Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Internet helps to prevent a scam

I was feeling a bit short of things to share on this blog. This was made clear while I was reading the latest hit title for holiday reading, "Counselling Skills for Dietitians," which contains little exercises as well as informative text (no pictures, it's not really for reading on the beach, guys). One of the things the reader is encouraged to do is to "make a list of changes that have occurred for you in the last year," and then "reflect upon how you reacted to the changes on your list."

I am much more comfortable with this reflection thing than I was when I started the course. It's a skill for dietitians (and presumably other health professionals) that's constantly emphasised, and is intended to prevent complacency and maintain the best standard of care possible. Rather than plough on without a backward glance, we are forced to stop and think about what we have done and how we did it, and consider what went right, what needs improvement, and whether we need help with that.

I started to make a mental list of changes that have occurred for me in the last year. I couldn't think of any. I tried again - surely something must have changed? But nothing has - for the last year I've been doing the same things, with the same frequency, in the same places, with the same people. Mr A, Lola II, badminton, university, blogging, reading blogs, listening to music and podcasts on my iPod, sitting on the sofa, going to the pub, the odd few days in London or Bournemouth or Manchester. I'm not complaining, I have a nice life and I enjoy all of this very much. But it doesn't make for an exciting or interesting blog.

I asked Lola II for some ideas last night, and she came up with a few that will probably make their way into future posts, but today one of my favourite bloggers asked for a favour. Actually, it was one of my favorite bloggers and he asked for a favor, but who cares about transatlantic spelling differences?

This is what he suggests I should write:
A friend of mine created a blog to talk about his experiences getting ripped off by a company called Lifestyle Pets, who claim to sell a hypoallergic cat called Allerca, but really just seem to charge thousands of dollars for the honor of being put on an endless waiting list.
And I'm happy to write it, even though he spells honour wrong, and in no sense can we be called friends, as we have never met or even corresponded except through my comments on his blog. I think I would like to be his friend, because he has a sense of humour (humor) that I find very amusing. He lives in San Francisco with a wife who is not called Hank and a daughter not called Daisy that he sometimes writes about, and a job where he has to work in an office and he has to share toilet facilities, which he often writes about. I'm sure if we met we would have nothing to say to each other and would find the whole experience acutely embarrassing, so perhaps it's best that we don't meet.

Anyway, the fact that I'm putting a link to this website here will help direct traffic there and may prevent a few people getting scammed in the same way. It's amazing to think that even an Internet-savvy man of the modern day can get fooled. I do hope he gets his money back.


jay said...

Good heavens above.

I'm allergic to cats and can no longer keep them as pets, but there is absolutely no way I would be sending this guy - or any other online seller - thousands of dollars (or in my case pounds) without doing a little research. Actually, there's no way I'd do it without doing an awful LOT of research, and even then I'd probably want to meet him first.

Good grief, did NONE of these people think to check up first? Let's face it, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is!

Kudos to you - and your friend - for getting this out into the open, but I am stunned that so many people were gulled.

CERNoise said...

aims said...

Yep - Jay used a good word there. 'Stunned' is very appropriate.

That Simon character sure knows how to prey on gullible people who long for something they won't ever get.

I'm wondering why the people don't get shots for their allergies and then give it a regular cat a try.

The Man was very allergic to cats when he first came on the scene. Over time - because I wasn't giving up my babies - his allergies diminished to the point where he only had a reaction if they licked him.

I'm thinking the only cat these people would be getting - if they did - was a hairless one.

I can imagine how I would feel if I had been taken like that. Fortunately I'm a bit more sceptic about things and do my research first. Usually anyway.