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The Amway Scam- Don't Fall For It!
If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
I consider myself a fairly smart individual so I'm actually a little embarrassed that I fell for this "fantasy" called Amway. They have created an on line version of this scheme now called Quixtar but that was just coming out when we parted ways.
For those of you who don't know, this is a multi level marketing business that relies on selling to people you know, then they sell to people they know and on and on. You are given "gem" names to represent where you are in the business regarding your sales to further inflate your ego and create more false security. Ruby & Sapphire's are mid range but the big goal is to make "Diamond" and then there is also "Double Diamond", aren't you intrigued?
How do you get "sucked in"?
This part is really easy if you let yourself. Usually one of your friends that is already involved will "bait the hook" first and after you are really interested then they will set up a meeting with you, them and their "upline" distributor, usually a ruby or diamond. "Upline is the name given to everyone a head of you and "downline" is for those beneath you. You are assigned to a team and you are all interconnected. Next they will fill your head with how rich you can get and how soon you can retire from that crappy job that you hate and be financially secure for life. The fact that "he" was still working G.E. and was a 7 yr "business" owner should have made me scratch my head but oh well? The last step was to pay your start up fee, which I think at the time was 75.00 and presto, my wife and I were now independent business owners.
How do you make money?
By now if everyone had done their jobs right in "brainwashing" you then you should be so fired up to spread the great news to all of your family and friends, so you can all retire and live on an island somewhere sipping marguritas. Sadly for us none of our family or friends fell for the business part but did purchase some of the products, which we did get a small percentage of.
How you make money and how you really make money are two separate entities entirely.
You are taught that you sell the high quality products such as their vitamin, cleaner & jewelry lines to everyone you know and you profit from the sales. This is true but the products are overpriced and your "cut" is very little. I will admit that the products are high quality and not junk. We continued to buy some of the popular dishwashing detergents even after we quit. In addition, you were basically required to accumulate a certain amount of "FV" per month by buying the products yourselves. Each product held a different FV value. I don't remember how much we spent a month but it was a good amount. A few times because of money stress, which will happen eventually, we didn't make our FV for the month and would have thought we killed our friends dog, it was quite the disappointment to them. Of course it would be, they weren't getting their usual cut? It was amazing to me how dumb we were to financially strap ourselves to not risk making our "friends" unhappy.
The real way you make money!
The number one way for brainwashing to be effective is you have to keep the person constantly exposed. If they get a minute to think on their own then they will come to their senses. They had this covered. There were meetings every Monday night for a few hours at a select meeting or reception hall. Everyone would wear their business attire and bring their 5.00 a person fee, notebook, laptop or whatever you could jot down some infinite wisdom from your superiors.
From the meetings came the big events called "functions". These were anywhere from a few states away at a stadium or convention center and there were thousands that attended. Each one of these were a few hundred bucks. You had to go to all of these or you were a "loser" and didn't want your dream bad enough. I remember someone who risked losing his day job to go because of immense peer pressure from his leaders. They could care less if you lost your job, screwed up your marriage or life, you just had to be there!! We fell for this too and I even joined a bunch of people and slept outside in the cold on the concrete in sleeping bags the night before to get those front row seats, "was I an idiot"? That was a blessing in disguise because that is when I re inhabited my brain again, realized how stupid we've been and my wife and I left before the dumb thing ever started. We wasted the money and gas but we were happy to have broken free. These functions were just hours and hours of top rated sellers telling you all of their BS about how rich they were and how many cars and houses they had etc. It always struck me funny that none of these so called millionaires never appeared on the Forbes magazine "rich list of wealthiest people". These were full of applause, chants etc and fully resembled a cult gathering.
Back to more brainwashing. We had the meetings, and functions but we needed daily stimulation so how about books and tapes. There were tons of both of these materials that you were expected to purchase regularly. I think a new set of tapes came out each week. They were basically highlights from the functions with more "I'm rich" bragging. You were told to listen to these as much as humanly possible. At home, work, in your car, before you go to bed etc. The books were all disguised as "self help" and motivationals but really were clever ways to screw people over without them realizing it and making money off of them to boot.
I used to get defensive when this was called a cult. But looking back, that is exactly what it was. The more you exposed yourself, the deeper you got and it was hard to break free. Its kind of scary if you think about it.
Lets sum all of this up. You join, you are a business. Your friends join and become your "downline". You buy products at a discount and supposedly save money. Your friends buy the products, you make money off of them. The more you buy, the poorer you get but the "richer" your "upline" gets. Throw in the books, tapes, functions, meetings and you are headed for financial ruin, if you both have good jobs. If you are a young single person working part time somewhere then kiss goodbye your apartment, job, food, etc. Luckily we were at least smart enough to not bankrupt ourselves but our finances definitely took a big hit. Their excuse was the usual rant, "you have to spend it to earn it", "work now, play later". We saw some marriages in trouble, friendships end etc. In fact, we lost our two friends that got us involved after we quit. You were also highly encouraged to disassociate yourself from quitters because they will "try to steal your dream". This really hurt our feelings that we were treated this way by them. It was years later, after they finally quit that we became friends again. Needless to say we never dumped any of our non believing friends so at least we were smart enough to know the value of a friendship.
I'm sure these ploys are still out there, I know Amway/Quixtar is but most of our past team has been disbanded. Just be careful and realize there are no get rich quick plans that really work. The only growth you see from this is your stress level and your debt.