View Full Version : A Lucrative Temptation... Stop Me Now!

2013-Jul-03, 09:26 PM
A Gollum vs Smeagol post.

As the crisis continues to bite here in Spain, we seem to be gathering quite a few of those cast adrift by events to our little corner of the world. These days we have a core of 4-5 forlorn souls who are tossing around ideas all the time of what kind of new business we could attempt to undertake and so avoid the coming nasties.

Then my inner Hyde got me to blurt out the fateful suggestion: a website and phone number for a cold-reading spiritual advice service making money off of tolled phone numbers, and monthly automatic bank debits for subscribers. I even thought of nice source and angle that would be very easy for me to make look good to the gullible: "Celtic mysteries of pre-Roman Spain finally uncovered! Find your true rune sign, now yours to guide you! Let your ancestral roots give you new life."

This is a big business here in Spain. I know that by using some easy cold-read techniques backed by between-call research, this could be very effective. Big-time, I think. Back when I was consulting and speaking publicly, I honed a lot of humbug skills, to put it lightly. Trust-inspiring phone voice, to boot. I could pull it off.

Hmmm. The whole thing makes me want to vom... engage in a personal protein spill... But it's legal. We could pay some heavy bills. We could keep 5 people off the street.

It's also wrong. Please feel free to guilt-trip the heck out of me so we don't turn our hellish little fancy into something real.

I'll start: Shame on me for even thinking of it, and for the brief moments of forbidden schadenfreude I indulged in.

[On the other hand, perhaps you would like to know more about your own true path and the bright future that could be yours...]

Ara Pacis
2013-Jul-03, 10:21 PM
Do it. There's a potential customer born every minute. It's not like you're cheating them. You'd be giving them exactly what they pay for: personalized advice.

It beats breaking into houses.

2013-Jul-04, 01:21 PM
How legal is that in Spain? Both the cold reading practice and the automatic bank thingy with all it's implied automatic membership rules.

2013-Jul-04, 01:26 PM
This reminds me of two events.

At the bar I used to frequent when I was moving furniture, the owner offered me a job to work the bar, at twice what I was making moving, on two different occasions and I couldn't do it. I liked a lot of the regulars, they were great people, but my God they drank! I couldn't serve a man that much whiskey, knowing what it was doing to them. These people would drink at least a gallon of whiskey, a shot at a time. Sure, they would take three or four hours to do it, but they did it every day!

I couldn't do that to people I *didn't* like!

On further review I think the second example I'll keep to myself.

Now as far as guilt trips go...

Hmmm, where to begin?

How about an ignorant, young mother, hungry crying baby in her arms, so desperate for direction that she's giving formula and diaper money to you so you can spin her off on a wild goose chase?

An old lady with no kin to miss her gets her power cut off because of the snarky billing practices, trips in the dark, and nobody finds her until after her ten cats finish with her.

Emo boy finds your site, gets a head all full of past splendors and starts the foundation for the Forth Reich. The resulting world war leaves fifty million dead in five years and a tech level equal to 1950.

You do know you'll be mainly preying on women, right? They have names for guys who do that, none of them good.

Anything else I can do for you sir?

2013-Jul-04, 01:59 PM
Exactly what is the difference between somebody willingly paying you money for your suggested services and somebody willingly contributing something towards the church?

2013-Jul-04, 02:05 PM
Exactly what is the difference between somebody willingly paying you money for your suggested services and somebody willingly contributing something towards the church?

Most churchs will actually back you up.

2013-Jul-04, 02:07 PM
Thanks, BigDon, just what the doctor ordered. Actually, I could never do it, but just having given a moment's time to the thought made me feel like I needed a proper whoopin'. Much obliged.


BTW, we don't serve people who are drunk, both for their sake and ours. Actually, we don't run an American style "bar," more like a café-restaurant with a front bar area, typical around here. We do a lot more food and wine business than pure drinking.The binge drinkers we do get tend to be groups of young men celebrating a stag party (mostly from the UK), or pre-match football (soccer) groups who are in town. Most of these groups are thankfully beer-only, which means they don't get too bad, and they tend to stop in for one round only and then move on. It always amazes me, however, to see groups from northern Europe who define vacations as one long opportunity to never be sober. Swedes tend to do that quite a bit, however they are generally very jovial drinkers and not too bothersome.

And while on customers, I have to say that I love Polish customers. The other day, two really rough looking dudes from Poland waved a 50€ bill at me as they just were entering the bar area, and I automatically started my facial expression routine of rejection, since I was low on change. Turns out, I had left the bill on the counter (rare error but it happens), and they were alerting me to the fact. In spite of my initial reaction, which would have justified their pocketing the bill in some minds, only made them insist more that they had found it. Had it been one of my locals... let's just say I seriously doubt I would have recovered the money. At any rate, with Polish customers it's one nice and agreeable surprise after another. Really good natured people, and honest!

(I know generalizing isn't fair or accurate, but there are behavioral patterns that do tend to hold true more often than not, at least here in our little business.)

2013-Jul-04, 02:22 PM
I've made decisions that have brought me close to moral event horizons in the past.

It's part of the trials of life. As to which side of that line you end up on is up to you.

2013-Jul-04, 04:59 PM
As a Scandinavian I'll have to say that your description of the Swedes sounds quite fair and balanced. :)

2013-Jul-04, 06:17 PM
As a Scandinavian I'll have to say that your description of the Swedes sounds quite fair and balanced. :)

As a 1/4 Dane who is frequently mistaken for a Swede because my last name is spelled wrong, I resemble that remark!

2013-Jul-05, 04:18 AM
If you can't take money from the gullible, consider the government or corporations. :) It sounds like you have some voice talent, so set up a set up a reading service for the visually impaired.

Use your voice talents to read the "contact information" and "about us" or anything else desired by the company, business or institution for use on websites or phone systems. Provide a digital copy. There is not a huge call for this sort of thing, but it is a real service and does not involve taking money from people as individuals. I don't think you could make a lot of money, but some funds instead of none is something. Plus, it is a public service and would likely look good on resumes.

In the US some institutions read newspapers and transmit the results on local cable channels. Largely, there is little to no pay for such things, but it does get your name out there.

Jeff Root
2013-Jul-05, 05:09 AM

It sounds like Hlafordlaes' need is for a source of income from
outside Spain.


If you are as articulate in Español as you are in English, you
should be able to do some kind of translation work. If you
can speak both languages as clearly as you write in English,
you should be in a good position to negotiate terms.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

2013-Jul-05, 11:52 AM
Thanks, folks. Doing as much translating as I can get, even French->English, which is a trick when you don't speak much French. Tried fixing PCs on the side, but all I get are poor souls I end up doing freebies for. But what I really ought to do is get off my rear end and start writing fiction. I know that sounds like every fool's pipe dream, but I ought to be able to come up with something. Main problem is my free time is after bar work, and I am usually too tired, so I goof off and watch TV.

... Twice in life, very rich men attempted to have me marry their daughters. Last time was in the mid-90's, and I still get cold shivers thinking about the horrors. I almost succumbed one night, over dinner in Milan. She caressed my cheek over dessert... after wine she didn't look bad at all... the hotel was beckoning... her Dad had made the rewards clear... yet with that touch, I came to my senses and proceeded forthwith to totally trash my chances. Even now, with things so tough, I'd rather eat nails and live under a bridge than tame a shrew, or worse and more likely when marrying into money, be tamed by one. I shudder just to think about it. Thank Zeus!

Perhaps strangely, I find jokes to be just as funny, cigars just as enjoyable, music as sweet, and the essentials of life unchanged sitting in a ratty chair wearing old clothes as they did in my old leather recliner wearing Armani while cranking the Bang&Olafsen. Artifice and pretense, how they fill our minds and distract us so! A rich inner life, that's the only wealth that does not corrode. IMHO, of course.

2013-Jul-06, 05:34 PM
This (http://wumo.com/2013/07/06) is what you'd be doing. (Link to web cartoon, stick to that one if you want to keep it work safe)