The 3 percent scam
Dear American Consumer,
I have a way for us to make some good money together, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. It’s all legal, of course, but you’ve got to be a little bit selfish. Be willing to screw over your fellow man a tad.
Are you down with that? You’re still reading, so I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’
But before I get into the details, know this: You’ll do most of the work, and we’ll split the profit 50-50. By reading further, you agree to these terms.
Okay, good. Here’s the thing. We’re going to go to the barber shop. And the hardware store, and the dry cleaner, and the local pizza joint—and we’re going to swipe 3 percent of that guy’s sales. And by ‘we’, I mean ‘you.’
It may not sound like much, three percent, but consider how many stores are within 20 miles of you. Three percent of all those sales equals a pretty tidy sum…and you get half of it!
Now I know what you’re thinking: Why would I take from a guy who lives and works and hires in my own community—just to send half the cash to you?
Simple, Sally—because he won’t miss it. He’ll actually be happy to see you come through the door. And don’t worry: he’ll raise prices to cover the difference so you aren’t even taking from him; you’re taking a very small slice from all his other customers. And half goes to me because I’m bringing you in on my scheme.
Simple enough? Good. Let’s get down to the plan.
Right now you pay cash for things, right? You do it that way to keep money in your community and I applaud your thoughtfulness—but it’s holding you back. You need to think about yourself first. Well think about me too; I also have to feed my kids. Of course mine eat caviar and yours eat chicken strips, but still….
I digress, sorry. You want to know your role in this money-maker.
All you have to do is buy things with my cash-back credit card. For every dollar you spend with it (money you would spend anyway) you’ll get a cent-and-a-half “back.” Of course I get a cent-and-a-half too.
Now while you’re doing it, I’ll hire millions of other go-getters with this same deal. Each of you will get “cash back” and I’ll be getting billions of cents-and-a-half. Economies of scale and all.
And even better is that when businesses raise their prices…we’ll get 3 percent of inflation prices too.
What? You would rather get ‘miles?’ Okay, I suppose I can convert your pennies into ‘miles’ for you. Or I can do magical ‘points’ if you want, and then you can trade these ‘points’ for things in a catalogue from a store I own.
All I ask is that you please, please, stop using folding money and throw away your checkbook.
If we siphon a measly 3 percent from the billions of dollars spent every day, we (I) can become very rich and (you) can afford another value meal. Thank you, my friend.
A Nigerian Prince (for Capital One Bank, NA)