Damn, Damn, Damn


I hate multilevel marketing. I think many good products have earned the right to be boycotted simply because of shit like, “I’ve just been working this business, and I make six figures now, and every one I know is making six figures, and we’re all rich and you can be too if you just spend lots of money on this wonderful product… blah blah fucking blah.”

Steve wanted to join Amway when we first got married, so we did. I hated it. I don’t sell stuff, and I can’t justify selling products to my friends and family for retail if I can get a discount. Seems wrong to me [which is why I’ll never own my own store, either].

So I hear about this supplement company from an acquaintance [who I actually like] and it’s MLM, but the supplements sound like they might actually help with some of my health issues, so I want to try them.

One month’s worth [two cans] of the basic stuff is $65 a month per person. I can’t [no, I won’t] pay $45 for a can of anything unless it’s freaking gold plated.

So I go to eBay thinking I can get the stuff cheaper, try the products, and see if it helps my health stuff. I accidentally let it slip today when I was talking to my acquaintance [who might have become a friend at some point, but now I think she won’t speak to me again, and I feel like an asshole and a bigmouth].

She was shocked that they sell the stuff on eBay, and called her upline person and we had a three-way call about it. During that call, the upline person informed me that selling the stuff on eBay was illegal, and that the product was probably fake, and that people who sell the product for cheaper than you can buy it from a distributor are unethical, and that I should be loyal to the person who introduced the product to me and buy from her even though I would have to pay over $20 more per can.

Oh yeah, this business is all about helping people get their proper nutrition so they can feel better.

During the call, I mentioned that the real average earnings of a distributor is about $1200 per year, and not the six figures everybody is always talking about [and I found that info on the company’s website. The lady tried to tell me that wasn’t true, but there it was, so, um, who’s lying?]

Yeah, so I think I pissed upline girl off. And I may have pissed off my acquaintance, which makes me sad, but the thing about MLM is that the ‘company’ brainwashes its distributors.

I kept hearing the same crap over and over that we used to hear at the freaking Amway meetings. “This business has been such a blessing to us, our friends and family, and we just love helping people. That’s our main concern, helping others to build their business and change their lives.”

Well, after upline girl leaves the call, my friend says that her main concern was that I might not get the real product, and that when it comes, we’d get together and figure out dosages and whatnot, because she still wanted to help me, and once I saw what the products could do, I’d be a convert for life, etc. Very friendly and helpful, although she did share that she doesn’t give her family a discount [after I’d said I wouldn’t be able to charge retail to my family because they’re poor, too].

She gave me the rationalization that [I’m sure] her upline gave her, which is, “Well, if you give the product away, they won’t appreciate what they’re getting.”

How is that even close to being a valid argument for overcharging someone for a product?

We hung up, and I sent her an e-mail with the link to the truth about what distributors earn, and I also mentioned that upline girl kind of hurt my feelings because she basically said that I have no ethics [word of advice, if you’re trying to sell something, don’t try this tactic. It generally pisses off potential customers].

I also told her that I had a really hard time with people justifying a really high price for a good product when it could be helping so many more people if the prices were cheaper. I also said that it wasn’t true that getting something free or cheap means that they won’t appreciate what they’ve got, and that I would appreciate anything that helped me feel better whether I’d paid money for it or not.

Looking back, I’m thinking that might have been what upset her [if indeed she’s mad… the written word is hard to inflect properly, but you tell me what you think].

So later, I get an e-mail from my friend saying, “We are part of a company with great integrity and ethics. One of the guidelines of the business is whoever sold the products does follow up. Because of your choice to buy our products off eBay, I will not be able to do follow up with you.”

Does that sound, um, pissed off to you? Steve says I over-reacted and that she probably didn’t mean anything by it, but I was hurt by the cold tone. I imagine upline girl told her to do it, and not everyone can write in a way that ‘sounds’ kind.

So anyway, I wrote back saying that the e-mail ‘sounded’ like she was upset, and I apologized [and I was being honest, I don’t bullshit about stuff like that] for offending her, if indeed I did.

I don’t want to have hard feelings with this person because I genuinely like her. Multilevel marketing, [and that ‘company’] however, is a completely different story. I can’t believe that the exact script I heard ten years ago from Amway is still the same bullshit they try to pull, and the ‘company’ and product they’re selling doesn’t matter, it’s all the same spiel.

They all use “God talk” [Oh, this business was such a blessing, answer to prayer, way to do God’s work and help others.] Yeah, they’ll help you only as long as you’re padding their paychecks.

I understand the reasoning/rationalization, but I still think it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

Dammit, this whole episode has made me sick. Blech. And I’m disappointed because I let myself start to believe that there might be something to help my fibromyalgia and all the bullshit pain, fatigue, foggy brain, and other crap that goes along with it.

That’s what hurts me most, because I really do want desperately to feel better, and yet every time I think I’ve made some headway, I get kicked in the face.

Damn stupid assholes.

About Shelbi

Work-at-home wife, mom of three kids, and caregiver for my brother, who has Cerebral Palsy. Never a dull moment, in other words. No idea how much I'll post, since I'm super busy these days, but maybe I'll get over here once in a while.

2 responses »

  1. Shelbi, this has all the earmarks of a snake oil con game. Ask to see the double blind, placebo-controlled studies that have been published in refereed journals. (Presence of such things is no guarantee against crap, but it’s a big start in the right direction.)

    You think this is bad? We have local health food store owners who try their best to get people to stop taking chemo for their cancers and buy their products instead. Makes me wish the state would step in with a sting operation!

  2. Okay, on some level I know it’s probably snake oil, but I want to believe, you know?

    I did e-mail the company and ask for results on their double blind studies, though. It should be interesting to see if I hear from them [is that a jacked up phrase or what?]

    They do brag about how several of their products have patents, like that’s some sort of badge of accomplishment or something, but I’ve seen some of the patents people have gotten on different stuff and I’m not all that impressed.

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