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Fred's Views

The Hook

Every day my e-mail is overflowing with offers to consolidate my debts, re-finance my mortgage, or increase my income by hundreds or thousands of dollars a week, all with little or no effort. I delete them out-of-hand. I don't trust them. The sad part is I really could use having my debts consolidated, my mortgage re-financed and some extra cash. If only I could do all these things through the wonder of the Internet.

To be sure, you can begin the process of getting a loan or a mortgage over the Internet but, at some point, the old, traditional ways of doing things take over. I hate talking to people about my finances. It's embarrassing. I feel like I'm so incompetent for needing some financial assistance. Okay, to some degree I have managed my finances poorly. I spent money somewhat foolishly on computer hardware and software - as well as other things. But, not unlike many other families, I've had some financial set backs that were unforeseen and not really my fault. I've always wanted to put money away "for a rainy day", but I've never ever had enough money for a "sunny day".

There are people, somewhere, who are making money on the Internet. Maybe some of the people polluting our mailboxes with e-mail spam actually make some money doing it, but I doubt it. Somebody's making money, but not very many. But there ought to be some legitimate way for a person like me to make money using my computer, my Internet connection, my intellect and some good old-fashioned hard work. There ought to be. But I have yet to find it. I'm not interested in joining the "spamming" world even if you absolutely, positively guarantee that I'll make money. Even if you put the money in my hand up front. There are just some things I'm not going to do.

One of the things that bother me about these "get rich quick" schemes is that they promise too much for too little. I'm not looking to make thousands of dollars a week. But I would like to make a thousand or so a month. I'm not looking to do it without effort. But I would like to do it from my own home and, to some extent, on my own timetable. I'd be happy to put in 40 hours or so over a month for a thousand dollar return. I'd even be able to put in more time, at least at first. But I haven't found a way, yet.

You may think that, because I'm willing to "bare my soul" (to some extent) on my web sites, and that I was a teacher, that I enjoy talking to people and can "sell myself". Well, you'd be wrong. It's easy(at least for me) to put my thoughts "on paper" where I can edit and rearrange them until they almost say what I intended to say. It's very difficult for me to carry on a conversation. It's fairly easy for me to create a web site with graphics, simple ASP scripts and other features, but it is almost impossible for me to "sell" my skills to others.

I started this topic because I was struck by the irony of receiving offers I could very well use - but which I was sure were not really "legitimate". I get an e-mail regularly about how the government gives away grants of as much as $50,000. Of course, I'm sure it's the U.S. government that is being featured. And while I'm sure such grants are made from time to time - and sometimes undeservedly - I suspect that very few people would receive anywhere near that much money. And very few, if any, would receive a grant as a direct result of replying to the e-mail. I'm sure the Canadian government has made some grants as well, but not likely for as much money and, I'm sure, the ad won't help me get any of it. I've become quite proficient at deleting this stuff, but it still amazes and bothers me. I'm amazed that anyone would respond to these ads - but surely someone, somewhere is or they would stop. And then I'm bothered by the possibility that maybe, just maybe, one of them is "legitimate" and I may be deleting the answer to all my problems. And, I guess, that's the hook they hope will eventually reel me in.

Copyright © 2002 by Fred Oldfield. All rights reserved.

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