A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies

reader comments: Amway

15 Oct 96
Something that I think all prospective Amway distributors, and Amway distributors who are making little money, should consider: "Is this a business or a hobby". I know a lot of Amway distributors who are not making a lot of money, but that is not Amway's fault. I also know a lot of Amway distributors who are making a lot of money. The difference is not Amway, Amway is the same for both, it is the individuals perspective. I know of people who have been in only 9 months and have already reached the level of Direct, and yes they were putting in a lot of time, but also a lot less than their 50hr a week job. The distributors that I know who are not making a lot of money are only working the business a couple of hours a week, and that is not consistent. Ask yourself the question, what other business out there, allows a person to get started for a few hundred dollars and gives them the potential to make thousands.

In my job, I go to training seminars which cost several hundred dollars for a single day to close to a thousand for a 2-3 day seminar. In the real estate industry, they are constantly having training seminars, and there are tape programs which cost hundreds of dollars to help people become effective at their business. In the Amway business, each support organization has seminars and tapes to help educate and motivate. If you are serious about this business, then that would be a normal business expense, considerably cheaper than most other business activities. So instead of whining about Amway this and Amway that, why don't people look in the mirror and honestly evaluate their effort. Did they really TRY, and I do not mean, just think about it. But did they really go out and talk to people, counsel with their active upline, and did they do it for a consistent period of time.

I know a gentlemen who put 60,000 miles on his car in one year, showing the marketing plan, helping people sponsor, and today he is an Emerald in the business, making over $100,000/year. What if he whined while he was driving about the expense in gas and wear and tear on his automobile? But instead, he did it and today, after 3 years in the business, both he and his wife are retired and can spend their time as they choose, with their children and together. Yes, I would agree, if you calculated the amount of money that individual made that year for the time he put in, it would be very little on an hourly basis. But what most people do not understand, is that he has developed a residual income, one that will come in for the rest of his live and will keep growing. See, Amway gives you a vehicle to accomplish your goals and dreams. If you choose to drive it, it can get you to where you want to go, a lot faster than a JOB (Just Over Broke), with security that can last a lifetime and that can be passed onto your children.

The Amway opportunity gives people hope, something that few JOBs today can offer. I would challenge anyone to add up their expenses involved with building an Amway business and the rewards as compared to some other type of business or franchise. They would then take the Amway seriously for the business it is and not a hobby.

Stephen B.

5 Oct 1996
Wow what a great web page on Amway. I'm going to a meeting tonight with some "friends" of my wife, and you have given me some great questions to ask them. One of them which you don't address is on the initial contact. WHY doesn't the distributor just come out and say "Hi I'm with Amway. Want to know more?" Instead of misleading you into thinking it's something else. Are they ashamed of their company?

Another is, every time they talk about Amway, they always bring up "Amway is a multi-billion dollar company" I say SO WHAT!!! What does that mean to me? Pepsi is a multi-billion company but do I really think of that when I buy a 6-pack of soda?? No I don't think so. I could not care less.

Also Amway is a middle man!!! Do they manufacture their own products NO NO NO. All they are is mail order Sam's Club or Costco; nothing more. I also want to know what their attrition rate is, but nobody will tell me. Also, if their products are REALLY cheaper why don't they produce a product comparison guide based on COST PER USE and prove it? One more thing. In their compensation plan they say I have to buy 200 bucks of stuff for a 3% commission. Well, shipping is 4%. Right from the start the new enrollee is loosing money!!!! Where is the great savings in this????? You also have to buy in bulk. Sorry, but no thanks. I have a family of 4 and 1 bottle of log cabin syrup will last for about a month. I really don't need 12 bottles of a generic brand sitting and getting stale. These are questions that to date nobody in Amway will answer and I want to know why?

Feel free to post this in your web page along with my e-mail address maybe somebody out there can give me the answers that I seek.
Don & Windy

4 Sep 1996
"If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you?"

I committed to my Amway distributorship less than 2 months ago. It is now slightly after 12:00am which means I've mulled over about 2 hours worth of comments on your page. I'd like to say that I can offer an unbiased opinion-- but I can't.

You see I was a skeptic to. Moreover, I was anti-Amway. My brother tried for two weeks to sponsor me, but I refused to listen. I had heard horrible things from people who "had been in the business". The majority cant be wrong... right? (Look up the crucifixion of Jesus... who was right you tell me.) I'm 21, and working for a fortune 500 company-- you might have heard of it COMPAQ. I make more money at a JOB than any of my friends, and as much as any working class suburban....by the way I don't have a college degree.

I encourage you to investigate just as I did. I, with open ears, listened to YOUNGER, JOBLESS, HIGH-SCHOOL DROP OUT brother, then I did my own research. I came to the tough realization that a JOB stands for Just Over Broke. I considered my boss who had been in the computer industry for 17 years and is making only $10-15k more than I. He drives an old car, and splits his income with his wife and two children. He is 45 and is still looking to the second rung on the corporate ladder (or should I say win-lose pyramid.....the person at the top wins and you lose). You lose because your not making what your worth. If you were, you wouldn't be able to count your income on one hand. The reason you don't is because you will never be allowed to make more than the person above you.

With Amway you have an opportunity to excel above the rest. Its an opportunity to surpass mediocrity. Everyone starts at ground zero and is paid according to his or her own efforts... not "less than the person above you". In short it contradicts the business norm. After all, Amway's a company that actually gives money back on purchases... Big Sam never did that (no he pocketed it).

I learned along time ago that swimming upstream is always the toughest, but most rewarding. I touched the keyboard of my first computer when I was 7 years old. Do you realize how long it takes to buy a $150 VIC-20 earning $2.00 a week on allowance... especially with a Toys-R-Us right around the corner. My mom thought it was a waste of money.... Friends I grew up with made fun of me at the time (even those that are my closest friends today). No one could understand why I spent so much time "playing with the computer" when I could be outside playing football.... my favorite sport. 14 years later it paid off and they don't make fun of me anymore.

I am a devout member of the Church Of Christ. Its not a popular church-- we don't smoke, drink, use instruments in our worship, don't believe in pre-marital sex, and a lot of other "don'ts" that society finds acceptable. It's swimming upstream, but I have faith that it will pay off. On a related subject I noticed that Amway is being criticized for hypocrisy. While it true that Christ never said "amass as much wealth as possible", he did say "seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you". Money is not the root of all evil as some would believe. The bible actually say that "the LOVE of money is the root of all evil". That would be when the thief who decides that the $20 and some-odd change is in a cashiers drawer is worth more than the human life behind the counter of a local Stop-N-Go. Amway promotes Christianity, then family, then business. If the ultimate goal were to obtain riches then it wouldn't be worth it. For my father its the opportunity to bring my mom home from work, and to leave my baby sister a financial foot-hold on the world. For me its an opportunity to give more back to the LORD, by visiting the sick, the elderly, and yes even putting more back in the collection plate on Sunday.

Amway is completely upstream. There's a lot of negativity out there because Amway is not the "in" thing to do... just as my "computer thing" wasn't "in" 14 years ago. For those reading the opinions on this page I encourage you to continued to do so-- educate yourself. Learn about the negativity and then learn the fallacy. I once read an article entitled "Amway Scamway". One fallacy goes some thing like this:

There are 2 million distributors.
1 million active.
900 make Diamond.
900 succeed.
That means that 1 out of 1000 succeed.

Wrong! if Diamond was the only measure of success then it would be true. The author conveniently omits hundreds of Emeralds, thousands of Pearls and Rubys and tens-of-thousands of Silvers. These are all milestones of success.

Why Amway will only get better-
Read a book called "Economic Paradigms". The world is shifting to a society of service. A society where you no longer need to go to the bank because you have direct deposit, and pay your bills with virtual checks (As I currently do). A society where I can "surf the net" instead of visiting the library (not to down play books... books keep the mind active). I have yet read a letter about the "interactive TV" that Amway is pioneering. Let me tell you about it. Its a system to be release within a year and it works like this: you can view a sofa from your home, rotate it, change its fabric, and with the touch of a button, have it shipped to your house... name one retailer with such ambitious foresight.

Be skeptical, but do the research. Don't listen to the crowd. Look to the future.

Bryan Christ

24 Aug 1996
I really like your stuff on pyramids, MLM, Amway, and so forth.

I've got a friend into all that stuff. He and his wife sell Amway products. Or, more accurately, they sell it to themselves. It's stacked all over the house. Last year was supposed to be a banner year for them. (They declared bankruptcy.) This year is the real thing, though, they say. (They borrowed money for food.)

He tried to get me into MCI for internet access. He said I could use a 1-800 number for my calling, and it wouldn't cost me but about 15 dollars a month for unlimited access. He mentioned in passing all the money he's going to make signing people up.

Well, I checked the MCI website. There's no local number where I live, but they do have a 1-800 number that I could call.... for seven bucks an hour!

The other day my friend was over again, and I told him about what I found out. He didn't believe me. I was wrong, because there's no charge for the 1-800 number. I told him that I got this information from MCI's site, and he still didn't believe me. So I logged on and showed him right there on the screen. He still didn't believe me, because, he said, the people in Austin, TX (about 100 miles from here) can call for free with a local number. I gently pointed out to him that we are not in Austin. We looked all over MCI's website, because he was sure that CUSTOMERS of MCI could call the 1-800 number for free. He's still convinced of this. I give up. I guess there's this perverse will to believe for some people, huh? They want to believe that they are GOING to get this great deal. They are GOING to get rich. That nothing ever happens doesn't seem to be an indication to them of reality. They are making plans to build a big house. They know this guy in Amway who's rich, and they want to be like him. But first, of course, they have to find some money to eat with.

Keep up the good work with your website.
Dan Pressnell

24 Aug 1996

Hey Bob, I first found your posting in late May and wrote you back then. I supported Amway but agreed with you on a number of the cult aspects etc regarding the Yeger and Britt Organizations. I mentioned that I may try to build it by selling products and then recruiting them as distributors. You mentioned that it will probably no work and you were correct.

I have since completely disassociated myself from Amway and the "family". What a scam how could I have been so dumb as to fall for it. After 13 months and well over a $1000 wasted I am free. My wife loves me again and we are all happy. I told two of my siblings that were in my down line and they have both given up also. One that has stayed in is completely broke but continues to follow the leader as prescribed by my upline. I call them Amheads, similar to deadheads. I am sure I am referred to as a loser and a quitter by my former "family", but they know the truth and that in the long run I am actually the winner.

While I was a little depressed when I quit I am now over that. To me it was like finding out there is no Santa and did it hurt. I almost joined another MLM immediately, almost like a rebound relationship, but held strong. The mind control the group has over people was really strong. They gave me an incredibly hard time about leaving and really mead me question whether I was correct in judgment or not. Never again would I do it!

I encourage any and all that consider joining Amway to read yours and the Schwartz pages to find out the truth. Any organization that encourages you to only speak with people that are in before making a decision and to never mention the "A" word in public has a major problem.

You are correct that we deceive ourselves.
John Dailey

Sep 1996

I think what you are doing is good. You see my wife and I are Amway Distributors, and we have learned many valuable lessons over the past couple of weeks that I think will help Distributors to reevaluate themselves and their sacrifices.

To let you know, we do support the concept of Network Marketing and all that it has to offer, and I do agree with many of the comments you expressed in your report. Yes many people will lose sight of what is important in this order: 1. GOD, 2. Family and Friends, 3. Commitment to a dream.

To be frank, I believe that if one builds a business with Amway with integrity, honesty, focused effort, caring and love he/she can create a business that would go hand in hand with scripture from the bible. Sure people are out to make money, but our observations with ourselves has been an incredible amount of growth in every area of our lives. We make sure that everything we do is at best and we make the best of the time we have committed to. So whether that is spending time with my little brother, time at church, or time with our friends who have decided against the business, we are better for being involved.

We wouldn't build this business any other way. To be in any business it takes commitment, sacrifices, money and time. For those not willing to focus on their dreams, and the long term will soon get frustrated and play victim in society and blame the entity that simply gave them an opportunity. We are adults, and should take responsibility for our actions. Amway did not do anything to anyone. If a distributor misled their friends, that was a decision they made without thinking of the consequences. If they lost lots of money, then perhaps they did not understand the concept of building this business.

Success is determined by actions that people who were willing to do what other people were not willing to do. Many people would rather sleep 10 hours, and complain about how society has made them broke.

Any successful business and business person, such as a Walt Disney, a Lee Iococca, and a Henry Ford, will stress that success is a change in attitude, that everything is possible, and that committed action towards a realized dream is what separates the successful from the not so successful.

The majority of people find in easier to complain about our government, people, police, and everything else. GUESS WHAT PEOPLE OF AMERICA WE DO MATTER!!

If we are willing to seize an opportunity and work it hard, we can have our dreams. If you don't believe me then read of books about Mother Theresa, Walt Disney, and Henry Ford. Mother Theresa has her dream, and yes it is not about money. But many of her efforts and sacrifices that she has made, would have others thinking she is crazy (typical of folks who don't understand dreams) We need to appreciate the opportunities that our presented to us. You many never get many opportunities like this ever again.

Those who are searching for answers on Amway over the Internet, I hope they do come across your page Bob. Whether they are distributors or thinking about it, this will hopefully help people reevaluate their decisions.

Distributors if you are building a business based on manipulation, greed and dishonesty-REEVALUATE YOURSELF. If you are placing your mom, dad, brothers, sisters and friends last-REEVALUATE YOURSELF. If someone doesn't get in the business with you and you hold it against them and lose your friendship-REEVALUATE YOURSELF. If you feel a tug at your gut when you tell people your business is great and you don't believe that--REEVALUATE YOURSELF.

People who are looking: This is an incredible opportunity. Yes you will need to work. Yes you will do things that are uncomfortable. Yes you will need to keep yourself motivated with books and tapes. Yes you will NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your actions. If you lie to somebody while doing this business, you did the action.

If Americans would remind themselves of DREAMS we could have a different country based on the simple principles that our founding fathers started this country on.

Networking is everywhere in our lives. Whether it is recommending a movie, mechanic, church, a political party etc. For example, a person is rewarded for his efforts for recommending GOD to a friend. Both the person doing the recommending and the person accepting the recommendation benefit.

Business in general is not for everyone. It takes responsibility, strength and effort. Many of these traits must be developed while working the business. Ask any successful business owner what it took for them to start, and make their business successful. Amway makes it too easy for people to start. If this was a McDonalds that required 1 million dollars to open a franchise, you would do everything possible to work that business. Ask McDonald's operators if they like dealing with employees, taxes, hard work, long hours, etc. More than likely because of their commitment financially they will work hard to achieve their dream in that business, regardless of all the things they do not like. McDonald's doesn't promise success to every franchisee.

So those who enter an Amway Distributorship, you are creating a business. Not without help and support though. Because the financial commitment is much smaller than a franchise, you may not be willing to do all the work. You may think that things may happen miraculously, by themselves. You may think that Amway distributors already in the business will do it for you. No way! IF you have been told these things, then reevaluate. Don't blame the person who brought you into the business and certainly don't blame a company that has given opportunities to millions of people that they wouldn't have normally had. Take responsibility and if you are committed to your dreams, then you build a successful business with Integrity, Honesty, and Persistence!

Bob, keep up the good to work to warn people of what they can become if they lose sight of what is important. Yeah maybe it may take 3 to 5 to 10 years to accomplish ones goals in Amway. The important thing is not to run over the people you love. If your friends and family don't understand, that is fine. They just don't understand. But you KEEP LOVING THEM ANYWAY!!!! Business is not for anyone, and especially an AMWAY business. Don't lose sight of priorities and build an successful business!! Hurting people is not worth any dream.

Brian and Mary Herke

16 Sep 1997
I read your definition of Amway. I am a distributor and I must say that I am skeptical of some of the things that you have written. I know some of the people that you talk about. I am aware that the fellow who did the Time Out article was involved in Amway with his wife and they got divorced and blamed Amway. I am also aware that Amway tried to make amends for issues that they did not feel that they were responsible for. But, to no avail. It seems that this couple simply wanted to have a little fame. Maybe Time Out paid them well to slander Amway.

It is true that like every business some Amway distributors are highly successful and some are not. The only way that that seems to be controlled is by what the individual does while involved. I have yet to meet a person who is consistently working this business for an extended period of time who is not successful.

I would say that I have met some overzealous persons who almost seem to worship Amway and the up-line and the organization that they are involved with. I do not feel that this is a healthy behavior. I can tell you that I also do not see those people become successful nor have I witnessed the organization that I am involved in encourage those feelings. It is true that I would like my distributors to be excited about the opportunity, but I do not want them to worship it. I want the folks who want to make money to make money. If they are content just being part of the group, that's fine. But, that is not what I got involved for nor is it what I want my kids to think of when they think of the business that I own.

The distributors are the middle man. That is where the money goes. We do not drive to anyone's house to pick up products and motivational meetings are optional. I do attempt to convince my distributor organization to purchase tapes and attend functions. But, I do not have them held in some sort of a trance where they can not tell me no. But, at the meetings, we are not going to spend all the time talking about the numbers of people who did not pursue the opportunity. No more than a college professor would spend his time talking to the students about how many students he has failed and how many people dropped out of college last semester. Although, some of the stories of the people who have built it mention people whom they know or even upline members who did not continue on to build large Amway businesses. The system that we teach talks about the fact that not everyone will do it. We are told that if you show five plans you will only sponsor one. For every 20 people that you sponsor, 12 will stay involved and have some activity, 8 will do enough to get a bonus and 3 will actually build the business. I do not know how it can be made more honest. Amway computers show that well over half of all the people who join never sponsor one person. If I recall correctly, the numbers show that only about 5% of the people who join ever sponsor anyone. Of that number half achieve the direct distributor level. That makes the $65 dollar a month figure for the average distributor a lot more attractive for anyone who is serious about building a business when you consider that that money is concentrated into a small group of people. All I have done is looked at the averages and, so far, I have found them to be accurate.
Best regards.

Al Wells

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