Monday, April 27, 2009

MLM-ers scare me!

You all know what MLM is right? Multi Level Marketing? Those pyramid schemes that promise unimaginable wealth without needing to do much work at all?

I acknowledge that there have been many success stories (and I applaud those people). But for each success, there must be hundreds of downline hopefuls that just fizzle out. And while they are fizzling out, they're probably making many of their friends and family avoid them.

Back in Malaysia, there was a period of time where meeting up with friends became a little like navigating through a landmine. You were never sure just which get together was going to blow out into an MLM sales pitch and hold you hostage for the next 2 hours.

These people were often friends. I liked them. I wanted them to like me. So, I used to be polite. Make a lame attempt to buy the product and "think about joining up" later. But of course, these people are motivated, enthusiastic and chased down every lead. I ended up avoiding those people.

Things have been quiet on the MLM front since we moved here. Although, I admit thinking that the market potential must be huge with the large population size here.

Anyway, an MLM-er has emerged here in Palembang. The difference this time is that I am genuinely happy for that person because it looks like one of the success stories. However, I am older and wiser. I have made it clear up front that I don't get into these things and never will. This is just not something for me. I can't sell anything. I couldn't pretend to sell anything. I don't want to convince other people to sell things. And more importantly, I don't want the few friends I have to shun me! I know I won't be avoiding my friend but I'm stronger these days. Not getting into that pyramid.

I do have a gripe about the product here in Palembang though. The sales pitch is definitely misleading potential customers. Its a hobby of mine to try to double check claims that MLM brochures make. But, I'm not in it and its not my place to point anything out.


Mike said...

We had a cousins wife come through town and wanted to stop by and say hello. It turned into a hard sales pitch. We told her to take her product and get out.

egan said...

Those things are ridiculous. It seems like there's no way they can last because they're dependent on finding new recruits. At some point though, someone will get the cold shoulder and so will others. My wife almost got suckered into one at a previous job. It was so bizarre.

Bilbo said...

The first cousin of these MLM schemes are the fabulous ultra-cheap vacations you get invited to, and all you have to do is sit though a lengthy sales pitch. I've been suckered into too many of those, squirming in my seat while some smarmy toad tries to separate me from my money.

Amanda said...

Mike - Its even more awful when its a family member that tries to push the product on you.

Egan - I always think that if its so great, why are most people avoiding "the network".

Bilbo - First cousins! No wonder! I've been sucked into a few of those talks too. We just have to remember that there are no free holidays and no quick and easy way to get rich.