Recession Mama

{September 1, 2009}   Did I Get Ripped Off?

By Heather


The door bell rang the other day while I was paying bills and taking care of other “grown-up” chores. I was going to ignore it, but couldn’t since my children ran to the door screaming “Somebody is here, somebody is here.”

I was forced to deal with a “magazine” salesman.

I’d like to point out that we subscribe to more magazines than a doctor’s office. We get so many each month that we could open a magazine kiosk or host a school bonfire. This is thanks to nieces, nephews and children of friends who sell them for school.

The young man at the door told me a story of how he was trying to stay off the streets, turn his life around and build a better future. His name was Demarcus.

I bought his story hook, line and sinker. If fact, I spent at least 45 minutes giving him my best motivational speech. My inner cheerleader chanted “You can do it… you’re building character and using this job as a stepping stone. Hang in there! Goooo Demarcus!” 

I even gave him pointers on how to improve his presentation. We practiced.

 He asked a lot of questions about college and trade school, I answered them. I truly believed him because he seemed incredibly sincere.  He asked that I pray for him. I told him that I would and I did.

I handed him a check for 4 magazines. We shook hands. He left and took off down the street. I felt “good” about possibly giving someone some helpful advice and encouragement.

But now I can’t help but wonder “did I get ripped off?”

I did a little internet research on the company and found almost nothing on it. That is except for an article warning that it was a scam!

Doh! Did I just throw away my money?

money in trash

I was so caught up in trying to help someone that I forgot to be cautious. I have a tendency to believe that most people are good, kind and truthful. Maybe I should be a little more skeptical.

I sent Demarcus an email warning that if my magazines didn’t arrive in a timely fashion that I would contact the local police department, the Better Business Bureau and the Texas Attorney General.

It just burns me up to think that I spent so much time encouraging someone who may  have ripped me off.

I’m thinking about cancelling my check too. But maybe that’s a little overboard.

Still, my gut tells me he’s a  good person just trying to survive in this economy. Maybe the company is taking advantage of him. I’m just not sure.

 Hopefully I’m wrong about the scam and I’ll soon receive my new magazines. We’ll see. Until then, I just pray that some of my advice and encouragement will stick with Demarcus. I don’t want to believe that I was “taken” …. instead I’d like to believe  that Demarcus IS the hardworking, honest, person for which I took him.



Katy says:

I love this post, Heather. It’s what this site is about…trying to figure out everything financial and hopefully learn from any mistakes we might make with our money. It applies to this situation wholeheartedly. I really, really, really want to believe in this sales guy too! I hope you did the right thing by helping him out, even if the company is a scam…I hope by being kind, teaching him, helping him learn to make his presentation better, that he will think about “scamming” people. Hopefully, he will realize that there are good people in this world that want to help people still, and you are definitely one of those people, Heather!!!

recessionmama says:

Thanks Katy. I just really want to believe that he’s good and legit. But I consider this a lesson learned.

jennifer says:

I think we still need to believe in people. People generally live up to our expectations, so maybe if he was really just scamming, you have at least given him something to think about. Just be careful about giving people a check, it has lots of personal info on it………. pay in cash next time!

Buddy says:

You’ve never seen Office Space?

Carla says:

Oooooooooh girl, I went for the mag thing, too, years ago. They never showed. NOT saying that this dude scammed you, but it happens. You have a heart the size of Texas and I know that first hand and it will make me so sad to find out if you really were taken. But at least you can take great pride in the fact that YOU were being true to yourself, your values, your faith. YOU were the bigger person, if it turns out, you know…the other way. And if you do get your mags…girl, which ones are they and do you hand them down to anyone? : ) I loooove me some mags.

recessionmama says:

Carla, Sadly the magazines I bought were for the kids. They helped me pick them out.

Jennifer, I’m usually so, so careful. I just had a weak moment.

Buddy I LOVE Office Space. Now I want my stapler back!

craig says:

Hi Heather,

I purchased some magazines while I was painting the exterior of a house and heard the same stories. Several months later the magazines arrived even though I felt they might not. It will happen and it is all OK

Heather says:

Thanks Craig! Hope so. The guy did show some kind of permit from the city. Also, several neighbors bought mags too. We’ll see!

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