Saturday, February 13, 2010

#27 Sincerity and scam (retro)

Sincerity and Scam

I got several new emails today and was answering them when I started thinking about the sincerity that I am trying to get across to my readers. I am reminded of something that happened just today, some mail my brother got.

Today I checked the mail and saw a large brown colored envelope that looked like it was from someplace important. The envelope was from someplace called Program Headquarters in Minnesota, but was addressed to my brother in his name and “or current occupant”.

I personally thought is was something important, but when he looked at it, he tossed it like trash. I looked at it since he said I could, and when I looked inside, I was disappointed in what I saw.

It was a cleverly disguised sales pitch from a local car dealer…or let’s just call it what it is…a scam. This place is called Cox Chrysler Jeep Dodge and it is a scam that they and many other car dealers do so often that is it pathetic.

They always have this extravagant scratch and win scam, which involves them sending you some “secret” scratch off, and if your number matches the number enclosed, you win the jackpot. In this case the prizes include:

Mortgage paid for one year (only $10,000)

2008 Chrysler PT/Cruiser (selling price $10,000)

$5,000 cash

A Wal-Mart Gift card worth up to $2,000

And $150.00 cash.

Each scam they do has different prizes, but they all go to the same end. Anyway, you scratch off the number, and guess what…YOU WIN.

The numbers ALWAYS match, so you think you are a winner of the grand prize… believe me folks, if we have received 20 of these scams from local car dealers, they ALL are “winners”.

In this case, there is a fake key included, and you have to bring that and the “winning number” to the dealer. The scam letter also comes complete with a “US Economic Stimulus Approved” seal, as if there is one.

So since my brother didn’t care to scratch it off, I did, and the numbers matched… it says I am a winner, rather, my brother is, since it was addressed to him. But this is part of the scam. The hook is to get you to come to the dealer to claim your prize, and then be hit with a sales pitch. So all across town, there are likely hundreds, or thousands of people hitting the “jackpot”… but how can that be?

In a small effort to protect itself, Cox Chrysler Jeep Dodge adds the fine print, which says that the winning number must match THEIR winning number in the office, and of course, you have to go SEE them to find out. So what did I win, if anything?

According to the fine print, it says that 28,000 of these stupid ads were printed and sent…and I can imagine how much it cost to send these fancy looking and colorful ads. But it also says that the chances of winning that mortgage payment is 1 in 28,000, same as the chances of winning the car and the $5,000 cash. That means only 3 winners of those grand prizes. Why even the Wal-Mart card is like that. The chance of winning that $2,000 gift card is 1 in 28,000, but your chances of winning a $5 Wal-Mart gift card is 27,995 out of 28,000. And yes, your chances of winning the $150.00 is 1 in 28,000.

So technically, everybody is a winner…so the scam goes.

But what do you bet that there are no real winners of the “grand prizes”? Or, to put it another way, no legit winners. I mean, The owners of the car dealer could easily set it up so one of their own, or themselves, win the prizes. I’d love to see if they actually report the winners, as they should.

So the scam is to make you think you are a winner, to lure you in the dealership to try to hard sell you a car…and who said all the criminals were in prison?

I say all that because you can easily see how easy it is to lose faith in a business when they do something like that. To advertise is one thing, but to disguise it as a jackpot contest where everybody wins big, and to also add on that they are “US Economic Stimulus Approved” is designed to fool, or mislead someone. That’s not how you should sell a car, that’s not how you should sell anybody anything.

Said the ex felon.

These are reminders of how I must try to be when I blog and when I talk about my free prison encouragement certificates, or my books, or for those who want to support my blogs. Heck, I know it’s hard for some to believe I am sincere in what I say, and to some, you are surely thinking I am trying to scam you on something.

I mentioned awhile back when I offered a free prison encouragement certificate to anyone on a yahoo prison site I was writing for. All I needed from them is an address to send it to, that is all. But one member felt she had to criticize my offer, and made a post saying, “hey, I know this guy, do NOT give your address or anything to him! He is going to use it for something!”

I have rarely felt so angry at somebody for such an outright lie! Yes, I knew of that person, but it was from another site where ironically, she was kicked out because she always had very negative things to say about a lot of posts on the site. Nobody liked her and she was always starting arguments with her negative comments.

So now she was on that yahoo site spitting on my offer. If God Himself was standing before me and everybody in the world, I would have absolute confidence that He would guarantee that what I offered was legit. All I wanted was an address to send it to, that is all. (note I say that with absolutely NO fear at all, because my offer was genuine).

But sadly, because of what that person said, who ironically had no credibility at all on that site, people started to wonder about my offer. Even a few said, “well, I could really use one of those certificates, but I wonder what the real catch is”. I was very upset at this, and made a post first defending my stand and offer, and also attacking the credibility of this person who does not know me at all, only my posts from another site.

I felt very betrayed because as the Good Lord as my witness, all I wanted to do was help. But now the very act of kindness I was trying to give was perverted into a scam. I mean, I am an ex con, so I must have been up to something, right (as a fool would say).

A few people said they believed in me, but wondered if I could just share the prison encouragement certificates by uploading it to the site, and then the members could use them as they want. That way, nobody loses anything and I still get to help. Sounds decent, right?


I find that a slap in my face that some people can need help so much, but are to ignorant, lazy and ungrateful to take a step in faith or what they want. I was highly insulted that these people expected me to serve them like a butler after they spit in my face. Besides, I could not upload the certificates unless they had the software to open it anyway. For some of those certificates I used “Print Shop”, but if you didn’t have that software, you could not open the file anyway. But even if you could, it was not my responsibility to make those things available to them. I made the offer, if you want it, I can send it, if not, I won’t.

So I ended up leaving the site, but not after sending a few to some members who had enough faith in me to ask for them. I sent them, and after they got them I got emails from them telling me how much they really appreciated it, and how much it gave them a spark of hope. They said their loved ones really liked it too, which was the entire idea.

I understand that people are not gonna trust ex felons much, especially when they want to sell you something, much less when they ask for financial support. It is proof positive that an ex felon has to work 10 times harder just to get the same respect as somebody else who has never been in prison…even if what the ex felon offers is legit, and the citizen offers a scam.

I mentioned that 28,000 of those flyers were sent out, I am guessing if even 10% of those “suckers” go to this Cox dealer, they would have pulled in a profit, even if they don’t sell a car to every one of those people. The idea is to deceive them long enough to get them into the car dealership… yet few question their methods because they are not ex felons.

But ironically, an ex felon with a great deal, or a product of value, is doubted by not only the general public, but even those with loved ones in prison. We just don’t trust ex felons when they want to “help” us…there’s something in it for them.

I am grateful that those who support me can see my sincerity, and not a scam. I am thankful that those who email me take the time to read my blogs, or email me to ask a question, and ask me about my books or cards. While there may be 50 people out there reading my blogs with doubt, there are 20 that read it, understand it, and support it.

Look guys, I can’t make you believe me, that is what your heart is for. If you are having doubts about my blog, stop reading it. Or, if it bugs you, go back and read more of my blogs. If after reading those, you want to email me, do so. I won’t bite, but I do delete emails from people who say ugly things.

It is an uphill battle when you try to please people who are too quick to condemn you. Just today PETA declined and refused Michael Vick from doing any public service announcements for animals with them, and then wants the NFL to give Vick a brain scan before being allowed to play in the NFL.

Folks, I love Animal Planet as much as the next person, in fact I watched a program today called, “Growing up Cheetah”. I love those shows…but PETA is acting like a idiot because not only are they refusing a man from a chance to redeem himself, but they are also trying to make it much harder for him to pursue his goal of playing football.

PETA has NO right doing that. None.

But yet this is how people treat ex felons. Not only do we want to make them a public example, and then refuse him a chance to say “I’m sorry” but we also want to put up roadblocks so he can’t get a job. If serving time was Michael Vick’s punishment, why in the Lord’s name are you continuing to condemn him?

And I don’t want no emails from people thinking I support what Vick did…I love animals, and I would never approve of destroying animals…(although pests like mosquitoes are fair game) but what I also understand is if a man is convicted and did time, let him come back and try to get his life back.

“But what if he doesn’t change”

Well who made you God, that you can see the hearts of man? What does PETA want Michael Vick to do? Crawl on his hands and knees across the state, begging every dog owner for forgiveness? Do you want him to give every penny he has to charity and live as the homeless? Even if he did all that, PETA would STILL not forgive him.

Odd, isn’t it, how man made organizations that defend animals can forget that God made those animals just as He made man, and actually gave up His Son for mankind…not animal kind…so that their sins can be forgiven.

This is why ex felons have such a hard time getting their lives back together… because people in society feel that they have some God-ordained mission to continue their condemnation. And as long as that ex felon (or current felon) buys into that, they will be hostage to that mentality. Until that ex felon can first forgive himself, and ask God for the same, he will always be under the thumb of somebody’s condemnation. If I was Michael Vick, and if I was sincerely apologetic, I would cut spots ANYWAY for animals, without PETA’s approval, to show that he was sorry for what was done, and want to make people aware of cruelty of animals, or at least to care for your pets. Somebody’s got to give him a chance to prove himself, even if PETA ignorantly refuses to do so.

Same with us all. A lot of your loved ones will face this when they get out, some will feel it while they are in prison or jail. But we can change that by changing how he or she looks at it. Trust me folks, we can change that.

And I don’t want to sound like some con artist when I say that, because I believe you can change that. But you have to be willing to buy what I am selling, rather than sucking your teeth and saying “yeah right”.

You have to decide as you read more of my blogs…am I sincere or am I scamming?

I hope you already know the answer.

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