I sometimes go to movies and eat at restaurants alone…
While some find this to be a horrific thought, I find it to be a great way to meditate and people watch at the same time. Conversations around me range from jovial but meaningless to silent but meaningful. Some loving couples who have been together for a long time don’t need to talk, but rather just enjoy being in each others presence. On the other hand, it’s easy to spot the ones that are unhappy… they usually act one of two ways: they either argue despite the unwitting audience of diners that surrounds them, or they don’t say anything at all. The difference in this silence and that of more happy couples manifests in their body language. Often, the two will not make eye contact for minutes at a time, as if two strangers who spoke different languages were placed at the same table by a rather insidious host. If one of them looks to the east, the other will most likely change their view westward. And I often wonder at how that must feel.
Today, however, I happened to pick up a free local newspaper from a little metal stand as I walked into the restaurant. After the host had seated me, I realized that I had accidentally picked up a newspaper for “the mature reader”.
Being of only 37 years, I am happy not to be in this particular category yet. But since I do not take anything for granted anymore, I decided to go ahead and take a look at what the Prime Times considered to be news for the mature reader.
Now for our purposes here and from what I could tell, mature in this magazines view meant anyone over the age of around 55 years or at the age where they are retired.
But as I was glancing at the types of articles that were written in the Prime Times, I came to the conclusion that this tiny local newspaper was actually targeting older people with a fixed income. This will become apparent as I give an overview of the main articles in the small 16 paged paper.
So what is the local seniors paper selling as news? Let’s take a look.
1) Front page headline – MyBux Provides Seniors With Earning Opportunities
This article was obviously a paid advertisement from the company MyBux. Though it was written in the same format as any newspaper article you might see in any other paper, this was strictly a sales pitch. Worse than that, it was a sales pitch for a multi level marketing company. How do I know this? Because the author had the nerve to actually write the following:
“Consider MyBux the newest player in Multi Level Marketing. And because it is debuting right here in Salt Lake City, you can get in on the ground floor.”
Basically, this was a MLM scheme for a “reward-based debit card” that gives cash back instead of points. But you must push this card on everyone you know or come across in life in order to truly reap its rewards. It compares itself to “Amway, Mary Kay, and other top MLM opportunities”. And obviously, this was a paid for advertisement that was being pushed by this grossly neglegent newspaper pandering to fixed-income seniors… as news.
2) Also on the front page – Identity Theft Growing: How To Prevent It
Now this one sparked even my interest, since I had been through a rather nasty case of identity theft several years ago, and so I almost fell for the clever ploy used in this article. Basically, it was a scarepiece, designed to make you feel helpless against the many listed ways that your identity can get stolen. And for a moment, that’s exactly how I felt. But then I remembered the beginning of the story, and was able to shake that feeling off and retain my logic. Of course once the clarity of thought returned, I immediately understood that this article was just a deceptive advertisement for identity theft protection services, though on a more subconscious level. Here’s who sponsored and wrote the article:
“No matter if you’re shopping, drawing money from a bank, or simply taking out your trash, it’s important to take precautionary actions,” says Dr. Nelson Ludlow, CEO of Intellicheck Mobilisa, a developer of wireless security and identity systems for the government, military and commercial markets.
Need I say more?
Just another paid for advertisement passing off as a news story.
And to be perfectly honest… after reading this story I actually was thinking about protecting my identity with Intellicheck Mobilisa. My heartstrings were played like a fiddle. Now imagine what a 70 year old woman must be feeling…
3) Page 2 (full page article) – “Reverse Mortgages… The Next Coming, But Of Whom?”
First of all, I just wanted to give a shout out to whomever came up with a fetching title like that. Well spoken. Articulate. Captivating in a sort of WTF? kind of way…
Now, I don’t have to tell you that this one was anything other than what the title suggests… complete unintelligible bullshit! This article, of course, was a glowing review of the devils own reverse mortgages and how they may benefit you (MEANING DESPERATE SENIORS!). That is, if you are in financial trouble and want a quick fix (like giving over the deed to your home that you have worked so hard to obtain for so many years to pay off the mortgage to the horrible bankers that charged you three times its worth in interest payments).
Leave it to your kids? Screw them.
A reverse mortgage is an ingenious scam that convinces the elderly and financially un-astute to trade their beloved home for a few measly cash payments up until they die (which for seniors, unfortunately, isn’t that far off!). When they do die, the house becomes the property of the bastard corporation that paid a few payments to get it. In other words, since the older folks are going to inevitably die sooner than later, the company gets the house for pennies on the dollar.
This article was written by none other than an attorney… that offers these particular services! Edward Stone of Stone Law Firm. While a few sentences in this full page advertisement/article are warnings to watch out for predators who feed on unsuspecting reverse mortgage seekers (no doubt a ploy to make them pay his legal fees to use his legal services) this type of “reporting” if you can call it that should be illegal. And attorney’s that fund, and newspapers that print this type of predatory false enlightenment should be hung by the nearest tree.
Interestingly, and with no apparent shame, this guy actually wrote this paragraph at the end of his article, and completely off from the rest of the sales pitch:
“Would it be presumptuous of me to hypothesize that reverse mortgages are the next subprime bomb with a detonator set for 10 years or so? With interest rates expected to rise, ever longer life expectancies (B.S.) and slow housing growth, I see a perfect storm coming.”
— And then, as if his delete key was broken —
“This has no impact on you; I just wanted to put that in print so I can tell my friends I told you so and show them this article in 2020.”
So, this creep just outed himself as a scam artist. Of course this type of bubble is going to burst. It’s criminal! And that’s what happens to crooks. They get caught with their pants down.
But then I suppose the taxpayers will be there to involuntarily bail these guys out.
4) On to page 4 – “H1N1 Vaccination Clinics Open To The Public”
Besides having several advertisements riddled throughout the “newspaper” for free vaccine clinics, this article was of course just another advertisement. Who wrote this one? Why Mr. Bob Ballew from the Davis County Health Department of course! This was not even a discussion on the pros and cons of vaccination. In fact, it didn’t even mention that there was a massive controversy going on with high risk (seniors are high risk) patients.
So, from what I can tell, the Davis County Health Department is using the Prime Times “newspaper” to advertise free dangerous vaccinations to its mature readers without revealing any of the side effects or warnings that a “community” or “local” unbiased newspaper should be providing.
Of course… nothing is free.
The Davis County Health Department is funded by taxpayer dollars, which means we just paid for this blatant misrepresentation of a sales pitch. Also, the word free in this ad is extremely misused, since again it is the taxpayers paying the pharmaceutical companies billions a year for the research and development of these vaccines, and then also buying these vaccines once they are haphazardly blended together and spread among the population without any scientific, double-blind, placebo, peer-reviewed testing ever being done on any vaccine in the history of the vaccine industry! In other words, we pay for drugs that have never been proven to work.
But I’ll tell you something… they have been proven time and time again to do a whole lot of harm.
Of course, when the pharmaceutical corporations own through investment the very journals that they print their results in, you shouldn’t expect to see any negative studies in those so-called “respected” journals.
5) After a few pages with actual stories about travel, wine, cooking, and volunteerism, we come to this on page 8 – “It’s All About Gold”
Perhaps just slightly more evil than the whole reverse mortgage scam, is the attempt by several dirty rotten scoundrel companies to virtually steal for pennies on the dollar the one thing in our mature readers possessions that actually has a real value… precious metals. Gold.
Written by Serena Swenson who either represents, works for, or owns the Gold Standard – a store located in the Valley Fair Mall – this article/advertisement takes the cake. Or the carrot. While credit must be given to this particular article for defining part of the gold market and the way it works, including the difference between the standard and the troy ounce, I cannot say that this was an altruistic attempt to help people in thier comprehension of what value their gold is actually worth. Instead, she represents a company that buys gold, gold jewelry, gold rings, and other precious metal based items from unsuspecting people who are ignorant of the fact that gold is extremely valuable, especially in this day and age.
In this article, she teaches that a 10 carrot ring is only 47% gold. Translation: your ring is worth less than you think it might be. But I’ll pay you some quick cash for it anyway.
Now most of these types of companies have their own smelt where they melt down these cast aside treasures and sell the gold that is produced at fair market value, making a huge profit in the process. And they knowingly set up these stores to rob people of their treasure by misrepresenting both the value and the very concept of gold ownership. I’ve even heard them call it scrap gold.
This article is a confusing explanation of the gold market that ends in a wonderful sounding solution to sell your scrap gold in a comfortable setting without dealing with those pesky market traders:
“We have a large, comfortable lobby with teller windows where the customer can discuss the proposed sale or purchase with one of our experts.”
I’m sure that all of the “experts” in the gold market just rushed right over to work in the damn mall at a gold swindling store, that’s no more full of experts than the local pawn shop. Almost sounds like a funeral home about to sell a grieving widow a ridiculously expensive coffin for a coming funeral. Sure, it’s just going to be buried in a few days, but wouldn’t your dead husband want to be in the most materialistic casket you can’t afford? Don’t you want your loved ones to know how much you cared about him?
Gold or coffins, it’s the same devious marketing strategies being used throughout these articles/advertisements on the downtrodden mature.
6) Page 9, another full page headline – “When Every Word Is Important: Free Hearing Assistive Phones For Utah’s Seniors A State Funded Program Providing No-Cost Phones To Help Utahns Connect”
Try saying that in one breath! So this one was naturally written by an employee of the store who is giving away these phones for free, Mrs. Mary Beth Green, who is in fact a Telecommunication Relay Specialist at none other than Relay Utah.
Sounds innocent enough, right. Wrong.
“These phones are available at no charge as they are purchased with funds that are attained through a $.10 telephone surcharge that all Utahns pay, through their phone bill, to support this program.”
Can you say socialism? I mean come on… we all have to pay a tax so that senior citizens can have free phones with big buttons and large print displays? I cannot say no to this tax if I don’t agree with it. Nope. I have to give up my phone service if I don’t agree with this tax. And that doesn’t seem right to me…
Now don’t get me wrong. If this was some necessary medical service or life-saving thing I’d have no problem paying this tax (along with all of the others). But this is to get old people big buttoned phones! I’m sorry, but who voted for this?
I am guessing here when I say that this is probably just another example of typical government kickbacks and wasteful spending; giving no-bid contracts and huge profits to this government run corporate telecommunications company. I’m sure it is a political favor more than an altruistic effort on governments part.
But maybe more important to point out here is this: Relay Utah is a phone company. It has a government website (relayutah.gov). This means that it is not a public company anymore, but instead a government owned and operated municipality. And through investment, the government is taking over everything in sight!
Since when are phone companies government enterprise projects?
The rest of the paper was ads and classified’s, mainly travel, drug and vaccine marketing.
The reason I thought this was important enough to write about, though I hope it is obvious, is that this “newspaper” is clearly taking advantage of the fears and anxieties of seniors in order to sell unneeded and dangerous products. It is a shameful display of journalism that has been morphed into profitable not-so-hidden advertising. And I’m sure there are these types of free “mature” papers scattered all across the country. I guess that I think it is about time to start returning the favor that our parents might have done for us while we were growing up. We should all be having a look at what our parents are reading, lest they become the victims of these MLM and sales schemes by shysters and snake oil salesmen.
The elderly become as they were at a younger age, innocent (or ignorant) of the ways of the ever-changing world around them. It is our duty as family to make sure the newest generation of methodical thievery doesn’t effect our own parents and respected elders.
Please be vigilant for these types of propaganda filled, misleading, and dangerous free newspapers for the mature reader.
Clint Richardson (realitybloger.wordpress.com)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010