Now, anybody that knows me knows I got a pretty good head for business. Me and Cyril have had our Backyard Auto Sales business for a few years now, and I don’t like to brag, but I do pretty good for myself sellin’ worms, especially durin’ fishin’ season.
I don’t even remember Georgie’s real name, but when we were growin’ up everybody called him Georgie Eyebrow because as long as anybody can remember, instead of two eyebrows like a normal person, he got one big one that goes about halfway around his head.
Georgie, bye, how’s she goin’? I ask him and we get to talkin’.
After the usual hellos he says to me – Ya know what I figured out? (I says, Whuh?) He says, I figured out the way to make some money for yourself in this world is to let other people do your work for you.
I laughed, of course, and asked what he meant, and that’s when he kind of explained the whole thing. He said he just got hired by this company from away and that right now he was settin’ up representatives in our local sales territory.
What I do, eh, is I get my team of guys set up and they go out there and sell the product, he says. Then the company pays me a portion of the sales – a little commission, like – because I went out and found these guys.
Ahhhh! I said, right impressed. Sounds like you got ‘er made then, eh?
I’m tellin’ ya, I’ve been doin’ this three days now and it’s the best job I ever had, Georgie says. But here’s the best part.
Whuh? I ask him.
Well like I say, I’m pretty much in charge of who works under me, eh. And I’m lookin’ to build my team, so what do you think – you wanna become a part of my team?
I was right surprised, and kind of flattered. Me? I asked him.
Well sure, he said. I know you must got a pretty good head for business, sellin’ all them worms.
That’s true, I said. What’s the business, though? What would I be sellin’, like?
Ahhh, see that! He said. You’re still thinkin’ like a workin’ man. You’re free to do some sellin’ if ya want, but I tell ya somethin’, if you become one of my managers, you’d be able to get fellas to do the sellin’ for ya, and then that’s how you start to make some serious money.
G’way, I said, noddin’ along.
Yeah, see as long as I gives ya my stamp of approval and you pay the small set-up fee, you can become a manager under me, and then, just the way I do, you can hire your own salesmen.
G’way, I said again.
And, even better than that, rather than hire a salesman, you hire somebody to be a manager under you, then you make a percent of what that guy makes, but you also make a percent of what each of the guys under him makes.
G’way! I said again, I couldn’t believe my ears.
He explained the percentages to me and he was right quick doin’ the math in his head, but within a couple of minutes he showed me that if I just had a team of 20 managers under me, and each of them sold the average amount, I could easly make $5,000 a month for myself.
I shook his hand right excited and took him up on his offer and stood there for a second beamin’ – me, a regional sales manager. Imagine.
We agreed that he’d come to my house that night with the papers for me to sign and I went back home to tell Minnie the great news.
She had a big smile on her face when I told her I got a new job and how much money we were talkin’ about and everything else. But then she started to get suspicious when she asked me the name of the company and I didn’t know.
I’m sure it’ll all be on the paperwork he’s bringin’ over tonight, I told her.
He’s comin’ here tonight? she asked me.
Yeah, I need to sign some papers and pay a start-up fee and –
And that’s when she cut me off.
Ohhh Billy, she said. It’s a pyramid scheme – you didn’t get hired for a job, you got tricked into joinin’ a pyramid scheme. They make their money by suckin’ in more people who will then suck in more people to join. It’s like that old commercial for the shampoo, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific. You tell two of your friends and they tell two of their friends and on and on, and when the new guy pays his money, everybody up the line gets a share of it. It’s as crooked as a left-handed hockey stick for cripesake.
Now, I wasn’t really sure what a pyramid scheme was, but it sounded bad.
But I’m gonna be a regional manager! He even told me so!
Ohhh Billy, she said again, sort of in a sad way. Well tell me this – did this fella even tell you what product this business sells?
I was startin’ to get my back up a little bit.
Of course he did, Minnie! But when I stopped to think, I couldn’t remember what it was. He never said what we’d be sellin’, did he?
So that night, Georgie showed up with a contract for me to sign and asked for a start-up fee of only $500. Needless to say, I told him if he didn’t get out of my house I’d hit him so hard he’d wake up with two eyebrows.