By in Make Money, Mind and Money, Wealth | 18 comments

 Or Beware of the Scam; There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (Dinner)

“Anyone who wants to sell you overnight success or wealth is not interested in your success; they are interested in your money.”
Bo Bennett

Imagine, you can buy, for just $99 the secret to being #1 on google, or how to sell on-line (even if you don’t know how to use a computer). Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Read on and learn……

A Free Dinner (For an Hour of Your Time)

Amongst the junk mail, El Carino fished out an invitation to a FREE internet marketing seminar offering; a free MP3 player, dinner, and a chance to win a computer. Having been around the block a few times, I knew this would be a “sales pitch” for something….. and of course I was right!

Against my better judgment, I agreed to attend.

Get ready to find out how the evening unfolded:

Watch out for the make millions online scam!

The peppy “welcome team” initiated small talk and made us feel at home.

Next came Jackson, who shared a story about his 5 offspring, 3 of whom were in the military. Of course, we all liked this! Jacksosn was building rapport and affiliating with us. The pitch was beginning.

Next came the barrage of questions:

  • Who wants to make more money in their spare time?
  • Who wants to learn about “drop shipping” and being number 1 on Google search?
  • Who wants to earn money while they’re sleeping?
  • Who wants a place to work in an environment free of age, race, and gender discrimination?

Can You Learn How to Get Rich at a Free Dinner Seminar?

Sales 101 dictates that you’re more likely to make a sale if you get the client in the habit of saying “YES.” Guess what, no one said “No” to the above questions. We were getting primed “to buy.”

Sales technique; always closing. Even if you don’t know anything about computers, if you are willing to learn and work hard, this program is for you.

What would a sales seminar be without testimonials? Doris’ story is next; a single mom, computer illiterate, making ends meet with several part time jobs. Within 6 months and countless calls to customer services, she had a successful on-line business with money rolling in while she slept.

Next came some published examples of how much “Internet Marketing” courses cost in the real world; from a high of $7,000 to a low of $1,200.

Wow, none of us lemmings in the audience wanted to pay in the $1,000’s for an internet marketing course.

Guess what? We have a chance to sign up for a FULL DAY WORKSHOP to learn these exclusive strategies that others are charging 1000’s of dollars. Aren’t we lucky?

Better yet, if we sign up NOW for this SPACE LIMITED course filled with internet marketing secrets we get it for the low price of $99. And to entice us more, we can bring a guest. Plus there’s a free lunch. And if that wasn’t enough, they throw in a FREE netbook computer.

How could I say no?

But first we must qualify by completing a 3 question survey assessing our interest and motivation, and oh, by the way, “Do you have a checking account?

Wow, sounds exclusive; they want to know if I have a checking account!

Now everyone can go to the back of the room to sign up for the spectacular 1 day workshop. Don’t worry if there’s no money in your account, or your debit card is maxed out, they won’t charge you until the day of the workshop.

A Fool and his/her Money are Soon Parted

Have you ever attended a sales seminar? Did you buy? You know what I’m talking about; a time share presentation or make money with real estate in your spare time.

Making money and being an entrepreneur are never easy and rarely quick. I think passive income opportunities are rare. Coming from an entrepreneurial background and starting my first business at age 16, I speak from experience. Whenever presented with an opportunity that sounds implausible, ask yourself:

Does this sound realistic? Make money from an internet business when you don’t know how to use a computer?

BEWARE, there are all sorts of scams being promoted by outstanding sales people. If you have to SIGN UP NOW or the amazing opportunity won’t be repeated…. RUN as fast as you can. If it’s a viable endeavor, it’s not going away immediately. Do not be pressured by a time limited exclusive offer that goes away after you leave the room.

What I wondered during the seminar was, why didn’t Leland, the presenter have one of these “internet marketing websites” they were selling?  And, where was my MP3 player?

Turns out that we have to mail a coupon in to get the MP3 player. Oh well… at least we got the free meal.

Months later, still no MP3 player.


Gaining wealth is not easy and requires persistence & discipline. Get started NOW. Write down 1 step you will take this week to improve your finances. Be creative. Follow through.

If you want to start a side business, list your salable skills.

Readers, have you ever been to one of these sales events? Did you buy? What did you learn?

a version of this article was previously published

image credit: jepoierrier



  1. That sounds eerily similar to the Rich Dad Poor Dad seminars where they give you an mp3 player to attend one of their seminars!


    September 20, 2010

  2. Ha ha, I have never been enticed by these crappy sales pitches, never ever been dragged into the room. However if you got a schedule you could make quite a good round of free lunches in your city…..


    September 20, 2010

  3. I know when I was engaged, I got a thing in the mail offering a fantastic deal to a resort for a ridiculously low price. It seemed too good to be true, so we didn’t sign up. However, it turned out it was a scam, and I would have been so angry had I relied on this trip for my honeymoon. So, I learned early on to be very skeptical, although it is possible I have missed out on some great deals.

    Everyday Tips

    September 20, 2010

  4. Yes, I am very skeptical about any solicitations that I receive because of how frequently they turn out to either be scams or people who are just interested in selling me stuff. Unfortunately, I have friends who have been a little unsettled when I refused to allow them to directly market their latest and greatest product or service to me.

    Roshawn @ Watson Inc

    September 20, 2010

  5. I’m very skeptical of these things as well…..although I’m enticed to try out the “free weekend at a resort” for listenting to a seminar on time-shares. I haven’t tried one yet, but how horrible can it be to trade a few hours of time? I wouldn’t actually buy one :).

    Car Negotiation Coach

    September 20, 2010

  6. “Whenever presented with an opportunity that sounds implausible, ask yourself; why are these sales people selling this program rather than enjoying the fruits of wealth from amazing internet marketing strategies?”

    Best thing you can ever ask, Barb! I learned this lesson in Phuket with some timeshare presenters, but thankfully lost nothing more than my time…

    Invest It Wisely

    September 20, 2010

  7. “Whenever presented with an opportunity that sounds implausible, ask yourself; why are these sales people selling this program rather than enjoying the fruits of wealth from amazing internet marketing strategies?”

    Best thing you can ever ask, Barb! I learned this lesson in Phuket with some timeshare presenters, but thankfully lost nothing more than my time…

    P.S. Comment with URL went into spam 🙁

    Invest It Wisely

    September 20, 2010

  8. Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts. I might as well tell you that when el Carino and I were young and poor, we used to go to the time share presenations deliberately for the free meals, shows, & giveaways. In spite of the shadiness, it did motivate me to work harder on my own internet endeavor: my blog! We’ll see if I ever get that mp3.
    (Kevin thanks for being tenacious, I know where to find you)


    September 20, 2010

  9. We have attended a few timeshares and managed to get out of it without any damage. Now, we tell them straight out that we are here for the gift, so we are not buying anything. If he still wants to waste his time pitching us some awesome investment idea, he can go ahead.

    The only time I just couldn’t sit was a Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminar to which I was dragged to by a friend of mine. I just couldn’t sit, they could have offered me $1000 to sit through the half day presentation (which turned out to be a pitch for a 3 day workshop), I would still walk away.


    September 20, 2010

  10. It always seems that these sales pitches seem to use the same strategy. They lure in people who really want to become entrepreneurs with some wine and dine tactic. Then, you come to find out it will cost quite a bit. A friend of ours almost paid $11,000 for some online business but decided to call my husband to check out the company’s story. My husband went through some questions he should ask the company and it turns out the company our friend was going to give all that money to, didn’t appreciate being questioned! Needless to say, our friend did NOT buy into that scam.

    Little House

    September 21, 2010

  11. Little House-You are so right. The seminar we attended did not allow the audience to ask questions (they had to submit on paper). Some of the attendees were unemployed and probably could not afford the price of the string of workshops they were about to purchase! As always, buyer beware!


    September 21, 2010

  12. There’s really no such thing as a free lunch or dinner!

    I attended a timeshare thing once with a friend; we were in Vegas some years back, and he just couldn’t resist the idea of getting free stuff while listening to their pitch. I had never attended any of these “presentations” before, and had no intentions of doing so. I didn’t want to go, but he’s a longtime buddy of over 20 years, so I went along with it, to be good friend.

    The whole thing took up 3 hours of time. After 2 hours, I went out to a “waiting room”, as I lost interest in listening to the drivel. My friend stayed through the end. The so-called “gifts” had all kinds of strings attached. It wasn’t worth the time at all, except I look at it now as a one-time educational session for me to confirm what I expected: those things are a waste of time and money.

    Again, no free lunch or dinner!


    September 23, 2010

  13. Hi Squirrelers, 3 hours is waaaay toooo long, unless one’s time has little or no value! But, each of us has our own priorities, and that’s why these gimmicks succeed. Fortunately, our program was just a bit over 90 minutes…. although still waiting for the MP3 players.
    Thanks for stopping by.


    September 23, 2010

  14. I went to one of these programs about 10 or 12 years ago. It was for buying real estate with no money down. They basically kept us there for 3 hours to tell us to open up loans at 5 different banks using the previous loan to secure the next one. They then proceeded to sign a lot of people up for a $4,400 “bootcamp” weekend where they would learn how to identify and purchase property with no out of pocket expense!

    I couldn’t believe how many people actually whipped out their credit cards!

    Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    September 25, 2010

  15. It’s painful to see so many search for a “magic bullet” to wealth. There is no SECRET. Wealth is all about sensible money habits practiced over the LONG TERM.


    September 25, 2010

  16. Apparently “There’s a sucker born every minute” holds true. There must be enough people buying into these things — internet marketing seminar, timeshare, or whatever — to support paying for the venue and the “free” tidbits they give out. Amazing… And we wonder why people don’t have much in savings.

    Bryce @ Save and Conquer

    September 4, 2013

  17. @Bryce-So true. I was cringing when I saw people signing up! So sad, you know the odds of failure are so high!

    Barbara Friedberg

    September 4, 2013

  18. I remember reading that a real estate guy on an infomercial made more from the “how to” book he sold than in real estate. Somehow that seems wrong even if it isn’t a scam. The people who buy the book will probably make very little too.


    September 4, 2013


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