Westword newspaper reports on female-only dinner clubs, in which members pay a fee to join and then move up as they get more people to join. When someone pays $5000 they become known as "soups and salads. When four soup and salad positions are filled, meaning $20000 has been raised, the 'birthday girl' gets the money. The group then splits in two, and the soups and salads move up to the 'entree level', with the two women who were previously as that level moving into the birthday spots in the two new groups; four new soups and salads then have to be created at the bottom of each group. When the birthday girls get their birthday presents, the groups split again, and so on. Before long, there are dozens of groups." Many women say this club has financially saved them, receiving money they could have otherwise never earned. But law-enforcement officials say clubs like this "are classified as illegal pyramid schemes" and members are at risk for fines and jail time if caught. Westword examines the benefits as well as the consequences of joining these kind of organizations.
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