By Ken Hegan for Report on Business
9:41 a.m. While suckers SLAVE for BOSSES in SOUL-CRUSHING OFFICES, I’ll be making bags of money in the COMFORT OF MY OWN HOME! Wearing my lucky PJs, I Google “How to become a millionaire.” Success! At Clicknmakemoney.com, there’s an empty beach and a promise: “You’re only 15 Minutes Away From Becoming a Millionaire!”
The millionaire who owns this beach, Frank A. Trueblood, will show me how to get rich with his “highly guarded Amazing Secret Information.” Cool! I send Frank $29.95 (U.S.). He sends me a nine-page Millionaire Money Making Special Report.
Noon Frank’s a genius. His report says many people missed out on becoming millionaires after the Second World War, and again after Desert Storm, because they didn’t purchase Deutschmarks or Kuwaiti dinars when the currencies hit rock-bottom prices. But now, thanks to the Iraq war, we again have an opportunity to “Become Instant Millionaires!!” Instead of a bank, Frank recommends buying dinars from “Matthew and Margaret,” who live in America, which “saves you a trip to Iraq.” 2 p.m. I ask my bank manager for a $1,000 loan to buy one million dinars from Matthew and Margaret. He looks at me like I’m retarded.
3 p.m. On-line again, I buy 10,000 Iraqi dinars from Matthew and Margaret for $20.60 (U.S.). I’m excited to invest in a war zone that’ll turn hugely profitable any day!
Expenses…$50.55 (U.S.) income…$0
9:30 a.m. I roll out of bed at the crack of mid-morning. Today I’m going to earn up to $250 an hour filling in surveys on-line for the booming “$43 billion” (U.S.) consumer research industry, all the while “working at home in my PJs.”
10:45 a.m. Paid Surveys Canada ranked the Top 20 Free Paid Surveys ( http://www.thesurveypro.com) that would pay me for contributing my opinions. They recommend that, to maximize my income, I sign up for all 20. I visit Ipsos Canada, the top-ranked survey company. Unfortunately, their fine print states, “You will not be paid for each survey you complete.” Instead, I’ll receive a chance to “win cash and valuable prizes.” Great!
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I’m eligible to register for 12 of the Top 20 Free Paid Survey companies. This takes me 2.5 un-fun hours. I lie and say that I haul in $125,000-plus per year because, let’s face it, money attracts money.
2:01 to 5 p.m. I wait for surveys to arrive in my e-mail inbox. Nothing comes. Like a lab rat begging for pellets, I repeatedly hit Refresh. Still nothing.
5:01 p.m. My first “mini-poll” arrives from Lightspeed Research. They ask me: “How important do you think it is for a television journalist to provide viewers with on-site live coverage of events?” To impress them with my forceful opinions, I click “Very important.”
When the screen refreshes, a bookish brunette literally applauds my forceful opinion! And though I didn’t get paid for it, she says I earned “a chance to win 5,000 Lightspeed points.”
Expenses…$0 income…A chance to win 5,000 Lightspeed points
10:30 a.m. At Automaticmoneyvault.com, millionaire Nick Young promises to show me “how to earn $1,000 per day!” By opening my own “Automatic Money Vault,” I’ll supposedly receive “multiple streams of income” that’ll be “gushing like hurricane flood waters.” In one testimonial, R. Patel of Hayes, U.K., says, “I made £1,300 while I was asleep!”
10:51 a.m. Impressed, I send Nick $47 (U.S.). Seconds later, he directs me to a Members Only web page, where he tells me I will become rich if I: A) Purchase his get-rich kits totalling $2,515.11 (U.S.).
B) Replace my negative vocabulary with “Words of Success.” Instead of “Need,” say “Deserve.” Instead of muttering, “Well…, ummmm…,” say “Moving forward.”
C) Get multiple sources of revenue by selling people ways to get multiple sources of revenue by selling other people ways to get multiple sources of revenue.
Even to my naive eyes, this last method looks like a pyramid scheme. The first idea is out, too, because my investments are currently tied up in the world of money markets. I choose option B. Moving forward, I will get rich by only saying Words of Success.
A minute later, my buddy Jim invites me to play Frisbee in the park. I mumble, “Well. . .ummm. . .,” but I quickly stop myself. Thinking of Nick’s wise counsel, I blurt out, “Moving forward!” Jim says, “Huh? You playing or not?” I say, “Certain. Done. Committed! I will accomplish this challenge today!”
Expenses…$47 (U.S.) income…$0
10:02 a.m. Broke and bummed, I look up R. Patel in the town of Hayes, U.K. There are three residents by that name, and I phone them all. None admit to ever making £1,300 while sleeping. I’m starting to suspect that Nick Young is a goddamned liar.
10:30 a.m. Today, though, I’ll supposedly “get rich by e-mail.” According to Getrichbyemail.com, I’ll read some e-mails, click on some ads, and voila: I’ll be strutting down “Fun Road” toward my new mansion on “Easy Street.” I pay $47 (U.S.), then Get Rich By Email directs me to http://www.totallyuselessinfo.com, where simply for reading a joke about an old lady sucking peanuts, Get Rich by Email credits my account with 10 cents!
11:16 a.m. Haven’t received any e-mails from GetRichBy yet.
1 p.m. An e-mail arrives. Jim wants to play Frisbee again. “Not today, pal,” I reply, “cuz I’m Getting Rich by Email!”
2:30 p.m. I spend the dime on 1/40th of a cup of coffee.
2:31 to 7 p.m. No e-mails.
Expenses…$47 (U.S.) income…$0.10 (U.S.)
9:45 a.m. Based on my workweek, I’ve come to the conclusion that on-line millionaires are total jerks. But then I check the money markets. Good news: Although Iraqi police found the bodies of 87 people who had been executed in a “gruesome wave of sectarian reprisal slayings,” on the bright side, the Iraqi dinar went up in value!
Expenses…$o income…$0.00016 (U.S.)
MY WEEK’S TOTALS:
Expenses…-$144.55 (U.S.) revenue…$0.10016 (U.S.)
— Ken Hegan