Snake oil and the knitted woollen cat

Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment. Before 1920.

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In my early days in business I was offered, at the price of a considerable investment, an opportunity to have a very successful business. At the time it really seemed the way to go and I borrowed what was a lot of money to me to pay to have the opportunity.

Guess what! It tuned out not to be the money-spinner I had hoped for. Subsequently I found out that it was not just a failure on my part to grasp an opportunity. I know many who invested their time and money and none who had the success that was held out as a near certainty if we worked hard. And we did work hard!

Ultimately the investment was not a total disaster. I did make some money out of it and in fact still do, though it has not been without considerable application. It is one of the tools I use but was not the get-rich-quick deal I fell for in those days of extreme naivety as an ex-employee trying to survive on his own in the business world. If I had known then…

Context

Of course I had no context when I went for the deal. I believed that I was being told the absolute truth about the opportunity. With the benefit of hindsight that was particularly stupid of me. The joke is that the same “salesman” is now offering a similar great deal to his past “customers”. However, there is an old saying “Once bitten , twice shy”. I doubt there will be many sales this time.

Lesson

The lesson is that there are many offers out there, and particularly on-line which promise great wealth, sometimes for only working six hours a week. They sound tempting, but may well be snake oil with no substance. If you have a great offer or see one, always speak to others who have tried it. Find your own and don’t rely on testimonials from stooges of the sales person and especially not from those on the get-rich-quick website. You need proper context.

The cat

What about the cat in the title? Well, I had a dream in which our cats were playing with a green-and-white knitted woollen cat which was every bit as lively as they were. It was ridiculous, but it was a dream where of course I could place no context or knowledge that the concept was impossible.

Snake oil

If you are offered a dream, check the context and the facts behind the offer, and do proper research before committing. There are a lot of people with redundancy money wondering what to do with their lives and how to earn a living. The sharks are circling. Beware!

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