In 1979, I met a fellow (we'll just call him Jed for the sake of it) that I got along with well and we would share stories, mostly humorous, and had a good time conversing. This went on now and then for two years.
In 1981, the U.S. experienced the first real major recession since the Great Depression. It affected everybody and their lives. Most people under a certain age had never seen anything like it before and didn't know what to do.
In 1981, there is no Internet and you either get information from a very limited media or by word-of-mouth. A lot of heresay going around.
I ran into Jed and he was very excited! “I'm going to be making tens of thousands of dollars without having to do anything but attend a few meetings” he happily declared.
I certainly was intrigued and asked him to explain this sudden economic opportunity.
“I joined this club and it cost me $1000. to get in. We spent an hour all exchanging our money with each other in a manner that makes it all perfectly legal!”
I said, “This doesn't sound right.”
“Not only is it legal, but now I've moved up in the club structure and I'm just waiting for all this money to come around to me. You should join right away!”
I declined this offer. During recessions and depressions, many things of this nature are known to pop-up.
A few weeks went by and Jed never mentioned anything about his money club but after a month went by, I ran into him and he was very depressed. After saying hello, he immediately started talking.
“I lost $1000. in that club, I've got nothing back for it and the only way I am going to get it back is to bring in another person to join and directly hand me the $1000.”
The next thing he said so astonished me that I stood there dumbfounded.
“Why don't you join the club and give me my $1000. back right now?”
I realized that he was not trying to be amusing, but was very serious.
“NO” I said loud and clear.
He then became verbally aggressive, something I had never seen from him before.
“Oh, com'on. You have the money. Why don't you join and give me the $1000. entry money.”
I could not believe that Jed had come to the realization that the whole thing was a failure, he even admitted it and then asked me to relieve him of his loss, so I could get into the same unfortunate position in this pyramid/ponzi scheme.
“NO” I reiterated.
He replied, “I have to find somebody to join to get my $1000. dollars back.”
I was now completely freaked out and said I had to go.
It was at that point I decided that a friend does not do that kind of thing. I stopped seeing Jed.
I ran into him one last time a few weeks later.
The first thing he said to me was, “Don't worry. I found somebody to give me the money.”
Jed had obviously suckered some other person into the club so he could get his $1000. back.
I decided even more at that point I did not need to have this person in my life.
It wasn't until 1997 that I ran into Jed again.
He was very friendly and made immediate overtures that we needed to get together.
I told him that I don't do a whole lot of socializing anymore.
I never saw him again after that, but I am still amazed that somebody would try and do that to a friend.