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Two business deceptions Immigrants to the U.S. have to watch for.

November 5, 2014

1. Sales companies that pretend by name to be affiliated with the government: I remember being drafted into the army as a medic a year after landing in the U.S. as an immigrant in 1960. I was at Fort Dix and then at Fort Hood. A pretty girl sales person representative of a company called Federal Encyclopedia was standing next to my company commander telling us the virtue of American life, selling us as set of poor quality 24 book encyclopedia Americana. I bought the set, thinking it was required by the Federal government in Washington. My friend Michael Lewis, born in New Jersey, didn’t buy. Later, he told me that many private companies sell products on army bases. They are allowed to sell products on army basis as long as they get permission from the captain. In 1961 I was a high school dropout from Israel, not a psychologist (yet) so I couldn’t see the mimic or gimic in naming a company Federal Books, Bank of America, American Express, Union Bank, U.S. Surplus Uniforms or any other name that could fool immigrants who are afraid of deception in the new land and think the U.S. Government is protective. I paid $10.00 per month for 36 months for poor quality paper that had the pages “aging” with brown spots and discolored edges before I finished paying for the set. My English in 1961 was so poor that I didn’t even open the first encyclopedia book until I was at UCLA in 1965 and took English remedial. Caveat Emptor, sweet immigrants, a “book by any other name is still a book” and a company with a name that smacks of being government is still just a private company that is hacking its products to yet-to-get-sophisticated new Americans.

2. Companies that contract with demographic business organizations. Roll time forward to 2014, 54 years later! I am a U.S. citizen for half a century! I shop at Costco using its affiliated American Express card. I am a VISA customer (I like the company’s service). I use AE only for Costco purchases. I grew to like American Express but not enough to continue with that credit company when their contract with Costco ends in December 31, 2014! This week I signed up with Costco next credit card partner, Master Card. reluctantly, remember I am a VISA man. The last time a company I didn’t like signed a contract with a demographic business organization was an insurance company that signed up with American Association of retired People (AARP). The insurance policy was almost attached automatic to my membership card but I declined and terminated my membership with AARP – although I was a retired gentleman. Army time was over. at 62, retired, no company I like could “impose” on me a to belong to a company I don’t like – untill now! On January 1, 2015 I will start using Master card with my Costco picture on it and see what happens. I will test Master Card, a company I don’t like, that contracted Costco, a company I like, and see what happens.

The above are 2 business deceptions immigrants to the U.S. have to watch for. The reason I am not concerned with it that much anymore is that I am not an immigrant anymore. I am a sophisticated U.S. citizen now for half a century! I can simply change to an executive Costco card and drop the Master Card altogether if I don’t like their credit approval process, billing services or customer relations.

Immigrants, remember, your goal is to become a sophisticated American!

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