It never ceases to amaze me just how many people want my money. There’s not that much of it, even when including the change jar, the Altoids tin for quarters and whatever the cats collect with their miniature coffee cups (and “will ignore you for food” signs) down by the subway tracks. The number of companies with hands outstretched has only increased in unemployment. Didn’t they get the memo? Didn’t they read the billboards? Didn’t they see the handiwork of the skywriter I hired to fly over the Super Bowl? Well let me sum it up… I DON’T HAVE A JOB!
That might be exactly the point. Marketing to the unemployed and others hit hard by the down economy is everywhere. It’s growing into quite a cottage industry – one to be wary of – as this excellent
According to writer Chris Colin, “the downturn has given rise to an army of consultants, coaches, advisers, experts and others…” who want to help those hurt by the economy. Some were layoff victims themselves, and are looking to make lemonade out of lemons. And some may even have people’s best interests in mind, insofar as they match up with their own profit motive. We still live in a capitalist society, sort of. None of this necessarily means that we need – or can afford – what they’re selling. Nor does it mean their products and services are worth the price.
Desperation makes people ripe for exploitation. Many marketers rely and prey on it. Take it from someone who’s been around the block a few times and had zillions of fliers shoved in his face (and loves talking about himself in the third person), people want money and have interesting ways to get it.
Look no further than your good friend, the job site. Moments after posting a resume, the ridiculous emails offering useless services start coming in. The resume fax blast might be my favorite. For a low, low fee,
JOAN, president of HR, hovers over department fax machine looking concerned.
Come quick everyone, we’ve got a resume coming through on the fax machine.
STEVE, vice president of HR, comes running. He’s out of breath from chain-smoking unfiltered Marlboros at his desk. The tips of his fingers are black from making carbon copies.
What’s his name?
I can’t read it. But if he faxed his resume, he must be a technology expert. And we really need a technology expert.
See if he will start tomorrow. Offer to pay him whatever he wants. I have to have him working for us.
(Cut to the late 1970s)
Come on, does anyone even use a fax machine anymore? I can’t remember the last fax I received that didn’t involve Caribbean cruises or deals on toner cartridges. This service seems like a great way to lighten your wallet, waste paper and guarantee continued unemployment.
I found a site the other day called
I can’t seem to get away from all those
There are so many problems with this setup, my brain hurts just thinking about it. Mailing your valuables in an envelope addressed to “Cash4Gold” is like saying, “please steal from me” to everyone who handles that envelope. Of course your valuables are safe once they reach Cash4Gold headquarters because the “entire Cash4Gold process is monitored by our security enforcement staff.” That’s reassuring. The gold owner is relying on this company to honestly assess the gold and place a value on it. We can’t trust our most esteemed financial institutions not to steal from taxpayers, yet it’s somehow reasonable to trust a company that uses “as seen on TV” as a major selling point. I could go on, but what’s the point?
There is at least the suggestion of value in all of these services. A faxed resume could reach an HR person. The government jobs site may have a worthwhile resume-editing service. And Cash4Gold will probably send some amount of money in exchange for gold. I just don’t think this is enough reason to take the risk. Here’s one simple rule of thumb for judging any service aimed at those hit hard by the economy… if the website sucks, the company and its services probably do too. Is the company established? Is the company likely to make good on its promises? A professional website is a good indicator. And a little research can lead to answers too. There’s no need to get suckered while trying to get by, especially now.