Marketing for the Gullible
Steve Van Nattan,
Editor: Blessed Quietness Journal
one holds the goose that lays the golden eggs,
one doesn't invite the entire
world over for an omelet."
shall we say about pyramid companies?
First, they are legal.
they are NOT the American Way (as claimed by one famous MLM soap peddler).
Third, the Fair Trade
Commission is ALWAYS watching them. Ever wonder why?
In spite of all the red, white, and
blue-- motherhood, and apple pie-- pyramids prey on victims like vultures.
is a real life pyramid story.
joined Company A in the 60s, and I was sold the idea that it was almost a Fundamental
Baptist Branch of something or other-- maybe Davidians. I went to meetings in
posh homes with Hawaiian music playing softly, and they told me that if I sold
the products and talked everywhere about Company A, I would be great and "direct"
some day. The lady of the house did most of the talking, while her husband watched
over her shoulder with smiles of approval like Ricardo Mantalban.
faithfully flashed his "direct" diamond on queue.
also found lots of Christians at those meetings who were too wimpy to talk about
Jesus, but they could blab ad nauseam about the founders of the company. They
told stories about how those two hard working Hollanders invented liquid soap
in their basement on the order of Wilbur and Orville Wright's great example. They
told about how one of the founders still taught Sunday School every Sunday morning.
Oh, it sounded so sacral and pious, yah, und so wholesome already. Even the refreshments
being a starving college student, I signed on the line. I got a can of Shoe Spray
and went door to door selling it. I made a little cash. But, I saw right away
that the future was in signing up more new distributors under me-- "build a pyramid
down line" I preached the Company A "gospel," assembled a tidy little
down line, and I dragged them to training meetings and demoramas. The month I
got 21 distributors under me, down to four levels, I made a gross PV of $3.89.
Oh, but I had a handful of customers who used the liquid soap for literally everything
from washing the dog to fertilizing their house plants. I had a Mennonite family
with 15 kids who went through a 14 pounder of SA-8 about every four weeks.
was a great product in those days, and may be still. But I needed a break if I
wanted to ever "go direct." I couldn't live on hubris alone, and my glorious down
line was a crock.
I returned to what I could do well and earned twice the minimum wage an hour.
Demos Shakarian hired me back at Reliance drive in dairy. No down line. No parties
to throw, No driving all over the Los Angeles area delivering high suds soap.
Just go to work every day and sell milk to people who already knew what they wanted.
I developed some of the best customers Reliance Dairy every had by keeping cheese
slices that were pulled off the shelf past the pull date, and I fed the cheese
slices to the customer's doggies as treats. I had a far more loyal customer club
that got in my line to buy milk than the customer base I had selling soap.
more subtle approach of the 1990s.
the 60s Company A has kind of worn out its welcome in this country. People have
heard stories far worse than mine, and they avoid Company A like a plague. Yankee
ingenuity has come to the rescue, and Company A has learned to cover their reputation
in a clever way. So now, you get a call from what you thought was your good friend,
says something like this, "Hey, have I found something wonderful, Bill. It has
completely changed my life."
you say, "Well Fred, I thought you were already born again. Did you just get saved?"
"Oh, yea, I'm saved, but this new adventure has given me real direction and I
think I have finally found the thing God wants me to do from now on." (Blame it
on God of course.)
say, "Great Fred, are you finally going to go to Bolivia to be a missionary like
you said back at the camp fire service?"
no," says Fred, "But this is just as good. Could you come over tomorrow night
for coffee and cake? Ellen and I would like to tell you about it."
You agreed, didn't you?
What could be more exciting than going to the missionfield, right? You sucker.
I feel sorry for you, but don't feel too bad, it's happened thousands of times
by now. Fred and Ellen want you to join Company A, right? You don't have to sell
anything like in the 60s. No door to door. Just sign up the rest of the USA, and
you can earn a trip to Michigan to see Company A's New Jerusalem, stay at the
Company A Plaza Hotel, FIVE STAR rating, and see Mitzy Gaynor do a Christian Reformed
strip act. And if you sign up half of Germany next year, you can go to Hawaii.
How about it?
it, your eyes bugged out just a bit didn't they? Hawaii! Then it hit you how your
friend had used you, and you wanted to throw up on his shoe, right?
And, they gave you this
DVD where a major hype man is bragging up existing Direct Distributors-- you know
the one where he makes it very clear that anyone who doesn't sign with Company
A is a wimp and a loser. So like the Carpenter of Nazareth, right?
The facts are in friends.
In my whole life, I have not found an Company A distributor who had more zeal
for the Gospel than for Company A-- with one exception-- that was Doyle Brewer.
He was one of the greatest and sweetest soul winners I have ever known, while
he also sold Company A soap. Otherwise, Company A seems to suck the soul out of
everyone that enters. They stay to pray, and they leave to get rich on High Suds
soap and, "my downline".
is all based in the Calvinist Dutch Reformed theology of flaunting wealth. If
you've got it, flaunt it, and show the world you're right with God. If you don't
understand yet, drop by the bar / lounge of the Company A headquarters, and someone
will be happy to show you. Gin and tonic? Sorry, the company founder has moved
to Florida, so he won't be there to glow on you. He needs to be as far from Canada
as possible. Something about tax fraud.......?
the way, Shoe Spray was a great product. It was good for dozens of things. And,
they discontinued it. I could still make pocket money selling the stuff. I used
to ask the victim to bring me an old abandoned shoe. I would clean it, polish
it, and then Shoe Spray it for them. WOW! Did it ever look great. But, they had
to buy a can to do the other shoe ;-) Pretty good old fashioned American selling,
right? Not any more. Just sign up people, who will sign up people, who will sign
up people. No selling. In about six months you will "go direct," get your diamond,
and own a mansion in Malibu. If you believe that, I have this neat Bridge in Brooklyn
I'd also like to sell you for $1585.99. We take Visa and Mastercard.
marketing model of Company A, and all pyramid schemes, is a carbon copy of old
Feudal England. The land owner lets out farm plots to peasants, and he gives them
a quota of produce they have to pass on to him every year. If they fail to meet
the quota, the owner throws them off the farm. So, the farmer either farms the
plot, or he hires an even poorer peasant to farm it for him while he goes and
gets a job in a textile mill. Everyone but the owner is are virtual slave, but
pyramid schemes you are told, by a direct distributor at a glitzy party, that
you will "be your own men" and "own your own business." LIE.
Company A owns the business, and you are their slave. Your only option, in order
to turn a very small profit, is to "recruit" (read that, sucker) other
peasants into Company A who go into your "down line." All pyramid schemes
work this way. Between 70 and 90% of all pyramid distributors make NO money. That
has been researched. They spend a lot on initiation fees, training manuals, "starter
kits," and trips to far away places, even Las Vegas, where they are feted
and fed fancy food and given seminars exalting the company founders. They also
hear the success stories of a number of "direct distributors" who have
earned their diamond lapel pin or even a pink Cadillac. This is impressive, seductive,
and a huge financial loss for YOU. When you finally get a down line going, you
finally learn that you are making very little cash in PV, profit.
is where most of us bailed out.
of the distributors in pyramid schemes are women, and military men's wives are
targeted big time. Women who stay at home in order to raise their family are helped
to feel like they need to make some extra income. They could start a quilt business,
do book keeping, keep medical records, or a thousand other part time jobs at home.
But, the Company A guru gets to them, they go to a promotional party, and they
are suckered in by the promise of having a thriving business of their own.
day, after they have recruited a down line of about twenty other wives under them,
they realize that they are spending many hours doing "demoramas" where
they show off the wonderful products, They sell products at the party. And, they
recruit women at the party. They then have to pick up the order from the Direct
Distributor, and then they have to drive from home to home delivering it. The
time it takes to do all this finally sinks in, and they realize their PV per hour
is peanuts. The dream of big things just over the horizon is hammered into them
by their "direct distributor," and they go back and try harder. Finally,
they decide to give up the down line game and parties, and they decide to just
buy the products for their own use and drop out of the business. Company A, et
al, are fine with this. You have served your purpose, and the up line has profited
well off of you sweat and blood.
you go online, and you see the products you were selling are available at Amazon,
and you realize you have been a big sucker.
average victim drops out, but after a few months, the lust for success grabs them,
and they look into Shaklee or Avon or Tupperwear. The whole cycle repeats itself,
and finally after years of wasted calories, the dear lady finds a part time job
working on her computer keeping books for a CPA or a doctor. And, she finally
makes some real money and is made to feel like she is actually helping someone
in real need.
the orphaned husband finally gets his wife back.
all fairness, there are one or two pyramids which are based on a down line AND
is one of them. But it can still be very seductive. You sell products instead
of only signing up more poor stiffs under you. You do both. The product DOES do
some pretty impressive things, but it can be a bit costly. Shaklee's Herb Lax,
for example, is the best thing to set you free that I have ever seen. It can replace
expensive and dangerous chemical laxatives, and it's just food grade herbs. Look
into it. I get nothing for this. We are NOT distributors. Problem: Shaklee can
take you away from Christian victory even easier than Company A. Why? Because
it is so clean ethically, and the product is great. You can almost justify evangelizing
with Shaklee rather than with the Gospel. Be careful.
is good stuff, but again, I find Tupper ladies love you to death until you quit
buying, and I hate it when they come to church Sunday morning and distribute products
out of the trunk (boot in England) of their car. Gross, baby! Doing business in
the temple really made Jesus angry back in his day in Israel.
product is great though. Here's an inside tip. Do beware of the temptation to
"NEED" the round bread holder, and the square bread holder, and the tall bread
holder, and the pretty bread holder, and the French bread holder, and the bread
holder to use to hold your bank notices stating that your check bounced. Marketing
is a real art at Tupper-- CAUTION. You could end up having to remodel your kitchen
to store all the cute and unique plastic toys you buy.
Kay- Honey, how do you think the nice lady got that pink Cadillac? Answer: Off
of your face-- The same way the bank manager got the stuffed chairs which you
cannot afford. Mary Kay's clone did not get the pink sedan by giving you a free
facial. She got it by taking your cash away from you.
I don't want to discourage you honey, but if your face is ruined, money won't
fix it. Take a look at those yellow rags at the end of the checkout counter. Did
you see what
the MDs did to Goldie Hahn's face? It really is not funny. Why don't you just
leave well enough alone, and take what God gave you as a good gift?
Go to Walmart, buy a cart
full of goop'em, rub it on, and take a look. What you see ain't a bit better than
Mary Kay can do it. I was told by a friend of mine, who worked in a cosmetics
factory, that most of that stuff comes from the same vat at Generic Cosmetics
Inc, only the label is changed on the night shift to make Mary Key's special cream.
fact is, you and your husband could have a nice day in the country, throw a steak
dinner for the neighbors, and watch a Gospel preaching DVD-- maybe even get someone
saved-- for the money you waste on your face-- the face God likes real fine just
the way it is. Think on it.
ought to be mentioned. They have useful products. We have used a number, and we
never felt cheated. I don't know much about their pyramid system. Maybe that's
because it is basically honest. I think they give you a territory, which is nice
ethics. Thus, hard work is the emphasis. Can anyone give us more light on Watkins?
A L Williams?
They have the best line I have ever heard to seduce a good preacher out of his
pulpit to sell insurance.
won't discuss Avon. Leave it to the Friday night auction house down by the railroad
tracks. "...Whole box of cologne designer bottles for one money... who'll start
the bidding? Who'll give me a dollar for the whole box?" I bought it too, because
there was an old zinc bucket with it-- at least forty years old! Got the lot for
a dollar! Left the Avon bottles for the boys to sell again next week. I learned
that trick from Larry Knoblock.
you ever hear of Unimax? [ I hate to write this. It is so embarrassing!
a video about this gang, and my dear friends, I fell among thieves. They told
story after story about folks who "went direct" in under 25 minutes flat or something
like that. All pyramids seem to tell you about "going direct." Those words must
get to us Anglo Saxons through some genetic defect which we all carry. I have
met no Blacks, Asians, Arabs,or Jews who have "gone direct," and they are doing
just fine in spite of it. In fact, any Jew, Armenian, or Arab will tell you that
the smart people OWN the company at the top. No "multi-level"-- just
me and all the grunts below me.
thought the Unimax "product" looked pretty good, and the pyramid plan was straight
forward--Greed! Well, I signed, and I ordered some "products." For conscience
sake, I wanted to be sure the stuff was good before I signed up all of Western
Michigan. Many months later, the tripod came. It was the best engineered collection
of soy bean plastic and chrome plated cardboard I had ever seen. When I put my
camera on it and set it on the floor, it did a high tech maneuver I had never
seen before. It slowly settled to the floor to the ideal position for photographing
the cat and dust on the carpet.
battery charger I paid $10 for "wholesale" (because I was a loyal distributor
and could use the secret ordering numbers in the catalogue) can still be bought
anywhere for $3.50, or find it at a garage sale for 25 cants. It still works though.
By the time
the products got to me by "fast response time," I had talked up Unimax all over
the area. Did I feel like a fool? Answer: YES! I told the folks so, and I tell
you here. I pray, "Lord, deliver me from pyramids and my old nature."
Hey, I heard what you said--,
"That poor preacher just has a weakness for pyramids." Oh, so you don't ever think
about making some easy money? Never? You liar. Repent, and quit your lying :-)
me tell you about this fantastic plan for selling computer software to your friends.
All you pay is $90 for a starter kit, and.... ooooooops!
Since I wrote
this article, a monumental phenomena has come about on the Web. You all must have
gotten E-mail by now telling you that you can built this massive "down line"
by sending out the E-mail message about building a "down line." They
assure you that it has been approved by the Federal Government, was featured on
60 Minutes, "as seen on TV", and you are among the most honorable class
of entrepreneurs if you take the dive.
you believe this, I want you to buy my new secret on how to run stop signals and
be paid $2.00 every time you do it. What a deal this is. Others may doubt this,
but only a far sighted person like you would take advantage of this once-in-a-millennium
offer. This is why I chose YOU very carefully, from my research of millions of
Web users, to receive this E-mail. You only have to invest $149.00 in my CD of
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