Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Lloyd Dobler…

So…that is the monologue that goes through my mind anytime one of my friends starts to pitch me on whatever particular multi-level marketing brand has captured their imagination (or their soul…you decide).  I would personally like to go back to calling these life-sucking, personal-relationship-ruining, predatory marketing schemes what they are: pyramid schemes.

I could write and deftly defend a thesis on why these pyramid schemes fail as a road to financial success, but I will leave that to Penn & Teller, as they have done a stellar job with that, already.  No, I would merely like to make one single point in my plea for a return to sanity.

If you are my friend, it is because I value you as a person and enjoy your company.  That does not, however, give you the right to sell me stuff or to enlist my help in selling your brand of stuff.

Now that we’ve gotten the main point out-of-the-way, I would like to let you know how I feel about said attempts at recruitment (or opportunities for AMAZING financial success for those of you who have been drinking the Kool-Aid).  I know that we all are living in a struggling economy and that good, solid, full-time jobs are hard to find.  I know that many of you have chosen a lifestyle of one working parent or home schooling your kids and want to have some sort of way to work from home.  I respect those types of choices and this is a mostly free country, so you have every right to make those decisions.  There is, however, one fact that I would like you to consider and that is this:

I, like millions of other Americans, work from a workplace.  I always have worked from a workplace and even when it was my job to sell auto parts for my father’s business, I sold them at someone else’s workplace.  I didn’t try to sell to them when they were “off-the-clock” and I surely didn’t try to sell to them while they were at home…that would have been rude.

I understand that you folks have listened to a very convincing sells pitch for your respective brand and that you really believe that your products or services are going to affect positive change in the lives of your clients.  Also, some of you folks are among my best friends, so please believe that I am trying to be as loving as I possibly know how when I tell you this:

You have become the dinnertime telemarketers of our generation.  You are damaging your relationships with people in order to create opportunities to sell your product or services.  Not only will you not get rich, but you will awake one day to find that you have damaged some of your most valuable attachments to people in this life.  Your companies have poisoned the traditional bonding activities of dinners and parties for the pursuit of sales and recruitment and even the expanding realm of social media is quickly becoming just another venue in which you can solicit.

Please.

I beg of all of you multi-level marketers.

Just stop.

Don’t invite me to dinner unless you just want to share a meal.  Don’t invite me to a party unless it is just to hang out and have a good time.  Don’t try to get me excited about an “amazing business opportunity” on Facebook.  I don’t want your products or your services and every second that I spend listening to your sales pitch is time that I’ll never get back.

Keep your supplements, your cell phone plans, and your juices or whatever other snake oil that you happen to be selling.  Before you approach me with anything, please apply what I like to call the Lloyd Dobler Paradigm.  I don’t want to buy, sell or process anything that you are selling.  If you can respect that simple philosophy, then we should be just fine.

I swear, the next one of you that approaches me with a multi-level marketing scheme will become the test subject for my reality therapy solution for those afflicted with involvement in such companies.  I will take your home address, cell phone number, email address, and Facebook account and fill out interest cards and forms with as many of your local door-to-door religious proselytizing sects as I possibly can.

3 thoughts on “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Lloyd Dobler…”

  1. Yikes! When I spoke to Jessica the other day, she mentioned putting Bruce on a different iron supplement. I ALMOST mentioned a company that I’ve been buying supplements from for years but didn’t. Glad I kept my mouth shut.

    1. Susan, I’m glad that you said something because I know that you guys have been involved with two brands that I think people actually seek out. I think those two and one other have been around so long that people actually look to get hooked up with someone to buy product, which I think is the main difference. Most of these “direct marketing” outfits make their money off of their lower level sales people and so the push is to recruit in order to make any real money versus selling a known product like Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, and Avon.

      I just got blind-sided by one recently, while making an honest attempt to catch up with an old friend. Then, all this week has been solicitation on Facebook. I meant “no” the first time. I was trying to make a point.

  2. I think you could look even closer. Americans have always been obsessed with what we are now calling “entrepreneurship”. The idea of working for yourself, making tons of money and not having to share it is intriguing. These pyramid schemes are presented as fast track ways to become your own boss without having to take the risk (or do the work of) entrepreneurship. Look at all of the most wealthy men in America that got their starts from humble beginnings. None of them even remotely imagined using one of these schemes to become great. The only people making money off of these things are the people at the very top. So, I personally strive to be at the top, by starting at the bottom and not relenting until I make MY OWN way… just my thoughts. Thanks for the thought provoking read this morning.

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