Friend in need
Take a closer look …
As an impressionable youth, I was surprised when a senior retail colleague invited me to his home.
Tim* and I had only dealt fleetingly, yet somehow he knew I was studying human resources.
He said he had something vital to impart that could galvanise my fortunes.
Though he declined to ‘ruin the surprise’ with details, I was intrigued enough to accept.
If the shoe fits
When I arrived, Tim’s smiling wife seated me with nibbles but no drink.
People mingled, dressed very much like my hosts.
After small talk (in which I became progressively anxious to learn the ‘big deal’) Tim called for silence.
He then produced a tin of black shoe polish, and began rubbing it into his carpet.
The others gasped, then looked at me.
Having seen this on TV, I showed less shock than they seemed to expect.
And when Tim reversed his ‘mad’ act with a cleaning agent, I realised I’d been sucked in to an Amway party.
As I abhor mendacity, I threw courtesy to the wind and made for the door.
Tim and two cohorts cut me off, imploring me to:
- Buy a bottle of cleaning agent for myself.
- Buy a box to sell to friends, for fun and profit.
- Consider my premature departure’s impact on my career.
As I saw none, I pushed past them (in a scene similar to one decades later).
Researching this tricky topic, I found a plethora of terms:
- Multi-level marketing (MLM).
- Direct selling.
- Pyramid scheme.
- Network marketing.
- Referral marketing.
- Party plan.
- Affiliate marketing.
I sense that new words emerge as the old ones get … polished off.
Fonnie sold Avon for a while. She had no trouble moving product, but we nearly drowned in promotional guff.
She’s bought Nutrimetics and Tupperware from friends and been happy with the experience.
I recall being impressed by the pink Mary Kay cars of super salespeople.
While these legal firms are a far cry from chain letters and airplane games, the MLM waters still seem murky.
To clarify, I’m keen for your MLM experiences.
- Sold out?
- Been sold out?
How is the MLM business model holding up on today’s fast-shifting retail sands?
The first five commenters will get a set of knives so crap they leave steel shards in soft cheese.
So don’t delay.
* Not his real name. Actually, it might be; I was pretty annoyed by his deceit.