Guilded Multi-level Pyramids
I was removed from the Facebook pages of many “friends” for some reason. Part of me wants to believe it was because of the brash content I post. Most of which are my own political opinions, thoughts on religion, and the like. They can be harsh. But that’s ok.
Another part of me believes it to be because of my continual acknowledgment of toxicity within Multi-level Marketing (MLM) businesses. If you’re not in the know, a MLM is commonly referred to as a “pyramid scheme.” It’s important to note that businesses like Beachbody, Advocare, or any other that sells an actual product is NOT a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes rely on the recruitment of other people and don’t have much in the way of products. Payments come from buying in.
Note also that the business model in and of itself is not bad. Some people do extremely well in their respective MLMs. Others leave. Like me. Everything you see on this site is to make a connection to you. My goal is to have you become a Constant Reader. Perhaps if you like me enough, maybe a customer. I want the stories to resonate with you. As are all my stories. Long story short, I want you to be my bro. If you don’t like me, I don’t want you to be either.
“Message your facebook friends, and with no lube, stick your metaphorical cock right in.”
Thus sums up my feelings on how MLM recruitment works. The problem with this speed fucking approach is that it does jack shit to actually get me to care about you as a person. Though all the top money makers talk about the importance of building connections with people, the people at the bottom of the pyramid fail at this. And when I say “fail” I mean New Coke level failure.
With the way Facebook works, you can see posts your friends “like” and comment on. My friends—the ones who pay attention—can tell you with certainty that I like butts, Prince, Siberian Huskies, Star Wars, literature, and anything and everything that makes fun of presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. I keep my profile public to everyone because I am so egotistical I believe as many people possible should be exposed to what I say. It also helps build connections too. From there, we learn. We form friendships.
So when Tammy from my highschool class that I haven’t spoken with in years messages me I think that’s great. When Tammy messages me and right off the bat starts talking some Saran Wrap bullshit, I get pissed off. There’s no attempt to even get to know my life since we last spoke. More often, there’s not even a leading question asking how I am. Instead, what I get is a trite script about a great business opportunity. There’s not even an effort to change the script into their language.
Moreover, they’re asking me for money. These MLMs usually need an upfront cost for you to buy in to them. No small amount of gold pieces, either. Usually you get some generic sales material and some product.
When the person messaging me is someone I actually talk to, I will be more likely to listen. Compare this to info sources you know and love (like me). Within all these posts there’s something you can take away from it. And then with that, you can act on it, and change your life for the better.
Superficial Relationships in Multi-level Marketing
A month ago I was playing Vampire: The Masquerade with my BFF Scott, and my partner Arielle. Sipping on our single shots of Bulleit (over ice) we wound up talking about MLMs. Scott doesn’t have a desire to own a business. But he’s one of the smartest motherfuckers I know, which is why we have been friends since grade school. He said, “That multi-level marketing stuff winds up destroying every friendship involved.”
He was right. People that I hung out with while I was in a MLM don’t hang out with me anymore. Or call. Or text. Not even to say hello. They even unfriend me on Facebook. The worst part of these relationships is when you get to the point where every conversation is about the MLM.
Every conversation is a precursor to a “mixer.”
Every conversation is about how to get more people in. Seldom are they about making legitimate business connections.
Every conversation is about the next Diamond Studded Butt Plug Cruise to the Cayman Islands.
When you go too far in one direction, without a pause or a venture into another direction, it’s going to take it’s course on you. We see this in physical and psychological movement. In your social circle, when this starts to happen, it will stagnate. Organically, the social circle should expand and contract contextually. My (former) senpai and I discussed this very concept two years ago when we were coming back from BJJ practice. He sells Advocare. I don’t.
We don’t talk anymore.
Once the party gets going, the posts on FB and Instagram become generic sales pitches leading you right to a link to buy something. No trust developed. No actionable content. It gets to the point where the fear you feel is the prime motivation to dump your money into a given multi-level marketing company. And nobody wants to be more afraid than need be when setting off on a new business venture. Put that fear and pressure on your family and friends so that you can make money off of them, that makes you an asshole. It can outright be a bane to your character. And that’s all you have going for you.
The High Cost of your Network
Speaking of what I know best, the pricing of the supplements in a multi-level marketing business is fucking ridiculous. One company charges $100 for a two pound tub of protein. It tastes good. It’s pretty high quality stuff. But $100? The reasoning behind the high price is simple. A given company will make the product shiny enough to stand out from many similar products. The differences and the marketing, as far as their concerned, justify the price hike.
When I met with an Army recruiter a long time ago, he shared a trick with me. This trick to reduce the inches on my waist to meet the prerequisites to join. This was back when I was a fatty and didn’t even know how to deadlift. He told me to take Saran Wrap and Preparation H and wrap it around my waist. What does Preparation H do? It shrinks tissue. Skin tissue.
Take this same principle and talk some shit about toxins, and what not and you have yourself an It Works!® wrap. They’re right to call it a crazy wrap thing. The idea is rife with absurdity. You’d be crazy to believe it.
Besides that, the price is high because your upline has to get a cut. An upline is the person higher in the pyramid than you. The one that recruits you. So if you buy that $100 tub of two pound protein from me, I get $30. My upline gets $10. And so on. The high price has to work its way up the pyramid so everyone gets a cut, including the company itself.
Many of these supplement companies are quick to claim science on everything. They’ll throw out terms like “GMO.” “Toxins.” “Chemicals.” All as part of a lexicon designed to scare you shitless. But don’t worry, you’re shitting out the toxins, so it’s all good. But, in all good marketing ventures, there must be an enemy. So when Isagenix and other similar companies talk about how we are full of toxins and need to detox and cleanse ourselves, “Big Food” and “Big Pharm” become these enemies.
Even though they are big pharm shills, a large body of research, including statements from the Mayo Clinic, will tell you that detoxes and cleanses are a crock of shit. Moreover, you have a liver that detoxes you. And your kidneys. They’re a part of the excretory system. Should your excretory system decide to not work, get to a doctor. Even the anti-GMO crowd get into this fear mongering. Zero literature points to the supposed negative impact of a GMO food. So when a company says that GMOs, toxins, etc. are the enemy, it’s a psychological tactic to get you to hate the enemy. And hand them your gold.
I decided to leave the multi-level marketing game because of the cherry picking I saw. On the one hand, the research for the products was stellar. At the same time, a lot of the people promoting it along side me loved the pseudoscientific aspects of it.
Everything had to be “paleo.” But cavemen didn’t even have whey protein, or know what the hell a GMO was.
Soy was to them what white people were to Malcolm X in 1955. And the nonsense went on and on. It went so far that the people seemed more like a cult than anything else. I’m not down with that.
While I do enjoy capitalism enough to enjoy what the MLMs can do, the actual practice winds up becoming less fruitful for many. You have to keep spending your money to be involved, at worst. At best, you sell enough to keep your triple platinum what the fuck ever status. But what’s the cost? Annoying the shit out of your friends, colleagues, and family? Becoming a fake asshole? Whatever it is, do your part. Come to the best conclusion you can, and if you do join the pyramid, climb the ranks.
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