- Business and Employment»
- Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs
New Generation Amway Ambots
Recently my husband was approached by a girl at his work, telling him that she had a great business opportunity that could make him financially independent. I should mention that he is a tradesman and already brings home a six figure salary. As we are close to retirement, and looking for more ways to pay ourselves instead of the government, he asked what the opportunity was.
He was told that she and her husband had an "online mall" and that not everyone was eligible to have one as there was a strict "six step interview process". He asked what kind of products were available and was told they sold brand name footwear and other items at wholesale prices, and if he was interested, she could set up a meeting to discuss the interview process with us.
This should have been our first clue to run screaming in the other direction!
People are naturally curious
Of course, after hearing her claims, my husband wanted to see exactly what kind of "online mall" they had. Our curiosity and interest were piqued, so he set up the first meeting of the six to get more information.
They were eager to share their opportunity with us and came over to meet me and, I thought, give us more information. We were expecting to see their website and view some of the products that were available. After all, an online business seemed right up our alley. Not much time is involved to maintain an online presence, stock and shipping were included by the name brand stores, the website was designed for us, and we were told we would get paid to promote the products. Sounded pretty good.
However, instead of receiving more information, the couple started asking what we wanted out of life - our dreams and goals.
As I previously mentioned, we are close to retiring. So to be perfectly honest, we don't have that many dreams and goals. We have lived and achieved many of them, so we were rather surprised when they continued to pursue this line of questioning.
When we tried to ask more direct questions regarding their business we were told that it was basically a five year plan. Now I have never heard of a business being a five year plan, but I have heard of using one to achieve success. When my husband mentioned that he had been using this type of planning since he graduated from school, we were informed that we didn't know what a five year plan was.
Don't poke the bear
At this point, our guests were facing the pitcher with two strikes.
Now I know my husband. I took one look at his face and thought "Oh oh!" I'm not sure if our guests were meaning that we didn't know what the nature of their business was, but I do know that the way it was said totally pissed off my husband and put his back up.
After my husband "patiently" explained that a five year plan, (for those of you who have never heard of one,) is a list of goals and steps to accomplish them, and that they are planned over a five year term. Our guest reluctantly acknowledged that yes, my husband did know what it was.
He then went on to say that there were two businesses - the main one was mentoring, mostly for life and relationship issues, and the secondary one was financial. Now I don't know about you, but I honestly don't think I need to be mentored about life and relationships from a couple who are the age of my daughter.
After spending three quarters of an hour listening to their redirection to our questions and vague answers, I asked if their business was an MLM. That brought a look of surprise to the husband's face who immediately asked if I was familiar with "network marketing". I explained that yes, I had been in several MLM businesses. This appeared to raise several "red flags" concerning my experiences, and I was told that I would have to unlearn everything and start over.
At that point, my mind started putting two and two together. I did not say anything at the time, but I knew they were talking about Amway. I have been approached by many different entrepreneurs and the only ones who refuse to give you any information, are Amway distributors.
After approximately an hour and a half of answering questions, they gave us a book entitled The Business of the 21st Century, and told us to read it. When we had both finished reading it, they would schedule another meeting with us.
We were less than satisfied with the way they conducted interview #1, but put our misgivings aside and agreed.
I was right!
After they left, my husband and I discussed the meeting. We put down the glitches to inexperience, and not knowing how to handle a couple with more life experience than the both of them combined. We did our due diligence and read the book. (Sorry Robert, but it was quite dry and not exactly an interesting read.)
Our next meeting was booked, this time at the Tim Horton's down the street, where they finally admitted that yes, it was Amway, but that was only a small part of their business. We needed to get on board with the mentoring, and to attend a board plan so that we could get the full picture.
Now, I should say that I was a distributor in the late 1970's and did fairly well at the time. We did not try to hide the fact that we sold soap, something that I mentioned to them as well, and was told that the business had changed since then - the products were different, everything was online, the business plan was different, etc. Obviously, someone must have told them that because neither one of them was alive when I was a distributor to experience the changes for themselves.
They booked the third meeting (the board plan) and then gave us two cd's to listen to with express instructions to listen to them before the meeting. Again, we shelved our misgivings and agreed.
Step #3 (the board plan)
Finally the day of the board meeting arrived, and tired as my poor husband was after working a 10 hour day, we dressed in our "business attire" because, we were told that "Everyone will be in business attire..." and drove half an hour to a small apartment with no air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the years.
The apartment was full of incredibly uncomfortable folding chairs that were occupied by approximately a dozen or more eighteen to twenty year old young adults.
We were obviously the oldest ones there, and the only people who hadn't seen the board plan. After suffering through a two and a half hour meeting that focused on why we needed to work for ourselves instead of having a "J.O.B.", hearing the speaker repeat most of the motivational mumbo jumbo that we had listened to on our way to the meeting, and skirting over the financial numbers that we actually wanted to hear, we could finally peel our asses off the sweat soaked chairs and allow the blood back into our legs.
We weren't allowed to escape though. First we had to meet the people who did the board plan.
After listening to more rhetoric - most of which I heard back in the 70's when I was a distributor (..."We always say if you haven't seen us do the board plan then you haven't seen it!"...) I asked if it was possible to skip the six interviews and sign up now. I was told "of course, there are always exceptions", and we gratefully made our escape.
Interview #3 had to be the most painful experience of the whole six step process. Not only was it two and a half hours that we will never get back, the twenty one year old decided to regale us with his version of the "good old days." My God, he isn't even old enough to know what "old" is!
...please sir...I want some more...
Step #4 - the end!
After discussing what we had seen and been told, we were beginning to listen to our instincts. However, despite that, we were also still interested in making money. We already had three people who were interested in coming on board, plus two customers and two potential commercial customers. We wanted to get this show on the road, but every time we asked to expedite the process, we were politely stonewalled. We were told that it was not up to them, it was their upline's decision.
When they showed up for interview number four, I outright asked if this was their own business. I was told yes it was. So then I asked them, if it was their business, why could they not make the decision to sign us now instead of continuing with the interviews. It was obvious that we were interested and had contacts wanting to sign with us.
We were then told that it was a partnership. They brought out a "follow up" sheet and told us that there were a "couple of red flags" regarding not wanting to go to large, out of town functions. We stated that when the business could pay for them we would gladly attend, but it was not good business sense to spend money on a trip before we were even signed up.
We were told that in order to "skip" the functions, we had to give a valid reason. (FYI the reasons were funeral arrangements that need to be made for an out of town parent.) They then told us they would check with their upline to see if our reasons were valid enough to skip the meetings.
Don't drink the kool aid
By this time, we could see that they were not interested in someone who could help them attain their financial freedom, they were essentially looking for people who would buy into the cult mentality and believe that they could get rich purchasing motivational cd's, spending money on motivational meetings, family reunions, self help books, mentoring, and attending board plans three times a month regardless of whether they had a prospect, all of which are geared towards making the people who record the cd's and speak at the meetings and reunions richer.
We aren't saying this is bad - hell if I was one of the motivational speakers you can bet I would be wanting distributors to buy my material. However, it wasn't something that we were willing to support, thank you.
One meeting, called Dream night, is a two day seminar where the higher ups regale the audience with their achievements, homes, boats, trips and income as a form of inspiration, a privilege that we pay $125.00 per ticket to attend in a city of their choosing! Personally, I would rather spend $125.00 to listen to L. Ron Hubbard speak and watch Tom Cruise dance around the stage...now that's entertainment! This being said, that is another cult I would not join.
We knew we would only be accepted if we drank the kool aid, changed our friends, committed to four rallies a year, listened to a cd and read a chapter of a selected book every day, send 15 messages to up and downline every day, and attend three board plans a month.
I'm sure that many younger members could do this standing on their heads, but some of us "older folk" who don't still live with mom and dad, and who own their own homes, have other responsibilities that require attention. We had to commit to all of this and still maintain our jobs, home, animals and other interests. Trust me when I tell you that after working 10 hours a day at a demanding job, the only thing we want to do when we get home is put our feet up for an hour, make dinner, walk the dog and call it a night...not get ready to drive half an hour to attend a meeting where all you hear is the same mumbo jumbo and line someone else's pockets under the guise of inspiration and motivation.
Needless to say, we had reached out limit. This obviously was not a business opportunity! A business opportunity is actually geared toward making money. This was a recruitment drive that used dreams of financial freedom to coerce people to climb aboard, sing its praises and blindly purchase motivational tools in the hopes of becoming rich. Kumbya!
Sorry, not gonna drink the kool aid even if the Big Guy crashes through the walls.
This story is simply our experience and is in no way meant to be a slight on Amway or their products and members. But we are still not drinking the kool aid!