Take the cash or the free dinner?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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livesoft
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Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by livesoft » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:24 pm

There have been several threads about listening to a pitch at a free dinner, but I've been offered $200 in cash to listen to a pitch which is a first for me. I just don't recall sales pitches offering cash, but plenty offer a free vacation (time shares!) or free dinner (annuities). There have been plenty of cash bonuses if you switched money to a new financial institution, too. In this case, it is a no obligation, get $200 for listening. What is this world coming to?

Have you been offered cash even if you walked away?
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HueyLD
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by HueyLD » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:27 pm

Really? There must be a catch.

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livesoft
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by livesoft » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:29 pm

Well, my time is valuable and whoever delivers the pitch will get great training. :)
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camden
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by camden » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:32 pm

If this is legit, would imagine you should steel yourself for a very painful listening experience. Hope you have skin thick as a rhinoceros.

GoldenFinch
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by GoldenFinch » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:34 pm

Did you read the fine print? What’s the catch? :happy

They probably only give you the money after you sign something.
Last edited by GoldenFinch on Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dottie57
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:36 pm

Make sure you know how long you have to listen. Picture a police drama where you go through extremely harsh “interview”.

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livesoft
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by livesoft » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:40 pm

camden wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:32 pm
If this is legit, would imagine you should steel yourself for a very painful listening experience. Hope you have skin thick as a rhinoceros.
Actually, I'm pretty good at "interviewing" the salesreps myself in order to make things interesting.
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7eight9
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by 7eight9 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:40 pm

It has been a while but I've gotten $100 cash to listen to a timeshare pitch in Las Vegas. That was unusual because typically the offer was either show tickets or free play chips. The catch with the free play chips was whether they were one time only or play till dead. If the latter then one could bet Player and Banker and come out with close to their face value in live chips.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

StandingRock
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by StandingRock » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:44 pm

7eight9 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:40 pm
It has been a while but I've gotten $100 cash to listen to a timeshare pitch in Las Vegas. That was unusual because typically the offer was either show tickets or free play chips. The catch with the free play chips was whether they were one time only or play till dead. If the latter then one could bet Player and Banker and come out with close to their face value in live chips.
I got $100 for a focus group one time.

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F150HD
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by F150HD » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:47 pm

prob $200 off their services, read the size 0.0001 font at the bottom of their brochure :P

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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:52 pm

I would take $200 cash for free entertainment.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:55 pm

What are they trying to sell you?

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willthrill81
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:57 pm

You know better than to buy anything they're selling, so it sounds like $200 for little effort on your part, it will be $200 that they no longer have, and it will keep someone who's probably a lot less knowledgeable away from them. Win/win/win. :beer
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livesoft
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by livesoft » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:57 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:55 pm
What are they trying to sell you?
Banking and investment services.

In return I can tell them why their products suck.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:00 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:57 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:55 pm
What are they trying to sell you?
Banking and investment services.
Oh goodie! I can't wait to read your post-meeting summary.

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whodidntante
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:00 pm

The real question is, how much to watch livesoft perform?

Shallowpockets
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:15 pm

I would not even go for only $200. Maybe at $500 I'd be tempted. What is your time worth?

michaeljc70
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:23 pm

My grandparents, who were always very frugal, often went to free dinners to hear the "talk". They never viewed them as too high pressure and never bought anything. Mostly, they were trying to sell things they didn't want. They found some of them, given by attorneys, to be useful. Mostly around trusts and estate planning. As others said, I would make sure you know how much time you have to spend to get the $$$$. If it involves one on one talks, I'd avoid that.

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Stinky
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Stinky » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:25 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:00 pm
The real question is, how much to watch livesoft perform?
Livesoft, if you will tell us when and where, you could probably get 20 Bogleheads to pay $20 apiece to watch you perform.

You could turn $200 into $600!
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ClevrChico
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:26 pm

I've had sales people try to give me gift cards in B2B settings, and I've never accepted. I can't imagine cash in any situation. I suggest you follow through and let us know what happens. :happy

CppCoder
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by CppCoder » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:44 pm

I think they "know" livesoft, want his advice, but figure he'd charge more than $200 for consulting. They are attempting to get his advice at less than his going rate via this "scheme" they cooked up. Don't fall for it! In the words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!"

alter
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by alter » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:49 pm

Take the cash. You don't know if the dinner is worse than a $10 steak you can grill at home. I routinely collect such bonuses. The skill of being completely immune to all high-pressure sales tactics is worth it's weight in gold. If you have this skill, you should exploit it as much as possible.

Teague
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Teague » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:53 pm

If they are pitching to a group, see if you can get them to increase the price:

So you see, folks, this chart shows that our returns have been proven to beat the market!
Excuse me presenter, do those results include reinvesting dividends because, you know, it's pretty dishonest if they don't.
Um, sir, we don't want to waste your time, so if you'd like, you can just collect your $200 and leave now if you'd like. Thanks

So like I was saying, the chart shows our remarkable results...
Sorry to bother you again. How did you pick the dates for your chart? What do your results look like for, let's say, 1998-2009?
Sir, I really wanted to run this program myself... how about if we give you $300? You can just collect that at the door there. Have a nice night.

So, getting back to what we were saying, our results were vastly superior when compared to...
Hi there, me again. I'm really enjoying your talk. Say, about those superior results, do those include your fees and expenses? Because if they don't...
Semper Augustus

venkman
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by venkman » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:20 pm

I'm not saying you should go, then tell all the other invitees you were getting paid $500, and you didn't understand why they were only getting $200. But you should totally do that. :happy

jaydub71
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by jaydub71 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:26 pm

I would definitely get a beginning time and an ending time. A dinner has a fairly clear beginning and end. I can't imagine sitting through one of those talks wondering how much longer is it going to last.

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FIREchief
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:39 pm

Why is the question "or?" If you have the time, and enjoy free food and free cash, why not do both?? I'm squarely in the camp of enjoying the entertainment that these court jesters provide, and I also like free stuff. The bonus will be coming back to the forum and telling us about the guy with the red nose and how funny his act was. I always enjoy those threads. I especially like hearing the forum responses from the stuff shirts who are either a) too proud to accept a nice high end juicy filet mignon for free or b) too stuck up to see the entertainment value.

Of course, since we sold our house and downsized to an apartment I haven't gotten many invites (btw: thanks Sarge for pointing that downside out :annoyed ) :D .
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WildBill
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by WildBill » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:44 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:24 pm
There have been several threads about listening to a pitch at a free dinner, but I've been offered $200 in cash to listen to a pitch which is a first for me. I just don't recall sales pitches offering cash, but plenty offer a free vacation (time shares!) or free dinner (annuities).
Howdy

Hourly rate of approx $100. I charge more than that for consulting, and you probably do also, but that is real work, not sitting and harassing some salesman. For sure read the fine print to make sure they are going to cough up the cash. I would not travel very far for it.

Take a good book in case it gets tedious.

Happy kibitzing

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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FIREchief
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:48 pm

WildBill wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:44 pm
Howdy

Hourly rate of approx $100. I charge more than that for consulting, and you probably do also, but that is real work, not sitting and harassing some salesman. For sure read the fine print to make sure they are going to cough up the cash. I would not travel very far for it.
This ain't work. It's being entertained. Most of us pay to be entertained. If somebody wants to pay me to entertain me, then be my guest! :sharebeer
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mikeyzito22
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by mikeyzito22 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:55 pm

alter wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:49 pm
Take the cash. You don't know if the dinner is worse than a $10 steak you can grill at home. I routinely collect such bonuses. The skill of being completely immune to all high-pressure sales tactics is worth it's weight in gold. If you have this skill, you should exploit it as much as possible.
Wait, you "routinely" collect such bonuses by going to these things? How does one get invited so often if one is never buying anything. Maybe I'm in the wrong business, but how does one seek out one of these meetings? Maybe my net worth is too little or I hang out with the right folks, and not the swindlers?

WildBill
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by WildBill » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:56 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:48 pm
WildBill wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:44 pm
Howdy

Hourly rate of approx $100. I charge more than that for consulting, and you probably do also, but that is real work, not sitting and harassing some salesman. For sure read the fine print to make sure they are going to cough up the cash. I would not travel very far for it.
This ain't work. It's being entertained. Most of us pay to be entertained. If somebody wants to pay me to entertain me, then be my guest! :sharebeer
Howdy

I understand your point of view, but our ideas on what constitutes entertainment are clearly very different. 😀

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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FIREchief
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:06 pm

WildBill wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:56 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:48 pm
WildBill wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:44 pm
Howdy

Hourly rate of approx $100. I charge more than that for consulting, and you probably do also, but that is real work, not sitting and harassing some salesman. For sure read the fine print to make sure they are going to cough up the cash. I would not travel very far for it.
This ain't work. It's being entertained. Most of us pay to be entertained. If somebody wants to pay me to entertain me, then be my guest! :sharebeer
Howdy

I understand your point of view, but our ideas on what constitutes entertainment are clearly very different. 😀

W B
How many of these have you attended?? :P There are many forms of entertainment out there, but it takes an open mind to appreciate some that are on the fringes.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

WildBill
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by WildBill » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:18 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:06 pm
WildBill wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:56 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:48 pm
WildBill wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:44 pm
Howdy

Hourly rate of approx $100. I charge more than that for consulting, and you probably do also, but that is real work, not sitting and harassing some salesman. For sure read the fine print to make sure they are going to cough up the cash. I would not travel very far for it.
This ain't work. It's being entertained. Most of us pay to be entertained. If somebody wants to pay me to entertain me, then be my guest! :sharebeer

Howdy

I understand your point of view, but our ideas on what constitutes entertainment are clearly very different. 😀

W B
How many of these have you attended?? :P There are many forms of entertainment out there, but it takes an open mind to appreciate some that are on the fringes.
Howdy

Since you ask, I once attended a time share thing and decided to stay away from this sort of thing as a principle. Nothing good can happen and it is a waste of my time.

Usually the enticement is food I do not want to eat. I might reconsider for cash.😀

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Watty
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Watty » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:49 pm

One thing to watch out for if you regularly go to these sorts of things is that as you age your defenses might not be so good and eventually you may buy what they are selling.

I have made a conscious effort to simplify my investments so that will be easier to manage as I age because even without something like dementia it is realistic to expect some mental decline and you may not realize that there has been some decline.

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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:57 pm

Free drinks, as much as you want. Hard stuff. Double shots.
Friendly attractive people to keep you company.
Lower your defenses.
Take you to the cleaners. . . . .

Been offered a lot of things in a lot of seminars, but never cash.
I would probably refuse and not go.
Just me.
j
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FIREchief
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:13 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:57 pm
Free drinks, as much as you want. Hard stuff. Double shots.
Friendly attractive people to keep you company.
Lower your defenses.
Ironically, these very factors can actually raise some people's defenses. I certainly appreciate and respect your point though.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

MikeG62
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by MikeG62 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:44 am

livesoft wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:57 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:55 pm
What are they trying to sell you?
Banking and investment services.

In return I can tell them why their products suck.
Is this face-to-face?

How long is the meeting?

If face-to-face, how far do you have to go to get there and back?

I was offered/paid $50 by Mercedes Benz to participate in a 30 minute phone call about 10 years ago. I took the call while laying on a float in my pool. They sent me a check for $50. I did it in part because they were not selling anything - just looking for owners opinions on things they valued in their vehicle and what they'd considering purchasing in the future (i.e., EV's).
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neilpilot
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:08 am

I still get invited to dinners, usually by a insurance salesman posing as a FA but also for a sales pitch for things ranging from Medivac contracts to home energy improvements. Will attend a small fraction if it's a restaurant I like and/or I think I may learn something useful. I haven't been sold anything yet, but have had some nice meals and often learned useful information.

Recently was offered $100 for a 1-hr one-on-one session with a fiduciary FA. I accepted in part since I'm in the process of constructing a Death Book should I predeceed my DW, who has minimal interest in managing investments. This FA was not selling insurance, and had a decent BH like approach to investing. After discussing my current investment plan, and getting some very useful tips, the FA indicated (and I agreed) that I wasn't a good fit for his services. No hard sell. Spend about 20 minutes, and left with $100 and some good info.

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livesoft
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:16 am

@neilpilot, thanks for that. Your experience is more of what I would expect for the situation I am describing. It seems unusual, but paying cash happens.

I'll throw this out there: Suppose Vanguard paid its Flagship clients $100 for every index mutual fund that the client converted to the ETF share class. How many would do the switch? (Maybe they should just give the client free TurboTax to do so? :twisted:)
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:10 am

I would go to the bank and take out 2 $100 bills from your checking/savings.

Skip the meeting. Walk around with $200 extra in your wallet.

No good could come out of it and $200 won't make any difference.
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:43 am

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:13 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:57 pm
Free drinks, as much as you want. Hard stuff. Double shots.
Friendly attractive people to keep you company.
Lower your defenses.
Ironically, these very factors can actually raise some people's defenses. I certainly appreciate and respect your point though.
Very true.

There are certain "types" of bars that construction crews would frequent on Friday night after pay day. The above strategy would leave many of them without their paychecks by the end of the night. :shock:
For some reason, I've always been wary of this since day one and hung on to my pay checks. Not that I would've gone to these types of places in my younger days. :oops:

j :happy
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nedsaid
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by nedsaid » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:33 am

livesoft wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:24 pm
There have been several threads about listening to a pitch at a free dinner, but I've been offered $200 in cash to listen to a pitch which is a first for me. I just don't recall sales pitches offering cash, but plenty offer a free vacation (time shares!) or free dinner (annuities). There have been plenty of cash bonuses if you switched money to a new financial institution, too. In this case, it is a no obligation, get $200 for listening. What is this world coming to?

Have you been offered cash even if you walked away?
Nisiprius calls this stealing bait from a trap. The problem is that really good salespeople are like a force of nature, even people with high sales resistance can wind up buying.

Years ago, my parents and I sat through a timeshare presentation in Las Vegas. My father, who had many years of sales himself wound up buying a week of vacation there just to get out of there, he cancelled when he got home. Having watched this myself, it was a sight to behold. My father who sold such things like appliances and furniture, and who sold to retail customers and to retailers, could not 100% resist the sales pressure. He spent a few hundred dollars for a week of vacation rather than $20,000 plus for a timeshare, as I said he cancelled when he got home. We were there probably 3-4 hours.

A few years before that, In Florida I naively sat through a presentation, they promised free breakfast and $30 cash, I declined to purchase the timeshare. They used the good cop, bad cop routine on me. The bad cop made it sound like I was stealing the $30. I just said I wanted the $30. The guy told me that I only came for the breakfast and the $30, he offered me coupons instead. I said that's right, I want my $30. I got my $30. The good cop came to me afterwards and asked what happened.

Having sat through a couple of these, I won't do that again. I have refused offers of a "free" vacation.
A fool and his money are good for business.

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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:02 am

As a BH who has achieved FI I no longer am lured anywhere by free drinks or try and view onerous presentations as entertainment. I can afford my own drinks and entertainment of a better sort.
It seems as if some believe that going to these presentations is some kind of one upmanship. Ha, ha, got your cash $200 and I didn't buy anything. That's kind of crazy because the people who make these offers don't care about you as a singular mark, but they know that overall enough may buy that it all works to their favor.
The question isn't between cash or a free dinner, it is between a waste of time or not.
When you are FI and have little chance of running out of your money, $200 doesn't seem like any kind of draw at all, much less as entertainment.

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dm200
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:10 am

livesoft wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:24 pm
There have been several threads about listening to a pitch at a free dinner, but I've been offered $200 in cash to listen to a pitch which is a first for me. I just don't recall sales pitches offering cash, but plenty offer a free vacation (time shares!) or free dinner (annuities). There have been plenty of cash bonuses if you switched money to a new financial institution, too. In this case, it is a no obligation, get $200 for listening. What is this world coming to?
Have you been offered cash even if you walked away?
Never been to one of these - cash or dinners.

I would be curious of any experiences with these. I doubt I would go, however.

MisterBill
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by MisterBill » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:35 pm

The brokerage firm dinners aren't painful, you just don't return the form with your contact info and they usually won't call you. If they do (from the contact info from signing up), I use my Google Voice number that goes right to voicemail so I don't have to speak to them.

I'm not sure how an annuity talk would be since those salespeople are usually higher pressure. I actually went to one (for free!) at my local library, not realizing what it was. It was some PhD who worked for an insurance company, I guess I should have known better Needless to say he did not get my contact info.

Timeshare presentations can be painful. I remember doing one in Hawaii and the sales slime actually insulted me and said that even a 3rd grader could see what a great deal it was.

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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:46 pm

nedsaid wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:33 am
Having sat through a couple of these, I won't do that again. I have refused offers of a "free" vacation.
Thanks in part to Bogleheads advice my time is worth something. I agree with not doing that again.

Years ago I wasted more than a couple of hours on some clown who wanted to sell me mutual funds with a 25 percent front end load. He said that by virtue of something or other that the high load was legal. I didn't know my rear end from first base at the time when it came to mutual fund investing.
I am grateful for John Bogle and the no load low fee funds that he started.

ohai
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by ohai » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:55 pm

I got paid $400 to participate in Vanguard's focus group about online stuff. You like their website? It was pretty long though, like 3 hours.

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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:22 pm

Many, many years ago - I would get stuff like plastic dishes, etc. by going to a pitch and tour of vacation lots in the mountainous.

Sometimes they were quite "entertaining" - but I later had no patience for such things.

retiredjg
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:59 pm

I'm looking forward to a recap of this event if you go, livesoft. :happy

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nedsaid
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Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by nedsaid » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:09 pm

ohai wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:55 pm
I got paid $400 to participate in Vanguard's focus group about online stuff. You like their website? It was pretty long though, like 3 hours.
That is something different. Vanguard is paying for your input and participation in a focus group. They aren't trying to sell you a $20,000+ timeshare. I would do something like a Vanguard focus group.
A fool and his money are good for business.

psteinx
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Take the cash or the free dinner?

Post by psteinx » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:20 pm

OP, I'm curious if you know or can guess how they qualified you for this offer. It strikes me as unusually high/generous, and that somehow they knew/guessed, at a minimum, that you were pretty wealthy, and perhaps that you're open to paying for pricey financial services.

Pricey house/expensive zip code?
Doctor?
Bought a fancy car new, for cash, and they maybe bought the mailing list?

$200 just to get someone to come LISTEN to a pitch... They probably turn only a modest fraction of pitch-ees into customers, and the profitability of a $100K account to an Ed Jones type broker is likely not THAT high...

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