Found this on the old JREF forum looking for something (now International Skeptics Forum). Interesting - but what you would expect when dealing with MLMers.
Trust me, it's the same thing in the US - and everywhere else.I've got a wonderful girl in my class. She's from Ethiopia I think, she saw her entire family slaughtered, and became a fantastic, strong, inspirational person despite hardship. She's just the definition of a Good Person. A few days ago, she contacted me on Facebook; "You seem like a cool guy, so I have a proposal for you". To cut things short, she gave me this line about how 98% of the world's population either works or have free time, and she worked with some people that could give me the opportunity to do both, to join the 2%.
I know, I should have seen the warning lights right there, but all this was tucked into a nice little package about helping people. I agree to meet with her associates, and right after school the next day, we're off.
Nice vest, clean style, white shirt. Laptop under one arm and a firm handshake. He's confident as a cat, but then again, so am I. The other one, woman in her thirties, is keeping her distance. Obvious upline, I realize after the whole thing is done, but not now. Right now, they seem like respectable people. We meet in the dank cafe of a hotel, standard stuff, I realize afterwards. My classmate has been telling me about all the good stuff her associates can do; build schools in Africa and all sorts of beautiful stuff, and that's my style of business, so I'm inspired. I'm not quite sure if I'm allowed to swear, but in words inspired by Chris Kluwe: I had no idea what a SLIDE WHISTLE TO E FLAT this whole thing actually was (Google that phrase, you'll be happier for it).
I have a strategy that has served me well since I got out of high school. When I show my weak points, I know exactly where they'll strike. I was suspicious at this point, a vague nagging at the back of my head, so I employed that strategy. I got bullied during all of primary school, I'm bisexual, I have an optimism about humanity and a desire to help my fellow humans that borders on childishly naive. That nagging feeling told me that was exactly what they wanted to hear, so I gave them exactly what they wanted to hear, and the worst part is that it was the damn truth. Oh, they were giddy. The two of them were basically jumping in their chairs. When I told them I was outgoing, had an easy time communicating with people and loved meeting new kinds of people, I thought their heads would explode. I was the perfect candidate. During the first half of the meeting, they said nothing about what they actually did, but there was some weird stuff about how Apple marketed their products and all this jazz. For some reason, I was still mostly clueless.
If the next part is what Nu Skin reps learn during their infinite trips to conferences and seminars, then I'm pretty sure they need to check their methods. The whole thing went from "How good of a person are you?" to "How much money do you want to earn?" in the blink of a single, dumb video. It's hard for me to describe just how jarring the change was. One moment I still held some hope this was some kind of really interesting charity, the next I see Bad Science and Names Names Marketing Names scroll across the laptop screen. Joe Chang, "The Aging Myth", the sinking feeling that comes with realization. I've been duped, good sir! I say, I've been tricked!
Marketing marketing and marketing. I start to notice where he places his hands, how the upline interrupts him at moments that might just be timed perfectly. Line after line sounds more and more rehearsed, and I'm grateful that I'm such a good actor. I've noted down names from the short film, and when they ask me if I want to commit, after I've barely gotten to know the name of the damn company, I tell them I need to do some research. What kind of research? Well, I am a skeptic, and this is pretty incredible. How will you do your research? Oh, you know, Google, I'll check my sources and such. Perhaps my insistence on proper research planted some seeds of doubt in their hearts; perhaps they think I'm not the perfect candidate.
Nah, I'm their SAD PUPPY DOG EYES perfect candidate (Google it).
Got home, jumped into bed, got my laptop scratched my head. Wikipedia first; Ageloc. I'm routed to Nu Skin's site, and those three letters pop out like a zit on a teen: MLM. I'd guessed it by now, but it was still disappointing to see it spelled out.
When I research, I do it to the best of my abilities. Income Disclosure Statements, relevant episodes of Skeptoid and Penn & Teller, and a close look at their sources as well. Google past the pages upon pages of shills (and good god, there are many of them), MLM Truth has some very interesting facts specifically about Nu Skin, and "The Case (For And) Against Multi-Level Marketing" By John M. Taylor is a book I just have to get through. I learn a lot, but I know how these people work. A Lot is not enough. I read and read and read and I'm getting angry now. I knew that the MLM shills were pitiful cult members and the people on top were the worst of the worst, but that wasn't the thing that got me.
My friend is a good person, a genuinely good person. She's won prizes for being a good person; she's so good she was in the papers. That's how they got her. Nu Skin has a program called Force of Good, standard "X amount of product line X goes to X". It's hard to find any independent information about the program. It's advertising, plain and simple. The fact that children are fed because of it does not excuse the way the Nu Skin MLM system treats the sales reps. Those children deserve better than a corrupt pyramid scheme as their benefactor. Nu Skin looks for people who are intrigued by Force of Good; they look for good people.
I don't have any words to describe how disgusted I am by that thought. These people seek out the sort of people who would give of their own fortune and well-being to help the unfortunate. The entire first half of the meeting was about that. "If you won the lottery, what would you do?", "Are you the kind of person who would accept a lower-paying job if it meant you could help people?Ē They exploit and destroy good people; they are pure-red scum. Trash and filth. Can I blame that man? Or his upliner? I don't know, maybe they are just as clueless as they were when they entered; maybe it's unfair to be angry at them. Or maybe they know exactly what's going on.
This is what these people are, and if you're ever approached by them, remember what I've told you. And do your research on multi-level marketing.
That was a lot of words about terrible people, now letís talk about good people; you guys. I still have some issues I'm not sure about. Like I said, I'm meeting them this Monday and my primary goal for that meeting is to get my friend to realize what a mess this whole thing is. I want her out.
This is in Norway, so I can't be sure that it's the same thing as in the US, but it should be close enough.