by Miguel Cruz
Chris' posting of his run in with a Primerica rep brought back semi-fond memories of early 1998. I had just graduated college with a degree in Radio, TV, Film and was ready to embark on my career that would eventually earn me my Academy Award and 2.5 billion in worldwide box office revenue sometime in the future before I die. I was holding down my job at the Wal-Mart electronics department while sending my resume to any and everyone I could find that did something related to video. One morning I got a call from a guy who wanted to interview me for a job. Hot diggity shit! A prospect!
By this point, I was well aware that this wasn't the kind of job I was looking for, but maybe it would be better than where I was. I was immediately impressed by the fact that the interview was taking place in a place where people sat at desks, wearing ties, and answering phones. This seemed way cooler than the dopey blue vest I had been wearing for the previous year and half having to stand all day. I was told that they were Primerica and that they did financial something or other.
It was fifteen minutes into the conversation before I noticed the guy was missing one of his fingers. "How did he lose it?" I wondered. I had thought about how James Doohan, Star Trek's Scotty, had one of his fingers shot off storming the beach at Normandy. This guy was way too young for that, but as he held his hands out illustrating the enormity of the company I envisioned a German machine gunner targeting his digit, the fuck you finger as it just so happened.
But more importantly I was struck by the hard sell I was being given. This was the exact opposite of my job interview experience up to this point. I already knew that it was more customary for the interviewee to do a song and dance, pour your heart and soul into convincing the interviewer to give you a job, to have all your effort be met with a dispassionate, "We'll call you to let you know." And then never to get that call.This was more like talking to a car salesman who'll swallow every drop of your cum if you just make a purchase. That was enough to put me on guard while not completely writing off the prospect.
A week later, I was invited back to a seminar at the same office. I was ushered into a room with about 20 or 30 other people where we were given a presentation by some other fella about how great it was to work for Primerica. Then he put up the overhead (we, the culture, were still using these then) sheet explaining the money we would have to pay to come to work for them. At a minimum it would run about $200 to get some kind of license to sell whatever the hell Primerica sold. Although I had yet to hear this piece of wisdom at that point, the "you should never have to pay to work for someone" advice just had so much common sensicalness to it that it never needed explaining to me. I was done at that point and when the guy-who-can't-flip-the-bird kept calling I had to tell him I wasn't interested to get him to stop.
So when Chris mentioned it just the other day, I realized that I hadn't thought to check them out on the web. Everything points to their being a pyramid scheme, a concept I was only faintly aware of in 1998. Over the years I've been hit up with other various such pyramid schemes. Some people at the post office where I work are knee deep in the Stream/Ignite pyramid scheme. A few years back some former co-workers of Kim's tried to sell us on Quixtar after having told us prior to the meeting that they weren't involved with Amway. Quixtar, by the way, was the new name Amway had given itself to get one over on the folks in North America who had grown weary and suspicious of Amway. Thus
My basic problem with the pyramid scheme. Aside from the problem of the numbers it requires to really make something of it, you have to go out and pimp really hard. If I was that dedicated of a salesman, if I felt no unease trying to sell someone on something they aren't interested in in the first place, I could have just started my own damn business a long time ago. Realistically, if I sunk all the money to get started on all the "opportunities" being offered by these schemes, I know that very quickly I would simply give up trying to sign up all my friends and acquaintances into joining my "business".