The Daily Pondering


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Britt Worldwide

So, I walked into my local BORDER's Bookstore and began looking at various books, as I usually do at BORDER's. Not long after, I noticed that a female arrived to the same section and started looking at similar books too. So, I simply moved out of her way so that I was not blocking her from choosing the books she wanted and resumed looking at books. About 5 minutes later, she turned to me and began asking me questions about my interest in the book I was reading. Then, the questions quickly became more personal... where I lived, where I graduated from college, where I worked, etc. Naturally, I asked her similar questions. Since I mentioned that I work at a 9-5 job, she began telling me about her small business in "private franchising." This business gave her a flexible schedule. Not knowing what "private franchising" meant, I asked her to tell me what it was. Apparently, she thought this question meant that I wanted to be part of her business. She started elaborating about how there was a lot of room for growth with her business and how others in her industry were financially successful. She mentioned that she learned the ropes from her mentor and then, suggested that we exchange business cards. I went along for the ride and exchanged business cards, but I still had no idea what "private franchising" even was. We talked about other topics and then, somehow I was able to ask her again, "So, what is private franchising?". She responded with a very nebulous answer, "Well, you see, it is just very visual and might take a while to explain. It'd be better if we got together another time and I could tell you more about it." Then, she told me that she'd give me a call next week and we could meet again. She quickly scurried off and left that section of BORDER's. So, I was left hanging with an odd feeling. I never said that I wanted to be her new business partner. I only wanted to know what the definition of "private franchising" was. Why couldn't she summarize her business in 2-3 sentences? How does she do business like this if she doesn't give direct answers? And of course, if she called me to meet with her on a different day, what was the purpose? To find out the definition of "private franchising"? Couldn't I find out the answer on the internet? So, I noticed that her business card had an e-mail address on it. Curious, I looked up at home and found a website for Britt Worldwide. It required a username and password to enter and there was no description about what Britt Worldwide was. That was odd. Doesn't every company want their customers to know what products/services they provide? Maybe I could ask my new "friend/business partner" that I met @ BORDER's? Or maybe I'd have to meet with her on yet another day to find out the answer to that question? So, of course, I googled Britt Worldwide and that 2-second search quickly explained everything. Britt Worldwide was another multi-level marketing company similar to Amway, Quixtar, Worldwide Dreambuilders, Alticor, etc. And the term "private franchising" was a new word for an old concept called "multi-level marketing" or "pyramid scheme". So, in the end, my initial gut feeling about something not being quite right was correct. When she called me back, I decided not to return her phone call. I was fortunate to have figured things out quickly. On the internet, there are many horror stories from people who weren't as luck as me. These stories are about people who go to large-group meetings to learn about these pyramid schemes, who were ruined financially, and whose existing relationships with family and friends were ruined too. So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, be careful...

Lessons learned:
1. It is important to remember that when meeting new people, you should be slightly weary so that you don't get pulled into any con schemes, but not so skeptical either that you never trust anyone. A good balance is important. However, I think you can generally tell peoples' motives for being friendly. Go with your gut feeling!
2. The internet is a great tool and you should maximize its use whenever possible.