June 4, 2009
June 4, 2009 – The Amway Lady
As I stood next to my hot cab on a warm summer afternoon a nice lady came over and talked with me for a bit. She was probably in her late 50’s, and was quite pleasant. It was quite slow so I spoke with her about the “island” and engaged in general small talk. She mentioned that she liked the drivers in Cortez and would periodically take a cab home to her place in La Mesa. Since we had a good rapport I passed along my business card and told her to drop me a line if she ever needed a lift home.
A few weeks later she called me, but not for a ride. She had a business proposition that she wanted to discuss with me. I obliged, looking for a way to supplement my income. We met at a Starbucks where we went over the business model as well as what was expected from me and what was possible to achieve. It sounded too good to be true – it was… I was skeptical, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. What made me immediately suspicious was that she seemed to be overly upbeat and didn’t mention the company name. The conversation was centered around commodities – things that we will buy throughout our lifetime (food, toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, etc…). She invited me to a second meeting and informed me that she would follow up with the details shortly. She was persistent. I had free time that Wednesday evening, I left a spot open.
When she called to explain where the meeting would be I realized things were becoming even stranger. The gathering was to take place at a house in a cul-de-sac in La Mesa. There would be fellow entrepreneurs there. Or so it would seem…
When I arrived I was in denial. An older couple, presumably in their 70’s served up cookies and smiles and told me to grab a seat on their couch. Then the clean cut guy with the suit came into the room, complete with a slick haircut and a cool demeanor. He talked of massive profits with minimal effort, while scribbling fractions and graphs on the whiteboard in front of him. And then came the kicker. He was selling Amway. My night had been a total waste. I didn’t want to be rude and walk out, everyone was so thrilled to have the company. They were serving up shit sandwiches and I was forced to take a big bite.
For those of you who don’t know, Amway is a pyramid scheme. Basically the people at the top of the pyramid (the recruiters) make money off of the people they recruit by keeping a percentage of the sales that you (the recruit) sell. Any people that you recruit that happen to sell anything, well you would get a portion of that, as well as the person who recruited you. The person at the top gets a portion of everything. It can be profitable, if you are willing to harass your friends and family relentlessly by peddling your crappy Amway products. You have to be willing to act shamelessly. In retrospect, it would likely be a good position for many of the other drivers… Eerily, the other drones that attended the meeting were surprisingly gung-ho about the whole thing. They drank the Kool-Aid, right down to the last drop.
I told Alice (the Amway lady) that I would have to consider it. She was quite pushy. This was her time to seal the deal, to have me become further invested in their enterprise. A few days later she called me again and I told her that I would not be attending any more meetings. I was polite – something that she was not. She just threw a fit and acted like a child, by explaining how I was making a big mistake and missing out on a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wished her the best and reassured her that she would find people who much more eager to become filthy rich selling junk from Amway.