Multi Level Marketing- Predators in Pretty Packaging
I came across a few videos recently about MLM companies. I wasn’t looking for them, YouTube has been messing with my algorithm. For once it was something of substance, not just cat videos.
We are all familar with these companies. Avon, Amway, Tupperware. We grew up with them. They have been around longer than Canada and have not changed their model much.
One of the largest factors I have seen that draw women in (*73% of people in this industry are women ) is that they are isolated. Traditionally women didn’t work outside the home. During the pandemic more women left the workforce. But famlies need money.
Some people do well, some people loose everything. How is this? Is it they are “unbelivers” in the product or is it something more dark, more insidious than that.
I think groups like this will be even more prevalent in the future. Let’s start a conversation so more people don’t get taken advantage of.
I am not trying to trash some of these companies. I think Avon’s Skin So Soft is one of the best bug repellents I have ever used. I would buy more Tupperwear. In the past it was a way for a smaller line to get into the market and give the inventor or owner a larger share.
Rural areas you couldn’t go to the store easily and in the days before computers having someone like the Avon lady around was a lifeline to civilization. You could count on the products for Christmas presents. It gave many women and families that second income while looking after the farm and the kids. I don’t want to shame people who were involved in MLM companies but I want to highlight how direct marketing should come with a warning (*MMV=milage may vary)
I am looking at the larger system behind them and how they can be dangerous.
I have come across some companies I had no idea existed and I can’t believe how insidious they are.
LuLaRoe is one such company. Vice has some great programs on them. Absolutely disgusting business practices. It is a slap in the face with slave labor and waste. Fake entitlement in the West story how many?
They were making their leggings to have them sitting in the open in parking lots because they couldn’t get a warehouse. This company is an insult to the gament industry and THANK YOU YOUTUBE FOR NOT MORE BLEEPING CATS!! They are cute but ffs there are only so many hours in the day.
As of Febuary 1, 2021 they have been ordered to pay 4+millinon…in just one lawsuit. When will they get sued for the crimes against fashion. I love leggings but those were fugly. One comment was “I remember when they were big in my little hick town and thought the circus had come”.
$5? Sure. $25 plus shipping per pair? It’s a joke.
I shouldn’t make light. This company destroyed many women’s lives. I hope the courts find justice for them but sadly scam artists like this have already made their coin.
The same tactics employed by these companies are the same tactics cults/churches use. These are in no particular order, but there is a pattern.
- Familiarity- it starts with someone you know often. An old friend of the family. There is a level of trust with this person. It could be a co-worker. It could be someone you just met but they seem ‘safe’. They are often perceived as more successful than you are. The product or idea is the key to their wealth or happiness.
2. Desperation- people who get involved are often at vulnerable places in their life. Sober people don’t join AA because it seems like a fun place to meet people. Much like people will turn to theology during difficult times, people won’t look for options when they are financially comfortable. Companies like these hit people from both angles.
They offer a ray of hope. I have seen some of the health ones nothing more than the snake oil salesmen of the past. Silver for Covid anyone?
Using tactics like this in business are not only misleading but often illegal.
3. Isolation- Companies like this attract women because we are often isolated. These companies seem like a good way to connect. Ironicly enough, when people join they find they become more MORE isolated. Their life becomes only about the orginization. Often the time commitment becomes extrordinary. The side hustle while doing school or taking care of the family becomes all the focus.
After the effects of the pandemic I don’t know how to change isolation. I think that we all are slowly getting out of our shells, some places will go back to lockdowns and restrictions. This is a perfect storm for exploitation.
4:-Black and white thinking- I’ve started to realize that many people lack the skills of critical thinking. When you are involved in a cult, be it a politica one, a religious one or as the case of MLM a corprate cult, thinking outside of the box isn’t encouraged. There are clear lines in the sand. In the case of MLM’s, anyone who says it is a scam or a pyrimid scheme then they are the enemy. Some even have gone so far as to tell people to get rid of friends and family, anyone who was against the program. Churches have employed this for years. The world is very binary and scary. I understand why some people may have this mindset but I don’t trust them. I think that if someone is so involved that they cannot engage in critical thinking then they are in a toxic orginization.
4. Love Bombing- When you start, you are accepted and drawn in. If you look at #3 then you can see where this can become a problem. Like how you usually only get people with substance problems in the AA/NA circut, you generally have lonely people who are in vunarable postion. You get a group that is instant cheerleaders. They will lavish you with attention and praise. If you have been isolated this human contact can be overwhelming and deceptive.
“Finally I felt like I was around people who really knew me. I have never had many friends and to have all these women around me made me feel special, like I was worthy. They told me how beautiful/smart/creative/modest/Christ-Like I was. I was showerded with love every meeting and on social media. “
In order to maintain this “Love” or “attention” with the community you have to assimilate…fast. People will. Humans have a natural desire to be loved and people have given you this is exhilarating experience. It is like a drug and you will do anything to maintain this praise/connection. Unfortunately, it is conditional. You are not loved as the beautiful individual you are, you are loved for the little lump of clay in that monolith to greed. You are a stepping stone. In that context, you may feel all warm and funny but you are disposable.
If you have friends or family in this situation don’t shame them and don’t feel like you failed them by not giving them the love/attention they needed.—this is an undiscussed feeling when dealing with people leaving an abusive orginization. You didn’t fail them. They are adults (*and if they aren’t adults that is a seperate blog) and you can’t feel bad because your buddy made bad decisions. It is hard for parents to see kids sucked in or to see kids worry that their parents are being taken advantage of. The healthiest thing you can do apart from the usual self care bla bla bla is to accept you did your best. “How could I let them do something so stupid” needs to be pushed thru your brain as well as “OMFG HOW DUMB ARE THEY!!!”… you can think the second but don’t say that to them. “You know that was a poor life choice… so how are the Canucks doing” is a more nice approach. They know they (*bleeped) up, you don’t need to rub their nose in it. You are hurt as well and need time to heal.
With Anti-Vax people I understand your rage and frustration over the general level of full-out dumb with that movement but saying how they are killing kids and old people won’t change them.
I suggest you move away slowly, nodding and smiling then change your address. Funny how the conspiracy fans also love guns but misunderstand that bullets won’t work on pathogins.
5. Guilt and shame-Turning rational reasoning into toxic reasoning. This ties in with critical thinking but this aspect doesn’t address what someone in this situation is going thru. They realize by now that they have been lead in a scam but they have fear. Some speak out at this point but are met with answers like “ You need to try harder believing. You don’t understand. You are failing because you are stupid and don’t understand the product/message.
Even if you are a logical cynical person this phase is hard. Not many women in MLM understand the statistactis of risk/lost/faliure…why would most people waste time or money in university learning that.
Or even have the chance at university to begin with. Many people in these companies are not educated. This is perhaps the first chance they have seen a real glimps at “sucess” or “glamor” or “making a difference” that NOT FAILING IS YOUR ONLY OPTION. Doesn’t matter what you sacrifice, spend or spam. If this is your first chance at the “big time” you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. You are so sucked into this community that gives you so much love and attention (*dopamine) that you don’t question them asking you to file for divorse. And if you don’t file for that divorse, go to a shady Mexican plastic surgeon for a tummy tuck to “sell the dream (not the product)” or question why you are paying thousands and getting moldy products (Or beliefs). You are not trying hard enough and failed. You will have mentors and random people reaching out to you.
The best “mentor” meatings I have had the mandagers in charge with recruitment were honest. They were very blunt. It was a real job. I asked real questions, got real answers. I did take the jobs but apart from one (*safeway right before they moved out of Canada, I quit after 2 months. the only shifts offered were the ones I had a second job during. It wasn’t encouraged. I quit.)
It wasn’t a bad thing for me to move on. People change workplaces change. Would I have had the balls to quit if I had kids? I doubt it. I would still be working there.
Kids come first.
Cults prey on people because you have spent months and years in this environment to great sacrifices. To question their sales pitch is scary. You will lose everything. You say to an elder that you don’t think there is a lake or people go to hell then you are cast out and wish the Lord would take you.
Much like saying the 6th rate supplier they are getting garments from makes crappy leggings gets you kicked out. Snake memes on social media and alot of hate (*in my case death threats but whatever) if you leave a church, and that was mild hearing what the MLM ladies went thru, At least the snake meme was funny. People will track you down and shame you in ways you never imagined… so leaving a cult (*sometimes ones with billons of exploited weatlth and cooked books) it is DANGEROUS to speak out. Doesn’t matter if it is cosmetics or christ-humping. You are at risk leaving.
If you are in an abusive situation like this CONTACT YOUR LAW ENFORCEMENT. Leaving a church is harder. You might need to seek help outside of your state. The USA is messed for human rights. If you got sold bad product you can file a civil suite. In terms of theology they can abuse you and your best optition is to walk away. Let it go. They are dangerous and you shouldn’t engage them even if you are mad and think trolling on social media is funny. Some of these people would kill you given the chance, comercial or religious cults.
I doubt the Swaggarts could find Canada on the map let alone track me down and kill me. I know it sounds stupid but this was a worry. It still worries me to some degree. They have money and I am…me? And not them but the brainwashed minions they can turn on you at the drop of a dime. Like the morons from January 6th aren’t across the border with guns? People don’t speak out. Its not safe
But so far so good knock on wood but think I would be (*bleeped ) going into Lousiana. It would be a death mission. Which really upsets me. I love NOLA. Not sure about BR.
Leaving there hurt. You have to walk away and it hurts. I was alone again. Same if you leave a MLM.
In MLM they are sugarcoating all the dreams you will never get with their company and saying that YOU ARE THE BAD ONE BECAUE YOU DON’T BELIEVE ENOUGH> (sound familiar?)
6.Shunning- if you didn’t believe (* or pray hard enough ) you failed. Not only did you fail but you will be cast out of the community.
Regardless of a skincare line or devotion to Jesus, if you didn’t get the “message” of the organization, question it and god forbid leave you are treated like sewage waste. You failed. Not the company. You didn’t get the message
You spend the extra 20 hours a week and sacrificed the whole life you knew before this orginization. It is you not them, and you need to repent. Either pray or totally shame yourself on social media and do the “OMG you are SUCH a “GOOD” church. I feel so empowered as a female having to be less then men. I was so dumb, of course I am worthless as a woman. Jesus love me because I am worthless:… bla bla bla.
STOP THE GUILT AND SHAME> God loves you. Get over it. You will mess up. God doesn’t care. Put down the stupid books that are sold above cost too keep you ashamed and hooked.
Sounds funny eh but this is real in MLM… and churches.
Please put your hand up you understand
I didn’t do this to trash the Pentecostal church even if it is how it behaves.
I am not saying this to the companies that took advantage of friends and family for decades in sales schemes that left empty pockets and sad hearts. It won’t fix things.
Stopping people, even making them this “is this a dumb” idea is worth it.
I say this to the newcomers, the dreamers, the kids. Do not get sucked in. There is no get rich quick, there is no Holy Word and if you have read to this point you have been exploited and be patient with yourself.
Who thought “ the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ was real?
Stay safe and stay