Monday, January 28, 2008

The Pity Scam

A high school junior from Del Mar High School came to my door this evening. I've been fairly disappointed lately after the Fed cut and the overall state of the economy recently and worried about how that would affect the future.

So when a high school kid with a 3.7 GPA comes to your door and asks you to sign up for the newspaper so he can get money to go to college while you're thinking about the state of the economy, then you've been scammed. A previous article in the Stanford Review talks about how the California Newspaper Sales & Marketing group targets lower income students to get them to sell newspapers.

If you see a young kid asking you to help out in his fate for success in college, it's better not to listen. It's a smart scheme on the part of the company because they know that the people most likely to buy the newspapers in print are people who value education and will have some expendable income.

In my case, curiosity killed the cat. Turns out these kids are paid for their part time jobs and the kid who seemed so motivated at first, when asked, didn't know what school he wanted to go to but wants to become a CSI investigator.

This is one of those cases when marketing is not educating, it's deceiving.

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