Amway is a pyramid scheme, and I have lost a friend to prove it. I’m betting it’s more likely than not that someone you know — or should I say, used to know — has also gotten involved with Amway. The company is ubiquitous, and seems to be infiltrating even the most rational social circles. If someone has recently invited you to coffee because they’re looking for cool people to help them run their “business”, chances are you’re in danger of becoming an Amway target.
Last year, my friend’s roommate was caught up in their snares. It started innocently enough but rapidly declined into a spiral of crazy we could not rescue her from. In addition to purchasing binders of Amway tactics, this girl had CDs she’d listen to while she slept, selling her on positive thoughts and Amway success. She even attended international Amway conferences, which cost thousands of dollars out of her own pocket. Before we even really knew what was happening, she had moved out of my friend’s place and into some kind of Amway house and cut everyone out of her life, so we don’t actually know how she’s doing anymore. What I do know is I had to sit through this really bizarre presentation where they insisted it was not a pyramid scheme (anyone that has to say “it’s not a pyramid scheme!” is probably trying to sell you on a pyramid scheme) and told me I was wasting money by putting it into savings and the stock market instead of growing a business. They also wanted me to order my toilet paper on the internet. Oh, Amway.
Why Amway Is A Pyramid Scheme
Amway is a multibillion dollar company that uses “multilevel marketing techniques” to sell cosmetics and household products. They have really aggressive recruitment techniques and cult-like practices. They’re super shady and sued on a pretty regular basis, but still manage to trick new people into the fold! You can read more about the company here. If you want to hear more creepy personal stories about other people, like my friend’s roommate, who have been tricked into Amway, there’s some good ones here and you can always Google “Amway is a cult”.
If you know Amway is a cult and still want to succeed, you might enjoy this guide: How To Be A Good Amway Cult Leader =)
How Amway Works
From what I’ve seen, Amway targets emotionally and financially vulnerable people. People that are secure in their personal relationships aren’t easily brainwashed by Amway’s creepy “family” angle, and those with sufficient income are rarely swayed by the “exciting opportunity” to “build an asset” for themselves. In short, Amway uses the tried and true tactic of exploiting the weak. By aggressively pursuing friendships, establishing mentors, and building an active community, it’s easy to see why being part of Amway seems like a good time to someone who’s been feeling a little bit lonely lately. They encourage new participants to start eating healthy and work-out — big surprise, taking care of yourself feels good — however, those who have been in a funk for a long time might attribute their new health and self-esteem boost to Amway rather than positive diet and lifestyle changes. Then they have recruits set goals, make vision boards, and sell them on the dream that they’ll “be retired in 2 to 5 years”.
Once Amway has their claws in, they get their new recruit to switch everything over so they essentially become their own customer. By ordering household and beauty products through their own online store, they pay a premium for everyday items and get a small kickback which they try to sell as this amazing perk, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t just choose a cash-back credit card. I would also guess this encourages people to spend more than they would otherwise, while effectively tricking people into thinking they’re making money.
Does anyone make any money?
Yes. Whoever can exploit their dumbest friends and family to fall into step is bound to profit, but on the downside they’ve basically achieved just being King of the Idiots. For every dozen critics of Amway, there’s always one fool that insists his brother’s friend’s cousin’s mom’s hairdresser made a killing with Amway and retired in 3 years and now lives in a giant mansion in Honolulu. For the rest, they’re spending way more than they’re making. You’ll notice on every page of Amway’s books they’re forced to print “the average monthly earnings in 2012 was $84” or something equally dismal. You’re going to earn the $84, you’re not going to retire in 2-5 years.
Why Amway Is Really, Really Creepy
- They call industry meetings “family reunions”.
- They encourage you to isolate yourself from friends and family, insisting that anyone that questions your Amway allegiance is “jealous of your success”.
- They teach you to say “I’ll be retired in 2 to 5 years” and you’ll keep saying it, even after six years.
- They make you order your toilet paper online.
Have you ever known anyone that’s tried Amway or have you tried it yourself? What’s your thought on it or other MLM firms?