As a young man on the dole who is desperately seeking employment in a competitive world, it is easy to be naive and fall victim to those questionable folks and their deceptive practices.
Just the other day I was called up on the phone by someone who claimed to have found my resume and was impressed with my skills and qualifications. I should of thought twice when I heard that one. Caught off guard I let myself get invited to some (secret) presentation where I could meet other successful career seekers and discover the fantastic concept which was awaiting me. Chuckle, chuckle. Normally I request company information like brochures or electronic documentation so that I can first study the organization and then decide if it is what I want. But this guy (probably trained extensively in these kinds of coercive one-way conversations) had a way of talking which somehow made me say yes. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but there is no way changing what has already happened.
So what was this so-called mess I had gotten myself in? Well, this company fosters the idea that by doing less you can make more. What is this all about and what is the secret? Well, it's called multi-level marketing (MLM) and be careful the next time you hear about it.
The following definition is taken from an article I found called The Mirage of Multilevel Marketing.
"Multilevel marketing (also called network marketing) is a form of direct sales in which independent distributors sell products, usually in their customers' home or by telephone. In theory, distributors can make money not only from their own sales but also from those of the people they recruit."
All you have to do for a small initial fee (about $100) is give away samples of a good product to your family and friends. Once this catches on you start asking for money, but those closest acquaintances can "join" your so-called company for special discount. If you get at least six to eight members recruited, you are promoted to a higher position. Each higher position means an increased donation way and above the initial $100, but since the money is now flowing in non-stop this extra charge is just peanuts. Now comes the good part, all these underlings are working to push the product and it is up to them now to recruit more folks into their sub-companies. Before you realize it, they in turn create revenue which is funneled back and you receive what they refer to as "residual profits." Kind of like a pyramid scheme, wouldn't you say? Well, they claim emphatically throughout the presentation that this is NOT a pyramid scheme, but I got to wondering. Wondering and calculating in my head and figuring out where the saturation point would be for recruitment in a given geographical location.
"Assuming an average of eight members in each layer. The numbers expand by the multiple of eight with each full cycle of payment. 8; 64;512; 4,096; 32,768; 262,144; 2,097,152; 16,777,216 and so on to numbers beyond the population of the USA and then the entire earth! At some point, a lot of people were going to lose, guaranteed."
I got the shakes and left. It was almost like I was inadvertently being abused to join some cult, and once I started investing money I could never escape. A bit scary and I preferred not to take any chances. Especially with a wife and four kids and a house etc. How could I have been so naive? During the hour long drive back to the safety of my own home, I had to wonder in the car to myself : is MLM legal?
Of course, after this interesting adventure, I did alot of research in order to discover for myself what this multilevel marketing crap is all about. Whew, that was a close one for me! You might want to read the article Ten Big Lies of Multilevel Marketing which explains alot of the untold story.
I feel like a survivor and I want to stay that way. Who wants to get stinking rich anyway? As if that is the most important thing in life. I am no fool.