No free lunch 

Michael Sheridan flashes a wad of twenties in my face, offering to pay the fee to get me into the “Business Builder Workshop” he’s promoting.

“It’s just twenty dollars,” he says.

Before I can ponder the ethics involved with taking his money, the bear-like, 50-something man snatches it away and walks off with an air of being too busy to deal with fools who don’t get what he’s offering.

Sheridan calls himself an executive for Auction Success Inc. (ASI), a company that’s advertised seminars with full-page ads in the Daily Inter Lake and on various local radio stations for the last week.

The ads promised we’d “Learn how eBay sellers are making $120,000 a year!” and that we’d receive free digital cameras.

About 25 people attend the 9 a.m. seminar at the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, one of five ASI seminars in the Flathead held between Feb. 25 and 26.

Sheridan says he worked several jobs when he discovered ASI about three years ago. Now he claims to make six figures working six hours per week.

At today’s seminar, he says, “We’re talking about making money.”


Making money, he says, involves having “multiple streams of income.”

One of these streams is eBay. What ASI seems to be offering is training and literature on eBaying, as well as “the ClickClub,” which offers products members can sell on eBay. Other streams of income involve referring people to ASI and several other companies that offer web business services.

It’s all a bit confusing, but we’ll apparently learn more if we pay $20 and sign ASI’s Auction Success Business Builder Workshop Agreement, which, along with allowing ASI to charge $9.95 per month to your credit card, gets you two tickets to see ASI’s founder, Michael Syme, speak in Kalispell on Feb. 27.

About half the room signs up.

As for the free camera, ASI requires you to fill out a form and send away for it. Shipping, according to the form, takes 8-10 weeks, and costs $7.95. The promotion, the form states, can be modified or terminated at any time, and a “like product may be substituted for the digital camera.”
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