This Is A Bad Experience Business (written February, 2013)

There is not a day that goes by that I do not get a bunch of phone calls from people telling me that they were scammed by this person or scammed by that person for the umpteenth time. So I usually tell them to join the club. I too have been scammed a bunch of times. Why? Because this is a bad experience business.

So I got to thinking. Is this business really that bad? What about other businesses I thought? I thought about the last time I leased a vehicle. Man did I do my due diligence. I went to every car dealer I could and compared the same class of model car for every make. Some dealers I could tell immediately weren’t dealing and some were. To cut my story a little short, I narrowed my search to two comparable cars and I went to each dealer to see what I could work out – each car didn’t have all the same options so it would be a little give and take for me – no problem because the price was right Bob Barker! After speaking with both salesman, I narrowed the car down and I really felt I got a great deal – I really did. So after a few days of enjoying my new ride, I decided to read the lease in its entirety – guess what? There were hidden charges I thought I caught ahead of time and there was a one-time extra payment when I return the car in a couple of years. Yikes! Kind of funny because one of the benefits of leasing this car was I got the first month for free. Obviously I didn’t if I have to make an extra payment at the end. When I called the dealer back just 4 days after I signed the papers and took possession of the car, guess what? He told me I was stuck for the next few years. Was I scammed? Or should have I read the entire contract before I signed it. Chalk it up to a bad experience.

Then another time I had a new heating system put in my house along with new piping throughout the house. I needed a new boiler and my house needed to be re-done anyway, so I gutted all the rooms the piping was put through and resheet-rocked and painted myself. I made sure all the windows were caulked and my house with its new heating system was completely buttoned up. My wife and I were excited. We knew our house needed updating and now it was going to be cost efficient. Yes sir re Bob, we finally won one for a change. You know what though? The house for the first five years was actually colder in the winters – my wife and kids were always cold and we didn’t save a dime on fuel costs at all. After five years, I hired a new boiler guy to maintain my boilers and clean them. One June afternoon – it was hot – he was cleaning the boiler system preparing my house for the winter season and we were just chatting. In the conversation, I mentioned about what I did to the house and it really wasn’t working for me. He said the system was great. So he was surprised. So when he finished cleaning the boilers, he started going from room to room following the new piping that I had put in five years earlier. To cut this story a little short also, he told me that the piping that was put in was the wrong system for my house and this particular boiler, so in essence, my boiler was working harder, costing me more money for energy. I was shocked. I called the company that put in the boiler system and guess what? Their number was disconnected and they were out of business. Surprised? I don’t think so. So I asked the new guy what I can do. He said rip out the old system and he’ll replace it. What do you mean – rip out the walls again, repaint-move furniture, etc. etc…I won’t continue because I am sick to my stomach about it even to this day so I will just say it was just another bad experience.

So recently I made an appointment for a check-up with my doctor. I need to make sure this body is in good working order baby! A day before the appointment I get a call from the doctor’s office reminding me that I need to be on time and that if I have to cancel, since its within 24 hours of the appointment, I will be charged for the visit. No problem I told the girl. I’m always on time – usually 15 minutes early. And so I was 15 minutes early the next day. I check in at the desk, they take my co-payment and ask me to sit down until I’m called. Life is great for me. So 15 minutes go by – nothing. 30 minutes go by – nothing. 45 minutes go by – nothing. So after an hour and ten minutes I go to the front desk and ask the girls what’s up? Before I could ask them of course the three girls had to finish their conversation about what their husbands did last night. That was another 5 minutes of waiting. I guess they couldn’t see my 6’5”, 265 pound petite body in front of them. So when they are ready to hear what I said, they tell me that they were sorry, but the doctor had an emergency. So I said OK, but why am I waiting then? Oh, its’ acceptable because why? I said to the lady that you called me yesterday to make sure I was here on time or I would be charged. How come you didn’t call me today to tell me the doctor had an emergency and I should come in an hour or so later? The doctor’s time is more valuable than mine? By who’s standards? So just then the doctor walks out and I said to him, what’s up Doc? He explained to me that he had an emergency, he was sorry, blah blah blah. I told him what I said to the ladies at the front desk and I told him it was unacceptable. He said that’s the way it is. There’s nothing he can do about it. I’ll cut this story short because I don’t use that doctor anymore and what I told him is not printable. Chalk it up to just another bad experience.

So I continued thinking and thinking. Back in 1990, I joined this vitamin energy company called BYKOTA. I think that was the name. I loved the vitamins. Like always I joined in a few positions, so I was getting extra vitamins every month. What did I do with these extra vitamins? I started giving them out free as samples to friends, workers, and even the foreign guy at the gas station – I gave out samples to everyone. Pretty much, most everyone loved them like I did so they would subscribe to get monthly vitamins. I built my commission check to over $5,000 per month in about 17 months – my last check was for $5,004.58 – this is back in 1990. You could buy a BMW for $25,000 back then – a top of the line one! So I told my wife that I worked hard and I wanted to reward myself with buying a bring new BMW with the next commission check as my down payment. Fortunately my wife is a good one and agreed with me. So I went and test drove the BMW’s and the salesman was kissing my hinny, calling me every day – he even took me out to lunch one afternoon. I told him I was ready!  I was just waiting on my guaranteed check I earned from BYKOTA. Life for me is great at this point! So here comes my mail and I get my usual envelope from BYKOTA and I open it expecting my commission, but guess what? Due to unforeseen reasons, they had to close up shop and go out of business. There goes my $5,000 a month commission, my energy vitamins and my BMW. A huge bad experience!

So as I sit here, and I just got another disparaging call from another person, I wonder? Are every business dealings bad experiences? No they are not, but in order to get to the good ones, you definitely have to trudge through the bad ones to learn. Did I stop leasing cars? No. Did I stop using boiler guys? No. Did I stop using doctors? No. Did I stop promoting MLM? No. What did I do? I changed the way I looked at things and I learned to be more inquisitive. I learned that I better not just rely on experts – I better read up on what I am looking for to have a better understanding before I go to lease a car, or change my boiler system, or visit a doctor or even join into and promote an MLM. Knowledge is power!

I think the reason we all have bad experiences with everything we do is because we go into it blind with no understanding or very little understanding of what we are getting into and what is expected of us.  So I will tell all you good people out there – MLM is the greatest business in the world for us little guys to make a nice living. It’s not easy and you better read up and learn about this business before you put your hard earned money up at risk. So were we scammed? Probably not. Did we feel scammed? Yes. Just like everything else, this is a bad experience business. Get used to it.

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.