My first wife was employed by a non-profit organization that took care of developmentally disabled adults.
Although affiliated with a nationally known organization, her particular office was managed more like a franchise. They got use of the brand but seemed to run independently — and with callous disregard for what was right and appropriate.
She would rant about the conditions in which she served, most notably about the unrealistic budgetary constraints provided to feed the residents. One example that stood out was that she was instructed to feed six residents with one can of tuna.
That was the tip of the iceberg. There were so many that the parent organization forced them to amend their name by adding “…of (our city)” to it. (Why they didn’t just make them drop it altogether I do not know.)
Eventually, after my wife complained loudly and forcefully enough, they took action: firing her.
Anyone who has ever been axed harbors revenge fantasies. Usually however, time paints them over and, despite a residual dislike for ex-employers, we move on, hoping for karma to do its thing.
Most of the time, we never know. Once in awhile, we get to see it in action.
Months after her dismissal, the national TV news magazine, 20/20, aired a report on fraud in non-profits, which, joy of joys, was focused where she formerly worked. We watched with smug satisfaction as Geraldo Rivera, microphone in hand, chased her ex-boss across the parking lot, trying to get him to “answer a few questions.”
Like I said, once in awhile, justice prevails.
How she and I felt that night is a little bit similar to how I felt recently after learning that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) busted and fined several companies for touting — yet again — more weight-loss “miracles” and for engaging in false advertising.
I don’t understand why the last bastion for snake oil salesmen and flim-flam men is the get-thin-quick market. Our desire to be shaped like super-models with six-pack abs and bodies not found in nature — without engaging in any of the work required to achieve them — has caused more than one rotund soul to spend his hard-earned dollars on fake concoctions and deceptive claims. Rarely am I more satisfied then than when I hear tell of the demise of these con men.
Several years ago, in this very column, I went on a rant about one company that particularly got my goat.
Its make-believe claim was that you could lose weight without dieting simply by sprinkling an ingredient on your food. It would supposedly cause you to lose your appetite and therefore eat less. I felt back then — and still do now — that when you’re in the midst of a eat-anything-slow-enough-to-get-a-fork-in-it binge, the only ingredient you can pour on your food to stop you from eating would be extremely fast-drying cement. It seemed like another too-good-to-true solution.
The FTC agrees, reaching an agreement where the offending company will shell out $26.5 million because of misleading ads. Other punishments were levied against a provider of a “slimming” body cream, who touted that all you had to do was rub it on your body and it would help you get thin and they put the collar on a provider of an unproven human hormone treatment, as well as one offering the all-too-familiar phony “colon cleanse.”
“This is the second-biggest deceptive advertising settlement in FTC history,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told a news conference. “The chances of being successful at substantial weight loss just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing creams on your body or just using a supplement, well, they’re slim to none.”
Anyone who tells you that has probably got a bridge in Brooklyn they’re looking to sell.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com He is also available for coaching and speaking at 707.442.6243 or facebook.com/ThisTimeIMeanIt.