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Pyramid Schemes: still alive!?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott L, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    So I get a call from a guy I met about 2 months ago.. at that time he said he was starting up a business and could maybe use my services in the future (I told him I was in college for website design). Anyway he finally calls me today and talks all this jargon, just rambling on with no real point it seemed, all from some sort of script. What really did it was when he asked, "Would you like to make a lot of money?" [​IMG]

    He wanted to setup an appt. right then and there but I said I'd have to look at my schedule and implied he should call back later. He got more aggressive and tried to get my home address so he could come over and talk to me about it all. I cut it off, saying I was real busy this week and he should call me this weekend.

    So I guess pyramid schemes are still alive and well despite all the bad press they've received. My question is should I just not answer when I see his # on the caller ID or have something smart-alecky to say? [​IMG]
     
  2. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    Similar thing happened to me the other day ... I had a car for sale in the paper & a guy contacted me. He looked at the car, but it was wierd, he seemed to want to get it over with quickly. Later that day, he called me back to set up a meeting ... not interested in the car, but had something important for me.

    Turned out to be a recruiting pitch for Quixtar.com ... if you don't know, this is the re-birth of Amway in the USA. They are being very aggressive in recruiting new "Independant Business Owners" ... or "IBO's" as they call it. My guess is that your call was also a quixtar-related pitch.
     
  3. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    They are alive and well, most of them go under the "Multi Level Marketing" moniker now though. There are a few valid MLM organizations where the sale and not the recruiting is the most important thing, but many of them seem to be little more than pyramid schemes where the sale of the product is insignificant compared to the recruiting.

    Just say "I am not interested, thank you." and hang up, at least if it's not a friend you're dealing with. Saves time for both of you.
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yeah, it is important to note that legal MLMs like Amway, in which actual products are sold, are not "pyramid schemes" in which the only money that comes in or is paid out is what comes from the sucker-"investors" at the bottom of the pile. People actually do make money with things like Amway (or whatever they're calling themselves these days), some of them lots of money - but doing so requires an enormous commitment and huge amount of work. (As making large amounts of money generaly does. [​IMG]) Actual pyramid schemes (the classic "Ponzi game" named after con man Charles Ponzi in the early part of the last century is the best-known of the breed) are illegal, MLMs aren't. But that doesn't mean that they're for most people and having listened to these such pitches twice I now politely decline any invitation that even smacks of such things. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    "MLMs" aren't for most people who want to do something constructive with their money. Believe me, as one who wrote marketing material for two of the biggest such "legal" scammers, I have been instructed that the whole idea is to part hardluck cases from their money with enticements of "unlimited wealth" and "taking charge of your own destiny."

    Buyer beware.

    Want to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. Want to make some money? Work a steady job and control your spending.

    Fewer than three percent of the people who get involved in these schemes even make a livable income. But the people at the corporate offices (i.e., the executives) are doing quite nicely.
     
  6. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Sounds like you just got pitched for Amway/Quixtar. While it is a legal MLM, as opposed to an illegal pyramid, it's still a risky venture.

    Joseph nailed it.


    You said it Jack.
     
  7. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    Jack,

    A number of times in the past few years, you've alluded to your experiences with the MLM company you worked for.

    I think it would be entertaining to hear any specific stories you might have.
     
  8. Joe Spratley

    Joe Spratley Stunt Coordinator

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    I would cut this off the next time he calls otherwise you will get hounded. I got sucked into a few of these meetings. On one occassion I had to go to two meetings before they finally let on that it was Amway. Recently they have been hanging out at the local Borders bookstore. I can see them coming. I will be browsing books and some guy will come up to me and stand real close which is strange to begin with then start looking at books similar to what I'm looking at. You can tell he has no interest in the book. Then I know what is coming next he will say "You look very familiar do you work at XYZ company". They will then start asking you a lot of questions about what you do then they will say they own a business and their looking to get people involved. Since I know the pitch I cut them off early and tell them I'm not interested in Amway and that I already own a business which keeps me busy enough. Once they know that I know what they are up to I politely wish them luck and they move on to the next victim. It really is annoying though when you are trying to read a book and someone comes up to you and bothers you like this.
     
  9. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Heh. Well said, Jack. Amazing how many short cuts people want. And excuse me as I go buy some lottery tickets...[​IMG]
     
  10. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Hey! That was MY lottery ticket! [​IMG]
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Tony, I have a bundle of stories about the real-world inner workings at the corporate level with two of these outfits for whom I am semi-ashamed to admit I was an employee. The pay was great, but the net effect left me feeling like a whore.

    The first such company I worked for trades on Far East mysticism while hawking herbal "whole foods" and health remedies (hint: It's based in Torrance, CA). The second such company hardly needs any introduction. Just note its most notorious pitch/slogan: "Lose Weight Now/Ask Me How."
     
  12. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Screenwriter

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    You probably got fired for that crappy attitude, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU??? [​IMG]

    Even legal Amway/Quixtar seems a shady business to me. Maybe it's just because I think Rich DeVoss is an a$$.[​IMG]
     
  13. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    How Jack? How?

    [​IMG]

    My brief story...

    I got recruited into Quixtar. Actually, I went so far as to get my IBO number!

    However, like any business-venture I would get involved in, I went seeking real information. Costs vs. benefits, real income of my "upline" and so forth. But my warning flags went up when I realized that all the hype focused on appealing to the emotional state of the recruit, and provided no actual hard evidence.

    Also surfed the 'net for both positive and negative experiences with "Quixtar", which is where I found out that "Quixtar" is Amway rebranding itself. When I asked my upline about this, I was told that Quixtar is NOT Amway. It's just owned by the same people. [​IMG]

    Had several meetings with my recruiter. Went to several business "motivational" meetings. Even went to a couple of the big local weekend events where they brought in some "Emerald" to speak to the assembled cultists members.

    I was very jazzed, but a little scared of the cult-like atmosphere that brought about a fantastic emotional response, but didn't provide any hard facts other than "work the system" and "buy the tapes".

    My wife wasn't too impressed at how, with all the couples present, the women seemed to be secondary. There also seemed to be a predominant leaning towards Christianity. (My wife and I aren't.) Relegion and business shouldn't mix like that, to my mind.

    When I asked my upline pointed questions, I got evasive answers. Tried asking people things like "what did you net last year" and couldn't get a straight answer. DANGER WIL ROBINSON! DANGER!

    Whenever I asked pointed questions, I got evasive responses. Some of them were that I should trust my upline/team! They are here for you! Other "answers" were to put my faith in the system, and don't I want more time for my family? [​IMG]

    I even went so far as to study consumer reports about the old Amway home-care products. In most cases, they were equal (or even inferior) to common store-brands. Meh.

    I genuinely liked the fellow that recruited me, and considered he and his wife to be friends. (Interesting how fast they disappeared once we were no longer showing interest.)

    Needless to say, I let my IBO number lapse and had no further dealings with Quixtar. Thank goodness. Guess I just don't have what it takes. (Nor would I want to. Not if it costs me my free time and my friends and family.)

    I genuinely hope that my former friends have success in their venture with Quixtar, as they are good people. But I fear they will be among the many who eventually realize that they've invested far more than they've gotten back. Or that they've pretty much joined a consumer-based cult.
     
  14. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    This happened to me about 6 months ago when the new Borders opened in the local mall complex. I went in to check it out and was looking through some computer books and this guy comes up to me and does the exact same thing that you described Joe.

    As we were chatting (I was not aware at this point that is was Amway/Quixtar) but did get the hint of Amway as the conversation continued because he kept dropping those key words and phrases about how "its fun" "There is no selling involved" "You only have to work 5 hours a week". I was hit up about 10 years ago for the orignal Amway and everything sounded the same. He even got another lady involved in our conversation. I did the mistake of giving him my info. He said he would call me in a few days.

    I was able to verify that it was amway/quixtar the next day with the help of fellow HTF members and the internet. The guy called me the next night. I politely said no thank you and have not heard from him since.

    I wonder if Borders knows that they are a breeding ground for Quixtar?

    Paul
     
  15. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    well, would you? if so, PM me for a groundbreaking business opportunity! [​IMG]

    CJ
     
  16. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    That and they were selling the same soap. [​IMG]
     
  17. Joe Spratley

    Joe Spratley Stunt Coordinator

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    I think if the management of Borders knew they would probably tell them to stop or leave the store. It is definitely damaging to their business because it got so bad at one point that almost every time I was in there I was approached and found myself not wanting to go there because I didn't want to deal with them.
    It is amazing how many upscale professional people are at these meetings doctors, lawyers, engineers. You would think that Amway would draw low intelligence low income people who are easily persuaded by these pie in the sky dreams. I bet the Miss Cleo phone psychic thing is the same way. Everyone laughs and thinks what kind of idiot would call and pay $4.00 a minute for this crap, yet I bet a lot of people who call are people you would never suspect.
    I agree the meetings do feel like a cult type atmosphere. Amway and quixtar aren't really selling products they're in the business of selling dreams. I read in a disclosure that the turnover rate is over 90%. I am sure a small number of people do make money but I am sure the price is quite high given that friends and family probably avoid them like the plague and dealing with the constant rejection has to take a toll.
     
  18. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Whenever I hear someone vaguely referring to "their business" my impulse is to run for the hills. That and when they start on the series of leading questions that are somehow supposed to make me see the light.
     
  19. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    My father-in-law loves these "Get rich quick" deals. It's eiter Amway or the Pre-Paid legal services. We are always afraid to ask him what he's up to. We're just waiting for him to do his new speel. Ohhh well...

    By the way I have a great way for you to earn a great living... [​IMG]
     
  20. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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