by: Doug Morgan
Have you ever had that strange person or suspect family member ask you a few questions about whether you’d like to make a little extra cash and then try to set up a meeting? You showed up only to be presented with charts and terms like downlines. Apparently it was all for a revolutionary product that will change the world and can only be done if you recruit others to do so.
Once when working in a furniture store in college, I actually had two older women in their 30’s approach me and tell me their husbands were out of town. They asked that I meet them at a local hotel. Yep, they were seriously hot too. So I went thinking all my dreams were about to come true and ended up getting an Amway pitch. Ugh. Hopes and desires were squashed that day in the evilest fashion possible.
Here is why MLM is never a good idea:
1.You are brought into a room, shown a few large checks and a nice new car. Everyone descends into an evangelic hysteria. Anytime the term "evangelic hysteria" is used it is a bad thing.
2. The products suck. Anytime a chiropractor or guy in coveralls stands in front of the room tells you it cured his patient's sciatica or crohns disease, it is snake oil. At least snake oil back the early 1900's had morphine and cocaine in it which meant that even though it didn't work it was still a lot of fun.
3. You will be told that this is the most efficient form of distribution because it eliminates the middle man. If this were true Wal Mart would just sell products through an army recruited from Mary Kay ladies. In fact, if it were true every major corporation would be in the game. Capital will always find the least expensive and most efficient way to do anything. Middle men wouldn't be used if they didn't contribute value.
4. They prey on the poor and desperate. Why? Because everyone wants out of their crappy, low paying job and now you are being told you can own your own business. Folks it isn't your own business if someone tells you what to sell and how you get paid for it.
5. Most will fail. Yes, the failure rate of MLMs is abysmal.
6. It is still a Ponzi scheme. You might think that you actually sell a product even though the only person you sell it to is your mom. If the focus is really on signing people up than it is a Ponzi scheme.
7. It is wealth disparity on steroids. Less than 1% of participants will make any real money (usually the people that started it or were first in) and 90% will never recoup what they initially put into it. That fee you paid to start out, well that just subsidized the disparity. Even better, the people who do make a little money actually spend more than they make trying to acquire items to show to potential recruits to make it seem like they are getting rich.Thus, Fred is paying more for the Bimmer than he makes.
8. You have to annoy the living crap out of your friends and family. If you honestly think it is worth annoying and alienating everyone for a shot at wealth (and a poor shot at that), get your head examined.
Be on guard my readers. You don’t have an hour to waste in life learning new ways to annoy the shit out of your friends and family. Politely say you have all you need. If they persist, ask if it is multi-level marketing. Any hesitation or alternate explanation is an implicit yes. Run away like you are avoiding your crazy, super conservative uncle at Thanksgiving!
*I do make a distinction between MLM and direct selling. Companies like Scentsy actually make money for their distributors with reasonable goals and expectations. They can also help you substantially reduce your tax burden.
Doug describes himself this way, "Sometimes I'm too flippant when I should be somber, or aloof when there's something important to talk about. Sometimes I just like the taste of my own foot and to wash it down with a tasty craft brew.
I enjoy writing about those experiences (while consuming said brew). Hopefully you'll enjoy reading them just as much."