Hard to know who to trust these days.
I read a story this week of a Jewellery store in Northern Ireland that was caught winning their own Facebook competition. They were posting as the lucky winner one minute, and then they forgot to log out of the shop’s admin account and continued posting as the “winner” – busted! Anyone with a Facebook account will be familiar with these competitions…”like” and “share” to be in with a chance of winning a superb prize. I have long suspected that companies do this all the time and I actually have first-hand experience of such a fraud.
A few years ago, on New Year’s Eve, I was DJing in one of Waterford’s most well-known bars (still very much in business), that was running a special NYE competition with a wonderful prize for the winner. At some point in the night I was handed a name and address and told that this was to be the winner of the competition. I was somewhat perplexed because the competition was to go on until after midnight and people all over the venue were still enthusiastically writing their names and address on the back of receipts, in the hope of drunken new year’s glory. I was in no position to question them because I wanted to get paid at the end of the night. They weren’t the first to do it and they certainly won’t be the last.
Everytime I’m asked to “retweet” something on Twitter to win a prize, I’m now wise to the fact that there is no iPad or iPhone 5 to be won…it’s all just a scam, preying on desperate people in desperate times. There will be honest exceptions of course but it is now time to realise that most people know that the only way their facebook or their twitter will work is if they have followers, and the only way to get them is bribery with the promise of riches. But who can afford to give away an iPad in these inglorious days?
I generally believe that people are good, and even though the X-Files has tried to teach me to “Trust No One”, I do like to rely on some people in my life. However, we do tend to put huge amounts of trust in people in power – doctors, bank managers…anyone in a suit really. We assume that they have a higher level of education than us and someone with even more trust worthiness has hired them in the first place so we surely have nothing to worry about. The problem is, they’re human like the rest of us and prone to mistakes and corruption as much as the next man. Let me give you a small example:
I suffer pretty badly with hay fever and I went to visit a doctor one year to see if he had any answers for me. He sat in front of me and whipped out a big book of medicine. He spent about 5-7 minutes reading “the idiots guide to medicine” and then prescribed me something useless (Ok that wasn’t the name of the book – but it may as well have been). I could have done that and used the €55 to go mad in Pennys. I presumed that because he was a Doctor he would have some clue as to what to do, I was painfully wrong.
A lot of people also believe that The National Lottery are there to be trusted, but I don’t trust them. I have never known anyone who has won a decent amount of money on a scratch card and when I see massive posters in my local shop advertising a €100 winner I start to doubt the existence of €5000 posters. And why are unclaimed jackpots pumped back into the National Lotteries marketing budget instead of redistributed as prizes? Some of this, of course, is conspiracy theory, but I believe that is healthy. Everyone should have a healthy level of cynicism. Question everything, and do not presume that just because someone should be honest and competent in their job, that they actually are.
P.S. Do your best to support the local facebook pages & competitions with the modest, believable prizes!