The Big Store

by

Cory Doctorow wrote a review of  The Big Con by David Maurer.  This excellent work was originally published in 1940, but has been reissued recently to much acclaim.  The book, most famously, was used as the inspiration for the film The Sting.  In his review, Doctorow asks, "The question I’m left with, having finished this, is where is the big con today?"

I received an email the other day from a headhunter firm.  They wanted to meet me for an interview.  Immediately, I was dubious.  Once I had made contact with them and dealt with their appointment setter, I remained dubious.  But, in the name of having an interesting blog entry, I went to the interview.  What I didn’t do is some due diligence research beforehand.

 Maurer writes  "Con men, following trends current in the legitimate world, have employed techniques very similar to those used by big business …"

When I got to the interview, I should have walked out of the office and never looked back. The office is in Maryland Farms.  The overhead for that place was pretty steep.  They were hauling in money from some source in order to make that nut.  Plus, the fake-ass fireplace blazing away in July can’t be cheap.  Playing softly in the waiting room was the soothing tunes of 94FM The Fish .  Christian music safe for the whole family and on-air personalities who truck in kiddie porn should have helped make the connection to the warning siren going off in my brain.

 The interview itself was fairly standard.  There were, however, some glaring deviations from the norm.  The interviewer employed some sales/interrogation techniques with questions about my financial condition and home life.  She then attempted the exclusivity ploy, by stating that they don’t work with just anyone.  I accidentally showed my hole cards when she asked me about Interrogation.  I laughingly blurted out, "It is a lot like this."  A look of worry crossed her face as she considered the possibility that I was on to the game.

She wrapped up the interview by telling me I would need to come back for a chat with a closer Senior Partner and that I would have to bring Sugar Momma.   It took about two seconds to figure that one out.  The potential mark prospect can’t play the "I should talk to my signifigant other before handing over my life savings to you in exchange for  a new resume and a job I could have found in the paper" excuse if she is sitting right there.  Much like the time share salesman, they want both of you there in order to overcome any objections.

I left with the gut feeling that this was another version of the Big Store.   Once home, I found that my reservations were damn well justified.  Turns out they used to be called Bernard Haldane, and are well known for this quasi-legal scam.  Here is one lucky soul’s account

Here’s where it gets fun.  I ask you, dear readers, do I waste another trip down to Brentwood in my dapper little monkey suit to screw with these people a little?  I kind of want to, but value my free time too much to waste on these assholes. 

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9 Responses to “The Big Store”

  1. Exador Says:

    Shortly after moving to Atlanta, I met with similar grifters. They were located in a green glass building in Buckhead. They claimed that they could guarantee me a job. All I had to do was agree to pay them something like 20% of my first year’s salary, in advance.If I had that kind of scratch in my checking account, I wouldn’t need a job.

  2. bridgett Says:

    Cut your losses while they’ve only stolen an hour from you. The problem with such hustles is that there is no way you can flip them to where they are paying you to fuck with them, as one can occasionally do with a garden-variety grift. If you feel the need to be cruel to idiots who surely have it coming, why not slap around some Nigerian scam artists? http://www.scamorama.com

  3. Sarcastro Says:

    Exactly right, Bridgett.I somehow feel that my time is more valuable than theirs. And I will never get that hour back. Ever.Then I thought, "Hey, WKRN is paying for news stories. How about if I wear a hidden camera and document this scam?"Ultimately, it comes down to there is no profit in fucking with these people other than the brief satisfaction of wasting someone’s time with the outside chance of public humiliating them.

  4. Mrs. Schwartz Says:

    Too bad you don’t know anyone in the staffing industry that would be able to assit you in such situations.

  5. Mrs. Schwaqrtz Says:

    I say you go back. I’d love to find out what they mean when they say, "We guarantee to stay with you for three years"

  6. Nashville Knucklehead Says:

    Ya gotta go! Can I be Sugar Momma? Take your pick, I can either play an over-the-top effiminate Dandy or a demure swishy Nancy-Boy.Wait . . . are other people going to read this?

  7. S&F Says:

    Surely they offered you refreshments.Take a big bag and keep asking for another Coke to think about it.If you play it right and take Knuck, you could get, like, 5 or 6 Coke’s.That’s a lotta free Coke.I’m thirsty.

  8. S&F Says:

    Surely they offered you refreshments.Take a big bag and keep asking for another Coke to think about it.If you play it right and take Knuck, you could get, like, 5 or 6 Coke’s.That’s a lotta free Coke.I’m thirsty.

  9. We All Scream for Better Journalism « Watching The Defectives Says:

    […] looking for a job and was contacted by a alleged placement firm.  The zany details can be found here.  Not learning from my little adventure, Mr. and Mrs. Coble dove in to that same shallow pool a […]

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