Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Part-Time Job That Eats Your Soul


Unfortunately, I have some personal experience with the quasi-religious corporate cult known as Amway/Quixtar. My ex was involved with it for roughly six months, about ten years ago. Sadly, Quixtar recruiters still use most of the same tired ol' enticements they were using over a decade ago, with a few new twists.

Initially, I didn't think Amway was such a bad idea. It's just like Avon, right? You sell soaps and baby wipes and whatnot, make a little extra money. Wrong. My first hint that something was horribly awry were the ever-growing piles of cassette tapes in my ex's living room, with titles like "Don't Dream It, Be It" and "Diamond Destiny". Why would one need 700 motivational tapes to sell some laundry detergent, especially if it's supposed to be primo stuff? So, I did some online research. What I found was both scary and profoundly pathetic. Amway is, as so many people have learned the hard way, a quasi-religious cult/pyramidish scam. I won't go into all the behavioral tricks, jargon, and moronic marketing strategies Amway (and its alter ego, Quixtar) use, but here's just a sample:

  • Amway was very reluctant to continue using the name "Amway", and changed to Quixtar a few years back (around the time my ex was involved). But they're now reluctant to use the word "Quixtar" and are employing various fronts to hide it. Reps will avoid using the word until they are absolutely cornered and forced to do so. They will refer to Amway/Quixtar as "the business", "your business", or "the project". Many Quixtar reps currently prefer to call themselves Independent Business Owners (IBOs), or they refer to World Wide Dream Builders. There are reasons for this. No reputable business is scared of using its own name!! Amway/Quixtar has such a poor track record of failure, litigation, and shady tactics that it is known the world over as a cult-like corporation. Of course, the reps will tell you that Amway/Quixtar has an undeserved bad reputation - it's so powerful, successful, and innovative that its corporate rivals continually launch smear campaigns against it. Sure thing. They'll also tell you there's "a lot of silly, untrue stuff" about their business online, and they'll tell you to avoid it. "I'll point you to some good [Quixtar-affiliated] sites if you want more information," they'll tell you.
  • Quixtar reps sucker you in by pretending the pyramid is a "unique opportunity", or "not for everybody", turning it into an alluring challenge. "Well, I'd tell you all about it, but I'm not sure you can handle it..."
  • Amway reps invariably draw you in by asking you to describe for them your short- and long-term goals and dreams. Do you want to retire at 35? Buy an island? Feed the hungry? You can do it if you get into "the business."
  • They'll tell you that real jobs are for suckers and losers. Why work for someone else? Never mind that Amway/Quixtar is someone else.
  • Amway Diamonds, Emeralds, and Cubic Zirconias or whatever the hell they call themselves do not make most of their money from supervising their own private sales forces, nor from selling baby wipes. They make most of their money from sales of retarded motivational cassette tapes/CDs, books, and seminar tickets. At least one Diamond has admitted this. Amway/Quixtar isn't illegal, but it is a thinly veiled pyramidish scheme. Sure, you can theoretically get to the top - but how many people actually make it?
  • The Diamonds who appear at seminars and on the CDs say things like, "I sold all my oil wells because Amway is a better opportunity" and "If it was between my wife and Amway, I'd choose Amway." (They only say this to people they've already initiated into the cult, of course, because they would never use the word "Amway" in mixed company.)
    Mid-level Amway reps (Opals or Pearls or something like that) will tell you they're fabulously successful and well-off. The younger ones, like the former airline pilot who recruited my ex, will tell you they're close to retirement. But note that they never hold recruiting seminars in their own homes - they always ask you to do it. And they'll "suggest" you dress nicely and serve decent appetizers. ("Suggest" is the Amway word for "demand"). Also, they'll usually park a block or two away so you won't notice they're driving an '86 Chevy Nova crammed full of cassette tapes. If asked, reps explain the CDs and other motivational materials are being given to you "at a loss" even though you're paying retail price for each one.These materials are motivational aides commonly available at your local library and second-hand bookstores; you don't need to pay your upline full price for something you can use for free. But it you don't buy into the "tools" scam, they'll try to make you feel like you're not putting in an adequate amount of effort into "your business" (that's another Amway trick, by the way - referring to your portion of the pyramid as "your business", when it is clearly their business).
  • Amway reps will prey on just about anyone, but they zero in on the young, the poor, and the religious. They'll tell you it's all about "faith", "morals", and the American/Canadian Dream, that you're not just selling toothpaste but actually upholding the capitalist way of life. Show me one Avon rep who talks like that.
  • Once you're hooked, your upline will urge you to buy as many "tools" (CDs and books) as possible, and to attend as many out-of-town rallies as possible. They will continually urge you to bring your friends, relatives, neighbors, and everyone else you know into "the business", because the more downlines they have, the better. This can result in some very strained relationships, because few people in their right mind like to be badgered continually about a "business opportunity" that doesn't seem to be working out for you.
Now, here are just a few of the things the thing the reps and uplines will never tell you:
  • The profit does not come primarily from the sale of (overpriced and overrated) products. It comes from having as many downlines as possible, signing up new people, and selling tools to them.
  • This is key: In order to be wildly successful at Amway, you pretty much have to treat it like two full-time jobs. You have to be out there recruiting, holding home seminars, attending rallies, listening to and reading the motivational materials ("tools"), and trying to persuade everyone you know that it's a great idea to pay $10 for a tube of toothpaste.
  • In addition to transportation and lodging and meal costs, rallies typically require you to pay for a ticket. It's another "tool" (read: profit-making venture). In a six-month span, my ex attended three of these rallies. His profit never exceeded his costs, though some Amway reps will try to tell you this is a low-risk venture or that you must spend lots of money to make money.
  • Saturation can be a serious problem. If you live in a relatively small city or town, and there are already numerous Amway reps in your area, how much money do you think you're going to make?
  • If you live in an economically depressed area, most people you talk to are going to be extremely reluctant to purchase the overpriced products or to pay the start-up fee to get in on "the business".
  • As mentioned, Amway has such a dismal reputation as a cult-like and predatory corporation that many people completely avoid it as soon as they catch on to what you're trying to sell. Thanks to word-of-mouth and the Internet, more people are catching on to the scams than ever before.

Maybe Amway/Quixtar works out well for people who are in the right place and are willing and able to participate in a cult-like experience, if they have the skills to pull it off and the ambition to work long hours IN ADDITION to one or more full-time "Just-Over-Brokes". Some Amway/Quixtar reps and most IBOs are smart enough to realize that shelling out travel expenses for each and every rally is not going to get them where they want to go, and they invest only in the tapes that they actually plan to hear & the books they plan to read. However, only about 1% of the population fits into this category! The rest of the people inducted into Amway/Quixtar are not cut out for it, or any sales position for that matter. All the motivational CDs in North America won't make any difference.

Here's the heart of the matter: It's not just the Quixtar/Amway reps and IBOs who suffer. It's their children, their mates, their friends, and their families. I missed out on a lot of time with my ex because he was too busy with this nonsense in addition to a 60 hr/wk job, plus social activities. He never turned much of a profit, and when he did the money went straight back into tools, rallies, and gas to drive around recruiting others. The time he wasted at rallies and home presentations could have been much better spent. If you're single and have a lot of disposable income and time to spare, this may be ideal for you. But if you actually have to support a family or live a normal life, you're in for a world of pain.

I receive a lot of messages about Amway/Quixtar. I ask you, if Quixtar's such a solid business opportunity, as its proponents insist, why are so many people so deeply upset to see their loved ones involved in it? Why is it causing such anxiety and confusion? I'll say it again - Avon and Tupperware (etc.) don't do this!

Here's a painfully familiar comment from Anon: "A friend of mine and her husband are deeply involved in this terrible "business"...they have no lives now, they get no sleep, they miss days at their real jobs constantly...I'm waiting for one or both of them to be fired and then they'll be up a creek for sure...They miss important events like weddings and birthdays, family outings, etc, in favor of meetings and Quixtar seminars...The have been completely brainwashed...The Quixtar higher ups, so to speak, have told these poor saps not to watch tv, listen to the radio, etc to avoid anything negative getting into their heads...It is completely terrible...My friends have been involved for just over a year now and it was just revealed to me they get a 400 dollar check every month...Well, they put out 1000 dollars a month to start with and then pay all sorts of fees in addition for tapes, cds, admission to so called motivational speaker's seminars, gas and hotel costs and they're also told to leave obnoxiously large tips are these restaurants where they have these "night owls" meetings to discuss the business...They are constantly broke, constantly needing to recruit new people since the people they get never stick around once they've seen the light..."

And an even sadder firsthand account:

"My wife and I spend over 5 years trying to build this business. We love most of the products and will always use them. We did recieve some good insight and knowledge about what it is like to own a business, and we do agree with the principles taught, however.... We also figure between books tapes meetings, functions and overspend on products we didn't need just to have the PV/BV we needed to be "core" and set the right example for our downline we spend about $6,000/year much of which ended up on credit cards and we are still paying the price for this business. We loved it when we were building it we wouldn't miss any thing no matter how big or small or no matter how much the cost to get there.

We lost so much more than just money. We lost friendships and time, time that could never be replaced. I don't care if I do sit on the couch on a Tuesday night watching TV. My job performance has been better since I stopped building the business, no more long draining weekends and late weeknight meeting to make me tired and less prepared for my job. Now when I do sit and watch TV I feel refreshed and relaxed and ready to preform at my best the next day for work. Not to mention taking vacation days off for Quixtar... now I use my vacation days for guess what VACATION!!!

As for the cult thing, I believe it would qualify as a cult and I would be willing to debate this with anyone. I am ashamed that it took me so long and cost me so much before I realized what was going on, and that is why I shall remain anonymous."

Enough! Even writing about this stuff fills me with pity. For more info on Amway/Quixtar and its alter egos, visit http://www.webraw.com/quixtar/. This is a blog by a man whose wife was once programmed by Amway/Quixtar. Also check out the excellent blog Quixtar Cult Intervention.

There are oodles of other blogs and websites devoted to exposing Quixtar and other Multi-level Marketing scams (MLMs). The Truth About Amway is a good source of info. Even if you're not one of the unfortunate souls whose loved ones have been mentally abducted by Amway, it makes for some entertaining and enlightening reading.

OK, a quick Amway joke: When I told my friend M.J. and her husband, Phil, that I'm writing a book about Satanism, Phil said, "Some of our neighbours have a cult like that, I think! There are all these cars parked on their lawn every night, and the lights are never on!"
M.J. said, "Honey, they sell Amway."
M.J. and I looked at each other and said in perfect synch "Isn't it the same thing?"

56 comments:

tshsmom said...

What, you don't have enough crazy commenters? Now you want to attract the Amway crazies too. ;)

SME said...

Hey, at least they're sane! Misguided and perhaps a little gullible, but sane. ;)

blogEditor said...

Amway is not really a good business and is not a bad business just because it depends on your own effort. Like in any other business, it's everyone's responsability to make it succesful or to justify its failure.

Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki recomend that business where Amway is a global leader in their book "We want you to be rich" (Chapter 27) as many other individuals around the world in economies, goverment, business and so on, like Direct Sellers Asociation of Canada president and CEO, Barnes & Noble sales vicepresident, Whirlpool national accounts director ...

Too many corporations around the world support Amway system through alliances where their products are sold by profesional networkers giving profit and benefits to Amway distributors and their clients. Corporations like Dell, Disney, Kodak, Sony; among others.


Read the truth about Amway:

http://www.thetruthaboutamway.com/
http://www.thisbiznow.com/
http://www.amway.com/

tshsmom said...

Here we go....

SME said...

That was fast.
Well, God forbid I question Mr. Trump's good judgement.

Son of the Shy said...

Very nice. My ex's mother was an amway soldier. This woman could not stop talking, and I tried once to initiate a debate starting with the crap she sold (magnets...), and continue with the method, but the way she defended her salt lamp made me realize I had to stop immediatly.

BTW this was in France.

Maxillarypun said...

Heh, I used to sell Amway. My upline and never agreed on why I should never say I sold Amway. I used their products because they were good and usually less expensive than elsewhere and they delivered to my house. I made many sales of Amway goods by saying, "Hi! I'm with Amway and regardless of what you've heard about them, they actually have decent products. I won't try to get you to join Amway, I'm just selling some decent products." You wouldn't believe how much I would sell! I never went to the events and never bought their tapes. I left because I felt that a "Christian" organization should not be so hung up on pursuing the almighty dollar. I have lost friends to Amway, and that is really the sad part of all of this.

Anonymous said...

I "sell" avon, and I don't make any money at it. I'm my own best customer. But you know, the soap is nice.

Anonymous said...

You talk about your ex missing time at church activities for Amway...

Which, to me read like: "His participation in the Amway cult was keeping him from participating in his other cult."

News flash: they are practially the same thing. (But hey, at least Amway lets you put a little something in your pocket!)

Your writings demonstrate moderate intelligence, as well as the desire to pursue truth and to right wrongs.

So, why not take some critical interest in this other class of organizations? You know, the ones that:
- promise more than they deliver
- expect members to accept their fundamental beliefs on faith more than evidence
- vilify naysayers, detractors, and outsiders as "evil", "unenlightened", etc.
- expect certain types of behavioral and mental obedience from members who want to remain "in good standing"
- encourage you to spend money and time on "educational" or "affirmative" products and events
- often find their most successful members, evangelically, are those who get caught up in (and often go "overboard" with) the warm-fuzzy-feelgood-ness of it all

Depending on the church you attend, is it as bad as all that? Probably not. But the underlying dynamics (and many of the corresponding motivations) are suspiciously similar, and the benefits are questionable, if even existent.

Your stated purpose of "Examining hoaxes, scams, schemes, bizarre ideas, bogus products, disinformation, misinformation, impractical jokes, literary fraud, and anything else that smells bad." would seem to demand an investigation!

I'm not selling anything. But I have attended enough of both church and Amway meetings to last me the rest of my life, and my sincere, loving advice to you is to steer clear of both. More-so the churches, though.

Cough up that camel!

Anonymous said...

I used to be involved with Quixtar. In fact, I started when I was 18 and finally quit when I was 24. I never made any decent money at all. My biggest check was like, $150.

I then got into Internet Marketing and that's where I started to create my fortune.

I am 26 now and I've been retired from the "j.o.b" for almost 2 years. I am not involved with any company, I have created my own info products and of course, I am an affiliate to many awesome products and services that I market via Adwords, Ezines, etc.

If you want to make money from home, avoid getting involved with a "company". Become an affiliate and you will have your eggs in multiple baskets.

Concentrate on building your list (note I didn't say making a list), because ultimately in IM, the money is on the list.

Cheers!
Leo
www.7DaysMovie.com

IBOFightback - Fighting the Amway Myths said...

SME, one thing you're confusing is Amway/quixtar the companies and business opportunities with the millions who work with it. Those "millions" work in all sorts of different ways. Some organizations just focus on selling something. Others focus on building large networks. Some run seminars where they push religious and political agendas as well as "soap and hope". Other ban such talk in their seminars. One of the biggest strengths of MLM and Network Marketing is that pretty much anyone can get involved and succeed. One of the biggest weaknesses is that anyone can get involved! And sometimes even the idiots succeed and contribute to a poor reputation.

As it is, you might be interested to know the corp itself has decided to take a little more control in recent times, introducing "accreditation standards" for companies/organizations that work with A/Q IBOs and linking many of the discretionary bonuses to doing the right thing.

Oh .. and they've also decided to change the name back to Amway.

SME said...

To the anti-religion Anonymous: I said my ex missed out on spending time with ME because of church activities. Church and Amway came ahead of everything else.
As far as most organized religions go, I'm an equal-opportunity skeptic. But I'm also respectful of people's lifestyle choices, and believe that churches and other spiritual communities can play indispensable roles in society. For instance, 99% of the homeless shelters, relief orgs, and soup kitchens in my area are funded and staffed primarily by churches. Churches also offer social support to the elderly.
That said, I do examine "cults" and cult-like movements from time to time.

To Anon, and Maxillarypun - I hear a lot of stories like this, and I suspect that as long as Amway/Quixtar exists I'll be hearing more. I'm sorry you had to go through it! Of course, if Amway revised its tactics and started conducting business in a more non-pyramidish way, as the IBO suggests, it would cease to be a problem. I mean, devotion to a good product is not really harmful. Look at the Cult of Tupperware...

To Son of the Shy: Say, I really should do a post on salt lamps! I happen to have one, not because they DO anything but 'cause it looks purdy. And my rabbit likes to lick it.

Anonymous said...

I lost my best friend to Amway. He wanted me to join, but I kept stalling, asking questions. Not giving-up, he asked a regional rep visit us to talk us into it. And he stopped calling when we refused.

Mukesh, if you are reading this--well, you know now. And hope you are doing OK. Feel terribly sad losing you as a friend.

matthew said...

look at amway's connection to radical christian fundamentalists who are deeply involved in american politics.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/7/23/82357/4096

matthew said...

look at amway's connection to radical christian fundamentalists who are deeply involved in american politics.


Dogemperor'sDiary
.

SME said...

Yep, Amway is thick as thieves with Christian fundamentalists, and they target fundies for recruitment. It's sort of a pyramid-like business/quasi-religious set-up, not unlike the "prosperity gospel" of the '80s televangelists who are mostly out of the doghouse and/or jail now.

anti-theist said...

The biggest crime with MLMs - many will claim that their organisation is NOT an MLM, but those that refute the loudest are the biggest MLMs - is that they make it sound so easy. They convince people that a six figure income is just around the corner, with only a part time commitment. Truth is, if you pour the energy required to make a MLM work into a decent 'mom and pop' operation instead, you'd be much, much, much better of. Sure, an MLM can work, but the success comes with blood, sweat, and tears, not the joy and casual commitment that is paraded in support for the MLM.

SME said...

Precisely.

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Norine said...

The bottom line is almost all people who join quixtar lose money so the opportunity sucks.

quixtarisacult said...

Bravo! Your description of this MLM scam cult is right on target. My experience with these Quixtar-Vampires comes through my wife's daughter and her quixtarded son-in-law. Not only have they scammed my wife out of thousands of dollars in purchases of crap that are not worth drinking or eating, they have enlisted her into being nanny to their two Quixtar orphan children. My wife has devoted a year to this project, and has loaded up her car and moved to Southern California to do the bidding of this cult Quixtarded dysfunctional family. My wife is in her fifties and she has exhausted herself into bad health in the five months she has been enveloped into their household. Please come home honey! Your family needs an intervention and you need not to continue enabling them with your time and money!

SME said...

Quixtarded...excellent word!
This is a sad, sad story...and far too familiar. Families and friends are truly the ones who pay for single-minded involvment in Quixtar. I hope your loved ones will snap out of it sooner than later and come back to the real world, where they're needed and appreciated!

quixtarisacult said...

sme...
I hope you are right. I believe there is hope. She has been calling me with her tales of woe. She didn't sign back up. A Quixtar operator attempted to make her believe she couldn't quit because of some type of contractual mumbo jumbo and she'd have to quit in writing, that they no longer accept resignations on line. Hmmm? So much for Quixtar's computer age innovation.

Since the announcement of the name change back to Amway, resignations have poured into Quixtar's home office in Michigan; so much so, that they instituted a new rule that you could no longer resign via email.

My wife also claims that she has quit buying Quixtar products and she is so overworked and stressed out being cult house drudge, that she wants to get her dog and come home.

When you are dealing with a cult, you just can't really be sure someone is telling you the truth or not. I just am not sure she will actually have the nerve to quit them and come home. You just don't tell cult people that you are leaving without all hell breaking loose. Remember the People's Temple in Jonestown?

If you'd like to read my Quixtar Intervention blog go to http://quixtarisacultintervention.blogspot.com

SME said...

Well, I hope she means it and that she can disengage with minimal conflict. In the meantime, she should perhaps hide any Kool-Aid that's lying around the house...

Seriously, it's good to hear that people are backing away from Amway en mass. Finally, some good news about the Quixtar cult!

Anonymous said...

Amway sounds a lot like Melaleuca. They also are a "pyramid" type business and also sell motivational tapes.

SME said...

I suspect a lot of the MLMs out there use strategies similar to Amway/Quixtar's.

quixtarisacult said...

sme...

This comment is rather long, but it goes a long way in describing the Amway/Quixtar deceptions. It derives from a interview I had with "Tex" who has some interesting views on the tool scandal which he believes to be a bait and switch con of its own. It postulates questions that distributors and the Amway company need to face up to. quixtarisacult

***************************

Exactly how rational are IBOs? I have some issues I want everyone to examine whether they be an IBO or anyone interested in all things Amway. This comment also asks IBOs to test their rationality against the important issues raised herein.

I am always amazed that many discussions on this and other Amway blogs do not fully address the correct issue that is the #1 problem facing the company in the 21st century. No matter how many differing Amway issues I see, everything invariably comes "full circle" back to the TOOL SCAM. All conversations, and discourse dealing with Amway almost always revolve around what "Tex" calls the "Lying Cowardly Kingpins" or "LCK" for short.

Tex, a very different sort of new age IBO coined this term and has been vociferously expressing his views throughout the Quixtar/Amway blogosphere making him both a crusader and a pariah to many. I admire Tex's chutzpah to pierce the comfort zone of Quixtar Independent Business Owners, tool kingpins distributors and company executives alike which he makes it his mission to confronts on an ongoing basis. Tex stands out, he is an IBO of some renown as he spear-heads an effort to kick start the kind of change that Amway fails to make and many other IBOs have been hiding their heads in the sand about.

At this point, a few words about Tex might be helpful for readers who need an introduction. Tex retains an online presence and views himself as an advocate for a changes he believes Amway must make to keep the Quixtar/Amway business opportunity viable. He wants Amway to throw off the shackles of predatory kingpin distributors and the current system which he believes serves their interest at the expense of IBOs who are struggling to make the opportunity work for them. Tex has credentials as a well known critic of the tool scam and has been interviewed on the Q-Blog Podcast, has taken on the industry "insider", ibofightback, David Steadson, in a toe to toe debate over all issues Amway in which Steadson has booted Tex from his The Truth About Amway forum. Seems like Tex has a way of getting under the saddle of Amway blog administrators and has also been banned from the Quixtar Blog and also Joecool's The Dream or the Scheme Blog. Tex is anything but resourceful and his being banished from forums and discussions has not silenced him and his message. Amway recently invited Tex to Prague for a symposium on the blogosphere where he discussed his views on the tool scam and met with other people who's presence online got them an invite. I've had a chance to have a lengthy discussion with Tex and he is very personable and easy to speak with. His online writing style doesn't necessary do him justice as some people might find his style of debate abrasive. Could this judgment be more from disagreement with his views and say something about their own combative debating tactics? If getting oneself booted from blog and forum discussions were a virtue, Tex would indeed be named a saint.

People already involved in the Quixtar/Amway online discussion really need no introduction to Tex's ideas or the opposing viewpoints of the industry insider, ibofightback. Controversy seems to follow Tex as he journeys through cyberspace, but I view that as a good thing. Tex may not be a Ghandi over the tool scandal issue, but he is steadfast in his pursuit of change which Amway refuses to make, despite all the discord that the scandal has brought to Quixtar and continues to stir among IBO insiders and critics, whether inside or outside of the business. Tex is regarded with considerable scorn by the Tool Kingpins which he hammers at with his “Lying Cowardly Kingpins” description and if eyes could shoot daggers, he would probably be hit!

The kingpin distributors Tex describe sit on top of a monopoly business, the sale of motivational training materials and the “function” business and more commonly just called “tools”. These tools make up the "how to" information to become successful in the Amway business opportunity. (In my opinion, these tools do not substitute for a conventional business education because they lack a focus on commonly accepted business practices which the kingpin distributors obviously do not wish to promote.) That being said, I have been persuaded by Tex that if someone intends to get into the business (against my advice), at least some training tools are necessary, although Tex feels these tools should not come with the price tag of scandal and are at heart of the problem that makes the pursuit of this business so fraught with loss for so many. (I believe IBOs become caught up in a cult-like relationship to these tools and the upline mentoring which is absolutely insane!) The opportunity in its present incarnation is merely an IBOs opportunity to make the sellers of these tools their king's ransom in filthy lucre!

Tex says there is a “big lie” that proponents of the opportunity promoted as gospel truth which says says success in Quixtar comes from the sale of products and commissions paid by the company to its IBOs and this farce hides the fact that the pictured success stories displayed to prospects comes from tool profits and not from Quixtar/Amway. (Isn't this the focus of the 2004 Dateline expose on corruption in Quixtar?) These tools sales create a market for a product that doesn't have a retail consumer outside of the Amway distributor network, totally unrelated to the products offered by Amway (supposedly) for resale to retail customers. Tex described to me how these upline kingpins through lesser downline pins promote these materials to the entire downline organization.

The incredible cost of tools, the "Standing Order Tapes", seminars, and attendance at quarterly rallies create a "meat grinder" situation for new distributors who begin their experience in the business by making an incredible deficit of spending that produces loss from the start and spurs potential long-term distributors to leave the business showing zero profit what so ever. Many of these ex-IBOs put the boxes of books, tapes, CDs, magazines, and videos they've accumulated for sale on ebay hoping to receive pennies back on the dollar. I've noticed that many times these tapes, CDs and books receive no bids and remain relatively worthless. The kingpins have already made their pound of flesh by this time and their downline IBOs will bring in new recruits to keep tool sales going. This is the "DIRTY LITTLE SECRET" of their “LITTLE QUIXTAR CULT” and it relies on the P.T. Barnum's idea that “a new sucker is born every day.”

The constant flux of people joining, buying tools, and then quitting is what makes pin level success for dedicated IBOs so incredibly difficult to achieve. This matters not at all to the kingpin distributor of tools because these "replacement" recruits are the true target customers for their ware and become the "Simple Simon" the upline the kingpins so need to make their tool scam work! This is the sad truth of the tool scandal and what Tex believes every IBO must view as the number #1 problem they confront.

Tex paints a very realistic picture of how the system currently works. As in any occupation, a person must invest in tools of the trade; a carpenter must have a hammer, saw, ladders, and so forth, and the same thing applies with a sales job, but which are more educational than material in nature. Of course there will be the ever present easel, poster pad, and marker pens. This would apply whether a person was "selling" the Amway opportunity or selling a product line in another industry outside of MLM.

Tex says salesmen in the traditional business world are always being taught and encouraged to remain enthusiastic; their company may send them to training seminars and provide them with additional educational material as part of their employment. In Amway, the distributor pays out of pocket for all these things to include seminars and rallies to inspire enthusiasm. It is easy to see how distributors are forced into the mouth of the "tool sales money extraction machine" by upline mentors allowing the kingpins to sock piles of green back under their mattress. Is it any wonder that new distributors end up prematurely discouraged and eventually quit a system that basically takes advantage of them from the start and almost always guarantees they will lose money? Tex believes this should not have to be.

This is the current bad state of affairs that Tex described to me. My personal views of the business are no where near as optimistic as Tex, after all he is an IBO and I am not. I align myself with all the people who have been harmed and are being harmed by the business. My view is that not only the tool pyramid scheme exists, but also a product based one as well. My view is that both groups should be put out of business so the utter fleecing and pernicious harm done might finally be brought to an end. That being said, Tex holds his view of things which might make sense if one is currently an IBO and has already sacrificed so very much to the business, not wanting to see the "baby" thrown out with the bad "bath water". The baby here being the "company" and the bath water being the "tool kingpins".

Tex advocates drastic changes be made; these changes he believes will put some potential profit back into the business and stop many of the new distributors from being run through the tool kingpin's money making machine and subsequently being forced out of the business by lack of profit and unfulfilled expectations. Tex further describes long term IBOs as being much like a carpenter who has been in his trade for a long time. They are no longer as profitable to the kingpin sellers of tools because they are already saturated with tools and require much less in regards to these materials. The idea being that a carpenter does not need to constantly buy tools that he already has on hand; he has the saw horses, the ladder jacks and the like that, and once bought need not be bought again so the local hardware store see less of him.

Tex's point is this: the kingpins perpetuate a system that quickly renders the opportunity unprofitable and keeps it that way. The new distributors are encouraged that they must buy the tools and then they very quickly find themselves in a catch 22 situation. Many new IBOs buy tools for a while, drop out and do not renew their business; they make their IBO recruiter anguish over the situation because he or she is trying to run up an escalator that is always going down, and must constantly keep replacing those IBOs that leave with a fresh enthusiastic face. Tex's view is that this works out perfectly for the kingpin sellers to the detriment of everyone else in the business. Each enthusiastic distributor showing the plan has an upline pin with a hidden agenda encouraging him/her onward. These upline platinum, emerald, or diamond pins have their own interests foremost in mind as their bread is buttered by selling tools, and encourage their downline IBOs to keep recruiting the many new IBOs the tool business requires. New IBOs are in the kingpin's cross hairs and become canon fodder for these sellers of deceit who Tex says really operate a "bait and switch" con job. I most emphatically agree with this observation!

I believe that Tex's view of the current state of affairs within the Amway business opportunity is correct. This flies in the face of all the deceit that online pundit ibofightback David Steadson constantly pushes to keep IBOs operating in their current state of self deception. The current tool kingpin is a vulture feeding on the flesh of all the IBOs and revelations of this scandal SCREAMS OUT FOR CHANGE! People falling for the deception move forward in cult-like lockstep with their upline fellows forming "the business cult" to their own undoing.

For IBOs in the business steadfastly devoted to making the opportunity somehow work, wholesale changes to the tool system would be of incredible help! It would keep more people in it for the potential long term benefits and provide an improved chance for short term profitability. This should make good sense to any IBO. Tex believes that resolving the tool scam and vanquishing the tool kingpins would resolve many if not all of the problems with Amway. He believes the tide would stop going out and start coming in again and this would raise all IBO ships.

Tex's arguments are based on those of the company founder Rich Devos. Founder Devos expressed his views passionately in his Directly Speaking tapes. Tex points to these views as the correct answer to the problems confronting the entire company today now in the 21st century. A testimony to the wisdom of the top dog of his time. Are you listening Alticor?

Tex's believes tools should be free, and if not free, should be sold at or very near cost. Just as Rich Devos said on the Directly Speaking II tapes, these training materials should not approach the millions of dollars in profit they currently do and their sales should not amount to the the current high percentage of expenditures IBOs make on them. (My personal opinion is that we live in the computer age and distribution of information has become incredibly cost effective with the advent of e-books, video, mp3, and video conferencing.) Rich Devos heard the horror stories back in his day as he admits, and are not the same horror stories being heard in Ada, Michigan today by the Alticor executives? Shouldn't the current Amway Pharaoh be bold enough to finally put an end to the tool problem the company's founder viewed as the top threat to his beloved business?

Okay, what can be done in the meantime you might ask? If you are an IBO you can CHANGE YOUR WORLD and the future of your business because you have a voice! THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION NEEDS A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS IN ORDER TO OPEN UP A FRESH INVESTIGATION OF THE AMWAY TOOL SCANDAL AS IT CURRENTLY EXISTS. Just as Rich Devos said, the "tools have no end customer" outside of the business and the money spent by the IBO faithful amounts to a MONEY EXTRACTION scheme. Anyone holding to Rich Devos's view of the situation therefore share Tex's view. Although controversial, the kingpin's tool scam must be brought to an end, otherwise the IBO accept a situation and a system that is not the opportunity that it purports itself to be. The enemy of the IBO is really the same catbird who sits on the tool scam perch with a vulture's eye for prey!

What do I believe should be done? First, if the tool scam cannot be dismantled and shut down, the company should be put out of business in the US along with the likes of Goldquest, Jewelway, and Burn Lounge. I would suggest that other countries of the world re-examine their relationship with the American Scam. Secondly, the tool scam should be shut down if Amway hopes to remove itself from scandal. A new modern age system could then be instituted that would give the IBO a better chance to succeed at building the business.

This is a fresh approach to the tool kingpin greed that does way more to stifle growth than promote IBO success. The riches that the top tool kingpins display as way of palatial estates, luxury automobiles, and the like are at the pinnacle of the deceit that drives people to get involved, see through the hoax and get out. There needs to be ideological changes made that bring the opportunity as it is presented to prospects back to reality. All the back room dream selling (fostered by the tool scam) can end. Amway needs to engineer a new compensation system that provides a reasonable reward for reasonable work and achievement. People holding their own greedy dreams of being the next wealthy tool kingpin will be gone. This insane idea sadly motivates people who want to be like the people they view as successful in the business and one which is taught over and over again. The entire motivation industry has been built on the idea of being with successful people and emulating their life to become as they are. Sadly, with the present system, all these aspiring people want to be like the—as Tex describes them—“lying, cowardly, kingpins!”

Readers of this comment should not view it as a softening of my personal views about Quixtar/Amway. Tex is calling for the vanquishing of the tool kingpin system of deceit and fraud, which I just happen to agree with. The ball is now in the company's hands and they must come to grip with the tool scam, stop obfuscating and do something about it if they want to clean their business up. If they will not do something, then a call must be sent out to a higher power to step in and take action. The tax payers and citizens of this country need to see some action out of their regulatory agencies and court system! In this election year, the candidates should be prodded to make their positions on this corruption made know. Current and future IBOs should be shielded from being prey to these vultures. Real people are harmed and victimized by their little Quixtar cult.

IBO, you can do your part: complain about the tool kingpins who are ruining your business and put your signature on a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. Take the next step necessary!!! Write your senator and congressman as well. Add your one little drop to the bucket of water the FTC deems necessary to open up an investigation into the tool scam that has the potential to CHANGE YOUR WORLD FOR THE BETTER. As the UK decision has revealed, the company will only enact changes when pressure is applied by a power greater than themselves. A sort of scared straight program for MLM executives. Amway/Alticor is already overburdened with litigation, and your voice could be the straw that breaks their camel down, cause them throw up their hands, turn over all the money changers tables and run the lying cowardly kingpins out of the Amway temple! Should they fail to put corruption out of their company, then the baby should be thrown out with the bad bathwater as well!

In conclusion, what should IBOs make of Orrin Woodward's recent admissions that he made five times more money selling tools than he did in compensation from Quixtar? Have you ever wondered why these kingpins can move between companies and continue to prosper? Aren't tools really the fleecing of the American Way? These tools that kingpins sell for high dollar in Amway but are worthless on ebay! Think about it?

tex said...

The tool scam apologists should be chastised as well. People like ibofb (http://www.amwaytalk.com) and Bitchett (http://www.bridgettbridgett.blogspot.com)

Click on my name for the tool scam facts.

SME said...

I absolutely agree that tools are what bring in the most (and the quickest) money to uplines. Some gems have even admitted this. Keep up the good work, Tex and QIAC, to expose a scam that leaves hundreds of destitute IBOs with boxes of worthless motivational CDs and paperbacks on their hands. It was the tool scam that first made me notice the fundamentally flawed nature of Quixway's pyramidish structure, "sales" tactics, etc., and I still believe it is the tool scam that gives Quixway its sinister cult-like atmosphere.

TK said...

I read this book on Amway (free ebook)

http://merchantsofdeception.com/DOWNLOADBOOK.html

Creepy, creepy cult.

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