Why I Hate Multi-Level Marketing

Kimberly's picture

I am Kimberly Steele and I hate multi-level marketing.

Maybe I wasn't direct enough. I F**KING HATE MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING.

What is multi-level marketing? You know when a friend invites you to a "party" that isn't really a party but an "opportunity" to buy things like candles, makeup, Tupperware, essential oils, sex toys, Chinese sweatshop-made Victorian ephemera, jewelry, small kitchen appliances, or anything you don't actually need? That's multi-level marketing.

How To Become A Multi-Level Marketer in Three Easy Steps

If you'd like to become a multi-level marketer so you can experience being an annoying douchelord for yourself, take these three, easy steps:

1. Go to the multi-level marketing party of an annoying pseudo-friend OR if you have no annoying pseudo-friends, simply go online and inquire about one of these:

Amway
Avon
Carleton Sheets Real Estate Investing
Herbalife
Kindermusik
Juice Plus
Mary Kay
NuSkin
The Pampered Chef
Proactiv
Pure Romance
Silpada Jewelry
Sunrider International
Tupperware
Young Living Essential Oils

2. Buy i.e. "invest" into the scheme to the tune of anywhere from $400 to $20,000, not including monthly fees. Receive a bunch of useless crap or even more useless information about starting your own faux business.

3. Follow company directives to re-sell all the crap you bought via annoying parties, where the point is to recruit as many new zombies into the salesforce as possible.

A Recipe for Failure

Multi-level marketing is largely pointless. Thanks to the miracles of modern shipping and commerce, most to all of the items available via multi-level marketing schemes are available at your local store or if worst comes to worst, a few mouse clicks away. Despite the easy availability of said products, the sales pitch invariably highlights the unique features of whatever bullshit is being sold. Also, there is a markup, usually a hefty one.

That's okay though, because multi-level marketing doesn't exist to make anyone rich except the CEO at the very top. Like most corporations in America, multi-level marketing is designed to fleece its employees and keep them at the subsistence level while a few at the nose-bleed summit live the high life.

How Multi-Level Marketing Destroys Communities!

Multi-level marketers are annoying. No matter how natural of a saleswoman she is, even if she is your friend, as soon as someone tries to sell you overpriced crap, she is no longer your friend. You are simply a number following a dollar sign. I once had a new neighbor who I might have liked to know as a friend, but sadly my first meeting with her was when she was selling me makeup. The makeup lasted longer than any form of communication between us.

In this way, multi-level marketing soils relationships and sours what could have turned into actual friendships. The American imperative to make money at any cost comes at the high price of normal human relationships. Everyone needs to make a living, I get that, however, multi-level marketing is not a good way of making a living despite the success stories used to bait potential salespeople.

Rich Douchecanoes and the Return of the 10,000 Dollar Umbrella Stand

Multi-level marketing exists to make one or two people at the top very, very rich. It's a classic pyramid scheme. At the top of the pyramid, you have the douchecanoe who came up with the original scheme; a foppish, flamboyantly rich parasite who drives a car that costs more than your annual salary and who populates his grand foyer with at least one $10,000 umbrella stand. He or she is worshipped in an abject, Kim Jong Il-like manner, his name dropped proudly by the most fervent, fanatical sellers of whatever junk made him rich.

After our CEO comes the ten to twenty people who have recruited the most cult members for the multi-level marketing scheme, the top Saleszombies. Top Saleszombies are rewarded with plenty of material crap for being the most annoying person at their day job... that's right, top sellers usually have day jobs and/or spouses who take care of their every material need. They are not typically making enough on their own to support a family because the costs of the products they constantly buy is quite high. If they are making a decent living, don't thank them, thank all the friends and family they badgered into becoming multi-level marketing zombies like themselves or who bought their overpriced crap out of pity.

The bottom level are people like you, plebes who buy into the get-rich-quick scheme thinking they can make a living if only they sell enough Avon/Pampered Chef/Tupperware/books and DVDs on real estate investment/etc. You are the backbone of the operation and the meat upon which the CEO and Top Saleszombies sup. Without you, there would be no pink Cadillacs for top earners, nor would there be any $10,000 umbrella stands, nor a following for the medical "advice" of miserable, possibly infanticidal New Age quacks.

Without you, there would be no way to spread the disease. Multi-level marketing perverts the American instinct for working hard to make a good living by forcing good people to betray their friendships and to extort their families and friends for money as the main form of "work". That's why it sucks. Nobody should have to pay to work. Your first clue that a job opportunity or a "party" is bogus is the idea that you have to buy in. If you have to pay to work, you are not working, you are enslaved. If you need to buy someone's friendship, that person is not your friend.

The Part Where I Come Up With Better Ideas

What pisses me off the most about multi-level marketing is that it is essentially LAZY. Even if you have to bust your ass cold-calling your friends and relatives hustling to sell product, buying products and re-selling them in a proscribed manner requires almost no creativity or effort beyond icky slimeball chutzpah. This is the age of the freaking internet and if you cannot think of a better way of selling stuff to people than multi-level marketing, then shame on you.

I'm creative as hell -- I'm so creative, creativity oozes out of my pants and I have to wear Creativity Depends. So of course I have all sorts of stuff for sale online, and it makes me a reasonable income of anywhere from $100 - $700 any given month. I sell:

Vampire horror novels
Two erotic romances and a Twilight parody
Original music CDs
Sheet music
An illustrated guitar method
Music theory-themed T-shirts

Since all of my products are online, they sell when I am either asleep, doing recreational activities (like writing this essay) or working at the job I invented for myself from scratch. That's how you do lazy in an ethical, un-slimy way.

But Kimberly, you plead: I don't create intellectual property like you do. I'm not a writer.

Are you kidding? There are plenty of non-annoying business ideas I would love to get off the ground if I wasn't so busy at my self-invented business or creating intellectual property beyond my books, CDs, and sheet music arrangements.

For instance, I could buy cool vintage clothes at GoodWill, resale shops, and garage sales, and sell them on Etsy. Instead of buying into a multi-level marketing candle catalog, I could figure out how to make candles (using vegan soy wax of course) and find a local shop that could sell them for me. Are you crafty? How about making cat or dog toy effigies of hated celebrities, like Donald Trump, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Justin Bieber? Seriously, steal my hated-celebrity cat toy idea, GO FOR IT. I'll even buy one for my cat from your shop. How about scanning old 19th century book illustrations, putting them on T-shirts and posters, and selling them at summer fairs? I can think of a million other business ideas that don't involve one iota of personal creative talent -- just hard work and diligence in customer service. But if you think it's better to buy into a pyramid scheme, by all means, make some rich guy richer. There's a $10,000 umbrella stand sale depending on you.