Multi-level marketing/pyramid schemes and the people who fall for them -

The Un-Clit

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kiwifarms.net
The same thing happened to me while I was job-hunting last year. They basically contacted me within a few hours and I almost bought into it. Never showed up for the "interview".
Likewise, except I DID go into the interview, and even though I really sorta knew better, I tried selling Kirby vaccuums for a few days. My story's about 20 pages back or more, i'll dig up the link if anyone who didn't see it wants to.
 

Crunchy Leaf

cronch
kiwifarms.net
shouldnt that be a realy nice sidehustle? there are alot of idiots out there, and they spend giant amounts on bad vacuums.
If somebody is stupid enough to buy dyson, they will for sure buy another scam vacuum.
how many vacuums do you think people need? eventually you will run out of people to sell to. the vacuum store near my house also sells parts, which is where the long-term business is. they also sell sewing machines which is a weirdly common combination with vacuums.
 

Stoneheart

kiwifarms.net
how many vacuums do you think people need? eventually you will run out of people to sell to.
Depends on the Vacuum they buy. you just need to find enough idiots. People realy like to buy crap vacuums like dysons and they need replacement pretty often.
 

Barbarella

Guards! To the Mathmos with this winged fruitcake.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I had two bosses who sold Herbalife. The only way I knew was they had stickers on their cars, They never mentioned it (and put me in the awkward situation of saying fuck no to my boss). Both were religious. One a Mormon, I forget what the other was.

A neighbor kid started selling cutco. I knew what it was but he didn’t. He was off to the military. This was a summer job. So I bought a set of steak knive because their family was good neighbors and I hope it helped. Very expensive but they actually were good. Don’t know about the others. He was also religious.

Um...I’m very thin, and I like fashion. So nobody has ever pushed lularoe on me. I wouldn’t be caught dead in those clothes, if they even have my size which I doubt. So maybe that’s how I escaped, I knew people selling it. Yet, somebody gave me a Younique mascara to try. It was ok but if you want to put fibers on your eyes there are cheaper ways. I didn’t buy it.

I had a friend who sold scentsy but I never heard her say anything about toxins. I like melts and home fragrance but the melters are cheap at Target/Wal-Mart and scents are also cheap. I also add to the fragrance with essential oil, which I get at TJMaxx. So I just say that if they try to sell.

The only problem I had was when some dude practically assaulted me in a mall about his face cream. I made the mistake of looking his way and the guy practically followed me 100 feet before he gave up. I’m not sure that’s an MLM or not. I’m very careful walking by them now.

The last thing is a girl I knew got involved with some perfume company. She was not religious. She lasted about a week. They’d take her in a van to places. She refused to talk about it so I hope it really was just about perfume.

I can’t imagine getting involved with these companies. It does seem to be religious/Christians or females looking to help support families. I simply don’t get how anybody who is an adult could fall for it.

But one of the smartest people I know bought a timeshare.

Here is my weird belief. Certain types of people feel the need for community more than others. Going to those sales pitches make it hard to say no, plus the songs and slogans/chants and promises make it feel like a revival-get people’s emotions running high-the same kind of people who are religious.

Not all, of course it’s a tiny minority. But maybe the natural hate doctor crowd, and the “bless with clothing “ crowd have the same triggers, one I’m missing.

Until people get smart enough not to let emotions rule their financial decisions, it won’t change.
 

The Un-Clit

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kiwifarms.net
The last thing is a girl I knew got involved with some perfume company. She was not religious. She lasted about a week. They’d take her in a van to places. She refused to talk about it so I hope it really was just about perfume.
They did the same thing with Kirby, after the morning pump-up songs we had to sing, and report on your sales activity of the day before (along with a goofy 'BIG FIRST DEAL!!!' chant when you sell your first vacuum) they bundled us 5 at a time in a van, and drive to today's assigned neighborhood. On the drive, we listened to 'inspirational' tapes to improve our sales techniques and keep from getting bummed out.

JFC, it really sounds cult-like, dosent it?

Anyway, the 'vanmaster' who drove us was also the primary closer. Once we were at our assigned neighborhoods, he'd drive up and down the roads looking for 'the sign' which we would leave behind whenever we were actually invited in to demonstrate the vacuum we were hauling around. After X amount of time demoing and singing the praises of Kirby (and leaving little white pads full of dirt on their rug to show how much filth we pulled up) the vanmaster would come in, and close the deal for you, sign the paperwork for financing etc. It was a seriously scumbag organization.

shouldnt that be a realy nice sidehustle? there are alot of idiots out there, and they spend giant amounts on bad vacuums.
As you can see from the above, @Stoneheart , there is no real way for Kirby vacuums to be a 'side hustle', you had to commit, and commit like a motherfucker. And plus, when you burn out and start slowing down, they kick your ass right the fuck out the door even if you were previously a strong seller, good enough to earn a diamond and emerald 'K' tie-tac and go to these 'retreats' held for top sellers. Out you went and pull in more warm bodies from the herd.

After watching that happen to a guy who 3 days before had been held up to us as a paragon of Kirby spirit and a man we should strive to emulate, I noped the fuck on out past the waiting van and never went back.
 

tasty murder burger

If moths had eyes, would they be happier?
kiwifarms.net
Not exactly an MLM but here in the UK we have a lot of 'charity muggers' and direct salespeople on the streets. Charity muggers are usually students trying to make a few extra bob by harassing you in the street being! really! quirky! and! guilt! trippy! and direct salespeople are just annoying, offering you a better deal on your insurance/internet/energy. You can literally make it very obvious that you're avoiding them and they'll come harass you anyway. It really pains me when they manage to catch old people out, especially for charities, because they often don't realise that the people making them donate are profiting hugely.

When job hunting I've seen these jobs advertised but they are very vague. They dont mention its sales and based on comissions. I'll try and screencap a few ads later.

I see the companies when walking to work early in the morning. Some stand outside a mall in my city and do their singing, chants and games. I've also heard from people who have done these jobs for less than a week that when you apply they phone you for a chat, invite you to a group interview which is basically a sales pitch and then 'hire' you but expect you to do x amount of free training days (against UK labour laws). It all seems really sketchy and I didn't really like them to MLMs until reading through this thread.
 

drtoboggan

Sonic Jew
kiwifarms.net
My Sister-in-law has been involved in at least 5 MLM's. Scentsy, paparazzi jewelry, pure romance, it works, and most recently young living. She doesn't work so all the money comes out of my brothers pocket. Unfortunately he wont tell her no despite the fact shes lost thousands to these schemes. She's absolutely sure the next one is gonna be the one that lets her work from home and be super rich super mom. As for what kind of person she is she embodies all the worst small town stay at home new mom stereotypes. Shell believe anything in a Facebook mom group. She is the worst gossip I've ever seen everyone who meets her learns real quick not to tell her anything cause she will run tell it as soon as possible. Hell sometimes she just makes stuff up just for drama. Shes extremely skeptical of doctors that's why she got into young living cause why pay for medicine when you can have essential oils. I'm expecting her to become and anti vaxer and flat earther any day now.

Edit:I almost forgot she got out of pure romance because her mom and grandma told her to stop selling dildos on Facebook because it was embarrassing them.
There's a dildo pyramid scheme? Holy shit. My sides hurt reading that.
 

AlmightyMagichan

kiwifarms.net
When job hunting I've seen these jobs advertised but they are very vague. They dont mention its sales and based on comissions.
They get advertised all the time in the US too. You can usually tell because they don't mention what the hell the job is. They just say they are looking for "passionate, energetic people" and that they have "the opportunity of a lifetime." I used to see cardboard signs along the highways saying that someone is looking for an apprentice. Those turned out to be MLM related.
 

Krimjob

Resident God-Emperor
kiwifarms.net
Now I kinda wish I lived in the US so I could start an MLM. That shit would not work well in Scandifuckinavia. There are some, but most are pretty legitimate.

We did have this Nordic wellness company though, can't remember the name but I think they're still around. Basically, a telemarketing scheme where you were encouraged to "introduce" your family and friends to this fantastic supplement that cost like 50 bucks a month. Or...you could just buy similar shit for like 2 bucks from a regular store. Not a straight-up MLM, but definitive in that area.
 

The Un-Clit

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They get advertised all the time in the US too. You can usually tell because they don't mention what the hell the job is. They just say they are looking for "passionate, energetic people" and that they have "the opportunity of a lifetime." I used to see cardboard signs along the highways saying that someone is looking for an apprentice. Those turned out to be MLM related.
They are advertised in the same in Canada, although I must admit Kirby got me with a fairly innovative newspaper ad that went as follows:

"Bob had a job. Bob didn't do his job, so who wants Bob's job? Call xxxxxxxx'

Of course the fact that this says absolutely nothing about what the job is should be a blatant red flag, but I was 17 and had been 'encouraged' to leave high school (a very long story involving a deeply religious vice principal and my love for AD&D) therefore I was broke as fuck and jumped at anything.

The quirky ad tickled my funnybone so I actually went to the interview (which turned out to be a cattle-call) and out of the 50 ppl who first showed up and the 35 of us that didn't walk away as soon as we saw it was a cattle call, 12 of us showed up the next day to get trained (without pay, illegal here as well, even back in the early 90s) and were given vaccuums to take home and 'practice' selling them to our families over the weekend. Of course, this is how they got the majority of sales, a compassionate parent or other family member would buy your vaccuum over that weekend to 'help start you off well in your new career'.

Of course, by the end of 2 weeks there was lucky to be 2 people still working from the group you were hired from, but that's okay. the ads were re-run in all the local newspapers and 'free' news rags and another 50 or so saps were lined up out in the lobby waiting for the presentation we got a week ago.
 

tasty murder burger

If moths had eyes, would they be happier?
kiwifarms.net
I just found out my dad sold Kirby vaccums in the 80s. He told me he worked as a vacuum salesperson in the 80s that was very energetic and American but I didn't put two and two together until Kirby was mentioned earlier on in this thread. He seemed to have good memories of it but did note you had to put everything in it or it was worthless. Not sure how much money he made but I do know he sold to most of our family.

He told me they used to go knocking on doors asking people if they wanted to enter a competition to win prizes such as a free vaccum. A lot of people would sign up and everyone would 'win' something or other but never the vacuum. The prize was basically so the salesperson would be able to go to the house and show them how amazing their products were. If they were struggling to sell, they'd (if there was a phone in the house cos 80s) call the warehouse and get a manager to try and close the sale. It always seemed sketchy but I thought that might have been common practice in the 80s.
 

The Un-Clit

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kiwifarms.net
I just found out my dad sold Kirby vaccums in the 80s. He told me he worked as a vacuum salesperson in the 80s that was very energetic and American but I didn't put two and two together until Kirby was mentioned earlier on in this thread. He seemed to have good memories of it but did note you had to put everything in it or it was worthless. Not sure how much money he made but I do know he sold to most of our family.

He told me they used to go knocking on doors asking people if they wanted to enter a competition to win prizes such as a free vaccum. A lot of people would sign up and everyone would 'win' something or other but never the vacuum. The prize was basically so the salesperson would be able to go to the house and show them how amazing their products were. If they were struggling to sell, they'd (if there was a phone in the house cos 80s) call the warehouse and get a manager to try and close the sale. It always seemed sketchy but I thought that might have been common practice in the 80s.
Interesting! It sounds like different branches (run by someone who rose high enough in the chain to be able to start a "new franchise" somewhere) were allowed or maybe encouraged to use their own tactics to both get in the door and to close the sale.

In our case, we carried with us some cheap-ass ceramic diffusers or scented candle holders to get us inside the house. We'd knock on the door and tell whoever answered that we would give them this valuable item in exchange for 30 minutes of time to demonstrate for them the astounding power of the Kirby vacuum. And as mentioned towards the end of your demo'ing the van-master would come into the house and attempt to close the deal for you.

Sale or no sale, we did give them the diffuser. Considering that the owner very likely got a bulk shipment from China at a cost of maybe $0.25 per, it didn't risk a whole lot to give these things away when the possible return was the sale of a $50 vacuum cleaner for $1200. And that's in 1989 money.

Out of curiosity, did your father mention how long he did this for? and what his cut of the sale would be? In my case it was $225cdn per, which would be more then double that in today's money be it Canadian or American.
 
Last edited:

MysticMisty

kiwifarms.net
He told me they used to go knocking on doors asking people if they wanted to enter a competition to win prizes such as a free vaccum. A lot of people would sign up and everyone would 'win' something or other but never the vacuum. The prize was basically so the salesperson would be able to go to the house and show them how amazing their products were. If they were struggling to sell, they'd (if there was a phone in the house cos 80s) call the warehouse and get a manager to try and close the sale. It always seemed sketchy but I thought that might have been common practice in the 80s.
Something similar happened to my mom in the 80's, and it was a vacuum company so it very well could have been Kirby. Only they were offering free cameras for everyone who sat through their sales demos. My parents were broke as fuck at the time and couldn't afford the vacuum if they really wanted it, but they couldn't afford a camera either so my mom agreed to go through with a demo and sales pitch. My mom isn't easily persuaded by anything at all, ever: when she decides on "no", there is an approx. 0% chance she'll change her mind so she wasn't affected by the pitch, or his aggressive attempts at changing her mind.

Eventually he gave up and gave my mom the voucher to redeem for the camera. Which involved driving a fair distance to the location to redeem it, and once they were there they had to fill out all these bullshit forms for it. When they finally finished everything they were presented with this tiny, cheap plastic camera that was basically a kid's toy.
 

tasty murder burger

If moths had eyes, would they be happier?
kiwifarms.net
Interesting! It sounds like different branches (run by someone who rose high enough in the chain to be able to start a "new franchise" somewhere) were allowed or maybe encouraged to use their own tactics to both get in the door and to close the sale.

In our case, we carried with us some cheap-ass ceramic diffusers or scented candle holders to get us inside the house. We'd knock on the door and tell whoever answered that we would give them this valuable item in exchange for 30 minutes of time to demonstrate for them the astounding power of the Kirby vacuum. And as mentioned towards the end of your demo'ing the van-master would come into the house and attempt to close the deal for you.

Sale or no sale, we did give them the diffuser. Considering that the owner very likely got a bulk shipment from China at a cost of maybe $0.25 per, it didn't risk a whole lot to give these things away when the possible return was the sale of a $50 vacuum cleaner for $2500. And that's in 1989 money.

Out of curiosity, did your father mention how long he did this for? and what his cut of the sale would be? In my case it was $225cdn per, which would be more then double that in today's money be it Canadian or American.
I think my dad must have done it sometime around 86-89 if I can piece the story together correctly of what he did before/after. I think he basically did it because he moved back to his hometown after living away for a few years or so. I actually asked him about it after writing that and I'm sure said around £200 a week for working days but you would be paid your commission 60 days after your sale. They earned a lot of people's commissions as folk would leave before their 60 days, which even if they only got one sale could be £50+.
 
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