98 Cents Short of a Dollar

You’ve met them in a variety of places in business. The people who are all bluff and no stuff. To talk with them you would think they are on top of the world. But in reality they don’t have 2 cents in their pockets. One thing is for sure – they want to use your money and not theirs.

Over the past 21 years I have been up and down the block with many different types of players in business. After a while you develop a careful eye and watch out for people who are all bluff and no stuff.

They arrive on the scene to take unsuspecting people on the dog and pony show ride. They are expert at raising the expectations and hopes of people. They do it time and again. Let me break it down for you.

First you set the stage props up with all of the right colors on stage. The music is turned on – first you might hear it faintly in the background and as the hour progresses the music the volume is turned up.

There are some inexpensive refreshments available. Possibly some liquor to soften you up. When the eyes are properly glazed over you find yourself with new “friends” right by your side – smiling and laughing at everything you say.

You think to yourself – wow I didn’t think I was so funny. You feel better about yourself. You help yourself to another drink.

This place is great you say to yourself. And this guy who is talking next to me seems to be a very successful person. I wonder what he’s got that I don’t have. Let me hear what else he has to say. Oh – he’s going to be introducing tonight’s speaker. Pretty impressive.

You’ve been at the place for about 20 minutes and you have just the right amount of salts, sugars & liquor in your body to sit down and listen to the person introducing the speaker. Those things that will change your life forever and take you away from everything you’ve worked for.

You are asked to take a seat and the roller coaster ride begins.

The person introducing the speaker came from nothing and if he could do it in life – anybody could. He was an orphan, beaten as a child and left for dead. Lying by the side of the road along came the speaker and the speaker took him in and CHANGED HIS LIFE.

At this point you take out your hanky and wipe away a tear. The emotion builds. So does the music by the way.

The speaker starts “…I complained because I had no shoes – then I saw a man who had no feet…” You keep the hanky in your hand. You think to yourself – this is going to be good. You take another sip of your drink and pop a couple of peanuts in your mouth.

The speaker has you laughing and he has you in tears. The crowd roars at the end and the music hits it’s high peak. The speaker also hits his high point. The speech is over – the music volume is turned down.

All of a sudden you have a few new “friends” around you asking you what you thought about the speech. And about the opportunity he was talking about?

Your new friends tell you that the speaker didn’t have 2 cents when he started. If the truth be known he needs your money to pay for the liquor you are drinking right now because he still doesn’t have 2 cents.

And so on it goes. A new town – a new show.

Many years ago I attended an event similar to this with an MLM group. They were selling fire extinguishers. It was just like a kid’s magic show with the fire and amazement of the crowd. After the speaker finished one of the speaker’s lieutenants whispered in my ear to go to one of the members in the audience to “get his money”. Get him involved. We’ll take care of the rest. I half heartedly tried to comply but my heart wasn’t in it.

The next day I went to the speaker’s house and there was a sheriff there auctioning off his belongings. He evidently hadn’t made enough the night before to pay the sheriff.

I gave the speaker a dollar bill so that he wouldn’t be 98 cents short.

He got in his Cadillac and drove way as I started up the engine in my Ford Taurus. My tank was full.

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