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Old 24th October 2017, 06:20 AM   #1
Upchurch
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The reluctant snake-oil salesman

My father, in his retirement, has learned to be a coppersmith and has been traveling to various art festivals selling his wares. Especially popular are the copper bracelets he makes. Here is a portion of a recent Facebook post (mild editing and formatting, mine):
Quote:
Customer: "Will the copper help with my arthritis?"
Me: "There is no science to support that!"
Customer: "Can you put magnets on the copper cuffs?"
Me: "Sure."
Customer: "My aunt/grandmother/cousin wore copper cuffs all the time and she said it helped her."
Me: "Well, we live in Missouri, the State of Walt Disney. Wishing can make it so. Cash or Credit?"

I lost count of how many times I had that conversation over the last two weeks. They usually bought a cuff!

I guess we were poor, my grandmother just kept pennies in her shoes.
And a comment from one of my friends:
Quote:
I love that you're raking in snake oil dollars with a firm, "There is no science to support that!"
I kinda want to be my dad when I grow up: ethical enough to completely honest, but not ethical enough to stop people from giving me their money for stupid reasons.
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Last edited by Upchurch; 24th October 2017 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 24th October 2017, 06:39 AM   #2
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I both love and hate that. It is kind of awesome that you can make money selling snake oil honestly but also kind of said that people won't listen. TA Randi tells a story about Carson's debunking the faith healer Popoff, he got letters to the effect of, thanks for showing what a fraud he is, I'll send my money to a legit faith healer now!.
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Old 24th October 2017, 07:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
..... It is kind of awesome that you can make money selling snake oil honestly......
I don't see it that way. He is making and selling jewelry. The fact that some customers imbue the jewelry with "special powers", despite his claims to the contrary, is not his problem.
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Old 24th October 2017, 09:00 AM   #4
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It is kind of amazing that the guy who literally made the thing can say, "This has absolutely no special properties and will not help you in anyway other than fashion" and people will still believe it's magic.
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Old 24th October 2017, 09:12 AM   #5
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I dunno. It's not like their belief depends on yours. If they believe copper and a magnet have special properties, they don't need you to believe it, too. They just need you to put it together for them. It's probably even a little bit satisfying, to know that it works even though the guy making it doesn't believe it works.
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Old 24th October 2017, 12:10 PM   #6
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Many years ago, I toyed with the idea of selling handmade metal dowsing rods online, with the statement that they were 200% more effective than conventional dowsing rods. Anything multiplied by zero is still zero, after all. That would have crossed the line into deception though.
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Old 24th October 2017, 05:07 PM   #7
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Back when I was a young, gullible welder I bought a magnetic bracket.

The only discernible effect it had was that I ended up taking my work home with me.
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Old 25th October 2017, 12:54 AM   #8
Apathia
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Today I met the head pharmacist of a pharmacy I'll begin working at next month. He was wearing a copper bracelet.
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Old 25th October 2017, 03:05 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Today I met the head pharmacist of a pharmacy I'll begin working at next month. He was wearing a copper bracelet.
If he needs more, I know a guy.
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Old 25th October 2017, 05:47 AM   #10
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Back when these were a new fad item, folks were buying them from various sources. My dad started squishing copper tubing he “found” at work with a vise and rounding off the ends.
He gave them away, and folks would proudly display the green discoloration on their wrists as proof they were “working”.....
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Old 25th October 2017, 06:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Back when these were a new fad item, folks were buying them from various sources. My dad started squishing copper tubing he “found” at work with a vise and rounding off the ends.
He gave them away, and folks would proudly display the green discoloration on their wrists as proof they were “working”.....
Green means 'Go'!

When your medical tests sound likes lines from Dora the Explorer, it's a time to re-examine your life choices.
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Old 25th October 2017, 07:05 AM   #12
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Tell them for your dad only uses copper that is ductile, they should be wary of non-ductile copper.
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Old 25th October 2017, 07:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
Many years ago, I toyed with the idea of selling handmade metal dowsing rods online, with the statement that they were 200% more effective than conventional dowsing rods. Anything multiplied by zero is still zero, after all. That would have crossed the line into deception though.

And three times less GMO!
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Old 25th October 2017, 07:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
And three times less GMO!
And gluten free!
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Old 25th October 2017, 07:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Today I met the head pharmacist of a pharmacy I'll begin working at next month. He was wearing a copper bracelet.
While standing in the Pharmacy line at the store the other day, I noticed they had an entire shelf unit, perhaps five feet high and eight feet long, fully stocked with quack products. Homeopathic products for babies, colon cleansers, you name it. Quite disgusting. And of course all the drugstores here in the USA sell cigarettes.
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Old 25th October 2017, 08:09 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
While standing in the Pharmacy line at the store the other day, I noticed they had an entire shelf unit, perhaps five feet high and eight feet long, fully stocked with quack products. Homeopathic products for babies, colon cleansers, you name it. Quite disgusting. And of course all the drugstores here in the USA sell cigarettes.
CVS stores do not sell cigarettes, but they have plenty quack stuff.
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Old 26th October 2017, 10:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
While standing in the Pharmacy line at the store the other day, I noticed they had an entire shelf unit, perhaps five feet high and eight feet long, fully stocked with quack products. Homeopathic products for babies, colon cleansers, you name it. Quite disgusting. And of course all the drugstores here in the USA sell cigarettes.
And every snake oil supplement that can generate a profit.
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Old 26th October 2017, 10:07 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
If he needs more, I know a guy.
Does he sell magnetic copper?
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Old 26th October 2017, 10:48 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Does he sell magnetic copper?
It's as, if not more, magnetic than any other copper they can find .
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Old 26th October 2017, 11:03 AM   #20
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Copper works for Brett Favre, what more proof do you need?
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Old 26th October 2017, 11:28 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Does he sell magnetic copper?
Guaranteed to conduct at least two types of energy.
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Old 26th October 2017, 11:59 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
It is kind of amazing that the guy who literally made the thing can say, "This has absolutely no special properties and will not help you in anyway other than fashion" and people will still believe it's magic.
It's homeopathic.
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:04 PM   #23
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Needs more buzzwords.

Based on the latest inverse quantum homeopathic paradigms! You copper bracelet is guaranteed not to rust.
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:57 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by bytewizard View Post
Copper works for Brett Favre, what more proof do you need?
I need proof Brett Favre knows what copper is.
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Old 28th October 2017, 09:06 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
If he needs more, I know a guy.

Seriously! Being honest isn't getting me anywhere. If there's no hell then I should just rip people off. Thanks to my years at this site I know I could do it too. Easily.

But I still can't. I've said many times recently, "I sometimes wish I was dishonest enough to be a psychic, start some astrology sites and rip off all the idiots who don't want to listen"

Maybe we should start one here and donate any proceeds to charity. On every site it can state "You are about to be ripped off".

It would probably depress me though. Woo seems to have gained a foothold recently. For instance everyone seems to be talking about chemtrails now. Seems hopeless.
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Old 29th October 2017, 09:37 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
Seriously! Being honest isn't getting me anywhere. If there's no hell then I should just rip people off. Thanks to my years at this site I know I could do it too. Easily.

But I still can't. I've said many times recently, "I sometimes wish I was dishonest enough to be a psychic, start some astrology sites and rip off all the idiots who don't want to listen"

Maybe we should start one here and donate any proceeds to charity. On every site it can state "You are about to be ripped off".

It would probably depress me though. Woo seems to have gained a foothold recently. For instance everyone seems to be talking about chemtrails now. Seems hopeless.
Since my wife passed in August from cancer, things are a little bit tighter on money now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not desperate or broke by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not well off either. I've thought about numerous ways to earn extra money that are realistic, and I realize that of all the ways to make money, peddling woo is one I could easily accomplish and do well at. I'm smart and a good salesman, but, like you, I just can't con people. It's wrong to me on some core, intrinsic level of my being.
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Old 30th October 2017, 06:58 AM   #27
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The references to pharmacies above remind me of something that I've occasionally had on my mind since I worked at a drug store and discovered all the quack products several years ago.

I know that I've seen customers ask pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for information about their prescriptions and advice in choosing over-the-counter medicines. I presume they must also sometimes ask for advice in choosing the right quack product as well. This would put the pharmacy staff in the position of telling them that the quackery doesn't work, presuming they're honest, but surely they must be under orders from the drug store owners/management not to stop a customer who's about to spend money, disobeying company orders sooner or later leads to threats of firing and then actual firing. So how do they handle it? Play along and let the customers waste their money? Tell the truth and end up repeatedly bumping heads with their bosses? Tell the truth but try to prevent the bosses from hearing about it? Or is my presumption that they even get asked much wrong because fans of that kind of quackery know what the experts say and don't want to hear it?
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Old 1st November 2017, 05:26 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
While standing in the Pharmacy line at the store the other day, I noticed they had an entire shelf unit, perhaps five feet high and eight feet long, fully stocked with quack products. Homeopathic products for babies, colon cleansers, you name it. Quite disgusting. And of course all the drugstores here in the USA sell cigarettes.
I still don't understand why people get up in arms about them selling cigarettes but no problem whatsoever that they continue to sell alcohol.

So I am not up on my quackery these days, what is copper supposed to cure? I vaguely recall it being a trend at one time but never looked into it. There needs to be a reality show where you have the honest guy with all these products - straight up telling them they don't work, but watching people buy them anyway. Maybe if people saw themselves on tv doing it, it might sink in??
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Old 1st November 2017, 06:18 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by kali1137 View Post
So I am not up on my quackery these days, what is copper supposed to cure?
The quacks seem to advertise copper, and magnets specifically, for joint-related pain.
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Old 1st November 2017, 06:40 AM   #30
Armitage72
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
The quacks seem to advertise copper, and magnets specifically, for joint-related pain.

Copper for arthritis has been around for decades. I remember a sequence of strips in "Peanuts" from the mid-70s or earlier in which Snoopy was wearing a copper bracelet for arthritis and got annoyed when Charlie Brown insisted on taking him to the vet anyway.
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Old 1st November 2017, 09:22 AM   #31
Apathia
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
The references to pharmacies above remind me of something that I've occasionally had on my mind since I worked at a drug store and discovered all the quack products several years ago.

I know that I've seen customers ask pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for information about their prescriptions and advice in choosing over-the-counter medicines. I presume they must also sometimes ask for advice in choosing the right quack product as well. This would put the pharmacy staff in the position of telling them that the quackery doesn't work, presuming they're honest, but surely they must be under orders from the drug store owners/management not to stop a customer who's about to spend money, disobeying company orders sooner or later leads to threats of firing and then actual firing. So how do they handle it? Play along and let the customers waste their money? Tell the truth and end up repeatedly bumping heads with their bosses? Tell the truth but try to prevent the bosses from hearing about it? Or is my presumption that they even get asked much wrong because fans of that kind of quackery know what the experts say and don't want to hear it?
As a pharmacy tech, I have no say over what's stacked on the shelves, but I can make polite, positive recommendations for a product that has more reliability. Fortunately the store pharmacy I work for doesn't have homeopathic crap. It does have the usually bunch of vitamins and supplements of dubious value. I don't say, "Taking this isn't going to do jack-waste for you." But I am responsible for directing a customer to the pharmacist if I notice the supplement Ze's asking for has contraindications with a prescription ze's taking.

I've noticed that a lot of people swear by their favorite homeopathic or naturopathic. But it's not good customer service practice for me to swear at said product.
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