you were. They went to their offices saying they were going to get to the bottom of this and see you in jail for stealing my money. I’m going to ruin you for this.”
Enraged, Jim said, “You can’t come in here 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 for a cheap price.” fantastic 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 property.”
With a curse, Bob jumped back in his car and drove madly home a few doors down the street, leaving the chainsaw on the table.
With a nod, Jim picked up the chainsaw and yanked on the cord. The chainsaw roared to life, and with one swift motion, Jim easily sliced through several pieces of firewood stacked nearby.
Getting out of his car into his own driveway, Bob looked up at the noise and said, “What the hell is that racket?”
Do you get the point?