BWW E-Commerce Seminar = Amway Global

A couple weeks ago while shopping, I met a young, well-spoken guy who seemed to be looking to make new friends. We exchanged numbers, and I received a call several days later regarding a job opportunity. He was vague about this meeting other than to describe it as a business formal event (in retrospect I found the lack of details odd), but with little to lose or so I thought, I showed up at the 20th floor of the Renaissance Hotel last night for an info session, noticing immediately that a ton of Indians were attending (I would estimate they comprised over 50% of the packed ballroom). He said he would introduce me to one of his IT contacts at the end of the event. The weird vibe I got was later confirmed. I noticed that other participants were paying money at the sign-in table, but I was signed in by my host without paying any sort of fee.

After showing my yellow ticket (labeled "BWW E-Commerce Seminar"), I was given a seat in the front row, while my host sat a few rows behind. Shortly after, I overheard a conversation about "recruiting 20 people" and "MLM" popped into my head. Newcomers were encouraged to sit in the first few rows, and an Indian man took the stage and began a presentation about a "business opportunity" leveraging social networks. After squandering an hour making lame jokes and asking what people would like to do if they had extra side income ("where would you like to go on vacation?"), the presenter finally got to the nitty-gritty, drawing a diagram with the entities Britt Worldwide (BWW) and Amway Global and pointing out various products on a side table that included energy drinks and what looked like skin creams.

At this point, my main concerns focused around minimizing the amount of time wasted and the fact that the second hour of hotel parking was now costing me $6 instead of $2. I stuck around for another half hour out of curiosity to see how this scam was being sold. In a nutshell, $250 per month to own a small business, FTC-sanctioned, private franchises, blah blah blah. Annoyed, I walked out of the ballroom, determined never to speak to this new "friend."

[Updated 2011/05/26] Re: IBO's claims, a brief Google search turns up the following links:

AMWAY Partner Store Claims Embarrass Their IBOs

Debunking Quixtar IBO lies.

Partner store is an "Ad. gimmick" of Amway/Quixtar


Dole Food upcoming IPO, recent news

Dole's value drops by half in 6 years, to $1.2 billion from $2.5 billion. Dole IPO is set for this week with an expected price around $14. Bond trading near/above par recently.

Dole Drops Lawsuit Against ‘Bananas!’ Filmmaker


Dole Food IPO

Dole Food to go public in $500M IPO [2009/08/14, Pacific Business News]. Just noticed this morning. Dunno what to make of it.


Bankruptcy and unsecured debt

Southwest submits $170 mln binding bid for Frontier. Interesting to me mostly for the value offered to unsecured creditors. Noted here for future reference.

Southwest officials said their deal would give unsecured creditors 12 cents on the dollar, higher than the 8.7 cents per dollar outlined in a bid by Republic.


Investing in guns

Was chatting about investments last night, and the topic of gold stocks came up. Thought I had jotted this quote down somewhere else a long time ago. When asked for advice on investing in gold, Scott Burns replied:

I wouldn't buy gold except as insurance against chaos, and if I were worried about chaos, I'd buy a gun and lots of bullets before I bought gold.


Paperless statements revisited

What a mess.  Switched to paperless statements for one of my cards, and the email notification promptly ended up buried in my to-do bin.  Due to the sudden death of my desktop and the distraction of Hurricane Ike, I forgot to make payment and was hit with a substantial late fee and finance charge.  Noticed that Citi finally added automatic payments of the statement balance recently, which I signed up for immediately.  A call to customer service got the charges reimbursed.  Avoid paperless statements unless you also sign up for auto-pay.


Those who give tha thieves tha key to their homes

Administration Is Seeking $700 Billion for Wall Street. While legislators debate the terms of this giveaway, all I can think is, WTF?! There is no way a bailout should be happening under any terms.

At his news conference, Mr. Bush also sought to portray the plan as helping every American. "The government," he said, "needed to send a clear signal that we understood the instability could ripple throughout and affect the working people and the average family, and we weren’t going to let that happen."

Condoleeza's mushroom cloud smoking gun.

Mr. Frank said Democrats were also thinking about tightening the language on the debt limit to make clear that the additional borrowing authority could be used only for the bailout plan. And he said they might seek to revive a proposal that would give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, a proposal strongly opposed by the financial industry.

Lately, I've been thinking that perhaps I am too cynical and paranoid about collusion between Republicans and Democrats, trading power back and forth while ultimately promoting the same corporate special interests. Then this happens.


Better Banking Checking update

Not a major loss (current APY is a meager 0.02%) but worth noting:



Bonds in distress

My current fave, rated Caa1 (Moody's), matures in 2013 with a yield running just over 11%. Just noticed a Continental issue maturing in 2011, rated B3 (one notch higher), yielding close to 20%. Yikes. Can it survive for 3 1/2 years more? I've had success with CO in the past, but airlines look like a terrible risk now.


The fixed rate that wasn’t

National Power to forgo increase, keep rate at 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. National Power Co tried to hike rates for fixed rate customers, and then changed its mind after chatting with the PUC. I was considering NPC as a supplier a while back, but I imagine this incident is going to be a business killer. Current variable rates are sky high, and I am not looking forward to the end of my fixed rate this summer (12.9c/Kwh for 100% renewable!).

PUC spokesman Terry Hadley said the commission isn't ready to conclude its investigation just yet. And the commission hasn't returned National Power's offers to the powerto consumer Web site, after dropping the company on Wednesday.

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