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Mlle. Zabzie

Direct Marketing - Dreams and (Pyramid) Schemes

42 posts in this topic

John Oliver had a segment a while back about multi-level marketing schemes. My mom was into Mary Kay somewhat back in the day, and had started getting into Nugenix before she passed, so I'd always had a negative view of them, but that segment really lays out just how shitty they are.

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I think some of these companies have a not insignificant, up front product purchase requirement which probably brings in decent revenue plus it creates "stickiness" because the member is now significantly invested. This is how they likely drive members to take aggressive measures to get people to parties and to go after family and friends. 

The Herbalife/Beach Body/Shakeology people used to drive me nuts on my facebook feed. I finally started blocking all of them because I could not stand the spamming. 

 

 

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A few years back an American from Oklahoma came knocking at my door and tried to recruit me to a MLM/pyramid scheme for a medicine company from China. At first I was interested and attended a party with the guy where people were sharing their success stories. Upon learning more about what a pyramid scheme is though, I turned his offer down a few days later. We did become and remain friends however. Which is weird considering he tried to sell me crap.

I later learned he is one of those quiverfull/Duggar type of people. As of today he has 6 kids and they are all home schooled. And he's about two years younger than me! He also has a lot of Bible quotes on his Facebook page.

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16 hours ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

 I grew up thinking (and still think) that they generally tend to prey on vulnerable folks (generally women) with promises of riches that never quite come through.  They get more products/discounts on products, but not actual useful money.  But maybe I'm jaded and the modern version is better/different?  Maybe some companies are better than others?  Anyhow, would love others thoughts/opinions/discussion.

   

I definitely agree with this, btw.  As much as we all dislike people abusing/exploiting personal relationships to gull us into buying crap out of pity, I think the biggest victims are those who work for these schemes.  I get the impression that their initial costs provide most of the actual revenue, they risk alienating a lot of friends and family, and it's very often economically insecure women who want some sort of have-it-all mom-job and they were tricked into it by some other woman, possibly a friend, who knew she was exploiting them. 

I also see how this business relies on gender patterns.  Selling to men requires tricking their greed instinct, but selling to women only requires tricking their cooperation/don't-make-waves social instinct (or is it brainwashing?).  

When my wife was tricked into a party, I was shocked that any of the women bought anything.  They all clearly resented being there and it was fascinating to observe which ones felt free to express that with facial expressions and body language, which ones dissembled but avoided a purchase and which ones reluctantly bought something and tried to rationalize that perhaps it would be a good thing. 

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Pyramid/MLM schemes are the fucking worst. Never go to a party, never buy anything. I don't actively seek out my friends or FB friends in pyramid schemes to chew them out, but I regard being pestered about them as a personal affront and I have no problem expressing my displeasure.

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Posted (edited)

Me and a couple of friends attempted to convince a guy we know who works for Herbalife that it was a scam and that he shouldn't dedicate so much time on it, but it really felt like talking to a religious cultist. I wonder what kind of things they tell these people at all those meetings and training sessions they go to. Because it sure seems to work. 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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Reminds me of first year law school and the make-a-list-of-six-friends scheme got started, where you gave a bottle of wine to the person at the top of the list, crossed it off and added your name and then had to find 6 people to pass the list to. The guys who started it did ok...

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A few months into my current job my superintendent called the crew together and sat us down and gave us a spiel for selling personal protection crap (Caspian spray I think) so I raised  my hand and asked, looking her in the eye, "Doesn't our employer have a 'no soliciting' policy at work?"  Yes she replied, so I said, "Then I think we should follow that." "Have I offended you?" she asked and my reply was  "I don't like being solicited at work, especially by supervisors."  

She knew she didn't have a leg to stand on so the little demo stopped right there. Fortunately she's the not the retaliatory type and we're on real good terms now.  

My sis and her hubby got caught up in some MSM travel crap  and they took one trip and that was enough for them.  The person who sold it to them, yet another supervisor, did give them there initial investment back, but still, it was bad.

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Posted (edited)

Another story, at a previous job, the warehouse manager brought his two kids into the office to go from desk to desk to sell GS cookies.  Well, Nasty LongRider is a wet blanket and politely declined.  A few weeks later the manger came back and went from desk to desk to give each of a personal apology for bringing his kids in and having them solicit us.  I don't know who dropped a dime on him, it was not me, but his boss must a been pissed to make him do that!   He learned that some folks really don't like that shit.  

Edited by Nasty LongRider

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Posted (edited)

In the early 90's, when I first got out of the Army, I thought I'd give this a try.  I can't remember the company name now, but it was negligees and jammies, and even a few dresses.  But we moved to Denver right after I started, and I didn't know anyone, and never did anything with the stuff. Lesson learned. (Maybe $500 worth of stuff bought)

oh, Cameo? something like that?

Edited by Lany Freelove Cassandra

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On 6/22/2017 at 10:34 AM, S John said:

Anyway, anything that depends on bringing in more and more people to boost my own status in the company is not something that I would be interested in doing or pitching to all of my friends and family.  Then again, I'd make a shitty salesman in general.  "Oh, you aren't interested?  OK, see you later!"

 

On 6/22/2017 at 10:41 AM, OldGimletEye said:

I wouldn't be a good one either.

Cause you guys are decent people who aren't going to press your friends to turn a quick buck. 

To the OP I'd say in a general sense, these types of businesses are a scam, but if you have that salesperson sort of personality, and you are cool with manipulating folks into buying shit they don't need, you can turn a buck on it. That said, IMHO the price is just too fucking high. 

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I have a grad school friend who is always flooding my FB feed with Rodan + Fields. She even sent me some samples, but I never bought anything from her. Every once in a while an Avon caralogue turns up in the office. I find it really annoying and never buy anything. 

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Girl Scout cookies seem to have disappeared from the workplace.  I remember a decade ago being really annoyed when a senior exec went around personally to the analysts to get them to commit to GS cookie purchases. 

But the United Way pressure continues even now.  That organization has had terrible press about the % spent on admin and salaries, and yet they still get official support from the CEO of our company each year during their pledge campaign. 

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I hoard girl scout cookies like Sakarpus hoards chorae.  I would buy ten or so boxes when my little sisters used to sell them.  

Sometimes I eat the cookies as cereal, just dump a bunch in a bowl with milk, grab a spoon, and bask in the glory of Thin Mint heaven.

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On ‎6‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 10:30 AM, Iskaral Pust said:

But the United Way pressure continues even now.  

I loathe the UW!  Years ago we had a UW presentation at my workplace and then the pressure to donate or sign up for payroll deductions (no fucking way).  I was a holdout as I thought the presentation was really awful.  When asked why I wouldn't do payroll deduction and bring the overall giving percent of the company giving my reply was "I already give to some charities."   A few weeks later the scandal broke of the UW CEO living the lavish lifestyle with added hookers and blow. 

Yeah, uh-huh, keep your slimy CEO's outa my paycheck.

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This isn't the same thing, but I really hate retailers who want customers to tack on a few extra dollars for some charity, often the UW.  Fuck you, donate your own dollars to charity and don't use mine to get a higher tax exemption rate.

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I like giving to my local no kill animal shelters or the food bank. Keeping things local, and to be back on topic, nothing a MLM sells isn't anything I can't buy local or online.  

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Just saw this thread, and wanted to post this article here - it's by Mina Kimes over at ESPN, who is one of the better writers in sports media these days. I recall enjoying it, even though even thinking about MLM stuff gets my blood pressure up. NB, it is approaching the point from a sports perspective, particularly the use of athletes and teams in marketing this stuff, just a heads-up.

 

http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/14972197/questions-surround-advocare-nutrition-empire-endorsed-saints-qb-drew-brees

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I view Amway as a cult.

Ive yet to see a solicitor (or Cultmember/Amway/JWitness/Missionary/Etc.) that wouldnt quickly leave my premises when I feel free to spray them with the garden hose. They dont need an explanation (they are beyond reasoning) just start spraying them (and dont smile while your doing it) it works perfectly and they dont return. Unfortunately, if you are anything short of rude, they will keep trying and persisting to bother you, its part of their brainwashing.

Betsy Devos (Trumps Dept. of Educ. Director) is part of this cult.

Spoiler

 

 

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https://qz.com/1039331/mlms-like-avon-and-lularoe-are-sending-people-into-debt-and-psychological-crisis/

Quote

Joining a MLM is appealing to women who find hope in their promises of a better life: freedom, economic independence, and an endless supply of cheery trinkets. Despite professing quick-income prospects though, it’s difficult for MLM consultants to earn more than pocket change. When glitzy recruitment videos yield to the reality of suburban cul-de-sacs, people selling for MLMs can be plunged into debt and psychological crisis.

 

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