One thing I want to make clear here is that when I say these businesses are scams, I’m not making any claims about conscious fraud. It’s entirely possible that all of the people involved in all of these businesses honestly believe they’re providing goods and services of actual value for their customers. My point is that if they do believe that, they’re wrong.
It’s really difficult to even get an idea of whether or not a woo salesperson believes the garbage spewing out of their own mouth. And even when you get a glimpse of the inner workings of how these people rationalize what they do, it’s still only a glimpse. Until there’s a real truth serum, we’ll probably only rarely know when someone is knowingly pretending to be a dead pet psychic or whatever.
What I do mean by scams is that people are being sold goods or services that have no practical value. We should be able to point out when that is happening. As it is now, if I started selling chunks of dirt from my front yard for $500 an ounce I’d probably quickly be facing some legal problems. But pretty much all I’d have to do to avoid those consequences would be to claim I believe the dirt is magic.
While we probably don’t have legal tools to go after the people running these scams, we still have weapons of mockery. And we can use those weapons on the customers too. Sometimes that’s unfair, but in these cases the scams are really so transparent that anyone falling for them deserves a little ridicule.
6. Buy Karma
This is one of those businesses where you just have to stand back in awe at its cynical, ingenious simplicity. Give me money; I give you karma. Even if you’re goofy enough to believe in karma, you’ve still got to have some questions for BuyKarma. How is the Karma shipped? How do I know when I’ve got it? What if I’m unsatisfied with the quality or quantity of my karma? Can I return it? How would I go about doing that? And if that’s possible, why can’t I start selling karma myself?
Hang on… that gives me an idea. BRB gonna go start my own Karma business.
Some of Sovereign Man’s esteemed clients
This guy sells an insurance plan of sorts. He’s supposed to protect you and your money when ‘it’ happens. Whatever ‘it’ is. Apparently it won’t happen in Asia because he implies that he will keep your money safe using that continent. And for just over a dollar per day, Sovereign Man will… well, he’ll do something as long as… something happens. Here’s his final pitch after a whole lotta fearmongering:
“Are You Going to Just Sit On Your As* and Be Engulfed By the Coming Chaos, Or Are You Going to Work To Safeguard Your Assets, Your Livelihood and Your Family?”
I switched that back to normal font because like most kooks Sovereign Man believes his message is more likely to be taken seriously in giant red font. But one good way to safeguard your assets and family is to not give your money away to guys like this. Sovereign Man doesn’t get it. The super-collapse isn’t something that’s going to suddenly happen in a single day like in a big budget disaster movie. It’s a gradual process of people getting more and more gullible; a tsunami of ignorance. And he’s just one small part of it.
4. Baby Yoga
Yoga reminds me of meditation. Apparently there’s some evidence that it can do some good, but if you take it too seriously you’ll end up thinking you can travel to Mars and grow fruit from Roses like this fucking guy.
So that first link in this section is to a video of some dumb bitch doing yoga with her baby. By that I don’t mean she’s teaching her baby how to do yoga, I mean she’s using her baby as a yoga toy. She’s swinging it around like Michael Jackson on a hotel balcony. And all the shitty New Age music in the world can’t drown out the sound of the baby crying because of it. Seriously, the baby is crying constantly. And there are people watching and none of them take the baby away from her and scream, “HEY IDIOT! WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?” at her.
And some aren’t just passively letting her get away with this; they’re giving their own babies to this lady so she can throw them around. They think it will make them develop faster, like that Einstein Baby scam thing. I thought nobody hated babies like I do, but it turns out there’s always someone out there who will one-up you. Maybe if this thing catches on I won’t even be able to throw a baby without hitting another baby which had just been thrown by some dumb hippy. But probably not.
3. Eugene Delgaudio
If you have an office pool on who will be the next self-hating gay Republican to be outed in an Arkansas truck stop mass arrest, the smart money is on Eugene Delgaudio. He’s the head of an organization, the goals of which seem to be scaring people with The Gay into donating to them. Apparently he imagines himself as the last bulwark against the “Radical Homosexuals” – yeah, he’s one of those people who capitalize at random, probably to highlight the code words his followers are supposed to recognize. He pays himself $170,000 a year and spends the rest of his donations on fundraising efforts.
Delguadio seems to have a lot of inner conflicts. When the Southern Poverty Law Center designated his Public Advocate of the United States organization a hate group, he said that his was a “no-name organization” and the SPLC was “scraping the bottom of the barrel when they have to kick the Italian guy.” But then in the same WaPo article, Delgaudio later claimed that “[liberals] lose every time they come up against me.” So when he’s being designated as a leader of a hate group, he’s just a nobody running a no-name organization at the bottom of the barrel. But when it’s money-raising time, he’s the worst enemy of all liberals.
Another of Delgaudio’s inner conflicts comes to the surfaces in one of his fundraising letters. Paraphrasing would not do it justice so I’ll just quote a bit of it at some length, with some of my own emphasis added:
One stormy night I drove to a mailshop hidden deep in a nearly deserted stand of warehouses. I’d heard something was up and wanted to see for myself.
As I rounded the final turn my eyes nearly popped. Tractor-trailers pulled up to loading docks, cars and vans everywhere and long-haired, earring-pierced men scurrying around running forklifts, inserters and huge printing presses.
Trembling with worry I went inside. It was worse than I ever imagined.
Row after row of boxes bulging with pro-homosexual petitions lined the walls, stacked to the ceiling.
My mind reeled as I realized hundreds, maybe thousands, more boxes were already loaded on the tractor-trailers. And still more petitions were flying off the press.
Suddenly a dark-haired man screeched, “Delgaudio what are you doing here?” Dozens of men began moving toward me. I’d been recognized.
As I retreated to my car, the man chortled, “This time Delgaudio we can’t lose.”
Driving away, my eyes filled with tears as I realized he might be right. This time the Radical Homosexuals could win.
Read between the lines, people. What do you think really happened here? Do I even need to spell it out? I don’t think I do.
2. Google +
For this entry I’m pretty much just abusing my platform here at The BEAST, at least to the extent that one exists. When it was launched, Google + seemed pretty awesome. It’s friggin’ Google! The company’s name is synonymous with the web. Surely this would be the thing that overthrows Facebook. So I hopped on board. This time, I thought, I would be one of those early adapters like the software developer who has firstname.lastname@example.org.
But that dream has passed. Nobody gives a shit about G+ except for a few science writers and astronomy enthusiasts who use the admittedly kind of awesome hangout feature to have star observation ‘parties.’ They use a very cool function where you can hook up a telescope camera to a livestream which people can ‘hang out’ on and ask the top popularizers of astronomy questions about what they’re observing.
But let me get back onto what sucks about G+. I started posting articles there and still do every once in a while. But whenever I check our stats on referrals, I almost never see one from there among our top referrals. And that’s not a very exclusive club. Even StumbleUpon and Yahoo Mail get noticed occasionally. And it’s a problem in the wider internet world too. The Wall Street Journal found that the few people who do use G+ spend about 3 minutes there a month and that other numbers Google touts are inflated because of how Gmail users are automatically signed up for G+.
1. Light Relief® Therapy
I’m going to post a few pics of this and quote from it instead of linking because this is one of those websites that prompts a pop-up when you try to leave it in disgust, saying “OMGWTFBBQ Y U NO BUY MY BULLSHIT?” or something like that. Anyway, this really is as dumb as it sounds at first glance. Here’s their pitch:
Light Relief® uses infrared light emitting diodes (LEDs) to direct a powerful stream of warm, therapeutic light deep into tissues, increasing circulation to target areas and relieving aches, pains and stiffness in muscles and joints. Light Relief® increases blood flow to sore tissues so you can enjoy the freedom, comfort and flexibility you once had!
That’s right. Without Light Relief®, you are not free. You’re a slave. But you can win back your freedom with this product. Also, you’ve gotta love how they my some of the language so vague that it evades a really specific debunking to the point where it could legally be considered fraud. And here’s the money-saving angle to their pitch:
Sure, compare it to $349. Why not? It’s just an arbitrary amount, after all. You can also compare it to $9 trillion. Or you can compare it to just one payment of $39.99, which is the cost of this LED light system which you could actually use for something awesome like an 80s dance party instead of a phony healing product.