How suspicious should I be of multi-level marketing?

Ah yes, Fantasia parties. I’ve been to a few of them. They can be quite fun. There is also the benefit of learning way too much about some of your friends. The ones I’ve been to also had free beer. :slight_smile:

FWIW, the ads I see in El Cajon, CA are for “Passion Parties”.

IRL ads on my college’s campus, not Google ads. Feck.

Ah yes, sometimes called “fuckerware parties”.

There is a huge difference between selling stuff part time, not at a store, and MLM. MLM does sell the steak, just the sizzle- they seek to sell other sellers. Their meeetings are all brainwashing and motivational, they don’t try and get you to sell the product, they want you to get more drones. In some areas, Amway has taken on a decidely fundie cult ststus, too. Unless you are the first person in an entirely new are (the Diamond seller in China must be very happy now) you cannot and will not make any money on these- but you will spend scads in attending meetings and buying promotional packs.

Tupperware, MaryKay, Avon and “fuckerwear” are more or less harmless. They do seek to sell an actual product. Again, you won’t make much $$ if you consider how much time you have to spend making those sales.

MLM doesn’t sell the steak, just the sizzle- :smack:

Don’t get your panties in a bunch- Discovery Toys is not MLM. Nor is Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc. These companies are about selling products. The products are generally of good quality (at least in the companies mentioned above- but don’t get me started on that Partylite crap)- you may not need it, and may see a bit of a guilt-induced hard sell, but the companies are respected.

Discovery Toys actually sells the stuff below retail at parties, at least that’s been my experience.

Heh. The sex toy parties are pretty fun- they are popular for showers and bachelorette parties.

There are several sex toy party companies: Fantasia, Passions and Romantic Pleasures are the ones I know of offhand (I’ve been to a Passions and a Romantic Pleasures party). They’re really fun and there were free margaritas and screwdrivers at the Romantic Pleasures one. :smiley: There’s no pressure to buy either. With these parties, the consultant goes to another room in the house and just lets people go in to talk to her instead of saying “Yeah I want the Exxxtra thick King Tut vibrator” in front of everyone. :wink: It’s easy to just not go in to talk to her and everyone’s busy gabbing away anyway.

According to their website. . .

They do have pretty cool toys, too.

The toys are awesome!


They’re not interested in your home, they are interested in your networks of friends. They want you to use some of your social capital to get customers to a sales talk to which those customers would not normally go.

Test it this way: you receive an invitation to go to a shop to be sold some stuff. Do you go? Alternatively you receive an invitation from a friend to come to their house to be sold some stuff. Do you go? If so, why?

The answers, at least to a significant degree, are ‘no’, ‘yes’ and ‘because none of us like to say no to friends’. So these schemes are relying on you spending your social capital in their aid.

Note also that the hostess gets more stuff if your invitees buy more stuff. More leveraging of your social capital to sell stuff.

So what? Everybody knows the score when they are invited to these things. I receive invitations to things like this every once in a while- if I want to go, I go. If I don’t want to, I don’t. The hostesses aren’t offended, and it’s not like when the MLM people try and trick you into thinking it’s something else!

Honestly, what’s the big deal? Assert yourself if you don’t want to go to a Tupperware party! No one will care one way or the other.

You meant “my answers,” right? Not “the” answers?

Suspicous? No, you should not be suspicious. There is absolutely no chance in the world that your “sponsor” is sharing any real opportunity for profit with you. If there were one, he would get it himself. Certainty overrides suspicion.

It’s a scam. Amway is a scam. They are all scams. Every single moneymaking opportunity you ever saw advertised on the internet or television is a scam. Always, and without exception, they are scams. Each and every time, they are scams. It is always a mistake to send money, or even your name to anyone who is suggesting that you attend one of their meetings. If this person is your friend, you need new friends.

If you want more money in your spare time, make something useful on your own, and sell that. Then you can sell the right to sell it to others. Maybe someone will attend your meeting.


Um, yeah. We’ve been saying that about MLM all along…

Actually, my answers would be exactly the opposite. I do get invitations from stores from time to time; for special discounts or advance sales, etc. Sometimes I do take advantage of the opportunity to see discounted inventory before it’s made available to the rest of the public at large. And I’m likely getting those invitations because I’ve intentionally signed up for the store’s mailing list because I like the store and what they sell. However, I’m less likely to accept an invitation to a home party because I’m less likely to have any interest in the items they’re selling. There are exceptions, of course. I love gadgets and cool kitchen products, so I would almost always accept invitations to parties of that nature.

So in general, “the” answers would be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in that order. For me, of course. I don’t deign to answer for anyone else.

Triskadecamus, do you read threads before you reply to them?

Yes, good summary of my post. Thank you.

Well, in this case, not the entire thread. I happen to have some experience with this type of marketing, and find it to be odius, even when it does not fall outside the law.

Good products don’t require cheerleaders. Things that are actually worth telling your friends about will be pretty well known without a pyramid, or a pep talk.

I distrust the entire genre of twenty-first century hucksterism.

Sorry you feel offended by that, but my opinion is still the same.


I, for one, deplore the modern commercialization of neighborly gadget-fondling. A couple I know got hung up with an MLM outfit a few months ago, and it’s practically destroyed the whole subdivision. I said to them, “Guys, what’s happened to you? Buy, buy, buy, money, money, money, mine, mine, mine. It used to be about the gadgets, man, it used to be about the fondling. Now it’s all 'who brought the spring-action olive fork?” and ‘Don’t bogart that melon-baller,’ and it’s tearing us all apart! Can’t you see past your order forms and your glossy catalog slip sheets far enough to get what’s happening to us? Remember the time the Wildmons brought an ice-cream scoop on ladles night, and how we all laughed so hard we could barely fondle it? Can you even imagine any of us being so unconstrained today, so lighthearted, so free? Now, even on a really special occasion, like the reception the Phippses gave to fondle their new Truss-O-Matic™, there’s no joy any more, because everyone is just waiting for you to bring us down with your toxic-karma materialism. I don’t know how else to say it, you guys: you’ve changed. And you’re trying to change all of us too, drag our gadget-fondling down to the bad place you’ve got yourselves lost in. Pretty soon, if you have your way, kitchen gadgets will become mere objects of commerce, never to be fondled again. I’d almost rather see my kitchen gadgets used to prepare food than never to be touched at all. And to answer your question, I’m not happy to see you: there’s a Williams-Sonoma silver-plated Spaetzle press in my pocket, and for once, it’s going to stay there."