MLM

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Churchill
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MLM

Post by Churchill »

Multi Level Marketing has been around for a while. On the face of it, what is wrong with building a network of people who you sell stuff to and make a margin? As most of us know, it almost never works out that way as the entire industry reeks with deception (my experience anyway).

I first got introduced to AMWAY just out of high school / starting university (roughly 16 years ago) by a friends cousin. The "start up kits" were around $200 at that time...I still have some of the cleaning supplies in my house from that kit that I use once in a while (seriously). Went to several local meetings, then a few bigger ones, then one big one in a stadium. People kept pushing these tapes and books...

1) They always exaggerate the money you can make and minimize the effort involved with getting suckers...er..people to buy shit from you

2) They try to influence what you read, who you see, what you think...and a contrary opinion is not welcome

3) They try to somehow insert politics and religion/morality in what they do :roll:

4) Who the hell goes to malls and begs total strangers to apply to "join their team" in building a highly successful business? If someone had something of value, people would come to them and they certainly would not result to accosting strangers.

Funny thing is, I get "prospected" from time to time (my wife thinks it's kind of funny and that it's because I look approachable...) - The crazy thing is no matter what the MLM is, they never want to reveal which one it is...it's kind of a secret. When I tell them how pathetic they are, they invariably give me a version of the "you can't steal my dream" line :lol:

Anyway, wondering if any of you have MLM stories.

cheers,

V.M., former AMWAY double diamond wanabe :lol:
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Post by clarsct »

Sold Cutco knives.


Great knives, but they didn't seem to want to pay me for selling sets. Dunno if it's MLM, per se, as you don't recruit. They did eventually pay me, but I wasn't up on the schedule of waiting three months for my commission.

Was considering Quixtar. The internet AMWAY stuff. Took a friend with me who had fallen for several MLM schemes and he spotted it right away. Never went back. Glad.
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Abdul Alhazred
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Re: MLM

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

I knew one AMWAY distributor who was honest and no fool. A high-ranker with the minimum number of levels "above" him, too.

He owned an industrial laundry and got detergent cheap in bulk at the AMWAY insider price. He had a few friends and relatives "under" him, also in the laundry business.

Never tried to pitch me AMWAY, but I noticed the catalog sitting on a table so I asked him.
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Post by Pyrrho »

Acquaintance of mine spent more than $10,000 trying to succeed in Amway. Her boyfriend was all gung-ho about it. They bought the tapes and books and went to the local meetings and conventions and talked big about their dreams of making all their friends into "diamonds" (Amway argot for the most successful). The guy would sit there and brag about how he was making money every time he drank a cup of coffee, because he'd bought the coffee from his upline (Amway argot for the person one level up from you, from whom you are supposed to buy your merchandise) and was receiving a return on everything he bought. He was his own best customer. He'd be all fired up about making all the cold calls he was expected to make ("Just go through the phone book! You can spare 1 hour a night, can't you?")

People with no sales training or experience don't realize how tough it is to make cold calls. People who work for telemarketers do know how tough it is.

Anyway, as things inevitably went sour, he blamed his girlfriend for "Stealing his dream," and talked her into financing the purchase of a pickup truck and into paying for truck driving school. He became truck driver and was last heard of living in a trailer somewhere in the deep south. The trucking company was looking for him because he never delivered his last load and never returned the truck.

These schemes attract people who think they're going to make a huge buck without having to work. That's the unspoken premise: get enough downlines (Amway argot for the sucker who buys from you) and you won't have to work for the fantabulous wealth that diamonds enjoy.

MLM is a pyramid scheme that is legal because an actual product is traded.

Some other friends of ours were involved in the "Xango" MLM scheme. Miracle fruit juice or something like that. Cures everything from national malaise to effete snobs.
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Post by Doctor X »

Dr. Barrett of "Quackwatch" has a page devoted to MLM: MLM Watch.

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ed
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Post by ed »

Social Security.
About that stereo

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Post by DrMatt »

clarsct wrote:Sold Cutco knives.


Great knives, but they didn't seem to want to pay me for selling sets. Dunno if it's MLM, per se, as you don't recruit. They did eventually pay me, but I wasn't up on the schedule of waiting three months for my commission.

Was considering Quixtar. The internet AMWAY stuff. Took a friend with me who had fallen for several MLM schemes and he spotted it right away. Never went back. Glad.
When I was a teenager, Cutco in Wilmette, IL tried to recruit me by claiming they were offering jobs at more than twice the minimum wage. They demanded that I first give them a few hours' wages in cash to reserve my space at a door-to-door sales training. Made a point of using a pair of aluminum scissors to cut a penny in half (we didn't get to examine the penny beforehand to see if it had been pre-scored or anything), and used several shills at their "job interview". I bagged it without finding out how much the sales kit cost.
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Post by Abdul Alhazred »

ed wrote:Social Security.
No. That's a Ponzi scheme, not MLM.
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Post by clarsct »

DrMatt wrote:
clarsct wrote:Sold Cutco knives.


Great knives, but they didn't seem to want to pay me for selling sets. Dunno if it's MLM, per se, as you don't recruit. They did eventually pay me, but I wasn't up on the schedule of waiting three months for my commission.

Was considering Quixtar. The internet AMWAY stuff. Took a friend with me who had fallen for several MLM schemes and he spotted it right away. Never went back. Glad.
When I was a teenager, Cutco in Wilmette, IL tried to recruit me by claiming they were offering jobs at more than twice the minimum wage. They demanded that I first give them a few hours' wages in cash to reserve my space at a door-to-door sales training. Made a point of using a pair of aluminum scissors to cut a penny in half (we didn't get to examine the penny beforehand to see if it had been pre-scored or anything), and used several shills at their "job interview". I bagged it without finding out how much the sales kit cost.
Aluminum scissors? The ones I got are magnetic, at the least. And they actually do cut a penny in half. I used to be able to make a flower out of a penny. The pennies aren't scored. If the salesman was any good, he should have asked for one of yours.....


Their stuff actually does do what they claim, for the main part. Mom has had Cutco knives for longer than I've been alive. Sent them back in and got them sharpened a decade or so ago. Still work beautifully.

I bought the sales kit, and still use it. I think I spent more than I gained, though.

I did slice my thumb almost to the bone during a sales call to a nurse's office. Woman wanted to meet me at her workplace, for some odd reason. I didn't even know I did it, until she said something. Can barely see a scar, and that's because I know where to look. Fortunately, I was at a nurse's office in a hospital. She taped me up free of charge. But it did ruin the pitch about how much safer a sharp knife is.....

I just wasn't much on waiting three months for a paycheck. I was in college and needed money a little faster than that. Books, girls, et cetera.
(Didn't drink alcohol until I was 22. Chased women instead. Beer's cheaper, but arguably less fun.)
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Post by Marian »

Some people in the town I live (known to someone else, not to me) who are actually rather wealthy all got involved in a known Ponzi scheme. They were actually open about it being a Ponzi scheme. They tried to get a relative of mine to "invest" in it, explaining this was early on, they had already made scads of money, and they were letting this relative in 'early' so they could benefit.

They refused. The people they knew did it, and they did make much money.

Eventually it collapsed, as Ponzi schemes always do. People who come late to the game...well they're the ones who 'paid' to give money to the early comers. Since they were upfront about it being a Ponzi and therefore essentially a gamble...AFAIK no one went to the police about it.

Base investment? $10k.

It just boggled my mind though that people would knowingly participate in a Ponzi scheme, and have no scruples about the poor suckers getting fucked over at the end who paid for their 'profit'. :x
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Post by clarsct »

Marian wrote:Some people in the town I live (known to someone else, not to me) who are actually rather wealthy all got involved in a known Ponzi scheme. They were actually open about it being a Ponzi scheme. They tried to get a relative of mine to "invest" in it, explaining this was early on, they had already made scads of money, and they were letting this relative in 'early' so they could benefit.

They refused. The people they knew did it, and they did make much money.

Eventually it collapsed, as Ponzi schemes always do. People who come late to the game...well they're the ones who 'paid' to give money to the early comers. Since they were upfront about it being a Ponzi and therefore essentially a gamble...AFAIK no one went to the police about it.

Base investment? $10k.

It just boggled my mind though that people would knowingly participate in a Ponzi scheme, and have no scruples about the poor suckers getting fucked over at the end who paid for their 'profit'. :x
Don't see them personally, no guilt.
Same as the guys at Enron, or any other 'faceless' crime.


It sucks, but people think that way.
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Churchill
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Post by Churchill »

Dr. Matt:
Here's mine.
You were direct and forthcoming in your non willingness to participate in said MLM, but the guy simply ignored all of your objections and kept focusing on the “if your dream is big enough” shtik. It’s amazing to me that so many people can disregard the many obviously glaring negatives / pitfalls of an MLM scheme, just clinging to the belief that the lies will turn out to be true.
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Churchill
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Post by Churchill »

clarsct wrote:I just wasn't much on waiting three months for a paycheck...
Wow 3 months, that is at least very unethical, should be illegal IMO. I wonldn't classify this as MLM, but selling knives to friends, family and strangers would be almost as much of a character builder.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."

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Churchill
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Post by Churchill »

Pyrrho wrote:Acquaintance of mine spent more than $10,000 trying to succeed in Amway. Her boyfriend was all gung-ho about it. They bought the tapes and books and went to the local meetings and conventions and talked big about their dreams of making all their friends into "diamonds" (Amway argot for the most successful)...
Sad really, so many stories of people loosing their shirts... at times it does really sound like a ponzi scheme only with products.
Pyrrho wrote: Anyway, as things inevitably went sour, he blamed his girlfriend for "Stealing his dream," and talked her into financing the purchase of a pickup truck and into paying for truck driving school. He became truck driver and was last heard of living in a trailer somewhere in the deep south. The trucking company was looking for him because he never delivered his last load and never returned the truck.
Ahhh, the old "you're stealing my dream" bit. It's a classic response when presented with uncomfortable and inconvenient facts. The response should be "I'm not stealing your dream, I'm attempting to erase your self destructive illusion. MLM preys on people who are desperate financialy and want badly to believe in their own fantasies at any cost.
Pyrrho wrote: These schemes attract people who think they're going to make a huge buck without having to work. That's the unspoken premise: get enough downlines (Amway argot for the sucker who buys from you) and you won't have to work for the fantabulous wealth that diamonds enjoy.
Exactly. The reality is that you either will waste lots of time and money (the vast majority) or will make some money, but it will take you countless amounts of time and effort (perhaps making more money doing something else). Also, there is a big lie that you can simply quit and keep collecting the $ for the rest of your life. Reality is that everyone in your "downline" needs constant motivation and arm twisting to keep buying into the system (read propoganda), otherwise, people will stop buying.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."

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Post by Nyarlathotep »

I never fell for any MLM schemes, but I have been targetted for recruitment once. This guy I used to work with really went out of his way to befriend me then pitched Amway to me, to which I said "nah". He then backed off the agressive befriending and I noticed he then did the same to some newb who had started work for our company. Don't know why he picked me, I don't THINK I have the word 'sucker' tatooed on my forehead.

The last I saw of the guy, he was taking my order at the Sonic drivethrough. I guess Amway still hasn't paid off for him. :D

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Post by Churchill »

Marian wrote: ...
Base investment? $10k.

It just boggled my mind though that people would knowingly participate in a Ponzi scheme, and have no scruples about the poor suckers getting fucked over at the end who paid for their 'profit'. :x
IMO, people who knowingly participate deserve their fate. Must be a lot of people out there with 10K$ to burn. (wish it was my case:)
It goes to show that not only poor people delude themselves.

V.M.
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Churchill
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Post by Churchill »

Nyarlathotep wrote:I never fell for any MLM schemes, but I have been targetted for recruitment once. This guy I used to work with really went out of his way to befriend me then pitched Amway to me, to which I said "nah". He then backed off the agressive befriending and I noticed he then did the same to some newb who had started work for our company. Don't know why he picked me, I don't THINK I have the word 'sucker' tatooed on my forehead.

The last I saw of the guy, he was taking my order at the Sonic drivethrough. I guess Amway still hasn't paid off for him. :D
I have yet to meet an avid MLMer who is not on some level disingenuous. That brings up another reason lots of people join. New friends. I use the term friends here very loosely, as in people who use you and discard when bled. They prey on people with a lack of companionship.
Some might be overwhelmed with all of this new positive attention that they never get.

You only got prospected once. I on the other hand must be a very tempting target with at least 6 or so tries over the last 15 years. :D
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Post by Ron L »

Churchill wrote:I have yet to meet an avid MLMer who is not on some level disingenuous. That brings up another reason lots of people join. New friends. I use the term friends here very loosely, as in people who use you and discard when bled. They prey on people with a lack of companionship.
Some might be overwhelmed with all of this new positive attention that they never get.
From a business perspective, this is a high sales-cost model; the product won't stand on its own.
Only way to make it work is to transfer the cost-of-sale to the seller along with the offer of (possible) high gains. The results are built into the model; it attracts a lot of folks who think they might have a 'message' of some sort or other. It also works well in some cases.
Per the italicized, bolded, above, the ones who succeed long-term are not of that description; a good MLM 'francise' includes making sure your lower levels succeed as well. The folks who do that well would probably succeed in a lot of endeavors.
Per the bolded above, (I'll substitute "sell to" for "prey on"), so do coffee sellers, clothing sellers, cosmetic sellers, car sellers, home sellers, computer sellers, etc.....
Thanks,
Ron L

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Post by Luke T. »

My parents were Amwayans for years. The forgot the maxim every dealer knows: Don't smoke your own product. When I joined the Navy, they got in their heads that I was their in for selling soap to the entire U.S. Navy. They would be the richest Amwayans in history.

I was a recruit fresh out of boot camp at the time.

I had to stop talking to them for a while.
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