Dear friends, I’ve recently been asked to take part in a great opportunity and I’d like to share it with you. This is not the first time such an opportunity has fallen into my lap and I suspect I won’t be the last. These opportunities have been circling around the world for hundreds of years.
What are they? Chain letters.
A chain letter is basically any correspondence that asks you to copy it and send it out to many people. Chain letters can take many forms, let me explain these different types and how they can work for you.
In a common version these letters contain a list of five names. You are instructed to send five dollars to the person at the top of the list, take their name off and then add yours to the bottom before forwarding it to ten of your friends. Every time someone forwards the letter, you move up one space on the list until eventually you reach the top position and receive the money. Think about it, if ten of your friends send it to ten of their friends that’s 100 people, when they each send it to 10 other people that’s 1000 people. By the time you reach the top of the list there are 10,000 people sending you five dollars each, that’s $50,000!
How can you say no to such an offer?
This investment scheme has been around for years. It was invented in 1920 by Charles Ponzi and has been used ever since by investors such as Bernard Madoff. The method is proven to work, as long as everyone you send it to participates, and is honest and doesn’t put themselves ahead of you on the list.
It ‘s an opportunity that’s too good to be true!
And they are not small-time either. As I mentioned earlier if you were to start your own chain, by the time you received your payoff there are 10,000 people involved. For the ten people you send it to, when they reach the top there are 100,000 people. After that the number increases to 1 million, and 10 million, and 100 million. With growth like that it’s a wonder the whole world isn’t rich! Isn’t it great to be part of such a large group?
How could such a great opportunity fail?
These letters are forwarded to you just as the money type are, but instead of promising riches they offer luck and opportunity. Always written by great people these letters have circled the globe before arriving in your inbox. They share tales of the people who have followed the instructions and the luck they received which can take various forms such as financial success, improved health, and increased penis size. But beware, they also warn of the dangers of not forwarding the letter within the given time limit. Ignoring the power of the letter can have such drastic consequences as financial hardship, illness, or even decreased penis size.
How can a letter do such a thing? No one knows, but do you want to take that chance?
Fear not! The letter will certainly provide instructions and a promise that if you follow them you will receive the desired change to your penis.
This type of chain letter promises no gain for yourself but instead offers the opportunity to help an another person. According to chain letter folklorist Daniel W. VanArsdale this is the oldest type of modern chain letter. The power of the Altruistic letter lies in the small act required to provide a greater good. While it may ask for money many of them ask you pray or fulfill a simple request for a dying child. Not only are these the oldest kind of chain letter but they are also unique in that they are sometime true.
Consider the tale of Craig Shergold, an English boy dying of cancer whose dying wish was to earn the Guinness record for the number of greeting cards received. Who among us is so callous to deny this child his wish? In fact the power of the chain letter granted Craig his wish and in the 1990 edition of the book it came true with 16 million cards received (by 1997 the number had grown to 33 million). That’s not the end of Craig’s luck, in 1991 his tumor was successfully removed and he is now a healthy man.
But even that cannot stop the power of the chain letter. Letters for Craig’s request continue to be forwarded to this day, although his name is often changed and the request is usually for business cards. The love of the people is so strong that when someone used the address for the Children’s Wish Foundation they received so much mail (more than 100 million) they were forced to move.
Doesn’t that just warm your heart?
But beware! These are not always real stories. It is common for people to forward letters telling the tales of missing children with a plea for help. Amazingly these tales are usually not true. Often they are simply a sad tale of a child gone missing with an urgent plea for help and a photo of a cute child. Who could deny the chance to help find a missing child? Does it really matter if they are not actually missing, or even non existent? If for some reason that does matter to you, check out the resources at www.snopes.com. But beware these people are too busy telling the truth to aid in helping find non-missing children that don’t really exist.
Something for nothing
These letters contain an offer that requires nothing but the mass forwarding the of the letter. The most famous is the Microsoft email tracking letter. In this letter Bill Gates himself (!) asks you to help him test new software that tracks email. His generous offer states that if the letter is forwarded to 1000 people they will each receive $1000 dollars in compensation. Wow Bill, that’s a million dollars just to test your software, you’re a great guy. No wonder you’re the richest man in the world!
Bill’s offer has been so successful other companies have jumped on board. Companies such as Coke, Disney, The GAP, Honda, Nokia, Sony and Delta airlines are offering everything from free trips, merchandise, cell phones and game machines just for forwarding emails.
It’s almost too good to be true!
Alas, as with all goodness in the world there are people that just have to ruin it for the rest of us. These people are too busy mocking those of us that would jump at such opportunities. Naysayers I say! They feel that their “intellect”, “reasoning”, “research” and “ability to do math” is justification to make fun of anything that doesn’t fit into their precious “reality”.
Thanks to these “comedians” many of the chain letters circulating the net are simply not true. They contain stories of cavemen, the dangers of bread or unhappy wives looking for new husbands. They are more interested in using humor to perpetuate these letters than the traditional, time honored method of empty promises and false opportunities.
Don’t fall prey to these charlatans that believe the power of laughter is stronger than false hope. Because of them it is imperative that any chain letter you receive is examined carefully and only forwarded if you are certain the people receiving it will truly benefit from it.
Don’t be fooled!