Saturday, February 14, 2009

Manners vs. Justice

So the other day I was at my favorite Mexican restaurant having Fajita Taco Salad (yum). But I was there by myself. So I did what I normally do and tried to do some reading. But I couldn't concentrate very well because there was an interesting conversation going on at the next table.

There was an young couple seated there together and across the table was a young man in his late twenties. They were talking about a business opportunity that they wanted to allow this young man in on. I listened for a bit...but it didn't take long. This was a total pyramid scheme. He had to pay money to them to get in. The way he made money was getting other people to get in under him and pay him money. They kept telling him how it was an "easy" business and he had to do "virtually nothing." Let me tell you, you don't make money doing virtually nothing. This young man was being presented with an opportunity to be the low man in the pyramid and get totally ripped off.

And he was buying it. He listened to their promises of fast, easy money and was ready to sign up.

Enter: My Dillemma.

Do I (A) Stand up for justice and interrupt them, telling the young man he's getting ripped off and confronting the couple for their corrupt ways, or (B) use good manners and mind my own business, hoping the young man will change his mind, or that he'll not lose too much money before figuring it out?

I chose not to interrupt them. After all, I was eavesdropping. But I've had my doubts since then. They were robbing him blind, just in a quiet way. My sense of justice tells me I should have turned over their table.

What would you have done?


NoVA Dad said...

Interesting dilemma. Years ago, I had friends try and get me in on a pyramid scheme like the one you describe, so I know exactly the sales pitch he was receiving. I was very young at the time - as was the guy you described - so apparently young folks make easier targets.

I don't know what I would have done. I agree with your point about eavesdropping, which is a point against saying anything; I suppose I would have waited until an opportunity presented itself - the couple stepping away for a moment, the young men getting up for the restroom or to get a refill on his drink - and then sidle up an offer my comments. With today's economy, there's always the question of whether he would have even listened.

bojipete said...

Two thoughts - Based on the description of the young man, I would guess that the old saying about a fool and his money is in play in his life. So unless you plan to follow him around until he grows wiser, this one-time intervention would probably not have had a significant impact on his long term finances. Second, it seems to me this "opportunity" is a much less expensive and much more informative economics lesson than most colleges offer. Certainly one the CEO's of many major banks never grasped. You done right, time for the young man to grow up.

fccred said...

The first thing that came to mind was, "Judge not that ye be not judged." That often comes to mind whenever I think of interrupting someones conversation, or giving my two cents worth.

I know that the first response is to "save" the young. And maybe the sheer surprise of having someone care enough to come up and say something to him would have an actual impact on him.

Yet it is difficult to do that with every conversation we happen to hear. Prayer is the best way we can hope to help this particular young man. We can hope and pray he invests, learns a lesson, and gets out soon.

preacherlady said...

I would've done exactly what you did: said nothing, while wondering if I should've said something. Later, I'd've told myself I was being prudent - lessons for the young to learn, after all, and besides, the couple could be dangerous - but in my heart of hearts I'd still feel like a big chicken**** who copped out and chose easy over right, AGAIN. Ain't easy to even always know the right thing, let alone do it. You bless with your honesty. Thank you.