Have any Amway encounters to share?

Ha! When I was a kid, we belonged to a church that eventually had so many MLM people in it that my parents and their friends started calling it Amway Lutheran Church.

There’s an experience I’ve had twice sitting at the counter or communal table at a restaurant. A neighboring diner struck up a conversation with me. Within the first hafl dozen exchanges, me interlocutor asked me “Are you truly happy with your life?” One of these people was a bible thumper. The other was an Amway distributor.

The way I see it, Amway requires you to be even more insufferable to your friend than if you were a real estate agent, but with far less financial upside.

Several weeks ago at the supermarket, the check out line was outrageously long. As is my habit in such situations, I made a humorous observation to my fellow sufferers about the nature of our predicament. This got the woman ahead of me talking to me. I asked her what she did for a living. She said she was an exotic dancer, which was entirely believable since there is both a topless and a nude dancing venue within two miles of the store.

“And for me day job, I’m in e-commerce.” This is silicon valley. I’ve never heard anyone say they were in e-commerce without giving at least a hint of their job function. Naturally, I made certain assumptions along the lines of her day job and night job having certain similarities, if you know what I mean. I observed that e-commerce must give quite a relief from dealing with oglers and would-be gropers.

When asked what I did, I admitted that I’m between things, and that while I used to be a programmer I’d like to do something with more people contact. She flattered my personality and outgoingness. I had no illusions that she had any sexual interest in me – I’m a middle-aged fat shlub and was severely underdressed. I just assumed we were just entertaining each other by passing the time.

Five minutes later (did I mention it was a long line?) as we finally reach the cashier, she asks me if I’ve considered sales and suggest I might work with her. Somewhere right in here the penny drops. She mentions that she sells health an beauty products. “I’m hardly a good role model for that kind of thing,” I say.

“But you’re so out, going. I don’t think that’d be a problem,” she says. She asks for my phone number while giving me her card. By now I know I’m pretty sure this some kind of MLM recruiting deal, but what the heck.

Checked out the URL on her card. Sure enough, it’s Quixtar, the web reincarnation of Amway.

Heh. We had some old friends, A&J, who called up and asked us if they could come over and say hi, and they wanted to ask us about something. We happily said sure, we’d love to see them.

A started off with, “Haven’t you always wanted to earn money in your spare time?” We were puzzled by this question, as ‘spare time’ is supposed to be enjoyed and by definition doesn’t involve making money, right? (Well, he was a business major, maybe that accounts for it…) After fully half-an-hour of them talking about something mysterious that we didn’t understand, and we were getting pretty bored, they finally revealed the word: AMWAY. I started kicking my husband under the table in panic. Eventually we managed to say no and get them out the door, with sighs of relief.

Luckily, they aren’t too persistent with it and don’t bother people once they’ve said no. Otherwise they would have had no friends left. But they did get really into it, and everyone else thought it was very strange. Don’t know if they’re still involved; I’ve sort of lost touch with them except through the grapevine.

This always strikes an odd note with me too. Don’t you want to work in your spare time? Well, no. 'Cause then it’s not spare time, it’s work. Or, don’t you want to make money without working? In theory, yeah, but unless you’re going to give me a large trustfund or a currency-grade printing press, I don’t think that’s possible.

I had just transferred and relocated to a store in Florida (from Wisconsin) back in 95’ and didn’t know anybody in the area or have any friends (except my roomate who worked long hours and was often away on business). I had heard about Amway but never really knew anyone involved or was ever approached so I almost assumed it was an urban legend or joke.
During my first week on the job a co-worker became overly friendly and very outgoing. “Steve” I thought was going to be a good friend and maybe somebody I’d start hanging around with outside of work.
Then at the end of the week he starts with the “hey, what are you doing this weekend?” and I think it’s about going to the bar or going to some party. After I say “not much, I’m free” he starts in with his pitch and pulls out his little Amway business card. I think he was caught off guard since I just held the card and was grinning ear-to-ear. He stopped for a second and asked “Oh, you’ve heard of Amway?” I was still grinning and replied “Oh, you bet!”
He started smiling back at my enthusiasim and asked “Cool, so you’ll come to the meeting this weekend?”
His smile started to fade when I answered “Oh hell no! I was just smiling cause I never really knew you guys really exsisted.” handed his card back to him and walked away.
I was still laughing about it later when a female co-worker asked me what was so funny.
“Steve cracks me up.”
“Oh, did he do his Amway pitch on you?”
“Yep.”
“He does that to everyone. You should come with the rest of us tonight. We’re going to some clubs downtown.”
“Cool. Is Steve going to be there?”
“No.”
“Why? Nobody let’s him come because of the Amway thing?”
“No, he won’t come because nobody will join his Amway thing.”

I just remembered another one. I hired a guy to wallpaper and paint my kitchen when I remodeled it. He did a good job so I hired him again a year later to do my guest bathroom. A few months after that, he called me to pitch Amway. I firmly told him that I wasn’t interested and that he was being scammed. A few weeks later he called me again to try to sell me.

Not only am I not going to be involved with his Amway scheme, I am never going to contract him to do work in my house again.

Fortunately, I’ve never been given the Amway pitch but I remember a previous thread on the subject when one of the UK posters said he liked their laundry detergent and tried to purchase it from a distributor, who was only interested in getting him to sign on and had no interest in selling the detergent to him. It seems to me that if the company is at all legitimate, they’d want to actually sell the products.

Oh, do I have a story. I’m sure I’ve told it before but I couldn’t find it in Search.

A few years back I worked for my Dad for his business consulting firm. We were doing pretty good, and had a little communication system I’d designed in the very early Internet days we were selling his customers on.

Somehow, this Amway lady - I’ll call her Jane - came around and asked him to join Amway. He had zero interest in doing so because all his siblings have lots thousands and thousands of dollars in MLM schemes and my father (unlike his siblings) is not an idiot and wouldn’t join something like Amway if the Lord Jesus Himself descended from heaven and tried to sell it to him. However, it did occur to him that maybe we can sell our communications system to the Amway people! All the Amway folks could E-mail each other and have discussion boards and file sharing and stuff, and they’d pay us for it! So I had to go to an Amway meeting!

I begged and pleaded. I explained that they would not want our system, that they would just want us to become their drones. I explained that the meeting would doubtlessly not offer me the opportunity to network or to do sales, but would be a canned presentation. My father’s line of reasoning, however, was ironclad:

  1. Well, it may be a waste of time, but I’m not going, you are.
  2. I’m your boss.
  3. And your Dad.
  4. Ha ha ha.

As the appointed date approached, a sense of dread grew inside me. There’s a scene in the book “Shogun,” by James Clavell, where one of the Dutch sailors, Pieterzoon, is slowly boiled alive, cooked in his own skin over hours and hours, shrieking in unimaginable excruciation, for the amusement of the evil Yabu, as well as to make a pretty unambiguous point over who’s in charge. I kind of felt like I was being marched to the cauldron, except Pieterzoon was luckier than me in the sense that he didn’t have days to see it coming. I was hoping to be killed in a traffic mishap, but sadly was not, and the appointed day arrived. In a sense it was a relief because I figured the horror of anticipation was likely worse than the actual thing. This turned out to be a gross miscalculation.

I decided there was no way in hell I was going alone, so I recruited my uncle Mike to come. Mike always sees the opportunity for hilarity in any situation and thought it would be big yuks. To add to the irony and hunor, he borught is then-wife, Sandra, who was at that very point training to be an actual financial counselor.

The meeting was to take place at the Ramada in downtown Kingston. We arrived at the appointed time, were intercepted by the Amway lady, and were hustled inside. I noted with some interest that the word “Amway” appeared nowhere - all the signage and literature said “MLM,” which in 1996 was still a newish term and didn’t convey the toxicity it does today.

They had rented a double wide convention space and at least 120 folding chairs were neatly assembled. There were no drinks or snacks that I can recall, which I found curious - any business worth its salt looking to sell or recruit anyone is going to at least spring for the hotel’s $69 coffee and danish package, but not here. As someone who even then had been to a lot of business functions in hotels, I found that curious in a sort of weird way, like you’d find it curious if you were invited to someone’s home for dinner and their dining table was in the master bedroom; there’s nothing technically wrong with it, but it’s culturally unusual in a way that makes you wonder what the hell else is weird about these folks.

The other thing is that I and my aunt and uncle were the only people who were not wearing business attire. Everyone else was. You could tell the Amway people from the prospects, because the Amway people had been to enough of these things to know the basics of wearing business attire, like wearing shoes that match your belt, or not wearing an applique T-shirt under a silk business jacket/skirt combination. The prospects, well, did NOT seem to have all the basics of business fashion committed to memory. There were a lot of them; not a seat was empty after everyone sat down.

Once we sat down, I and my aunt and uncle pulled out writing pads and pens. This clearly disturbed the Amway lady, as well as the Amway man who was sitting on the other side of us. None of the other prospects - not one single one of them, out of at least eighty - had thought to bring something to write on. That we planned to record the things we saw and heared obviously alarmed the Amway people, or maybe they just were not used to dealing with people who can read and write.

The presentation began, and what followed was so unreal, so bizarre, so unbelievable, so warped, that it should have been introduced by Rod Serling.

A small, blonde woman stepped to the front of the audience. She was wearing a blue woman’s power suit and a power hairdo. She was in her 40s and introduced herself as Susie or Donna or Cindy or something. She was very, very energetic, and probably was a cherleading captain twenty years before and had a lot of kitsch and crafts decoring her house. Her presentation style, it was immediately obvious (I have seen them all) was in the Zig Ziglar, I’m doing-a-presentation-on-how-to-do-a-presentation, informercial sell-sell-sell style that’s infused with heaps of smiley enthusiasm and not so much as a teaspoon of sincerity. She bibbled and gibbered about how excited she was to be there and what a wonderful crowd it looked like.

I looked at the crowd - I was seated near the extreme left of the assembly and so could see a lot of it - and thought that they looked like the grown-up versions of the kids who took “Basic” level courses in high school, the kind where math classes were mostly about ensuring you can make correct change when the customer give you ten dollars. Thirty percent of them were watching this lady with their mouths hanging wide open.

After her introduction, she turned to the brochures.

“But Rick,” you’re thinking, “Brochures? Amway doesn’t have brochures.” You are right. Christ Jesus God, you’re so, so right.

There was a pile - a BIG pile - of brochures next to her. the first one was a large, glossy brochure for a luxury automobile of some kind, I think a Jaguar, the kind of 8-by-11 brochure you can get at the dealership for free along with a coffee as long as you pretend you can afford a Jaguar. She took this brochure, unfolded it, held it above her head with the pretty car pictures facing the audience, and said “Would YOUUUUUUU like one of THEEEEEEESE?”

The extra letters are important there. She said it that way. She held the brochure up high, making sure everyone could see it.

She carefully put the brochure back on the three-by-six folding table from whence it had been drawn and picked up another brochure. This brochure appeared to be advertising a fast-looking luxury boat of some sort.

“Would YOUUUUUUUUU like one of THEEEEEEEESE?”

I thought at this point that the inference she was making was quite clear; she was about to show us a business model that would allow us to purchase the luxury items she had shown us. But apparently more examples were needed.

She held up a brochure of a luxury resort.
Of a Mercedes.
Of another luxury resort.
A brochure of what appeared to be Tiffany jewellery.
Another car.
Expensive furniture or something.
Another boat.
Another resort.
Another brochure.
Another brochure.
Another brochure.
Another brochure.
Another brochure.
Another Christing brochure.
For the love of fuck, another fucking brochure fuck.

This process - “And would you like one of THEEEEEEESE?” - went on for, I swear to Christ, twenty fucking minutes. Think of all the bad speeches and school presentations you’d ever watched, the ones were you were bored almost to the point of wanting to rip off your own ears, where you felt bad for the presenter because they were so bad. Most of those probably didn’t go ten minutes. Twenty minutes is a fucking ETERNITY to watch a perky woman show you brochures. First I got irritated. Then after eight brochures I was puzzled. Then I was bored, and then I was infuriated, and then I was almost dazed by the surreality of it all. I could not believe what I was seeing. It was like I was on an acid trip without taking any acid. And then, mercifully, she stopped picking up brochures.

On cue… trust me, it was on cue… a man raised his hand and said the following line: “I. Would. Like. Those. Things. How. Do. I. Do. It.?” The guy was so obviously a plant I could see Miracle-Gro in the corners of his mouth.

This was the cue for the blonde lady, who name was Tiffany or Jenny or Molly or something, to go into the formal spiel about MLM. The jist of it (I’m going by memory, as I misplaced my notes, and when I say “Misplaced” I mean “Threw away in disgust”) is pretty much what everyone else has reported; with just ten hours of effort a week (and they did specifically cite “ten hours”) and the miracle of Multi-Level Marketing, the riches of Croesus would soon be mine. I would be wealthy beyond my most avaricious dreams. I would have to buy suspenders just so that the massive piles of cash in my pockets would not cause my pants to fall down. This would be accomplished, as near as I could tell, by recruiting ten people, and if they all recruited ten people then I would be pretty damned rich, and if they all recruited ten people I could get all the things in the shiny brochures.

Now, it’s not like I didn’t already know Amway was a scam, but it was at this point I was looking around to see who would, if not actually stand and walk out, at least cross their arms and put on a face of skepticism. She had essentially described a “Downline” that would necessitate selling across four orders of magnitude - I and nine other people being sold by MY recruiter, and then me selling to ten who sell to ten who sell to ten more. That’s 1,000 people below me. If there were eighty recruits in the room that means that every adult in Kingston, and many of the surrounding towns, would have to be recruited just to offer these amazing windfalls just to the people at this one presentation.

Not one other person left, looked skeptical or crossed their arms. Thirty percent of the mouths continued to hang open. Some were now drooling.

The blonde lady, whose name was Deedee or Lori or Tammy or something, went on to explain that this was very possibly the only way any of us would ever have enough money to retire without having to live in corrugated cardboard shelters and eating bugs and garbage. She explained this by way of showing that to have $500,000 when you retire, you would have to save $1000 a month for 500 months, which is just over 40 years, which shows an admirable command of multiplication but not of the concept of compound interest. I really am serious; she said that, using those exact figures, and using that exact logic. (Note: If you save for 40 years, about $190 a month will get you half a million, assuming a rate of return of seven percent.)

The staggering idiocy went on for forty more minutes. Then they introduced the Diamond Distributors. The Diamond Distributors - there were 12 - were local people who had allegedly become insanely, preposterously wealthy through Amway, I mean MLM. They were like Scrooge McDuck, diving and swimming in giants vaults of money. It was funny, though, that some of them still worked in retail jobs.

Fleeing the place was kind of like escaping from Alcatraz but harder. Even though the presentation was over, our Amway lady would not permit us to leave without a commitment of some sort, which we would not give because we are not drooling tards, and finally I had to actually start walking awya and she literally ran after me and I started thinking maybe she was going to kill me, and she followed me to my car and was still talking as I was turning on the ignition. She might have been yelling at me still as I pulled out of the parking lot but I’d turned on my radio really, really, really loud in the hopes it would kill the part of my brain containing the memories of the Amway meeting I had just attended. I’m glad she’d parked somewhere else or there might have been a high speed chase.

Afterwards I wrote her a formal letter saying, in business words, “Please fuck off and don’t ever call us again.” I wasn’t rude, but I was unambiguous and final and, by some miracle, they never came back, though I should point out that we’ve all changed our addresses since so maybe they just can’t find us.

Am I the only person who has had a positive experience with Amway?

I used to sell their products back in the early 70s. I lived in an apartment complex and had probably 3/4 of the residents as my buyers. I’d make the recruitment offer and if they turned me down, that was it. I got two other folks selling in their businesses. I brought in an extra hundred clams or so a month.

But my distributor, Barbara, was a hoot. I loved going over to her house to pick up products for delivery because she almost always had a party of some kind going on. She was a genuinely funny, life-loving woman. I sold Amway for about three years until Barbara was killed in a car wreck. I got divorced and moved about that time and never got back into it.

This makes perfect sense. [wipes tears of laughter away …]

I thought it was pretty mean too but no, I didn’t write to the president. I chalked it up to a bad experience and completely lost respect for that company. As it turns out I got a job within weeks of that “interview”. It wasn’t my dream job but it was a job and I was happy to be working.

The Devos family is filthy rich. They do not share well. Many years ago before the IRS got wise the Amway people wrote off parts of their houses and phone bills etc. Once they got wind of it they cracked down making it much harder to make any money.
The products are not bad, but overpriced.

My email is flagging all the new post notifications for this thread as SPAM/BULK MAIL.

:slight_smile:

Hampshire – that was VERY funny! Thanks for sharing it!

RichJay – Thanks for writing all that out; it gives one a good insight as to how those brainwashers go about getting their robots. It’s kinda scary how people can be so easily manipulated.

dangermom – That was an interesting little story, thanks!:slight_smile:

hajario – He probably did that with everyone he did some work for. Thanks for sharing!

zagloba – That was funny! I wonder if she handed those cards out when she was doing her strip job?

Hilarity N. Suze – It’s really something that they’d take their psychological strategy into using prayer, as it makes for an extra long rope to pull 'em in. Gezz.

AwaysFresh – Sorry that happened. The guy obviously had no shame.

joemama 24 98 Thanks for the comments. I’ll make it a point to avoid this Quixtar outfit, for sure!

Jodi – That reminds me of a fellow that was somewhat of an old friend. I ran into him one day and asked him about this other fellow that I knew he was good friends with, and he told me he wasn’t speaking to him anymore and when I asked why, he said that his ex-buddy was now into Amway! Apparently the guy did the same thing your friend did, tried to shove it on him.

It’s too bad people don’t come equipped with a SPAM filter or Amway would be out of business.

My Amway story: Back in the last 80s/early 90s a group of us all hung around together. We all worked our way through college at the same place, making beans, but having a lot of fun hanging out.

Anywho, as we graduated the group broke apart as we went off to pursue our careers and raise families. For several years, every 6 months or so we’d reunite for a party or a wedding and we’d catch up with each other and have a great time. Until one day Lori and her husband, Mark, got ensnared by the Amway machine. And they began to use the weddings and engagements parties and showers as vehicles to try and recruit people into their pyramid scheme.

What was really funny was that Lori and Mark were well known to have financial problems, both before they started down Amway’s path and well after. Lori used to have to shop at gas station convenience stores because her gas credit card was the only card with any credit left. They’d had to borrow money from her parents for a downpayment on their house. And yet, here they were, trying to preach to us about how we were squandering away our talents working for Corporate America and that we, too, could become financially independent just like them. :rolleyes:

What became of Lori and Mark? Who knows because we all quit talking to her when it became readily apparent that she’d turn every conversation into a sales pitch for Amway.

RickJay your post was LOL priceless.

I associate AmWay with deviousness.

In the late 80s I got a call from someone who knew someone I knew vaguely. He was going to be visiting Gibraltar (where I was living at the time) and wanted to say hello. I offered to meet up and show him around, as one does in a small place like Gib. Five minutes into the meeting it became apparent that his only reason for calling me was to recruit me as an Amway salesperson. The goodwill and generosity that motivated me to host a complete stranger on the strength of a tenuous connection had been completely abused.

A few years later in the mid 90s I was enjoying what I thought was my first internet flirtation with someone I’d never met but who wasn’t a total stranger - we knew some people in common. He lived across the country but a few weeks into our banter he e-mailed me to say he was going to be visiting his sister who lived 30 miles away and could come and meet me for a coffee in Oxford (where I was living by then). I said yes, and then his reply mentioned “an interesting business proposition”. I e-mailed back with a jokey “as long as it isn’t AmWay” and his reply was “It is, actually”. Again, false pretenses, betrayal and a sense of being taken for a ride. Needless to say, the “date” was off and we never met up.

Why do they have to be so devious if it’s such a good thing?

I remember when I was the court reporter in U.S. Tax Court once, and this couple came in who were far enough up the Amway chain to be making a sizeable amount of cash. But their greed got the best of them: They wrote off every single mile they drove for all three cars, and every single purchase they’d made for the entire year, among many, many other things. I remember the revenue agent testifying that they’d even written off their Christmas presents to their daughter.

The judge did make it a point of telling them that they probably could have gotten away with exceeding their illegal writing-off if they weren’t so ridiculously blatantly greedy about it. It was very satisfying to watch them get hoisted by their own petard.

And my ex got suckered into an Amway presentation once. It was, of course, not described to him as that, and I still remember how steaming mad he was when he got home and revealed it was Amway.

I’m another one who’s going to speak up with a positive experience with Amway.

My parents have been using the product for years, and are distributors. They don’t particularly recruit, because they don’t feel the need. For a while they did the tapes thing, but that was ages ago.

I’ve never met the sort of do-or-die recruiting tactics that people here are talking about. I’m not suggesting in the least that they don’t exist, nor that they aren’t the view that most people have for Amway. Just saying that it’s possible to be involved in Amway, or know people involved in it, who aren’t complete jerks about it. Though, I don’t know how much you can consider my parents as being representative of distributors: They are more interested in selling product than in recruiting people, and they have no desire to make Amway into some kind of money cow for them. It’s about the products that they like, and use.

Oh, and they have a few friends who buy product from them. Which they are glad to offer, without sales pitches for the business.

But, again, they’re not the success story people that get shown at seminars. Nor do they want to be.

The Devos family is very big in Orlando. They own the Magic, and Og help me, the TD Waterhouse Arena is now the Amway Arena.

LOL! Oh no, they’re taking over! :eek: