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Monday, June 14, 2010


We're surrounded by scams.  Some are government programs masquerading as compassion.  Some are people that are looking to "stir the pot" and make a couple of bucks off of us.  And some are blatant attempts by businesses to separate gullible people from  their money.

Government Compassion

I hear stuff like this, and my head wants to explode.  It seems that some people just keep forgetting to take their medications.  Their free medications.  What's the obvious solution to this gripping problem?

Pay them to take their free medications -
Now, a controversial, and seemingly counterintuitive [duh! .ed], effort to tackle the problem is gaining ground: paying people money to take medicine or to comply with prescribed treatment. The idea, which is being embraced by doctors, pharmacy companies, insurers and researchers, is that paying modest financial incentives up front can save much larger costs of hospitalization.

“It’s better to spend money on medication adherence for patients, rather than having them boomerang in and out of the hospital,” said Valerie Fleishman, executive director of the New England Healthcare Institute, a research organization, who said that about one-tenth of hospital admissions and one-quarter of nursing home admissions result from incorrect adherence to medication. “Financial incentives are a critical piece of the solution.”
Yeah.  Give away more of my tax dollars to pay someone to take the medicines my tax dollars paid for, which were prescribed by the doctor I paid for.

As a side benefit, we'll get to once again penalize the people that actually do what they're supposed to do.  More accurately, you are providing an incentive to the people that currently follow the rules, to disregard them so they can then get the cash to do what they were already doing.

See what I mean about your head wanting to explode?

Even if it's not a government entity making the payments - Aetna, for instance is doing a test payments deal - do you really think Aetna is doing this for free?  Or do you think they'll pass the cost along to ALL of their customers?

[Start Heartless American Alert]  How about we let Darwin enter the equation.  The whole, "survival of the fittest" deal.  If you have such a low sense of self preservation that you can't even take your life-sustaining medications, should you really be our problem?

Obviously, if you have some sort of mental disability, it's a different story, but they would already have some sort of a care-giver.  Are we going to start paying the care-givers a bonus for doing their job?

That's not the case for these people in this story.

The article goes on and on about how paying the incentives NOW will save us money in the future.  That presumes that we will continue to care for them.

Just as you should have to work doing community service  to receive welfare payments (there are plenty of public parks that need toilets cleaned or weeds pulled since the recent budget cut-backs), there should be a minimum requirement to receive free health care.  If you're too stupid to take your free medicine, you be prohibited from receiving free long-term care when your disease destroys your ability to care for yourself.

Our last payment on your behalf should be your burial expense.  As my favorite morning radio station says, "Stupid Should Hurt".

Yeah, like that's going to happen...

[ End Heartless American Alert]

The article just kills me (pun intended).  They act like it's some paradigm-shifting revelation that if you give people money, they'll do what you want.

Give people $8000, and they'll buy a home.  Slip them some cash, they'll buy a car from a government-controlled auto company.  Pay kids some money, and they'll grace you with their presence at their free public school.

Jump through hoops, you happy little seals, and we'll give you a bit of fish as a reward.

The Gullible

Last night I was watching TV and a commercial came on the tube about this thing called The Pasta Boat.  It was this deal where the commercial is shot to make it look like boiling water and making pasta is on the same difficulty scale as splitting an atom.  It's just sooooo hard!

Their solution is this plastic tub you fill with water and pasta, throw in the microwave, and Viola!, you've got perfect pasta.  It's truly a modern miracle!

The price was twenty bucks.  BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!  If you order RIGHT NOW, they'll cut the price in half, so it'll only cost you ten bucks!

HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT, THAT'S NOT ALL!  They tell you they've lost their minds, and that they'll add a second Pasta Boat AND a free food chopper thingy.

In the small print it says, "Just pay separate shipping and handling".   Ahhhhh, the Scam Alert just started screeching.   Whoop!  Whoop!  Whoop!

I went to their site to see if I could find out what the actual cost might be.  After having to sit through the commercial again, I clicked the image and it brought me to the credit card section.  I found this, buried at the very bottom of the page -


So, that ten dollar super-duper deal has now devolved into a twenty-four dollar scam.  Wow, THAT was a shock...

Prepping "Patriot"

In February of 2009 I bought a bunch of heirloom seeds from an outfit called Survivalist Seeds.  A huge variety of seeds for what was a pretty good price.  The seed sprouted and worked as advertised.  I was a satisfied cutomer.

A few months later, I started getting emails from the seller complaining about his competition.  They were cheaters and crooks and under-cutting his business.  These other guys were driving him out of business.  Ok, whatever.

He then started a company called Patriot Food.  His pitch was that he would sell you enough food to feed two people for a year for under six-hundred dollars.  His headline at the time (and it's still there) was that a comparable amount of food cost over $3000 from his competitors (his price is now $725).

Having been a satisfied customer, I gave his site a look-see.  It sounded incredible.  It sounded too good to be true.  So I did some math, then sent him this email - 
How can you say this is enough food for two people for one year?  Based upon the published numbers on your site, the total calories provided by your package is 224,215.  For two people, that would be 307 calories per day per person.  No one can survive on that.  This isn't enough food for one person for a year, let alone two.

FYI, this isn't a "gotcha" email.  I already have my supplies set aside.  BUT, you either need to correct the caloric information on your package website, or change your marketing pitch.
I didn't get a response, but he changed his marketing pitch just a bit.  His site now says that when used in conjunction with canned meat, it provides enough food for 2 people for a year.  Oh, and the calorie count information on the dried food is now removed from the site.  Tough to "do the math" that way.

For a normal, healthy human being, you need 2000 calories a day.  With the 300 calories a day that this "deal" provides, that means you need to buy approximately 1700 calories per day, per person of canned meat!  3400 calories in total for those two people his package is meant to feed.  Really?!

He just happens to sell canned meat on his site (gasp!) and has some package deal where you can get 72 cans of different types of meat for $470.  But he doesn't say how much of this meat you need to get your 2000 calories per day, per person for a year.  No calorie or other nutritional information available, again.

He's in the process of shutting down the business.  I'm guessing it's because other people also "did the math" and saw there was no value to his offer.

Now, he offers to sell Silver Eagle coins for twice the going rate to go along with the food you're buying.

Here's the headline of his latest email gig -

Press Release


He mentions a number of his past predictions (no links provided to support these assertions - and this email had a BUNCH of other links in it) that he made based upon his code-breaking skills.

He'll now share this insider knowledge - but only to 50 of us fellow patriots - for a mere $250 each.  He'll send us this information on.... Independence Day.  Whoop!  Whoop!  Whoop!

Hell, maybe he's actually cracked the code.  Still, I think I'll pass.

Accept The Challenge

Obviously, I don't begrudge people for making a buck.  I'm as pro-capitalist as they come.  I encourage people to find multiple or creative streams of income.  But all of these are out-of-bounds in my book.

You don't make an honest living by finding ways through the political system to get paid to do what you should already be doing on your own.

You don't make an honest living by saying something is inexpensive, then scamming your buyers with hidden fees.

You don't make an honest living by telling someone they can survive a food shortage if they buy your product when your claims are full of air.

Crap like this gives our Emergency Preparedness industry a bad name.  If you think there are lizard-people out there plotting for our downfall, prove it.  Don't rant and rave and tell us how stupid we are for not buying your crap, give us some verifiable facts.

If you have the ability to predict what is going to happen to our economy, prove it.  I'd gladly be willing to pay big bucks for a reliable crystal ball.

But I want a "Double Your Money Back" guarantee.  And I want to see that money in some sort of an escrow account.  Your credibility is lacking.

You see, I already believe we're headed for some hard times.  Ugly, economically crushing times.  I've been preaching how to prepare for it for many, many years.

But I gathered my information - my facts - right off the Internet, or from newspapers and magazines.  I then used the analytical powers that God gave me and I connected the dots.  No voodoo code or secret handshake required.

Tell me something I don't know.

Buyer beware, baby...

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Jethro said...

Re: Prepping "Patriot"
Agreed, he should have stuck to seeds and a few other things. His latest series of emails lost me as a future customer although it doesn't matter I guess because he is shutting his business(es) down. He went from being a 'patriot' to being an all out milk 'em if you can type.

Keep up the good work.

Ryan said...

Never dealt with that fellow. However my dehydrated water packages come up for sale in a few weeks only $973 for a years worth of water! Protect your family drinking supply from the Bildenberg NWO thugs!

Chief Instructor said...

Jethro, yeah, the emails I've been receiving have seemed increasingly "different". Calling all of your customers/potential customers stupid idiots...

TOR, when I was a kid, my dad actually had a (gag gift) can of dehydrated water. It had printed instructions on the label along the lines of, "Add water, stir thoroughly, then consume".