This scam happened in Chennai, India way back in 1996.
Pay a one time fee of Rs.15,000 (Around $230) and get 2 Kg chicken supplied to you every Sunday morning FOREVER.Of course, the cost of 2 Kg of chicken was pretty low compared to the one time charge he has asking, but its UNLIMITED returns. The promise is that he would supply to that house forever, even after the death of the person who has paid. His children will continue to get the chicken every Sunday. How about that for an offer?
The apartment complex was huge and he had to make atleast few people take the bait, so the vendor gave this offer totally FREE for 5 people. He enquired causally and selected 5 women. Don’t ask me why he picked women. Maybe he assumed that women spread information faster 🙂
Anyways, he started supplying chicken as promised every Sunday and it was good quality too. This kept happening for 3 weeks and the news spread like wild fire. Initially, he even refused to take in new customers as “his priority was to serve existing customers with good quality chicken”. This technique kind of added on to the scheme’s attraction and people were dying to become members. So later, he informed the community that he has secured a huge deal with several poultry farms and can now guarantee that he can include more people…
Almost the entire non-vegetarian population of the area signed up for this hoping they can enjoy chicken forever and dug into their savings to cough up Rs.15,000 per household… This included more than 5000 individual registrations. He also added a combo plan for those who want more than 2Kgs. The result was that he pocketed more than Rs.7,50,00,000 (Rs.7.5 Crores or $1.1 Million)
His rented office suddenly became empty one day and he was never seen again! Adios!
I believe he managed to pull off this trick by being very patient and sincere in his approach. His tactics included the following:
Prompt supply of chicken on time. He maintained the delivery schedule to impeccable standards. For example, if he delivered the chicken to flat no 102 @ 6am and Flat 304 @ 6:15am, it would almost be exactly the same every Sunday. People used to discuss that they use him as the alarm clock since he never comes late. This added on to the flavour that he is very sincere. (He was really sincere, but in conning them)
Quality: The fellow actually spent some money to ensure that he supplied really good quality chicken. This is what most people were waiting to check. People used to even share some of the cooked chicken with neighbours to check for taste and quality.Initially refusing to add more people: This was the masterstroke. Instead of looking greedy, he put on a ‘sincerity’ face and convinced everyone that he is worried about ensuring supply and that the satisfaction of existing customers is paramount. He continued this act for few weeks wherein the existing customers felt like gods and would talk to others about how lucky they were.
Packaging: The fellow also spent time and effort in packaging the chicken well in a good box. This was almost never known to vendors as most of the sellers just dumped the chicken in black coloured plastic bags.
Grand Announcement: He made the big announcement that he would take on more people to “serve them” and as expected, it was a mad rush. He also increased the price a little bit saying the has to hire few more helpers and that it’s not easy maintaining good quality. The icing on the cake was when he told that the next large batch of admission which he planned after 3 months would include a price increase of 30%. So people forgot about everything and just wanted to register on the same day!
He studied human psychology and preyed on our weakness. Have we learnt the lesson after all this education and internet revolution? Not really, its just that we fall prey to different types online con jobs now.