Relatively inexperienced about the inner workings of business opportunities, I thought the training seminar sounded promising and would help alleviate some of the apprehension I felt about shelling out $499 (even though it wasn't mine). Unfortunately, when I went back the next week for the training session, hotel personnel said no such meeting had ever been scheduled.
Suspecting I'd been scammed but willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, I called the company the next day and was assured there'd just been a mix-up. The representative asked if I could attend the following day's training session. When I said no, they offered to send the materials.
The next day, after some schedule finagling, I managed to attend the training session for about an hour and joined 30 to 40 people who'd apparently purchased the package. The presenter, who said he currently owned all the businesses, talked about the different things he did to become successful and presented some basic business information very quickly. While his spiel was informative, there were still elements of selling in his presentation, particularly when he talked about how many machines he had purchased to reach his goals.
As I left, I wondered why so many people would pay hard-earned money for an opportunity presented in a way that made me feel uneasy.
"Americans have deeply wired hot buttons. They dream of working for themselves, of telling their bosses to take this job and shove it, of working at home. And business opportunity sellers are ingenious in the way they hit those buttons," explains attorney Andrew A. Caffey, an expert in franchise and business opportunity law.
Caffey says people believe if they put the purchase on a credit card, it's a modest enough amount of money that if they lose it, it won't be a disaster. They also see enough people out there making these businesses work that they're willing to take the chance.