This happened several times each Sunday, week after week, month after month. The people who got the ‘good stuff’ were all working for the guy in the van. He was raking in the cash. He’s now retired to somewhere sunny.
How did he do it? Well he certainly had the ‘gift of the gab’ all right, but that wasn’t it. He knew the basics of people’s personalities. Looking around at the people throwing away their tenners, they weren’t all ‘knuckle-dragging low-lifes’ – most of them were perfectly normal members of the public. What the guy in the van knew was that people would suspend disbelief in an attempt to get a bargain. Those people wanted to believe this wasn’t a scam. They wanted to believe they’d stumbled on something special, where they were going to get a £150 TV for a tenner.
I found the whole thing very entertaining and watched it regularly. I quite missed the guy when he left. He once said to me ‘ you’ll never go bust if you appeal to the stupid side of people’s natures.’
And he was absolutely right. Just look at the thousands of religious cults that are thriving all over the world. Look at the Indian caste system. Look at people buying lottery tickets every week. Look at the conspiracy theorists. Whoops.
Let’s have a look at the 9 / 11 conspiracy theory. Broadly speaking, this is what they reckon happened:
The US govt or it’s agents decided to carry out a massacre of it’s own citizens, for reasons best known to itself. It ‘dummied up’ several cruise-type missiles to look incredibly like passenger airliners and sent them, at different times, to three high-profile targets. The first one hit the north tower of the World Trade Centre at 8.46am – only one film had been released of it striking the building. The second one hit the south tower at 9.02am and was filmed by literally hundreds of cameras from various angles. The third one hit the Pentagon and caused a relatively small amount of damage. The two towers collapsed, due to controlled explosions in the lower floors. A third building WTC7, collapsed later that afternoon. A fourth missile, also looking very like an airliner was shot down over a field by US fighter jets. The End.
The gaping hole in all the above is two-fold. Firstly, there’s no evidence that this was anything other than a highly successful terrorist attack. Secondly, there’s absolutely no motive for the US administration to have done this.
Was it an isolated incident?
In terms of scale (so far) yes. But Al-Qaeda had already carried out several attacks on US interests and have carried out others since, equally as barbaric (7/7, Bali, Madrid), just smaller in scale.
Did Al-Qaeda have motive?
Yes. They have shown themselves more than willing to carry out suicide bombings before and since. They hate US foreign policy on Israel & the Middle East. They regard the US as a corrupt, aggressive super-power and would be happy to destroy it.
The hijackers mainly came from Saudi Arabia, where extreme Muslims regard the presence of US troops on Saudi soil, particularly female ones, as an insult to Islam and against the teachings of the Koran.
Did the US administration have motive?
Hardly. Since 9 / 11 they have attacked and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither aggression required 9 / 11 to be carried out. Neither have gained the US anything. They have in fact weakened it.
Carrying out the crazy scenario detailed above would have required incredible ingenuity, technical compotence, imagination and risk, all in front of the world’s media & the biggest audience ever. To achieve what? You tell me.
But the conspiracy theory makes for good fun reading, particularly in the US where it was a shock to many citizens to discover that the rest of the world actually existed, never mind could successfully attack them. The US is an insular state and many seek insular solutions.
The conspiracy idea, when looked at carefully, is every bit as much of a joke as the idea of people handing over their hard-earned tenners to a market trader in exchange for a 50p biro pen.