How to (Un)Ethically CON people with A CON(vention)

When it comes to making money from a large group of people, is there anything better than a good old fashioned convention? Why a well run convention can attract hundreds, even thousands of consumers you can harvest for their precious loot. From selling tickets for entry, serving food and drink inside, flogging merchandise, charging to engage with activities and watch performances, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, and then charging them for the bullets.

Yes, outside of selling milk to street protesters looking to drain the tear gas from their eyes, there really is nothing better to profit off of large crowds than a convention. Well, maybe there is one thing. Have you ever seen the movie The Producers? If it teaches us anything it is that you can make much more money from a failure than a success (albeit, it didn’t quite work out for them and they went to prison, but theoretically the point stands.) Think about it for just a moment. Doesn’t a convention seem like a lot of effort? It would take an enormous amount of time, money, planning, and organisation to run a legitimate convention event. Perhaps you shouldn’t be running a convention, but a con(vention)…get it? I crack myself up

We all love a good con, and a con(vention) is an excellent business model to pursue. It avoids most of the actual labour, reduces effort, streamlines the process, and can be done with a fraction of the budget. And, if done correctly, it can bring in even more money than a legitimate convention

This is Gavin MacMoney, and here is how to Unethically con people (can you ethically (con someone?) with a con(vention)

Remember, don’t plan anything. Let it be last minute and spontaneously fickle like a firework. Because that’s what works, fire, that’s why they’re called fireworks, Duh.

Interviewer: You didn’t have any lineup, anything rented, nothing?

Mongeau: Absolutely nothing.

Interviewer: That’s pretty incredible.

Mongeau: I’m a pretty last minute person, but this was extreme. . .



The most important part of any convention, of course, is the promotion. Now that you planned nothing, the hard part is over. You have to know that you cannot con anyone if there is nobody there to be conned.

So, how do you attract people to your event? Invest funds into making a great event worth attending? Develop a detailed promotion strategy?…What’s the matter with you!? Of course not. The best (and easiest) way to promote your event is to lie! Nothing works better to influence people than a complete misrepresentation of the truth. For example, you could;

  1. Say you are so excited by how amazing the event is going to be.
  2. Make repeated claims as to several surprises that will be there.
  3. Offer free tickets to the event, and then expensive paid tickets which include perks, such as skipping the queue, and goodie bags that are four times the value of the tickets.

Now you might be saying “Woah, hold it there MacMoney man. This all sounds like a lot of work”. It sure does, doesn’t it? It sounds amazing. I tell you, I’d sure buy a ticket to such an event, wouldn’t you? But here is the kicker. We’re not going to fulfill any of these promises. We’re just getting people in the door. What to do once they are there? Well we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

Amazing, surprises, extras, these are all just buzzwords. They don’t really mean anything because all words are made up anyway. So they mean whatever we want them to mean, and it’s actually their fault for thinking it means anything.

What is a convention without swag?

We’ll just throw a goodie bag that’s worth quadruple the price of the tickets. Who can put an accurate cost on anything these days? Heck, we’ll throw in fun toys for our target audience of young teens like condoms. If used correctly it will save the person thousands of dollars in costs of raising a child, we’re helping them while profiting off the margins.

Just say the branding is the reason for the markup, easy peesy

Declare super extravagant ideas, the more outlandish the better. What’s the
difference between an actual great event, and a supposedly great event? It’s not in the ticket sales, that’s for sure. They show up just the same. Remember that each of these claims are not costs, but potential money makers. If you draw a crowd by promising the world, and then give them a bunch of crappy stickers, then you’ve made a whole world of profit…minus a pack of stickers.

Everyone loves Stickers


Now that we have people coming to the event, it’s time to do a John Hammond from Jurassic Park, and spare every expense. (I know John Hammond actually said “Spare no expense” but in reality he stiffed Nedry for his security work, and that’s how everything went tits up. If you have not seen Jurassic Park, you will have no idea what I am talking about.)

It can be a very long and tedious task to spare every expense, but remember no cost is too small or insignificant to not be spared. A penny saved is a penny earned, and we want to earn every single penny that is up for grabs. Make a list of anything and everything needed to operate a successful convention, and make sure to extract enough from it’s budget to ensure it’s failure.

Do you need 100 or so security guards? Hire maybe 25…and make sure they’re terrible at their job (this will come in handy later.)
● Have you sold 5,000 tickets? Hire a venue with barely room for 1/5th of that, and an incompetent staff to think that this will somehow be ok.
● Do you need several months to organize such an event? Just say you can do it in two, and hire a bunch of interns and nobodies to get the job done.

If we are going to do this, we are going to do it right! Or in this case, wrong! The worse the better. You want there to be so many issues that people who complain won’t even know where to start.


So now that the day is approaching, people may be starting to catch on. Perhaps unrest is bubbling, rumours spreading, doubt manifesting. What do you do in this situation? You double down. Assure everyone that it will be fine, that it is taken care of, that there is nothing to worry about, anything to get them off your back for just a little longer. You don’t want someone competent swooping in and rescuing the whole situation (see, this is why we hire interns with no experience) You have come too far now to pull out. You know the old saying, in for a penny, penny, in for several
hundred thousand unearned pounds.

Express confidence to the point of delusion. Convince people to trust you. This shouldn’t be that difficult. After all, why would you lie? Why would you do such things that would result in failure? It wouldn’t make any sense. Keep in mind that most people believe if something doesn’t make sense, then it must not be true. So if you can operate in the most absurd fashion imaginable, you can do anything and get away with it, whilst everybody racks their brains trying to rationalize the whole situation.

This will be a difficult task, especially when the event actually takes place, when the poop truly hit’s the rotary air conditioning system. There could be:

● Queues with thousands of people outside waiting to get into a full venue
Teen girls suffering exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn, and a very big case of the grumps
● Fire marshals and officials demanding to know what the hell is going on.
Middle aged women yelling at small kids on segways.

It is important to remain steadfast, keep a cool head as things fall apart around you. You must avoid any attempt to fix any of the issues being presented. You don’t want a successful convention on your hands. Once again, summon the spirit of cinemas greatest con man, Jurassic Park’s John Hammond. While the lawyers, insurance executives, employees, paleontologists, mathematicians and Samuel Jackson were
panicking, being eaten, stepped on, falling over cliffs, John Hammond remained calm and safe throughout. (Seriously, go back and take a look. He was safe the entire time. He was never once in any danger or peril apart from that brief moment where there was a slight possibility of him choking on his ice cream. He screwed everyone and got away scot free.)

You really need to portray the idea that this is not a scam. You are not just fooling the customer, you’re fooling your employees, business partners, friends, family, and to an extent, even yourself. If you can somehow convince yourself you’re not doing anything wrong, and that things will magically work out, this will be a sure fire profitable disaster.


So the event has gone off with every single hitch that could have been imagined. You’ve lied through your teeth, made a mint, and are now free to go about your day, basking in the glow of a con well done. Right? Wrong! This is only the beginning. You’ve just conned thousands of people, there’s no way you can get away with this. Or can you?

Now is time to instigate Phase 2 of the masterplan, which takes place in a little town I like to call Spin City (I realise the irony of calling a town Spin City, so don’t bother to point that out.) There are two sides to every coin, (and you’ve got a hell of a lot of coins now) and two sides to every story. You must now ensure that you sufficiently write both of them. Everything can be spun, twisted, and tangled to meet your needs, and we’re about to do a great big loop de loop,

Stage 1: Deny Deny Deny

Say everything is fine and that everything worked perfectly. Just stick
your head right into the sand, and show everyone your lovely bottom.
You may now even squeeze a gentle fart in their face. It’s too late for
anyone to rescue the situation anyways.

Stage 2: Play the confused victim.

“OMG, what, I don’t understand, how did this happen?”. Feign surprise,
shock, shame, and disbelief about how the events have unfolded. Who
could have seen this coming. Why you’re just as angry as everyone
else. You were fooled, just like everyone else. You were hurt, just like,
neigh, more so than anyone else. You could lose everything. Ultimately,
you are the real victim here.

Ignore that

Stage 3: Play the Hero

Now that you have switched sides, effectively throwing away your
captain’s hat and sliding in among st the women and children on the life
boat, it is time to take the real culprits to task for their crimes. That’s
right, it’s time to come clean. You struggle with your conscience, it
pains you to admit it, you are ashamed but you must tell the truth. Who
is responsible? Remember all those people you hired? (I told you they’d
come in handy.) It was their fault.

In fact it was so much their fault that you are contemplating legal
action against all of them for their digressions. It is important to
convey this as though you are the reluctant hero. You must claim not to
want to throw anyone under the bus, before you take the wheel and
run them all down one by one.

After the Aftermath

Now that you have everybody going in circles, not realising what the hell has happened, you probably have some spare time on your hands. What can you do? Well you dummy, you can PROFIT! That’s right. That was a lot of havoc you just created, and as soon as the public and the media get a whiff of it, it will no longer be a story, but a conspiracy. And conspiracies are big money. People will want to question, investigate and theorize about what happened. And guess who’s got the evidence they crave?

You have enough footage, documents, witnesses etc to keep this conspiracy theory rolling for months. Youtube videos galore, with titles like “What really happened at…”, “What nobody will tell you about…”, “The truth behind…” all which can be rehashed, re-edited, and re-released numerous times. You can make a documentary on par with some of the greatest documentaries ever created…by MTV. You may have the makings worthy of a netflix documentary. It can have good guys, bad guys, plot
twists, shock reveals, tiger royalty, the whole shebang.

Fame, ill gotten riches, mainstream media attention, and all for one failed project you had no right to take on in the first place. Not bad for a day’s non-work.

Congratulations, and you are welcome. MacMoney out!

Post Script

Ok, I’ll admit it. Even I, the great Gavin MacMoney, sometimes do make mistakes. Even the best of us, of which I am, can make a slight error of omission that may result in a minor niggle to a fraudulent business transaction. An error that I will now rectify.

If you are planning to run such a scheme, as above, and sell tickets to a large con(vention) with the aim of scamming people out of their money, it may be best to make sure the ticket sales go directly to you, and not a third party. Also, if you must use a third party ticket retailer, you definitely should not, under any circumstances, sign a contract releasing them of any responsibility and placing the burden of providing refunds solely on yourself. That…well that wouldn’t be optimal, shall we say.

Actually, if you really want to run a scam of this magnitude, it may be better to just let some rich bozo do all the work, run himself into the ground, while you sit back and sell the tickets.

That’s the ultimate scam.

*Not Valid Financial, Legal, Life, or Any Advice

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