This is the first Sunday in weeks that I haven’t encountered some fraudulent multilevel marketing (pyramid scheme) operator working a mark at Diedrich’s Coffee, my usual hangout. Maybe there’s a convention.
Just about always the table next to me on the patio is occupied by one of these scenes. After a few minutes of reading I’m drawn into eavesdropping by key phrases (“new technology”, “growth potential”, “own business”) and I sit back, sip my beverage, and drift into their world.
- Aging, tanned guy with comb-forward hair, sunglasses, Texas accent talking about diet and hair restoral technologies with hapless eager couple. He keeps talking about things like “this technology protrudes into the hypodermis” and the $10 billion market for something or other. He has lots of binders with him. He keeps talking about the people involved, including “Lars” who is a star in this world. “You can’t lose with Lars.” They seem happy about it all.
- Wide eyed unhappy 20something gay guy trying to get another somewhat less wide eyed guy to go for a scheme that isn’t apparent just from eavesdropping. He’s using the SPIN technique to sell the guy, but goes from Situation to Problem and can’t seem to go further, sliding back to the S part. This goes on for roughly two hours as my friend Pretty Boy Dave and I sit nearby. The experiment is a failure and they both leave.
- Large comfortable woman with lots of binders tries to convince another large woman that Primerica is the way to go. Lots of braying about how “AS SINGLE MOTHERS WE NEED TO PROVIDE!” and heavy emphasis on work-at-home success. Papers are exchanged and a long discussion of how much money a person could be known to make at this type of situation! ensues.
Rule: do not ever do business with anyone who has no office and wants to meet you at a coffee house.