From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: Amway
9 Jun 2003
As an 'Amway Orphan' (the name given to children of Amway Distributors who never saw their parents) I found your article on Amway balanced, honest and well written. My only comment is to your reference that all Amway meetings were NOT like the one attended in Richmond Va. Having been to literally hundreds of these events as a child and teenager I can assure you they are all held by the well heeled looking down magnanimously on their 'flock'. It was not unusual at events for people to be called on at random from the crowd and have to announce how much they had made that year. If it was deemed a paltry amount the person was quizzed on what they needed to do further to reach their goal. This was done in front of thousands of people and must have been mortifying. It was definitely uncomfortable to watch.
Keep up the good work.
09 Aug 1999
I just wanted to thank you for the information that you have placed onto your web page and I thank God that there is such a thing as the Internet to provide such easy access to this information.
About a week ago I was introduced to the Amway corporation while looking around a Chapters Bookstore before heading out to see a movie later that night in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. I had never heard of Amway before being introduced to it. I would consider my self to be a positive uplifting person who is not afraid to work and make a go at being prosperous so I found the information to be interesting. I am always looking for ways to better myself and increase my income so the Amway pitch sounded to see a really good opportunity to me. But I also consider myself to be an analytical person who simply wants the facts before making a decision as big as this. So right after I met with the mother/son team that introduced me to the business I was handed a lot of information with tapes and books to read during my one week of holidays. A lot of the information sounded god but I found that everything that was handed to me was vague and didn't give me what I wanted to know about the venture.
The day I came back from my holidays I drove with a few other people to a meeting to try and get more information "from the horses" mouth so to speak. I must confess that alot of the information that is given is actually good advice for anyone that wants to better themselves. They quoted may people that I have respect for and read about such as the Late Norman Vincent Peele, Dave Thomas (of the Wendy's franchise), etc. But something was still bothering me. I can be as emotional as the next person I felt that something was a bit "cultish" to the whole experience...I just couldn't put my finger on it. It felt like I was in a Religious Revival Meeting/Business Pep Rally where the "gods" of the business came down to walk among the mortals. I could see why alot of people get into this business. It is contagious to be around positive people and this is what the people were being fed at such meetings.
Anyway the main reason that I wanted to go to the meeting is because of the new development into the business....E-commerce. The company is supposedly coming together with Microsoft and IBM to market a new web site for buying products from Amway called Quixtar, which, by the way is starting September 1st, 1999. The information presented to me sounded quit good and I thought to myself that this is something that I could really sell to a lot of people.
But, as with anyone with common sense, I also realized that everything presented to me was bias. I wanted to have a good balance of facts. So I went onto the internet to see what other peoples had to say. Luckily I found what I needed to see and hear.
So to conclude I just wanted to thank you for your web site and for helping me come to a rational and right decision of "Thanks...but no thanks"
Sincerely, Robert Kloosterhuis
PS. Please keep up the good work by placing such information on your website...I REALLY is appreciated
reply: Thanks. The kind words are appreciated also.
6 Jul 1998
I have to put in my two cents on this one!! I was, and am, an Amway distributor. At this point I do not pursue it as a business, rather as a convenient method of shopping. I really like the products and the prices (yes they are lower if you consider cost per use (highly concentrated, my dishwasher soap lasts a year!) rather than cost per item. Check it out again! However, my husband and I determined over the course of three years that Amway was not the type of business we wanted to pursue. We knew that we were in search of being independent of a job but did not know what we wanted to do. We checked out Amway and discovered that through books (education), tapes (motivation) and functions (information) we were on the right track in pursuing our own business. Take a look at anyone who has a successful business of any kind and ask them how they got there. Most will say that it was very focused, hard work, meaning that at times it meant that they did not go to the movies with friends, and instead attended seminars, read business books and consulted with mentors or listened to tapes of people that are where you want to be. In my particular line of sponsorship it was always recommended that you have a balance of priorities in life. In order of importance 1) God (whatever that means to you), 2) Family, 3) country, and then 4) Amway. Perhaps the reason people ignore everything else in their life when they join Amway is that THEY feel like they need to. It's really simple, if you want to succeed at anything it takes A LOT of effort and balance.
Now let's clear some things up...
- Amway is a manufacturing and distribution company. There primary function is to manufacturer products and offer cash incentives and bonuses for the distribution of their products.
- Amway DOES NOT supply information about how to build a lucrative distributorship. Often times there are groups of individuals that set up a "plan" for how to build a business. These people are independent distributors creating there own methods. It would behoove anybody actively pursuing an Amway distributorship (or any other business for that matter) to thoroughly research and ask many questions of the group they are looking at. These groups are not affiliated with or promoted by the Amway corporation. The often seen "Christian connection" is not encouraged by Amway, rather, by specific groups of distributors. As in any arena of life, there are good and bad people everywhere. If you jump into anything without looking first you're pretty foolish.
- Amway is an excellent example of good business practice. They are a multi-billion dollar business. If I remember correctly, 1/3 of their profit is returned to distributors in the form of cash bonuses. They are a privately held, debt-free corporation (almost unheard of in modern business). While it is true that at one time "upline" Direct Distributors were not required to pay "downline" distributors a bonus until they reach the Direct Level, or sell to them products at wholesale cost, this rarely happened. Most distributors were receiving their bonuses regularly and their products at wholesale. Amway corporation IS now in the process of shifting to direct order and all of the bonuses and product costs in my group are dealt with directly through Amway. And, by the way, they spend a lot of money on the community and charity (they are one of the largest yearly contributors to Easter Seals).
- There is a legal precedent for determining if a multi-level business is an illegal pyramid type business. The business they use for comparison? Amway. Surprise. The legal community even regards Amway and its structure as a legal and viable way of creating income.
Now my husband and I are creating a business in the field of massage therapy and bodywork. A huge jump from Amway? Not necessarily. It's a business and the basics still apply. We read, attend seminars and continuing education courses, listen to self-improvement tapes and speak to mentors and our business is progressing nicely. We thank Amway and INA (our line of sponsorship) for teaching us excellent methods of business building and personal development. We have never been humiliated, teased or bothered by anyone in Amway about our choice to pursue other business opportunities. I believe the difference is that we have taken responsibility for our lives. We don't put down Amway or the people in it. Frankly, there are lots of jerks in the world and why would Amway be any different. If you don't do well in Amway it's because YOU didn't do well in Amway. The fact is there are LOTS of people who do and are happy with it.
Why am I so strongly defending a business venture I don't pursue? I believe that people
need to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. That there are people
selling Amway that are not up front or are shady in their methods does not mean that Amway
is a bad business. There is some responsibility to be taken by those of you that choose to
pursue a business that makes you uncomfortable from the beginning. Thanks for the venting
16 July 1998
I was reading through many articles on the Amway Phenomenon. I came across the emails people have sent you. I was an Amway distributor 6 years ago. I fell into the trap of spending money on trips and tapes and books etc. I do NOT however blame anyone in the organization I was affiliated with for the money I spent. It was always my choice to attend functions or buy support material.
As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict I can compare this to my decision to try that first drug and to eventually stay away from drugs. No one ever forced me to do them, it was my choice. In twelve step programs I have learned how to stop doing drugs. I compare the positive things I learned while I was building my Amway business 6 years to my recovering. If you are familiar with 12 step programs, they only work if you work them!!! As with Amway it is not a get-rich quick scheme. It is a business opportunity that must be worked at in order to become successful.
The Amway business is an opportunity, just like going to college, or buying a new car. I am presently studying for my Master's Degree in counseling/psychology. I want to someday have a retreat center for families to come for counseling. My husband recently became an Amway distributor. This business will give us the opportunity to have the income to buy a large place to make that dream come true. My husband does not work for the Amway corporation, (we would have to live in Michigan, not CT) which is a misconception of many people. He too is a recovering addict. He finds the tapes motivational and positive, just as he does his 12 step meetings. I am very supportive of him building this business. He was injured on the job and is getting very little support from his employers. Amway is an opportunity for him to build a business and help other people start a business if they desire. He does not pressure anyone, or try to fool them. He is honest in his approach that he is offering them a service and an opportunity if they so desire. He does not say it is AMWAY and it is because of the negativity of websites and misinformed people that we do not say, "Would you like to look at AMWAY".
We are leaving tonight to go to NC for a function on building this business. I enjoy the functions and had spent a lot of money attending them before. But then again I spent a lot of money on drugs and associated with people I thought were my friends. It did me not good. I too have been injured on my job and do not have the support of the administration. This business DOES give people the opportunity to have a business and provide others with the same opportunity. It has given my husband hope that he can earn an income despite his injury. Instead of hearing the negativity and degrading influence of the "powers that be" at his work he is hearing people tell him he can do it! If Amway is a cult it is the most positive influence I have ever been around.
I sent you an email, but am adding more to what I previously said. The Amway products, soap, vitamins etc. are only 15% of the product line. Have you ever looked over a flyer from the local Stop & Shop? Are there only Stop & Shop brands in there? Is that all the store promotes? Of course not! They have Campbell soup, and Healthy Choice, and Nestea, and the list goes on. Does a JC PENNEY catalog only have JC PENNEY clothing? No they have Lee's, London Fog etc. Try looking at an Amway personal shoppers catalog and you will see these same products and about 15,000 more. These manufacturers have no problem selling their products through Stop and Shop or through Amway. Why do people have such a negative attitude about a distribution company who also makes a few of their own products? They don't have a store... instead it is word of mouth advertising. AND an opportunity to distribute products and offer people the chance at entrepreneurship!!!!
Do people pick apart and criticizes SPRINT and AT&T because they call you at home and advertise on the TV? They may complain about being bothered at home, but has either company ever offered to give you the opportunity to start you own long distance phone company with possibility for a large income, if you are willing to "recruit" enough customers? NOT TO MY KNOWLEDGE!!!! If people want to know the facts about becoming a lawyer and the income potential, do they talk to their garbage man? OF COURSE NOT!!! They would talk to a LAWYER!!! Then why do people look for information about becoming an AMWAY distributor from people who don't know what it is to be one? I do know! It is a great opportunity, yes it takes some effort. But so does getting a Master's Degree. I know I am working on mine in an independent study program while I work full time, and I have Traumatic
Brain Injury!!! If you want something bad enough you find the time and the means to do it!
21 Aug 1998
As of noon today, I will walk my precious wife out the door of an Amway Diamond for whom she has worked for the past five years. We have had enough. She has been the administrative assistant and function coordinator managing the huge functions where 1000's of good people are bilked out of $100,000' s every year.
We have seen so many lives wrecked, marriages destroyed and careers ruined because of the lies and deception that goes on and on and on. It is indeed a cult which preys on the unwary. Many claim that it is a Christian organization and it is true that Christianity is involved. However, the leadership in no way model Christian morality, principles, and conduct. They espouse Christian values but lead lives of greed, selfishness, self-interest and are constantly involved in lawsuits amongst themselves and greedy infighting which hardly characterizes Christian conduct.
For most, Christianity is used to add nobility and creditability to their thwarted greedy cause. They are liars and hypocrites touting financial freedom when they themselves are under frightening and staggering debt loads caused by their insatiable appetite for more and more material gain regardless of the cost so they can demonstrate how financial freedom works when in reality they are digging a deeper and deeper hole for themselves and lying to those under them.
It is not a product distribution system. It is a system whereby the individual themselves become the consumer. No one really sells the products to people on the outside of Amway. Everyone who joins becomes the consumer that drives the organization. The products are sold at tremendously high prices, much higher than in commercial marketplace. The rank and file individual member is the sole support of the up line and spend huge amounts of money until some where along the line they wake up and drop out, bruised, beaten and much worse off than when they started, often having incurred debt that will have to be repaid.
Members are encouraged to hang in there at any cost until they "Make It Big"
themselves. They are told to sell things so they can stay in. Pull the equity out of their
homes, sell that second car that's paid for, sell the extra TV, sell old family jewelry,
sell whatever they can so that they can hang in there and go to function. Of course; the
functions are where the Diamonds really cleanup. Amway is something to be left alone and
avoided. It is a dead end heartbreaker.