7 Of The Biggest Pyramid Schemes In Everyday Life

1. Startups

startup scam south park

Before I begin ranting about this, I would like to give an honorary mention to all the pioneering startup founders who turned our world into the convenient tech era we live in today:

  1. Apple – Gave us personal computers.
  2. Microsoft – Ripped off Apple.
  3. IBM – Pioneer of computers.
  4. Intel – Gave us fast computers.
  5. Paypal – Will eradicate Bank of America.
  6. Skype – Will eradicate Verizon.
  7. Google – Gave us abundant information.
  8. Amazon – Turned us all into a bunch of lazy !@%#$.
  9. Facebook – Disconnected our world, and brought communism back.
  10. Whatsapp – Pretty much the same as Facebook Messenger, only people don’t respond to your messages.

So how do most startups fall into the pyramid? From it’s inception, Snapchat relied on a consistent flow of VC money to survive. Survive what? To survive long enough for it’s user-base to amass 10+ million. In the meantime, they continue to collect VC money at higher values- the VCs are not stupid, they are aware of how dumb these startups are, but they hope to score a unicorn IPO, or an exit, walk away with massive returns, and hope that the bubble will burst on someone else. Speaking of Snapchat, that’s precisely what happened; they consistently took VC money on higher and higher values, they launched an IPO, that skinny founder and the speculating VCs got shit rich, and since then the public shareholders lost like over 90% of their investment – if they were greedy enough to hoard their stake.

2. Gyms


Now read this before you start sending death threats! Exercise is a priceless necessity, and we all need to get our fat a$$e$ off the couch and lift some weights. However, I cannot shake the bitter awareness that gyms are just another everyday pyramid scheme, masked by a sugar coated principle. Why you ask? Where to begin..

By insisting that you be part of a company membership program, they appear incredibly cunning to companies, possibly big ones; hence, rejecting just a few hermits can score them hundreds of loyal customers. By committing to one year, they get a guaranteed revenue for a year. By insisting that you refer a friend, they built a pyramid of suckers who bamboozle a bunch of equally illiterate suckers. By pretending they care about your training, they concoct an illusion that they offer something you can’t get at home.

How many of you brainiacs watched How I Met Your Mother? Now how many of you joined a local gym because you were “assisted” by a custardly hot personal training dressed in workout uniform? You’re not alone.. Gyms hire models to be sales representatives. Aside from merely hiring naturally good looking personal trainers to assist you when you first walk in, they also build a pyramid of fit and good looking customers. From the minute you walk in that door, you see the most attractive people you can lay eyes on. You won’t just lock yourself into 1 year membership, you will “encourage” your friends to do the same. You can’t say NO to them after you see what’s in store for you, and health clubs everywhere are capitalizing on human sex drive.

3. Social Media

social media

Zuckerberg is a bigger Ponzi Scheme than Ponzi himself – okay fine he brought us a convenient way of communicating, but are we really communicating? Or are we made to feel unimportant in the shadow of our more engaged friends? But why would this be considered a pyramid scheme?

Facebook feeds on one friend pressuring another to open an account; if you dare say NO, you will forever be banished from society. As soon as one guy removed his account, he triggers a chain reaction where a sizeable portion of his “actual” friends on Facebook remove their accounts – the bubble explodes on Zuckerberg.

Nowadays, it seems Facebook has more influence over the media than all the major news outlets combined. Facebook’s influence relies solely on what users perceive – as soon as people come on to the BS, Facebook loses everything they have. Zuckerberg → Facebook Censorship Monkeys → Popular Friends → Hobbits

4. Gift Cards

gift cards crying child

Gift Cards are the face of a pyramid – it is a pyramid scheme entrapped in a card, purchased from some sketchy store, directed towards someone you barely know.. My sister once got a $50 gift card for Victoria’s Secret – it was a lot of money at the time; however, she couldn’t stand their stuff (I don’t blame her), and she got the gift card from some girl whom she was forced to invite to the birthday party. My sister ended up selling it for $30; the girl who bought it purchased something for $20, but was not able to buy anything with the rest of the $10. She ended up finding another sap who also received a $50 Victoria’s Secret gift card; she had $10 left as well, and acquired the former girl’s remaining $10 for $5. The latter ended up purchasing something for $15, and of course, she was not able to spend the rest of the $5.

That is a classic pyramid scheme – They make sure to sell only dollar amounts that are sure to have a positive remainder, only to dupe unsuspecting customers into buying these gift cards for their friends, which ultimately leads to a colossal chain of stooging. The next time you go to a birthday party, have some courtesy, BRING CASH!

5. College

college drinking

By far the biggest pyramid scheme to have ever been concocted out of mankind, and the primary reason we are struggling with a 13 digit national deficit here in America. Funny thing, the college pyramid effects you every day from the minute you’re born.

Let me make this very clear to you all – The value of college is neither tangible nor intangible. Nowadays, we have IoT, robots, remote labs, Coursera, Kindle, The Internet, you get the point. I want you to remember this, because the rest of this section counts on you having this in mind, and it will also feed on your utter regret of going to college. Why exactly is college a pyramid scheme?

Students are given a tremendous about of pressure at the hands of other college-suckers who shuv that piece of paper down their throats. Universities constantly inflate the costs by rejecting applicants, making them look more “exclusive”. Universities leverage the financial system (banks and government) as a means to keep the money coming in, without bearing the risk of the hefty loans.. Stanford has a good name, but no underlying value.. Universities like Stanford capitalize on exclusivity by rejecting most of their applicants. This rejection marketing strategy makes everybody want them on their resume. Madoff did the same thing with his investors/prospects, he rejected most of the schmucks who begged him to take their money, giving himself an exclusive image. Leveraging it’s sophisticated image and genius brainwashing tactics, Stanford reaches out to it’s previous pupils for philanthropic donations; the only reason their pupils have the money to donate is because they have the Stanford name on their CVs, and employers/VCs are also Stanford alumni, so they are just as brainwashed as all the other pupils. As stated, Stanford had built a pyramid, consisting of HR Executives and Venture Capitalists who have “Stanford” on their CVs, as such, only Stanford’s pupils get to climb up the Fortune 500 latter and dine on VC money. The value of Stanford as an “educational institution” rests entirely on how employers perceive them. They ain’t tangibly valuable, and their “intangible value” will burst once employers realize how worthless they are.

I don’t have time to go into detail on all of this here, that’s why I created an entire article dedicated to 8 Reasons College Is The Biggest Pyramid Scheme Since The Scientific Revolution.

6. Today’s Sales Professions

sales pyramid

Remember how back then you used to get salary+commissions in a sales job? Not today you won’t.. Nowadays, you are coerced into accepting a 100% commission contract, no salary, with promises that you will make 6 figures.

You’re broke, and your mom finally forces you to apply for jobs. You get about 250 calls from New York Life (they sell life insurance). You are ecstatic to receive an interview from them on Friday morning, and so is your mom. Friday morning comes, and you head on out to their fancy office. You arrive at the office, the receptionist gives you water, telling you that the interview is in 2 minutes. You wait 2 hours. Finally, you meet John, who is the boss of all bosses in this pyramid scheme. The interview seems to be going well, and you are excited when John tells you that they pay 10% commission. But then, John breaks the ice; he tells you that there is no salary. For you’re last few minutes of dignity, you tell John that you are weary of taking a job without a stable income. John condescends you for having an “entitled attitude”, and he tells you that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity; he says that douchebag Mark you were just introduced to makes $500,000 in commissions. This gets your attention, like it would any “get-rich-quick” sucker, and you tell John that you’ll relocate if you have to. John responds by first stating that you have potential, but then proceeds to mention that you have to pass a series of tests in order to get started, and mentions the Life Insurance license you have to obtain. Oh and they will not cover the $5,000 for that process. Like most people who would soil themselves from excitement, you respond with “What’s $5,000 compared to $500,000?? COUNT ME IN!!” John agrees to hire you, but tells you that you have to provide them with a list of 100 friends, including their email addresses and phone numbers. This baffles you, but being the good trooper you are, you do not question it.. Anyways, 6 months of unemployment and $5,000 later, you finally complete the training, and obtain you Life Insurance license. Anxious to make some money, you head over to John’s office and ask for some leads to sell to. John responds “What leads?” Dumbfounded, you respond “Like phone numbers for me to cold call and get shit rich off of”. He responds “Oh there are no leads, we don’t cold-call here. You will use that list you compiled and sell to your friends” Anguish possesses you, realizing that you just agreed to pay $5,000 to sell to your own friends, for only 10% commission and no salary.. As much as you want to punch John in his gonads, you come to terms with what you have, and decide that you have to sell your soul to regain your self-respect. Predictably, all your friends agree to buy from you, grossing $50,000 in commissions, and earning New York Life $450,000 in profits. You head over to John and ask for your paycheck. He responds “What paycheck?” Dumbfounded, you respond “The $50,000 I earned for selling my friends” He responds “Oh didn’t you read the contract, you have to gross $550,000 in monthly sales in order to earn a commission. You only grossed $500,000” Your wife divorces you, takes the kids, and files a restraining order. Oh and your friends & relatives blocked you on Facebook.

That’s a classic sales job nowadays, and a classic pyramid scheme. Lets delve right into the inner-workings of the New York Life Pyramid: Though they may have botched it with the 300 phone calls, by the minute you get to reception, New York Life convinces you that they are an exclusive club for posh millionaires, and only those who overcome a series of rigorous training are worthy of selling their friends. They have you endure 6 months of training, at the cost of $5,000, not to profit off that 5 grand, but on the contrary, to make it seem “realistic”. The douchebags who train you are hired thugs bent on convincing you further that they are veterans in life insurance, which gets you even more excited. Remember John? Yeah he’s not really head of the sales division. Beyond his facade, he is merely a “recruitment specialist” – these are the guys who actually make some good money building the “pyramid”. But why exactly is this a “pyramid”? John and hundreds of other “recruitment specialists” are paid a salary to convince morons like you that this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, gathering thousands of imbeciles to sell their friends to New York Life, netting the insurance pyramid billions of dollars in revenue, and maybe, if you’re lucky, you will get a piece of your friend’s pie. Remember Mark the asshole who claimed he was making $500,000 selling life insurance with New York Life? Half of it is true – he’s actually making $500,000, only he doesn’t sell life insurance, he gets a share of what you mooch off your friends. All he has to do is act.. More likely than not, John and the other pyramid monkeys are getting a piece of the action, conning aspiring sales professionals out of their friends and loved ones. If you think you’re the only one being conned by New York Ponzi Insurance, check your victim points.. Those friends and relatives you sold this crap to are now obligated to fork over hundreds of dollars a month on life insurance that may very likely not be retributed to their families upon their shameful death. Yup – they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives, but to give this pyramid some credit, New York Life does have a soft side; they always prey for their customers to live a long and healthy life..

7. Real Estate Brokers

real estate brokers

Here’s a thought – I have a million dollar apartment in Brooklyn, I think I’m gonna go on Zillow and advertise it. Nah! I’m just gonna give 2% to a Real Estate broker to sell it for me. I’m gonna go out on a limb and get straight to the point on why the real estate industry is a pyramid scheme.

$20,000 to host an open house, really?? How long do they spend dealing with otherwise very polite and conserved prospects? 20-30 hours max? Real estate agents are very useful if you’re too lazy to host an open house yourself, but they are most certainly not worth that kind of money. Those brokers who hire them are inflating real estate costs by engaging in a sell market – they earn more if they get you a better deal. Trust me, you do not want to be a real estate agent – you will be standing in that house hosting a bunch of obnoxious visitors, only to hand over like 60% of your commissions to your friendly neighborhood real estate broker.. Why? Because the law says so – at least for the first several years of you engaging in this business.

What happens when people sell? Nothing good – Real Estate prices drop, nobody wants to buy, Real Estate brokers get outnumbered. Sounds familiar? Madoff depended on a consistent inflow of money, they he were to have more withdrawals than than deposits, his scheme would have been exposed a long time ago. Real Estate brokers depend on a consistent flow of people looking to buy, if everyone wants to sell, their glorified bubbly days will hit rock bottom. Like any classic pyramid, they make themselves look exclusive by hosting open houses where random strangers look interested in buying. The rest of the marketing process speaks for itself, and these brokers are getting away with a 2% commission out of every home..