"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't"

"I was looking for a job to make money, not spend it"

August, 1999
By someone who heard the "pitch"

With some anxiety about leaving the military I started reading the classifieds looking for work. I have a strong administrative background looked for a job that wouldn't be too draining--because I plan on going to school full time. But I still wanted to earn a decent salary. I saw the following add:

Public Personal Relations
If you enjoy greeting people & desire an executive level income.
Call for an appointment

It looked legitimate to me. I called the number and spoke to a girl who was really upbeat and wasn't concerned about my background or experience--she was looking for "personality." When I asked about the company and what she was hiring for her reply was that they were a company called "Impact International", which sold products to visitors in the area and though they were hiring representatives--she was looking for someone to take on some of her responsibilities as an executive assistant. She made it sound like a potential partnership.

Her main goal was to find someone she would get along and work well with. I asked her what I needed to bring to the interview and she said I could bring my resume if I already had one, but not to worry about making one up if I hadn't already. She asked me when I could meet for an interview and I told her I was still working full time and could only meet after 4pm. She said there had just been a cancellation for a 7:00 PM appointment for the next night. I took the slot and gave her my phone number because she said she wanted to be able to reach me if her schedule changed. This sounded like a legitimate and potentially great job.

I showed up the next day and immediately got a weird feeling. There were several people there. It seemed like a job fair--not the intimate one-on-one interview that I was expecting. As soon as I walked inside I was asked to sign in and take a seat. It appeared like they were calling people in one or two at a time for interviews. When I was called the lady I thought I was meeting with was unavailable and I was brought into a room with everyone else. Everyone was gathered around smiling and showing enthusiasm about his or her "new" company. So, I'm thinking "Oh, it's a new company and they have a lot of staff to hire, and everyone is getting motivated to start a new business." Then we took our seats and that's when I noticed a product display against the wall.

And now comes the bull. A couple of demonstrations of their products and a lot of motivational hype. A few testimonials, some success stories and I'm thinking, "all I want is to be an administrative assistant."

Then comes the big pitch--"Are you a #1, #2 or #3 person." I told them I was a #2, because that included people who thought some of the products made sense, though I was still waiting to hear the catch.

Well, the catch finally came. The big super duper once in a lifetime opportunity "BASIC TRAINING"--at the ridiculous price of $300.00. I was out. But thought if there was a way I could avoid the training, but still get a job for some extra income I'd like to work there--everyone was so nice.

Then I saw how nice they really were. When I didn't have any money in my checking account or any resources borrow the money they made me feel like I was missing out on the opportunity of a Lifetime, but they would not personally guarantee me a refund if I was not satisfied with their training. Any really "nice" person would not try to convince someone to try any means possible to get money for something you know nothing about. Especially when you know they have such limited means.

I explained that I was looking for a job to make money, not spend it. Their persona changed and I could tell they were quickly losing interest in me. I was told to come to the next meeting and bring my friends, but "don't tell them about the $300.00". They explained the meetings are something like a movie and everyone has to see and experience it for himself or herself.

On the drive home I began thinking about EQUINOX and that's when I think the brainwashing started to hit me. Even though I realized I had been lied to, to get me to the meeting and that the company can't possibly be new--I was actually considering applied for a loan so could get the training. I began thinking things like--I could make the money to pay back the loan off within a week. But after a heart to heart conversation with a good friend and doing a little research I've realized this has got to be the biggest scam ever.

I really believe the truth needs to come out about such scams and people need to be better informed. It seems like organizations like this thrive off of people like me who are really hurting for money and who would do just about anything to get out of the situation they are currently in.

I now hold the phrase--"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't"--dear to my heart.

Copyright © Rick Ross

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