Author Topic: No, I won't buy into your MLM  (Read 90111 times)

twbird18

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #200 on: May 30, 2017, 04:47:58 PM »
Sister in law of friend selling LulaRoe says she is making $20k per month doing it. Is that really even possible? She did get in very early. Is it sustainable?
I don't know if that's gross revenue or net income. But damn that's pretty good!
1) Don't trust any revenue numbers from MLM members unless they show you their tax returns
2) They are taught to "fake it until they make it" meaning it is very likely the numbers they give you are inflated (if not completely false)
3) In general the numbers being shared are gross revenue, not counting personal expenses or cost of buying the product. In the same line of thoughts, an Amazon affiliate can tell you they shipped $300'000 worth of products in a year, not telling you they only get a 3% commission out of that number. My brother pretended he was doing $800 a month in an MLM. But he had to pay for more than $1000 in product (and kept pretending it was different because he would "buy it anyway"), so, you get the idea.
4) A very tiny percentage (1% or less) of people who "got in very early" do indeed make a lot of money. They do this by exploiting their bottom line, it's up to you to understand if your friend's SIL is lying to you or to hundreds of people, whichever is easier to believe.

It's totally possible to make $20K/month selling LulaRoe right now - it's crazy popular & they just got a 2 yr contract with Disney to sell Disney printed stuff - which is kind of like printing money. I don't really understand why people need so many pairs of leggings & their clothes are crazy expensive IMO. My sister has been a rep for ~8 months & has sold >$12K all but one month - when she was on vacation. Let's just say I've seen her bank account - if your sister-in-law's friend got in early & is actually good at selling + is probably a trainer which means she gets a cut of all the people under her, that number is totally doable, but also probably not long-term sustainable.

Not gonna lie though - I'm super jealous of my sister because at their last conference, the 2500 people who were there got to go to Disneyland for 4 hours after hours.

marble_faun

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #201 on: May 30, 2017, 05:02:09 PM »
Wow, this is bonkers.  MLMs don't seem to have infected my social circle yet. (Or maybe I just haven't noticed because I no longer use Facebook.) 

Reading this thread, the worst seems to be that these rip-off companies are parasitically infiltrating peoples' social groups.  The story about the lady throwing stealth MLM parties is just horrifying! It's so sad to me that people would choose the false dream of MLMs and their shoddy products over maintaining civil relationships with family, friends, and neighbors. 

If I met anyone who seemed into this, I might direct them to the "side hustle" thread here on the MMM forum instead.

P.S. A while back "This American Life" did a show on an MLM-type scheme called WakeUpNow. It was pretty fascinating: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/543/wake-up-now
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 05:30:46 PM by marble_faun »
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StockBeard

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #202 on: May 30, 2017, 05:31:03 PM »
It's totally possible to make $20K/month selling LulaRoe right now

Quote
the median annual bonus payments made to Eligible U.S. Independent Retailers at all ranks in 2016 was $525.94.
[...]
In 2016, 72.63% of U.S. Independent Retailers were Ineligible and therefore did not receive any bonus payments from LuLaRoe.
Source: official Lularoe income disclosure for 2016

Of course, if you can sell between 1000 and 2000 leggings a month, then yes... But I wouldn't qualify this as "totally possible"

Rowellen

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #203 on: May 30, 2017, 07:08:56 PM »
The sneak attack MLM party is the absolute worst!

Funny story: when I was engaged my husband was in the air force in Ohio, and I still lived in Texas for school. I visited him for 4 weeks in the summer. The second day I was there the women in his group of friends were all having a get together, and I was invited too. I had never met any of them. It was a sex toys sales party. I did not go. That was not how I wanted to meet the group. Even after I was good friends with them all, I still skipped the sex toys party. Call me a prude, or call me cheap. Either is true.

I had the sneak attack sex toy party happen to me. I was very unimpressed. I almost unfriended this "friend" afterwards on FB but chose to just unfollow instead. She's just invited me to her "birthday" party in a few weeks. I think I'll be very busy that night enjoying a quiet dinner and bottle of wine with my family at home. I just can't trust that it is actually a birthday party.

Abo345

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #204 on: May 30, 2017, 07:42:34 PM »
I met a new neighbor, and right after exchanging pleasantries she immediately started in on the MLM nonsense. She has a Mary Kay business in case I'm interested in make up. Oh you don't wear makeup? That's okay she can do a skincare demo on me. It will only take 20 minutes, it will make my face feel great! Blah blah blah. Would NOT except "no" and just kept going on and on. who cares about building relationships with your neighbors when you could just use them to sell crap to?

Abo345

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #205 on: May 30, 2017, 07:52:07 PM »
Horray!  SIL has finally "seen the light" and stated that she makes very little money from the MLM she was a rep for, especially on an hourly basis.   She will keep it up with the internet orders (no inventory), but will not market it any more.

Excited for you, although apparently the MLM bug has spread to my SIL.  She isn't a sales consultant (yet) but she's hooked on MLM referral programs that allow her to earn free merchandise for persuading people to make purchases at parties she hosts.  Fortunately, I live out of state so I'm out of the direct line of fire, but I still get included on all the Facebook invites (so that I feel included!  Haha!) and watching the drama unfold is like watching a train wreck.  I can't look away!

She's held a weekly MLM "purchase party" almost every weekend for the last few months and she became very miffed that the majority of her invitees showed little or no interest in attending.

So, she moved onto the "sneak attack" MLM party where she invites people over and they find out when they arrive that the main entertainment is the MLM consultant ("Girls night" turned out to be an Avon cosmetics sales party; "Margarita night" turned out to be a Party Time Mixes cocktail mix sales party; etc, etc).  This has apparently worked a surprising number of times, until somebody finally had the balls to just walk out at the beginning of the sales pitch which led to a mass exodus and zero sales.

So, the most recent variation was the "sneak & block" debacle: she had the consultant arrive last and "block in" the other cars to make it extremely awkward for people to leave before the MLM person had reached the end of the presentation.  Yeah, someone drove over their front lawn to leave.

As far as I can tell, a third of her friend group is no longer friendly with her over the whole sneak party issue, another third is planning an intervention (we can still be friends but none of us are ever coming to your house again, for any reason), and the final third apparently doesn't have an issue.


I'm sad that she's so trapped in the consumerist mindset that what she already owns is never enough, that she's willing to sacrifice her relationships with other people over the opportunity to get more stuff that doesn't do anything to make her happier.  I hope the friend intervention (or the loss of friends) serves as a wake-up call for her.

WOW regarding the sneak attack. This means it occurred to her that the people invited would not want to stay for a sales presentation but cared so little about her "guests" feelings to think of a way to force them to stay anyway.

On a separate note, most people i know who are into the MLM thing are really annoying about it for a year or so and then I think they realize they will not actually get rich or have a real business, and then quietly go into the night at let the "business" die. How long was this sneak attack person into the MLM thing for? Just curious

twbird18

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #206 on: June 01, 2017, 03:25:04 PM »
It's totally possible to make $20K/month selling LulaRoe right now

Quote
the median annual bonus payments made to Eligible U.S. Independent Retailers at all ranks in 2016 was $525.94.
[...]
In 2016, 72.63% of U.S. Independent Retailers were Ineligible and therefore did not receive any bonus payments from LuLaRoe.
Source: official Lularoe income disclosure for 2016

Of course, if you can sell between 1000 and 2000 leggings a month, then yes... But I wouldn't qualify this as "totally possible"

I'm not exactly sure what this is supposed to show - I said it was possible. I didn't say it was probable. Someone is getting those high bonus checks. And Lularoe sells a bunch of stuff that isn't leggings. I also stated she's probably a minimum of trainer if she really did get in early - where the average bonus is $52K/yr so basically $4.5K/mo that comes not from selling. A good sale is ~40 pieces at an average price of $35.

I have no real interest in MLM, but I am a good sister & I listen to her talk about her sales goals, new products & such. The reason MLM is so popular among a certain sect is because someone is making that kind of money without having to go to work at set hours. I also, don't really get why some people are so against these type of things having potential for a certain personality type/way of life. Physical businesses pay out bonuses to different management levels. It's possible at a very low level in my industry to get a 5 figure bonus every year. The bonus checks trainers get are comparable to management bonuses. In my mind, there is no real difference, except I have to go work in my office for 160hrs/month & MLM people work whatever hours they set for themselves.

It's cool that you think this isn't possible for anyone & that you think people lie about how much they make(because let's be real a lot of people do), but everyone isn't. Some people do make significant amounts of money at MLM.

dreadmoose

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #207 on: June 01, 2017, 03:32:09 PM »
It's cool that you think this isn't possible for anyone & that you think people lie about how much they make(because let's be real a lot of people do), but everyone isn't. Some people do make significant amounts of money at MLM.

I would not argue the fact that a few people are making large sums of money (or livable sums of money).

My issue is that it is this faint glimmer of hope that is pulling people towards MLM's and costing them money, friendships, and family.

For me it kind of works the same way this forum advocates simple index matching investments. There are a tiny percentage of funds / people that can beat the market, but the more you hear about them the more you think it's normal or even reasonable to expect. The selection bias in hearing about one person that has "made it" with an MLM ignores the overwhelming facts that almost everyone doesn't, and it ends up costing them and their networks.
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StockBeard

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #208 on: June 01, 2017, 03:42:10 PM »
It's cool that you think this isn't possible for anyone & that you think people lie about how much they make(because let's be real a lot of people do), but everyone isn't. Some people do make significant amounts of money at MLM.
My problem is that comments like yours make it sound like it's "reasonably" achievable, when it's been proven over and over that 95% to 99% of the participants in these schemes end up losing money. Those who end up making money, whether they realize it or not, do it unethically by exploiting the people in their downline.

So, to answer your question about why some people are so against this kind of thing is because people like me feel that these businesses are unethical, and I hate schemes where the weak are preyed on. It's nothing against you or your sister, it's about the message you convey to people who could fall prey to these schemes, on a website dedicated to financial independence. This sends the wrong signal IMO. You have clear survivor bias here, in that you happen to know one of the 1% of people who are successful in this business. I invite you to read this article which states better than me what I'm trying to say: https://timelessvie.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/but-why-arent-you-balanced-what-about-all-the-positive-stories-about-incredibly-rich-insert-name-here-mlmers-in-this-post-we-explain-why-balance-is-bullshit-when-it-comes-to-network-ma/

englishteacheralex

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #209 on: June 01, 2017, 03:43:02 PM »
The more I check back with this thread and some of the links that have been posted, the more I find MLMs to be unequivocally bad for society, potential for high earning notwithstanding.

No matter how successful one is at it, attempting to turn human relationships into a cash cow for no motive other than profit is deplorable. It is not merely tasteless. It is unethical. There is a layer of fraud, manipulation, and exploitation involved that makes the entire industry a scourge, as far as I can tell.

I used to find MLMs irritating but benign. Don't like MLMs? Don't buy the products or attempt to sell them. However, after some research, I now think they are harmful and ought to be regulated out of existence. It's one thing to be played for a sucker. It's another thing to sell out your family and friends in the process.
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twbird18

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #210 on: June 01, 2017, 04:24:47 PM »
It's cool that you think this isn't possible for anyone & that you think people lie about how much they make(because let's be real a lot of people do), but everyone isn't. Some people do make significant amounts of money at MLM.
My problem is that comments like yours make it sound like it's "reasonably" achievable, when it's been proven over and over that 95% to 99% of the participants in these schemes end up losing money. Those who end up making money, whether they realize it or not, do it unethically by exploiting the people in their downline.

So, to answer your question about why some people are so against this kind of thing is because people like me feel that these businesses are unethical, and I hate schemes where the weak are preyed on. It's nothing against you or your sister, it's about the message you convey to people who could fall prey to these schemes, on a website dedicated to financial independence. This sends the wrong signal IMO. You have clear survivor bias here, in that you happen to know one of the 1% of people who are successful in this business. I invite you to read this article which states better than me what I'm trying to say: https://timelessvie.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/but-why-arent-you-balanced-what-about-all-the-positive-stories-about-incredibly-rich-insert-name-here-mlmers-in-this-post-we-explain-why-balance-is-bullshit-when-it-comes-to-network-ma/

I'm actually personally acquainted with more than 1 person who is successful at an MLM. I used my sister as an example solely because someone else asked if that number was really possible with LuLaRoe & it is. I know because I've seen the $20K deposit before.

I would argue that 95% of people who try out MLM are unsuccessful because they have no idea what they are doing just like 95% of people couldn't start up their own business and run it successfully. I have an MBA - when she decided to do this, we set down, researched it,discussed it & wrote a business plan. She's successful at it because she didn't think money was going to magically appear & because she has exactly the personality to sell unique clothing items live on Facebook or in person. If it had been a different product or marketing scheme, I would have told her she was being crazy because it wouldn't have suited her.

I would never argue that MLM's aren't bad for most people, but I don't think they are inherently evil either. I think like much of life people are so uneducated that they are unable to determine whether something is good for them or not & continuously make bad decisions about what they are doing. If you're of the mindset that MLM's are bad because they prey on weak people - then there are 1M other things that we should remove from society because they prey on weak people.

This entire site exists because most people can't figure out the difference between a need and a want which causes them to inevitably spend more than they need to because our entire society preys on that weakness.


Also, from my sister - who says this is why some MLMs, like LLR are different from other MLMs that are much closer to pyramid schemes:

"Here's an interesting statistic for your group. 70% of retailers with LLR do not grow teams. Only 5% of the people in this company hold "leadership" titles and we're expected to work hard for our bonus money. I think, that 70% number is important, because you don't have to participate in team growing to make an excellent living selling LLR. Marty and I were just talking about how much more $$ I could make if I didn't have to give my team like 40% of my time.

We're switching to a sales based compensation plan on July 1st and my check will take a hit, unless I TEACH my girls how to sell and be successful. We are implementing much stricter requirements for leadership. Meaning you have to do a minimum of 10 Pop-ups and $10,000 in sales before you can "sponsor" someone else. This will entirely eliminate people just making money off of other people's hard work"

« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 05:14:23 PM by twbird18 »

StockBeard

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #211 on: June 01, 2017, 05:23:15 PM »
I know because I've seen the $20K deposit before.
Well, I feel this is different from what you stated before. a 20K deposit represents 20K in revenue, not in profit.
In order to generate a 20K revenue, there has been inventory that needed to be purchased, an expensive subscription to the MLM in the first place (granted, just a one time expense), plus additional expenses such as the time spent promoting the business, possibly gas to go to events, etc.... I think I mentioned that above, but my little brother was also "making" $800 a month in an MLM. Except his expenses were $1000+ ...
For the sake of the discussion you should clarify which it is. Revenue or profit? What matters of course is the actual profit.

Quote
I would argue that 95% of people who try out MLM are unsuccessful because they have no idea what they are doing just like 95% of people couldn't start up their own business and run it successfully.
This is incorrect, and is exactly the kind of BS that MLMs love people to believe. There are studies that show that the failure rate in an MLM is at least 95% over the course of 10 years (this is a very conservative estimate). By comparison, the failure rate of small businesses is 64% over 10 years. If the failure rate was the same, I would agree with you, but the numbers prove that MLMs are statistically a worse proposition than starting one's own business. Source

Quote
If you're of the mindset that MLM's are bad because they prey on weak people - then there are 1M other things that we should remove from society because they prey on weak people.
Probably, but what's your point? "Let's not discuss why this one thing is bad because there are so many other bad things anyway"?

Quote
This entire site exists because most people can't figure out the difference between a need and a want which causes them to inevitably spend more than they need to because our entire society preys on that weakness.
Exactly. This site exists to help people getting out of that financially destructive behavior. Conversely, MLMs encourage financially destructive behavior on more than half of their participants.

dreadmoose

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #212 on: June 01, 2017, 06:42:30 PM »
Also, from my sister - who says this is why some MLMs, like LLR are different from other MLMs that are much closer to pyramid schemes:

"Here's an interesting statistic for your group. 70% of retailers with LLR do not grow teams. Only 5% of the people in this company hold "leadership" titles and we're expected to work hard for our bonus money. I think, that 70% number is important, because you don't have to participate in team growing to make an excellent living selling LLR.

I'm very sorry but this looks much more damning than what you've been posting before. The fact that 70% of the people that are in the MLM aren't even in leadership positions does nothing to calm the argument that only a small percentage succeed. It actually sounds a lot more like common MLM diversion tactics. Not to mention "make an excellent living selling LLR," what is this defined by? Because any numbers I can find for the representative's of LLR means the vast majority is below average wages.

Do more than 30% of the people that work for LLR make more than the median wage in America / Canada? This appears to be a resounding no, so anyone NOT in a leadership position is at a major disadvantage from becoming someone's downline.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-money-lularoe-consultants-make-2017-3

"More than 80% of LuLaRoe's representatives generated less than $5,000 in sales last month"
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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #214 on: June 02, 2017, 12:36:44 AM »
Overall, I'm not a fan of the MLM concept. I do distinguish it from direct marketing, which can be successful for some IF they have a "sales" personality, a sizable personal network, and a lot of personal initiative. (A Realtor, for example, engages in a form of direct marketing.) Catalogue based marketing worked prior to the Internet going mainstream; I had a friend in high school who was a successful Regal dealer and who used her profits to pay her first year's worth of university tuition. I'm not sure anyone could stay in business now that it's so much cheaper and simpler to buy directly from manufacturers or wholesalers.

That being said, I believe direct marketing "opportunities" (complete with the cost of the start-up kit!) are being marketed unreasonably to people who lack the minimum qualifications to make a go of it. Cutco, for example, actively recruits students and other people who do NOT have big personal networks or the wherewithal to start and build a business. The people they recruit end up burning out their personal networks by asking friends and family to fork over big money for products that don't necessarily provide high value for the dollar. (YMMV with Cutco-- I've met people who love the knives and people who hate them). I like TupperWare and own a fair bit, which effortlessly outlasts the plastic crap I buy at the grocery store. So I foresee more of it in my future. Anything that can stand up to two decades of daily use really does provide value for the dollar. But I'm told that, in some markets, TupperWare salespeople had to buy their own kits and use them for demonstration purposes. That doesn't pass my smell test.

I don't have as big of a problem with, say, Kirby vacuum sales simply because the sales reps don't have to buy their kit and effectively "pay" for a job.

The problem with MLM, from my perspective, is the emphasis on the downline. Recruiting other people to sell the product in order to get a cut of what they and their recruits sell pretty much guarantees the local market will eventually saturate. That's not what legitimate franchise models do in other kinds of business.
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iowajes

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #215 on: June 02, 2017, 01:08:50 AM »
I have a big problem with the Kirby model. I've never had to phone the police to get an MLM distributor out of my house, but I'm not the only person I know who has had to do that to get a Kirby person to leave. They also set up appointments under false pretenses (carpet shampooing).

ooeei

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #216 on: June 02, 2017, 07:45:22 AM »
(YMMV with Cutco-- I've met people who love the knives and people who hate them).

FWIW, the only people I've met who like Cutco are people who don't cook very often.  It's mostly rich people I know who have them, and they talk them up bigtime.  There's nothing magical about them, they're relatively low grade steel but can be sharpened if you don't get the serrated models. There's no "secret sauce" that makes them better than any other knives out there.

Any knife will be great if you sharpen it regularly, but I'd guess less than 5% of people I meet have ever sharpened their cooking knives.  Most just use insanely dull knives and think it's normal.  It's the frog in boiling water situation.  The knife starts out sharp, then gradually gets duller and before you know it you're using all of your weight to chop an onion.  It happens so gradually most people don't notice and if you ask them they'll tell you their knife is sharp.  I guess if their criteria for sharp is it will cut them if they mess up, they're right.

Cutco is great about marketing how their knives stay sharp forever, and people who own them repeat that nonsense to anyone they tell about them.  I'm 99% certain if you took those people who "love" their 10 year old Cutco knives and got them a Victorinox Chef's knife off of amazon and had them use both, they'd be shocked at how dull their Cutco actually is.  Or they wouldn't, because they've only used the Cutco once a year so it's still sharp.


threefive

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #217 on: June 02, 2017, 09:50:01 AM »
Cutco is great about marketing how their knives stay sharp forever, and people who own them repeat that nonsense to anyone they tell about them.  I'm 99% certain if you took those people who "love" their 10 year old Cutco knives and got them a Victorinox Chef's knife off of amazon and had them use both, they'd be shocked at how dull their Cutco actually is.  Or they wouldn't, because they've only used the Cutco once a year so it's still sharp.

I absolutely love my Victorinox knives, and they are stupid inexpensive. My wife got mad when I bought them because we hang our knives on a magnet, so they're very visible. She thought the NSF non-slip handles were "ugly" and wanted full tang with the pretty rivets and slippery annoying wood handles. Then she used them. Then she tried sharpening the crap low-end Henckel I had and cutting something with wet hands. Then went back to the Victorinox. Then realized I bought a superior set of knives for half the cost of pretty but useless garbage.

twbird18

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #218 on: June 02, 2017, 03:49:18 PM »
I know because I've seen the $20K deposit before.
Well, I feel this is different from what you stated before. a 20K deposit represents 20K in revenue, not in profit.
In order to generate a 20K revenue, there has been inventory that needed to be purchased, an expensive subscription to the MLM in the first place (granted, just a one time expense), plus additional expenses such as the time spent promoting the business, possibly gas to go to events, etc.... I think I mentioned that above, but my little brother was also "making" $800 a month in an MLM. Except his expenses were $1000+ ...
For the sake of the discussion you should clarify which it is. Revenue or profit? What matters of course is the actual profit.

Quote
I would argue that 95% of people who try out MLM are unsuccessful because they have no idea what they are doing just like 95% of people couldn't start up their own business and run it successfully.
This is incorrect, and is exactly the kind of BS that MLMs love people to believe. There are studies that show that the failure rate in an MLM is at least 95% over the course of 10 years (this is a very conservative estimate). By comparison, the failure rate of small businesses is 64% over 10 years. If the failure rate was the same, I would agree with you, but the numbers prove that MLMs are statistically a worse proposition than starting one's own business. Source

Quote
If you're of the mindset that MLM's are bad because they prey on weak people - then there are 1M other things that we should remove from society because they prey on weak people.
Probably, but what's your point? "Let's not discuss why this one thing is bad because there are so many other bad things anyway"?

Quote
This entire site exists because most people can't figure out the difference between a need and a want which causes them to inevitably spend more than they need to because our entire society preys on that weakness.
Exactly. This site exists to help people getting out of that financially destructive behavior. Conversely, MLMs encourage financially destructive behavior on more than half of their participants.

I'm done with this conversation - so thanks for that. I responded to answer 1 person's question about whether it was possible for 1 random person that they knew to make that much money in a month  in a company I'm familiar with (& FYI, they didn't specify whether the "making" was profit or revenue) because you told them it wasn't, which is false. I don't need to be convinced MLM's are bad in most cases.... I've  repeatedly said that I don't believe MLM's are a fantastic idea for most people.

I will clarify  the one point you asked for clarification on with the answer that I don't know - LLR profit is 50% on what is sold, but the people I am acquainted with who make $20K checks earn some part of that money from training bonuses(I don't know or care how that works), but as previously pointed out by another poster - the average trainer makes $4500 in bonus/mo. so one could guess that a $20K check is ~$12K profit less whatever additional they invest back into their business every month & any additional costs they're accruing such as shipping.  Additionally, a check isn't a total monthly payment - the end of month check is the bonus + whatever you sold most recently, but payments are made ever few days based on your sales activity so the deposits I've seen aren't a total monthly amount - beyond that I wouldn't know. I remember my sister explaining how often her sales money came in so she could purchase additional stock back in the beginning, but it's not something I recall in great detail. I generally don't ask people for their personal financial information - some people get excited & over-share (or I guess they live in dreamland where a large check will bring me over to their side, but I don't even wear LLR so I'm certainly not interested in selling it).

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #219 on: June 02, 2017, 04:10:35 PM »
I have a big problem with the Kirby model. I've never had to phone the police to get an MLM distributor out of my house, but I'm not the only person I know who has had to do that to get a Kirby person to leave. They also set up appointments under false pretenses (carpet shampooing).

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Mezzie

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #220 on: June 02, 2017, 04:51:04 PM »
I just got my first invite to a LLR popup in my neighborhood. It had pictures, which was noce since I'd never seen the product, and.... wow, that is some LOUD clothing. :o

The person inviting wasn't pushy at all, so that was nice.
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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #221 on: June 02, 2017, 08:25:16 PM »
On a separate note, most people i know who are into the MLM thing are really annoying about it for a year or so and then I think they realize they will not actually get rich or have a real business, and then quietly go into the night at let the "business" die. How long was this sneak attack person into the MLM thing for? Just curious

Wow, you're right on the money.  It took about a year and a half to reach the ultimate awkward sneak and block incident.

Weirdly enough, it started out kind of innocently.  She and my brother got married last summer and the dress she wanted was at David's Bridal -- they had a program with x number of bridesmaids buying a dress for at least x dollars resulted in x% off her wedding dress.  So, she figured out what she could afford to spend on her dress and made sure she had enough bridesmaids to hit the percentage off she needed to cover the rest.  Not super excited about getting asked to pay for an overpriced prom-esque dress in an ugly color just so she could get a discount on her stuff, but on the other hand, hey, she hit her financial objective.

Anyway, then her mom had started a cosmetics sales job, so she was getting free stuff from her mom for referring her friends for make-overs.  And then another friend was selling something else and convinced her to hold an in-house party in exchange for free stuff.  And then more friends, and that was how the first round of straight up sales parties were happening.  I think the first sneak attack parties were just sales consultants that advertised their marketing pitch that way: invite your friends over for a dinner party and serve all Tastefully Simple products or something.  And when those parties were better attended, she started sponsoring all of her social gatherings that way.

And then, well, I got nothing to explain how it escalated into the whole sneak and block incident.  I wouldn't have expected that kind of thing from her in a million years; nicest girl, helps everybody, etc etc.  Maybe she got used to getting things for free and got weird when the sources started to dry up?  Maybe the attention and freebies from the sales consultants made her feel special?  No idea...

KodeBlue

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #222 on: June 06, 2017, 06:52:40 AM »
MLM: Most Lose Money.

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #223 on: June 06, 2017, 10:04:17 AM »
I think I mentioned the HS acquaintance who sells Amway on here already.  She's been selling it now for at least 10 years, we are now both 35.  She also works a "regular" job (not sure if it is FT or PT but she has definitely been working in an office setting of some sort continuously).  AND she runs some kind of side business related to a hobby of hers (which actually seems pretty cool/legit, though perhaps not a huge money maker).  So she has three "jobs", one in an office and two "businesses".  She's routinely hashtagging her posts with things like #entrepreneur and has been for yeaaaaaars. At some point she messaged me with some vague "business opportunity" that I assume was an attempt to get me into her Amway downline.

Well, today she posts that her Dave Ramsey debt snowball has resulted in her paying off her car loan in full.  Okay, great!  But seriously, how is someone who is such a successsful "entrepreneur" still wandering around with a car loan???  Well, lots of people think car loans are NBD, maybe she had some crazy low interest that meant having a loan actually made financial sense, but she decided to go ahead and pay it off just to have one less thing to deal with or just to give herself the mental satisfaction of having less debt.  Right?

Then I read the comments and someone asks what the snowball will be targeting next and she responds that she has two CREDIT CARDS that will be getting paid off later this month.  So, on the one hand, awesome, you are paying off a credit card debt in the near future.  But on the other hand...how successful has all that 10+ years of entrepreneuring really been if you racked up 2 credit card debts in the first place?  She doesn't give specifics on numbers and I am guessing they are not huge if she's going to kill them within the next couple of weeks, but it still just makes me scratch my head.  From what she posts on FB her lifestyle is not uber-frugal but it's also not crazy lavish.  Just not seeing anything to convince me that Amway is a path to financial freedom.

englishteacheralex

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #224 on: June 06, 2017, 10:32:57 AM »
Just watched an AWESOME documentary on Netflix about Herbalife called Betting on Zero.

It helped me understand people's motives for getting sucked into MLMs. It also helped me understand the brainwashed nature of people in MLMs--sunk cost fallacy is part of it, and also just the difficulty in feeling like a fool with a garage full of unsold product. I think there's a lot of shame involved. 

This also helps me understand why people post so maniacally on fb about their MLM doings. These scams play into so many American dream narratives and I think the need for affirmation must be overwhelming.
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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #225 on: June 06, 2017, 11:56:31 AM »
I've had many, many MLM encounters over the years. I am from the Land of Amway, so I became familiar with the phrase "pyramid scheme" when I was just a youngin'. Went through the house party phase when my newly married friends were holding Pampered Chef and candle parties so they could furnish their homes at a discount. One of my cousins sold Mary Kay for a hot minute. Now the damn things have moved onto Facebook and you can't get away!

I have a long time friend and a close family member into the BeachBody thing. Friend sent me a looong PM about how she was having a "sale" on her "product," which of course if overpriced protein powder. I responded with a long, friendly message asking about her kids. She, of course, did not reply.

I'm also casual acquaintances with a couple that are super high up in Isagenix. They are actually an interesting case study of how you CAN be successful with these types of products if you do everything just right. They are a super fit couple who have been in fitness competitions for a long time. They already had a huge network of health & fitness type people. They have thousands of Facebook "friends" and all those friends are healthy and beautiful. Basically, they are a walking advertisement for fitness products and were just looking for the right thing to sell.

I'm disgusted by the price of the products and the pseudo-science they use in their sales pitches, but they genuinely seem to be making bank off that stuff.

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #226 on: June 06, 2017, 01:14:05 PM »
Not all "social" marketing schemes are piramid schemes. While I agree that any "party" where guest feel pressured to buy is worthy of the wall of shame, I think the piramid scheme brush being used a little too broadly. To identify piramid schemes, you really have to look at the compensation plan (if commissions from direct sales are small, but compensation for building a downline is high, you're looking at a piramid scheme). Usually what the representative talks about makes it easy to guess what the compensation plan says, without having to read all that fine print. I absolutely hate it when all the representatives really want to talk about is the business (Monavie, Melaleuca, LIFE Leadership), sometimes I enjoy interacting with the representatives when the presentation is actually about the product (AVON, Pampered Chef, Stampin' Up, Thrive, Doterra). Still, they're all consumer sucka priced and I absolutely hate the way people feel like they are expected to buy something (if the host is really your friend they shouldn't care).

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #227 on: June 06, 2017, 03:46:14 PM »
My girlfriend has a high paying corporate job. A friend from college randomly messaged her on FB really wanting to schedule a time to "catch up". So she moved her schedule around to take their phone call, and sure enough it was a MLM pitch. My gf politely declined the offer (citing she hardly has any free time as it is) and magically never heard from the "friend" again. She was upset afterwards, because she had to sacrifice her lunch break to take the call and she legitimately thought they were going to catch up and talk. 

In college I had a random person call me up trying to recruit for some apparent MLM scheme. They said within the first two minutes "I think you are PERFECT for this opportunity!!" I replied "Do you have my resume? How do you know I'm perfect?"The person seemed flustered and said "no, but (acquaintance I haven't heard from in years) spoke highly of you." The call ended shortly afterwards. I was 21 years old at the time with no sales experience, how was I perfect??
 

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #228 on: June 06, 2017, 04:00:49 PM »
Sad how MLM schemes disrupt relationships. Have another one, I invited a long-term friend for a catch-up. She couldn't come along because her friend was having a tupperware party that night. I have never attended tupperware parties but several close friends have invited me to them. Sigh. I want to catch up with YOU not listen to you sell yourself out or sell out our friendship.

yourusernamehere

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #229 on: June 06, 2017, 06:03:25 PM »
My girlfriend has a high paying corporate job. A friend from college randomly messaged her on FB really wanting to schedule a time to "catch up". So she moved her schedule around to take their phone call, and sure enough it was a MLM pitch. My gf politely declined the offer (citing she hardly has any free time as it is) and magically never heard from the "friend" again. She was upset afterwards, because she had to sacrifice her lunch break to take the call and she legitimately thought they were going to catch up and talk. 
 
I've been burned by this too. Now when I get some kind of contact from someone I haven't heard from in a while, I always start with "this better not be about a 'business opportunity' ;-)"

Usually I don't hear from them again.

eddiejoe

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #230 on: June 07, 2017, 07:30:00 AM »
Sad how MLM schemes disrupt relationships. Have another one, I invited a long-term friend for a catch-up. She couldn't come along because her friend was having a tupperware party that night. I have never attended tupperware parties but several close friends have invited me to them. Sigh. I want to catch up with YOU not listen to you sell yourself out or sell out our friendship.

I would take it a step further than "disrupt". In the name of (measly) short term profits, they do lasting damage to relationships. If you reach out to me and try to pitch your MLM scheme, you can be 99.9% sure I will never help you out professionally even if it's years later. It's not that I'm holding a grudge, your judgement led you to be involved in a financially charged cult that sees friendships as a means to make a quick buck. Sorry, I'm not sticking my name and reputation on a reference for you.


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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #231 on: June 16, 2017, 07:54:39 AM »
For the first time, it has happened. I got a friend request on FB from a high school acquaintance. Haven't spoken to her since high school but we are both living in the same city right now. I creep her page and she sells for not one but TWO direct sales companies. Essential oils and weight loss crap. OH JOY. I accepted it and am counting down how long it takes her to message me. Any guesses?

Also she seems to post a lot of "inspirational" crap on her timeline that only ONE person is liking over and over. "Who would like to start removing toxins from their homes to create a safer, healthier environment for their family?"  I am thinking it is her "upline mentor". Grabbing my popcorn...

SunshineAZ

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #232 on: June 16, 2017, 08:51:47 AM »
Ok, I have an interesting story related to this topic.   Relevant information:  In the 1970s my parents were in one of the original pyramid schemes and I think they even made a little money on it.  I was young (8-10ish), but I remember hearing them talk about it and I remember hearing on the news that they were making them illegal.  I think I may have even asked my parents about it and they gave me a vague understanding of the issue because I was worried they were going to get in trouble.

It is now 1984, I am just graduated from high school and looking through the PennySaver for jobs.  I see an ad for a sales job and call the number.  They tell me to come in for an interview and give me a time and address.  I show up and there are several other applicants there, maybe 15 people.  We are herded into a conference room where we are told about some great product and how we can buy in with our starter kit and get other people to sell to make more money, etc.  Now, all this is triggering my memory of the pyramid scheme, just with a product attached, so when the presenter asks for questions, I raise my hand and asked "Isn't this kinda like a pyramid scheme?"  Now, I was fully expecting him to have a good explanation as to how this was NOT a pyramid scheme, however, what he said was "you can leave, NOW" and pointed to the door.  As a naive and somewhat shy 18 year old, I was very embarrassed and shocked to be so abruptly told to leave, and I remember sitting in my car very shaken for a while before being able to drive home.  Afterwards, I realized that I had basically unmasked their scam and that is why he was so angry, but that was definitely not my intention at the time.  I am glad that I dodged that bullet though. 

I guess they have just gotten better at it since then. 

TaraB

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #233 on: June 16, 2017, 09:55:06 AM »
At a local summer festival 2 weeks ago, I was shocked at how many of the booths were occupied by MLM folks. We went into one tent that had a lot of clothing (and a prime location next to the beer garden), and once we realized it was Lularoe, we dropped it like it was hot. We couldn't get away fast enough!

Unless you're a local artist/business, if I can't price-check your shit on Amazon, I don't want it.

I'm ashamed to admit I did Amway for about 3 months in college, mostly because I was obsessed with the man who recruited me. That shit is some SERIOUS brainwashing. (When he invited me for coffee, I thought it was a date. Boy was I wrong!)

Travis

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #234 on: June 16, 2017, 09:59:17 AM »
As a naive and somewhat shy 18 year old

Congrats on realizing what it was and having the guts to call them out.  At that age I was just looking for a job even it was a revolving door of high school labor and didn't ask questions.
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FiguringItOut

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #235 on: June 16, 2017, 10:48:52 AM »
I'm ashamed to admit I did Amway for about 3 months in college, mostly because I was obsessed with the man who recruited me. That shit is some SERIOUS brainwashing. (When he invited me for coffee, I thought it was a date. Boy was I wrong!)

This!  To the last word!  And when I found out he was married, I still signed up.  I even let them (him and wife) do a presentation for my parents and then I recruited one person for my downline.  I earned a total of $6 and never cashed that check.  4 months later I was done. 

But oh boy was he cute!

BFGirl

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #236 on: June 20, 2017, 03:21:31 PM »
Jamberry nail wraps.  I have managed to escape for the last couple of years despite a couple of people trying to sell to me, but got a longtime friend doing the hard sale and having a party...I think I'll make sure that I eat/drink enough to cover the minimum I can get away with buying.

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #237 on: June 20, 2017, 03:50:43 PM »
My Mom was reading some Usborne books to my daughter this weekend.
"Do you buy your books from your cousin?"

Um, nope. These books cost me a quarter at a garage sale. I'm not paying MLM prices so she can be #girlboss.

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #238 on: June 20, 2017, 11:03:17 PM »
My Mom was reading some Usborne books to my daughter this weekend.
"Do you buy your books from your cousin?"

Um, nope. These books cost me a quarter at a garage sale. I'm not paying MLM prices so she can be #girlboss.

I got asked through a Facebook mass-message to attend a book exchange party prior to Christmas last year. Did I dodge a bullet and this was what I was being offered?
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iowajes

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #239 on: June 20, 2017, 11:21:42 PM »
My Mom was reading some Usborne books to my daughter this weekend.
"Do you buy your books from your cousin?"

Um, nope. These books cost me a quarter at a garage sale. I'm not paying MLM prices so she can be #girlboss.

I got asked through a Facebook mass-message to attend a book exchange party prior to Christmas last year. Did I dodge a bullet and this was what I was being offered?

Tough to say...
Book exchange kind of sounds like everyone brings and trades. But a book party may be the MLM.  Good books, but way over priced.

tarheeldan

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #240 on: June 20, 2017, 11:55:14 PM »
Ugh. Someone on Facebook just used my friend's son's disability as a tool/pretense to invite her to an Usborne online "party".

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #241 on: June 21, 2017, 08:01:57 AM »
I know because I've seen the $20K deposit before.
Well, I feel this is different from what you stated before. a 20K deposit represents 20K in revenue, not in profit.
In order to generate a 20K revenue, there has been inventory that needed to be purchased, an expensive subscription to the MLM in the first place (granted, just a one time expense), plus additional expenses such as the time spent promoting the business, possibly gas to go to events, etc.... I think I mentioned that above, but my little brother was also "making" $800 a month in an MLM. Except his expenses were $1000+ ...
For the sake of the discussion you should clarify which it is. Revenue or profit? What matters of course is the actual profit.

Quote
I would argue that 95% of people who try out MLM are unsuccessful because they have no idea what they are doing just like 95% of people couldn't start up their own business and run it successfully.
This is incorrect, and is exactly the kind of BS that MLMs love people to believe. There are studies that show that the failure rate in an MLM is at least 95% over the course of 10 years (this is a very conservative estimate). By comparison, the failure rate of small businesses is 64% over 10 years. If the failure rate was the same, I would agree with you, but the numbers prove that MLMs are statistically a worse proposition than starting one's own business. Source

Quote
If you're of the mindset that MLM's are bad because they prey on weak people - then there are 1M other things that we should remove from society because they prey on weak people.
Probably, but what's your point? "Let's not discuss why this one thing is bad because there are so many other bad things anyway"?

Quote
This entire site exists because most people can't figure out the difference between a need and a want which causes them to inevitably spend more than they need to because our entire society preys on that weakness.
Exactly. This site exists to help people getting out of that financially destructive behavior. Conversely, MLMs encourage financially destructive behavior on more than half of their participants.

I'm done with this conversation - so thanks for that. I responded to answer 1 person's question about whether it was possible for 1 random person that they knew to make that much money in a month  in a company I'm familiar with (& FYI, they didn't specify whether the "making" was profit or revenue) because you told them it wasn't, which is false. I don't need to be convinced MLM's are bad in most cases.... I've  repeatedly said that I don't believe MLM's are a fantastic idea for most people.

I will clarify  the one point you asked for clarification on with the answer that I don't know - LLR profit is 50% on what is sold, but the people I am acquainted with who make $20K checks earn some part of that money from training bonuses(I don't know or care how that works), but as previously pointed out by another poster - the average trainer makes $4500 in bonus/mo. so one could guess that a $20K check is ~$12K profit less whatever additional they invest back into their business every month & any additional costs they're accruing such as shipping.  Additionally, a check isn't a total monthly payment - the end of month check is the bonus + whatever you sold most recently, but payments are made ever few days based on your sales activity so the deposits I've seen aren't a total monthly amount - beyond that I wouldn't know. I remember my sister explaining how often her sales money came in so she could purchase additional stock back in the beginning, but it's not something I recall in great detail. I generally don't ask people for their personal financial information - some people get excited & over-share (or I guess they live in dreamland where a large check will bring me over to their side, but I don't even wear LLR so I'm certainly not interested in selling it).
Just wanted to say thank you for your input. Sorry not everyone understood your point. It's possible to make money, but it's a LOT of work, and you're basically chasing a fad, no matter what kind of network you might manage to build up.

Funny, in reading this thread, I remember telling someone that I'd noticed on a trip to the Farmer's Market in Aspen that I was hopelessly out of it because everyone was wearing leggings to my good ol' comfy blue jeans. Whoever it was mentioned LLR. I had no idea who/what that was, so I just kind of ignored it. I guess maybe I dodged a bullet, just because I don't care if I'm the worst-dressed (tongue firmly planted in cheek) girl at the Aspen Farmer's Market.

Then what, pray tell was I doing in Aspen, you might well ask? Because DSD lives there and more importantly, the grandbaby. Over a barrel, I tell you, over a barrel.
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Alim Nassor

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #242 on: June 21, 2017, 11:40:48 PM »
I remember being invited to a Saladmaster party when my ex wife and I were both early 20's with 2 kids in diapers and didn't have a pot to piss in, and they were trying to sell us a couple of grand worth of cookware.  I enjoyed the dinner they cooked, but convincing them that I couldn't even buy the potato peeler gave me heartburn.

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #243 on: June 23, 2017, 05:17:54 PM »
Funny, in reading this thread, I remember telling someone that I'd noticed on a trip to the Farmer's Market in Aspen that I was hopelessly out of it because everyone was wearing leggings to my good ol' comfy blue jeans. Whoever it was mentioned LLR. I had no idea who/what that was, so I just kind of ignored it. I guess maybe I dodged a bullet, just because I don't care if I'm the worst-dressed (tongue firmly planted in cheek) girl at the Aspen Farmer's Market.

Yeah, if I hadn't read this thread, I would have no idea what LuLaRoe was or that lots of random people are now in the business of selling loud-printed leggings.

Yesterday I walked by a rack of multi-printed leggings for sale on the curb, $1.99 each. I assumed they were LLR cast-offs. Can't imagine they'd be much fun to wear in a city summer heat wave.
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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #244 on: June 28, 2017, 02:48:49 PM »
I have a friend who's selling Rodan + Fields.  She posted today:

Why am I obsessed with this? Because six months ago I could hardly get the tips of my lashes through the eyelash curler and was quickly racking up $1,500+ a year trying to make my lashes "normal." ... After six months on Lash Boost, two tubes and one coat of mascara, these are 100% my own lashes! And I've spent less than $300 total because one tube lasted me up to 90 days.

I *really* hope she didn't spend that much and is just trying to set an expectation for her clients so that her products seem relatively cheap.
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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #245 on: June 29, 2017, 02:44:39 AM »
Just watched an AWESOME documentary on Netflix about Herbalife called Betting on Zero.

It helped me understand people's motives for getting sucked into MLMs. It also helped me understand the brainwashed nature of people in MLMs--sunk cost fallacy is part of it, and also just the difficulty in feeling like a fool with a garage full of unsold product. I think there's a lot of shame involved. 

This also helps me understand why people post so maniacally on fb about their MLM doings. These scams play into so many American dream narratives and I think the need for affirmation must be overwhelming.

Thanks for mentioning this. I just came across it on Netflix, watching now.

Goldielocks

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #246 on: June 30, 2017, 05:16:59 PM »
SIL posted to facebook that she needs to place an order to maintain her level of "sales consultant" with her MLM product.

Meanwhile, I am happy that her 15 year old nephew (my son) did not get another pink fluffy, scented stuffed animal for his birthday this month like last year (selected from her MLM list, of course).  I think he received nothing, which I think is awesome.

Gah,  the kid has asthma and she sells scented products and candles.  He does not want scented teddy bears, that he feels he needs to keep on display for when she or his cousins come over!

chasingthegoodlife

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #247 on: July 01, 2017, 05:47:56 PM »
I've been captivated by this thread - not totally sure why, I guess part of the attraction is watching a train wreck (sneak attacks? yikes!) as well as confirmation of my bias against these schemes.

My high school girlfriends were really into the home sales parties - Tupperware, underwear, clothes, bath products - which I attended just often enough to be polite and always bought one item. That wasn't TOO bad - none of them were consultants themselves so there was a bit of variety and although I wouldn't have bought the products otherwise I mentally filed them under 'cost of friendship' expenses like sponsoring a friend's charity fun run or buying their band's CD.

Later on, several of my sister's friends got involved with Landmark Forum (a series of 'personal development' workshops where you are heavily pressured to pay for additional 'training' to become a facilitator and to recruit your friends drawing on your knowledge of their vulnerabilities which is .. uugghh). I was living overseas at the time, and agonized over carefully worded emails warning her not to get involved without coming across as a bossy older sister she would want to rebel against. Luckily, she was smarter than that and her mates eventually drifted away from it too, though several thousand dollars poorer.

These days none of my nearest and dearest are involved in MLM but there is a fair bit of low level promotion from acquaintances on Facebook for Scentsy, LipSense, Jamberry etc. I don't really mind as it's easy enough to ignore. What I find uncomfortable is an old friend who has gotten deeply involved in either Amway or a very similar MLM and posts constant cryptic messages about living her '10/10 Diamond Lifestyle', advertorial for some kind of energy drink, and encouragements to contact her privately about an amazing 'business opportunity'. Shortly after she started posting about these amazing (unnamed) conferences she was attending she sent me a friendly private message that I never responded to. Ordinarily I would have been thrilled to catch up and talk about old times but I could see that this was headed towards her offering me an amazing opportunity for success, and it was just too awkward. Sad.

Goldielocks

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #248 on: July 02, 2017, 12:04:15 AM »
^^  I had a friend that I was out of touch with for about 2 years call me up and ask me to meet to discuss an un-named opportunity.
I assumed that it was to sell me life insurance, and I asked him flat out if it was.    Of course it wasn't but when we met, it was Amway.

The unnamed pitches are the worst.

Kalergie

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #249 on: July 02, 2017, 01:33:51 AM »
I highly recommend Season 2 Episode 22 of King of Queens.
Doug and Carrie have dinner with their annoying neighbors and Doug gets involved in a pyramid scheme when Tim starts convincing him on how much of a great idea it is. Doug doesn't realize it's really a pyramid scheme, doesn't believe Carrie when she tells him and even gets Arthur involved in it as well. Super funny and totally relatable.