The journalist was kicked out of an event where expensive massagers were being sold. A closed presentation was held at the Siberia Hotel, where they offered to buy massagers for 240 thousand
A presentation of vibrating massagers took place in Novosibirsk, where people were invited for free massage and asked to bring their spouse, spouse or friend with them. They also promised gifts to everyone. NGS correspondent Ilya Kalinin was among those who attended a strange event that took place on a weekday morning in the conference hall of the AZIMUT Siberia hotel, received a gift, but he was never given a massage. And even kicked out.
But this did not prevent him from figuring out what was happening at the private party and why it was actually held.
Mysterious robot call
One day in January, the NGS correspondent received a call from an unknown number and offered to go for a massage free of charge. They were assured by phone that nothing was required for this: it was only necessary to come to the appointed place at the appointed time and take part in the advertising presentation. They promised to inform about the place separately. They also advised to take the other half or a friend with you. And they promised everyone a gift – a smart bracelet.
Such “partisanship” with the place where the free massage was carried out led to suspicious thoughts. And the fact that the call was made by a robot finally strengthened my doubts: the case here is clearly more unclean than free. The fact that the conversation was taking place with the bot became clear in the course of the conversation: the correspondent hesitated to one of the questions and did not answer, but the telephone interlocutor happily perceived the unintelligible mooing as a full-fledged answer. The next specially illogical remark of the journalist and the lack of an adequate reaction of the interlocutor only confirmed the doubt.
Judging by the information voiced by the robot, the NGS correspondent fell under the parameters necessary for enrollment in the number of those who can come for a massage. However, the parameters were not at all strict: the age group from 30 to 65 years old and the indications for massage procedures. And who at this age does not have a back or neck pain at least occasionally?
The exact location of the closed event “dedicated to health” (the wording of its organizers) was announced in SMS the evening before the presentation. It is likely that the information did not have time to disperse anywhere, except for those invited.
Four cordons on the way to a closed presentation
At the appointed time, everyone who entered the hotel was met by a young man in a white shirt. His slightly tired and somewhat rumpled appearance reminded of an office manager after a noisy and long corporate party. Seeing the correspondent of the NGS without a couple, the office manager became sad.
– Why are you alone? Maybe I should give you a gift right away and you will go home? – somehow doomed asked a man in a white shirt, but, having received a negative answer, showed the way to the wardrobe.
A joyful chubby and rosy-cheeked girl was already on duty near the wardrobe, who could easily play the role of a milkmaid in Soviet films. “Milkmaid” also asked why the correspondent was without a pair, but did not persuade him to go home, but clarified the name, glued a signed piece of paper “Ilya” on his chest and sent it to the second floor in the conference room.
At the entrance to the hall there was a sign: “Presentation of massage equipment”, and the guests were greeted by a person with the appearance of an office manager, but had not yet been to a corporate party. The young man looked somehow happy, cheerful and was in a neat suit. On his chest was a glued piece of paper with the inscription: “Roman”.
A man named Roman was also interested in why the correspondent came alone, but after he heard a prepared answer: “My wife could not take time off from work” (the presentation took place in the morning on a weekday), the cheerful Roman switched to the next guest.
The last cordon of the employees of the company that arranged the closed presentation was already in the hall. Here the guests were met by a girl with a laptop, who asked for her first and last name, specified her age, found out if she had a passport with her, and was interested in her health. The NGS correspondent complained about the arising back pain, honestly gave his real name, without specifying, of course, the true profession.
One of the employees with the name on the piece of paper Victor later said that the presentation was organized by Spino. This name was indicated on the boxes of the presented products. True, in the Kontur.Fokus system, where the names of all legal entities are collected, this did not appear. The Spino brand is known in Russia only as a manufacturer of adhesive tapes and scotch tapes and has nothing to do with massagers. At the AZIMUT Hotel Siberia, they did not want to answer the journalistic request and tell who exactly rented the hall from them.
There were about three dozen people in the hall, mostly of retirement age, and near a conventional stage with a table and samples of products, vibromassage capes hung on two armchairs. The NGS correspondent had just settled in the hall when a new employee and the already well-known Roman approached him.
“Roman, bring him a present,” the new employee threw dryly at the door guard.
From the moment when the NGS correspondent told the girl with the laptop his real name and surname (this was probably a mistake), exactly 2.5 minutes passed, judging by the recording of the dictaphone working in the pocket, until she was expelled from the presentation.
Outside the hall, Roman handed the reporter a smart bracelet Intelligence Health Bracelet M3 (price on the Internet: 500-600 rubles) and tried to explain the incident.
– We have a private party. We have a presentation of massage equipment. All – by invitation, – Roman explained with a smile on duty.
– So I was invited, – objected the NGS correspondent, already openly filming what was happening on a smartphone.
– Excuse me, that’s it. We will not bother you anymore. Filming is prohibited. This is a commercial event. For any commercial event, you must first pass the accreditation, and then remove. I will now call the guards, and they will take you out of here, because you are violating my personal rights … As a human being.
The manager who replaced Roman at the door of the closed presentation with his name written on a piece of paper, Victor, could not explain anything either. The man referred to the mysterious “company regulations” and forbade filming what was happening even through closed glass doors.
– I have clear orders from the company that photography and video filming at the event is prohibited. Even if the police come, I will not let them in there. Seriously. They will sit here and wait so as not to interfere with our event, ”the man with the name Victor remarked importantly on a piece of paper glued to his chest.
Happy winners and the “horse in a coat”
Meanwhile, behind closed doors there was a presentation: outwardly reminiscent of one of the Safronov brothers’ magicians, the presenter talked about the amazing advantages of a cape-massager, those present were seated in a chair for the promised massage, and from time to time someone turned on different music.
At some point, unexpectedly loudly sounded: “The bird of happiness of tomorrow has arrived, ringing its wings. Choose me, choose me … ”This started the drawing of gifts among the guests, about which they later told the NGS correspondent.
As if to confirm the words of the old Soviet song, the first lucky ones who were chosen by the “bird of happiness” appeared. About an hour after the start of the presentation, a couple came out of the hall, who were immediately taken to a separate room. Behind the closed doors of another hall, the happy couple together with the manager-“milkmaid” stayed for quite a long time, and left there with a bunch of boxes in their hands.
An NGS correspondent caught up with a couple with boxes on the street. Vibrating cape, hand massager, household ozonizer, merino wool pillows. The woman happily announced that they had won all this and received it completely free of charge, but she didn’t tell the details, she just mentioned that now they would study some kind of agreement at home.
When the reporter went up to the second floor of the hotel again, where the presentation was going on, he met a “milkmaid” manager who did not hide her irritation.
– Filmed everything you wanted? – the girl grimaced.
– Who are you?
– A horse in a coat!
– What do you mean!
– Are you alright? And it’s not noticeable …
– A job would be better found. Doing nonsense. Turn off the phone, because I’ll break it, ”the“ milkmaid ”said sharply.
After that, the girl tried to knock the phone out of the hands of the NGS correspondent and immediately disappeared into the hall, where the demonstration of the miracle massager continued.
Gifts for 300 thousand
What happened behind the closed doors of the presentation of the cape-massager was told by people who left the hall at different times. Someone took out small gifts from there, others left empty-handed. One elderly woman was holding a flamboyant residence card. The card promised a 50% discount on hotel services in Crimea.
– Oh, I forgot something about the hours promised to everyone, – the woman, who boasted to the correspondent of the NGS about the discount on vacation won in the lottery, remarked perplexedly.
She turned around and went to pick up the promised smart bracelet. Literally a few minutes later, the woman appeared again: the bracelet was not given, they said that they would give it another time, but for now she has a coupon.
– I won nothing. On the contrary, I sat and thought: “If only I did not win, even if I did not win!” Well, in the same place, then you have to pay that kind of money, – somehow one more visitor of the event with a free massage even happily remarked to the reporter.
Two other elderly ladies explained the “scheme” of the presentation: managers offered to win small gifts the main miracle of the evening – a vibrating cape for a chair, but for money. Everything else to the main purchase was awarded as an additional bonus. The managers assured: all goods cost 300 thousand rubles, and if you buy only a cape for 240 thousand, then the rest will get free. They did not ask anyone to give money right away: the polite managers immediately offered to get a loan with a monthly payment of almost 6,000 rubles.
– 240 thousand cost an armchair (vibration cape. – Ed.), 24 thousand – a hand-held massager and 40 something ozonator. About 300 thousand rubles – all together, – one of the guests of the presentation described the price level.
“In our time, it seems to me, only in a mousetrap there can be such gifts,” said a young woman, who, as she confessed, specially accompanied her elderly relative at the presentation and did not give him anything to buy.
– Yes, we understood what it is. I have already been to similar presentations, – one pensioner smiled slyly. – Well, at least they did a massage. They gave me ten minutes to sit on the armchair.
Out of about thirty people who came to the presentation, according to the participants, about a dozen succumbed to convictions and began to apply for a loan.
A manager with a stern face persuaded one of the pensioners to go and get a passport to get a loan for a massage cape even near the wardrobe.
– We’ll call your car back and forth. You can take a taxi, like a queen … No, what’s the matter? Tell me honestly, why don’t you want to buy? – did not appease the young man.
The pensioner silently withstood the onslaught and went home not royally – on foot, carrying a hand-held massager in a bag. Possibly won the lottery. And the manager with a serious face switched to the NGS correspondent, who was filming what was happening and talking with the guests of the party.
– For what purpose do you communicate with our clients? What are you doing in this hotel? – the young man aggressively moved towards the NGS correspondent.
He was reassured by the hotel security, who explained to the zealous seller that the hotel lobby is a public place where anyone can be without any explanation.
A phony discount to Crimea and a dangerous Spino website
The vibrating cape of the Spino brand, which was sold at the presentation for 240 thousand rubles, could not be found on the Internet. The only link to an online store called Spino-shop, where, apparently, the miracle technology of this brand is sold, warned of a viral danger.
“Visiting the site may lead to the installation of malware or theft of personal information (for example, passwords, phone numbers and bank card data),” – immediately popped up on the monitor when trying to enter this portal.
Prices for illogical massage capes of other brands, judging by various stores, fall within the range from 5 to 20 thousand rubles. The most expensive ones were found at the Japanese company Yamaguchi – for 40 thousand rubles. However, if you wish, for about the same 40-50 thousand rubles, you can find not just a cape for an armchair, but also a whole armchair-massager in the form of an office chair. And big, soft real vibrating chairs cost from 120 thousand rubles.
Manual vibrating massagers can be bought on the Internet at prices ranging from 10 to 20 thousand rubles. Exactly the same Askardo massager (model Nira), as presented at the presentation in the bonus package, on the askardo.ru website, where there is no information about the company and store contacts, is set for 24,900. True, individuals on one well-known trading platform are new models of this brand are sold at prices 2–2.5 times lower. And there are many such announcements.
Household ozonizers are also not at all at the prices that were requested at the presentation. After examining several online stores, you can find: the cost of most household ozonizers varies from 3 to 7 thousand rubles.
It remained to find out what was wrong with the certificate for vacation in the Crimea. The NGS correspondent called the phone number from one of the discount coupons, which were raffled off by sellers of massagers. The call was answered by a girl who introduced herself as an employee of the “VIP Russia” company.
– Yes, it was our company that hosted the event. The company is called VIP Russia. What is your last name and when were you at the event? Don’t you remember? Well, not scary. I will tell you the number of the Koktebel hotel now. They will tell you everything. The discount applies to meals, accommodation and entertainment. You pay for the trip yourself, ”the girl from the VIP Russia company assured.
Already a little tired woman answered the real number of the Crimean hotel, who, as it turned out later, was the owner of the hotel.
– If you are using coupons, then I have to disappoint: they were valid until the end of last year. A lot of people call, and I already understand immediately what issue. You have been misled. Language falls off each day twenty times to answer. Yes, we cooperated with one company at such a discount, but they knew from June that we had this agreement only until the end of 2020. <…> And there is a mistake on the coupon in our address, and the validity period of the coupon is not indicated, as it should be. And this coupon did not give a discount on everything, but simply froze the price of the room rate for a year. There was a “winter” price of 1300 rubles for a double room: for the owners of coupons, we left it the same for the summer period. <…> In general, we no longer work with this company and are not going to work. And one more thing that I noticed: people resell these certificates on Avito. Straight for 2000 rubles. I was shocked, – Natalia Kozhevnikova, the owner of the Koktebel hotel, told the NGS correspondent.
In October 2019, the NGS spoke about scammers who invited Novosibirsk residents to a health conference and also offered to buy expensive massage capes. True, at the end of 2019, these were capes of a different brand – Amato Saisho, and they cost 130 thousand rubles.