Just before lunch last Tuesday I received a phone ll that instantly ptured my attention. “Hello,” a pleasant voice said. “My name is Donald Patterson. I’m with Publishers Clearing House. The purpose of my ll is to inform you that beuse you shop at Walmart and Save on Foods, and pay off your credit rd monthly, you’ve been selected for one of 4 prizes we give out annually. The prize consists of three million dollars and a brand new Mercedes.”
I was reminded of the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Even so, I couldn’t valierly blow him off. I’ve long believed it’s important to consider opportunities. Also, there are exceptions to some rules. Maybe this was such a se. Donald’s cheery personality did invite my curiosity.
Skeptil, but also wanting it to be true, I asked, “What do I need to do to receive the money?”
He had anticipated the question. “Not a thing,” he said breezily. “I have a certified cheque on my desk, made out to you. Our office is in Vancouver.” He gave me the address, then said,” I n bring the cheque to you today. Does that suit you, or is another day better?”
I knew smmers sometimes use the name of a reputable, well known company or government agency to establish credibility. Still, a little voice somewhere in the recesses of my brain whispered, “Don’t judge too quickly. What if this is one of those exceptions to the rule? Surely there n be no harm in agreeing to have him come out with a cheque for three million. If the cheque really is certified, you’ll be rich. Let’s see where this goes.”
I didn’t want to be lulled into making a bad decision, but what was the harm in letting him come? At the moment, it didn’t occur to me these thoughts were almost certainly coming from sheer greed, not sound reasoning.
“So, you’re willing to bring me a cheque for three million and I’ll also get a Mercedes?” I asked, then added, “and I don’t have to do anything?”
“That’s correct,” he replied. “Just give me your e-mail address and I’ll send you a confirmation.
Linda had been listening intently to my side of this conversation. She’s more dubious about this type of offer and would have terminated the ll immediately. Concerned I’d be duped, she opened her lap top and began sleuthing on the internet.
“All you want is my email address?” I asked. “Yes, yes,” he assured me. “All you need to do is go to the Bank of Montreal and deposit $500 to register your prize. Place the money into the account of Revenue of nada.” Another recognizable name, but I noted he didn’t have it quite right. Still, if he brought a certified cheque, how could I possibly lose?
We had talked for about ten minutes, but Donald still seemed ok with my dilly dallying. He was like a veteran hunter patiently stalking a deer. “What colour do you want the Mercedes to be?” he asked. “Sky blue,” I said. He chuckled, likely believing I was warming to his magnanimous offer. By now I had decided though this was indeed a sm. I simply wanted to know what further gimmicks he would employ.
Linda now stepped away from her computer and stood very close to me waving her arms in consternation, much like a traffic cop wanting to stop a reckless driver. She feared I would unknowingly provide Donald with personal information he could use for identity theft or some other nefarious purpose. Not wanting to upset her, I said to my new pal, “Donald, my wife is even more skeptil than me. I’ll have to discontinue this conversation.” I’m sure he had been at this juncture many times. “I’m sorry you don’t want the 3 million and the Mercedes, Mr. Martens,” he said. “Good bye.”
Successful smmers understand they’ll lose the majority of these verbal duels. They also know that greed tends to cloud our decision making and by patiently persevering day after day, they will find unsuspecting, vulnerable individuals hoping for the big win. Donald Patterson, by the way, wasn’t in Vancouver as he wanted me to believe. Linda’s sleuthing uncovered the fact he was lling from Jamai. Apparently that age old rule still holds. “If it’s too good to be true, it is.”