The Gall of Some People (a multi-level marketing rant)

My OP got eaten! Well, here it is again:
I had my gallbladder out 2 weeks ago. (I’m feeling much better, thanks.)

Tonight, I received a phone call from Debbie, who works in the surgeon’s office. She said “I’m calling on a personal matter because you and your husband were so nice.”

“Oh, how lovely,” I thought. “She wants to be friends.”

But no. She starts trying to sell me some internet-based “business opportunity.” I asked her directly “Is this a multi-level marketing thing?” She said “Yes, but it’s not a pyramid scheme.” And she proceeds to try and strong-arm me into signing up for this thing. I tried and tried to demur, but she continued with the hard sell. I finally had to hang up on her.

Then she has the nerve to call me back! She said, “I didn’t want to make you angry. I know that lots of people want to make extra money.” I said “I think it’s very inappropriate that you call people from the doctors office.” She said, " I just wanted to help you the way someone else helped me." And then she launched back into her spiel.

I simply can not believe that she would call her boss’s patients to try to sell them something. That is wrong on so many levels (ha ha).

I suppose I should tell the doctor that she’s doing this. I hope he doesn’t already know and approve of this. I wonder how I can contact him without going through her, as she is the receptionst. Any advice would be welcome.

Do you have to go back to this doctor for any kind of follow-up exam? Maybe you could tell him privately then.


Call back, and ask to speak to the doctor, and leave a message if you must that it is important.

Then tell him what happened.

I’m CERTAIN this will get her ass canned.

I used to work in a doctor’s office, and handling phone calls was one of my jobs. To reach him, you’ll have to call and ask to speak to him or to leave a message for him to call you back, and the call needs to be about some medical matter. Either be vague and just say it’s medically related and that you’d like him to call back at his convenience (don’t make it sound like an emergency), or make up a topic that you’d be likely to have a question about, but be vague about it in case she’s able to provide an answer (“I have a question about my medication/incision area/diet/etc. and want him to call me back.”). Then when he does return the call, apologize for the deception - or really do ask him a medical question - and explain the situation. Mention that you find it unprofessional and he’ll probably take it seriously.

Wouldn’t this be a breach of patient privacy. If any of my receptionists had tried this when I was managing a medical centre I would have fired them on the spot. Behaviour like that is simply not acceptable.

I got caught by a couple of Amway freaks back when I started my current job.

We were cleaning out the ground floor of our offices and putting everything into storage. The removalists were chatty and kept talking about investments and stuff but seemed nice enough. They offered to give me a lift to the storage place to save me geting a cab. I accepted and got into the truck - I was sitting in the middle of a bench seat with one guy on either side of me, and very cosy it was. They started doing this tag team thing about Amway, the driver kept telling me how great it was and how much money he was making from it. The other guy would say “you know it all just sounds like bullshit but…” .

That has got to be the longest 20 minutes of my life. When we got to the storage company I went and hid in their office until the removalists left. My question was “If you are making so much money from Amway why are you still a removalist?”

After I got back to work I rang the company who had supplied them and told the manager what had happened. She couldn’t stop apologising.

That is sooooooooooooooooooooo unprofessional!

That’s a good way to get oneself fired, too.

I knew I should have read this thread first, before posting mine

Green Bean, I think we may have heard the same offer. And I agree completely; as Frederick the Great said, “L’audace! Toujours l’audace!”[sup]1[/sup]

[sup]1[/sup]“The audacity! Always, the audacity!”

Why? Did someone try to rope Frederick the Great into a multi-level-marketing scheme?

StephenG Yes! It was Quixtar! Thanks for the link to your thread. I’m going to follow the links in the thread.

Thanks for the advice so far, everyone. I will definitely tell the doc. I just have to figure out how.

Yes, very unprofessional, and also very sad.

I’ve read stories about the companies and how they train their downliners to prey on friends, family, and just about anyone they know to get them to join. These people have to face a lot of rejection (for the obvious reasons) and hostility, and the really ones who are really successful at this do so by finding people as delusional as they are. In other words, people who are as equally convinced as they are that they can make big money at this, that their effort will pay off, and that what they’re doing is morally valid.

I remember years ago being approached by a guy named Mike at a party. He wanted to know if I was interested in “making a little extra money.” As he progressed in his spiel, the penny dropped and I said, “Are you talking about Amway?”

“Why would that matter?” Mike said. He then asked if I would go to a meeting to hear more about this great opportunity.

“But is it Amway?” I said.

"Why not come and see for yourself. You’re a smart guy. I’m sure if you heard . . . "

This was really bugging me, and I pressed him again. He tried every which way not to admit that he was talking about Amway, and it soon devolved into a ludricrous sematical game of "Make Mike Say ‘Amway.’ (Which he finally did :D)

Quixtar, btw, is owned by Amway. My best friends got roped into it for about a week. They’re still trying to recover their pride, nearly a year later.

I don’t know who’s more insidious, the Amway nutballs or the Herbalife cultists. “Doncha wanna make more money?” “Not if it turns me into a pushy, inappropriate, clueless idiot!”

Quixtar! I had a co-worker try to sucker me into that about a month after I started my new job. I had never encountered this kind of thing before, so instead of recognizing what it was and saying “no” right away, I went to a member meeting and talked with a “mentor.”

First off, they didn’t explain how exactly the money got made. You had to sell things that were worth so many points, and then the points would turn into dollars in your pocket…somehow. Where did these points come from? Who assigned them? How did they become dollars? So vague. The “mentor” couldn’t explain it, either, so this was a bad sign.

Secondly, they gave me audio tapes to listen to – instead of, say, a clear explanation of how their system worked, the tape was all about how fabulous it would be to be rich. Well, duh. Why waste the resources and my time telling me something I already know, and why not actually talk about the company? Another bad sign.

Thirdly, they said you need to involve 100 people for you to really start making profit. In their pamphlets was a list of potential marks – your plumber, your dry-cleaner, your florist, etc. Like you’re really going to push this shit on your dry-cleaner??

What a joke. I felt stupid for listening to this nonsense for as long as I did before saying no, but at least I said no. My coworker is still involved, the goof.
So yeah, Green Bean, complain to your doctor – I like milroyj’s suggestion of speaking to him in person.

I have a friend who mentioned quixtar to me but didn’t push it on me. I was unemployed at the the time, so I asked for an explaination, and they (a couple) did a really good job (i thought) in explaining it…it made sense how it works and all…it’s just not something I could do, always mentioning it to people and trying to convince them to do it and stuff. They’re apparently doing really well with it, but then again, they’re not the type of people who freak you out when they explain it (that’s why they’re my friends prolly) and they event (albeit reluctantly) admitted that it was like amway.

That being said (that not all quixtar people are freaks, and that it can work for some people apparently…), that call you got was very unprofessional and she should get her ass fired!

Anyone see the movie Go…I laughed my ass of at the Amway part, especially since I’d just had the pitch myself.

Green Bean, I’d like you to rehearse the following for when you speak with the physician:

“Your receptionist is abusing protected health information - my name and telephone number - to advance her moonlighting activities. This may be a violation of New Jersey patient confidentiality laws. An attorney friend of mine is pretty certain it would violate the HIPAA privacy rules.”

It’s that last clause which should turn your doctor’s bowels to ice.

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Privacy rules under HIPAA go into effect next year, causing panic throughout the health care industry because they will cover pretty much every blessed health care provider in the United States.

Doctors are very, very afraid of HIPAA.

And this is a pretty blatant violation.

OxyMoron, Esq., former editor of a health privacy newsletter.

p.s.: Please e-mail or call me if you’d like to talk about this some more. I think you have my number - and my e-mail’s in my profile.

Thanks, Oxy. I’ll give you a call this evening. I was pretty sure that it was some kind of patient privacy violation, but I wasn’t really sure how.

I mentioned it to my next-door neighbor. He said, “the doc is probably her distributor.” :stuck_out_tongue:

Thats exactly what I was thinking of when I first read the OP.

It seems pretty obvious its a HIPPA violation to me also. There is no reason she should be using patient records to look for people.

I’ve had enough such encounters to have worn out all my politeness on the subject. (One was a guy who actually placed an ad in the employment section, and suckered me into a “job interview” where I received the pitch. I thought about strangling him; understand that I was looking for a real job.)

It’s been my experience that it’s useless to explain your objections to an MLM scheme logically. You can use charts, computer models and puppet shows to illustrate what’s wrong with the concept, but they’ll respond with “motivational” jargon, as if mathematical reality were a matter of bad attitude. So, be blunt.

This is absolutely true. I work for a health insurance company, and HIPAA is a very serious thing. I’m not supposed to “know,” when I’m outside of work, who are members, who our doctors, or anything of that nature.

As OxyMoron says, feel free to e-mail me if you’ve got any questions, although he sounds like he might have a stronger grasp of the subject than I.

This happened to me, too. The guy, who was in his late 20s, was shocked when I told him that I wanted something with some more security, where I could use my skills, and that didn’t involve making myself a social pariah.

OK, funny story time.

My husband once invited a co-worker to dinner. The poor fellow was travelling, and hubby thought he might enjoy a home-cooked meal.

After dinner, hubby wanted to tell the guy about an interesting clock he was making and trying to sell. (Didn’t work out.) Hubby said, “I wanted to tell you about a business I’m just getting into…”

…guest freezes in terror. Hubby launches into the clock spiel. Guest laughs hysterically. Seems he thought the entire dinner was a lead-in to an Amway spiel, and was just about to be proven correct when…WHAMMO! Novelty clock! (snicker)

Think he would have gone for Amway?