T Nation

Herbalife a Pyramid Scheme? Lol


#1

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/massachusetts-senator-calls-probe-herbalife-155000605--sector.html

I thought this was amusing as I've had run ins with plenty of people trying to push these, or other similar companies to me over the years. Obviously as we're all on this site, we share some interest in fitness (although the degree may vary). How many people have had experiences with these types of companies that while they're telling you how great their products are, also make certain to really stress the fact that by becoming a distributor, you can get people working 'under' you and reap part of their profits?

While I have my own personal thoughts on the actual quality of various supplement lines, I'm curious to hear others chime in.

S


#2

I’ve had a couple people in try to get me involved in similar things like this. I even went to Chicago for a weekend , when I was in Washington state. To make a long story short I’m glad I realized that its not as easy as they say and I did not have the drive to go at it 100%. I even had a friend who believed in this crap so much that he moved across the country and a year later he was bankrupt and these people wanted nothing to do with him once he couldn’t attend all the functions and continue to throw money into it.


#3

Yes, I’ve been approached by MLM’ers. I once allowed myself to be so pressured by some guy pushing ACN that I gave in and went to a meeting at a hotel to see an entire presentation on the company.

Another time, a friend and I were in the “self help” section (when I was young and naive I actually liked those sorts of books) some guy us, struck up a conversation about money, and invited us to a meeting for some MLM company. My friend declined the invitation.

There’s also some guy pushing Quixtar, or used to, who on SEPARATE occasions around the neighborhood, has approached four of my friends and I while we were out and about alone. Get that, the guy approached all five of us on separate occasions, not even knowing the five of us know who he is amongst ourselves. Talk about coincidence. He has even approached me on separate occasions around town, forgetting he approached me years or months before! The first time he approached me was at the diner down the block from where I live now.

I had a tank top on (I was 20-something and as a bodybuilding douche, loved to show off the guns anywhere and everywhere) and the guy asks me “you workout?” I said, “yes”. He said he was a salesman who was working for a multi-billion dollar company (Quixtar) selling supplements. I actually thought I was finally “discovered”.

One time my friend was approached by the guy at Fairway around here, and my friend, not knowing that I was already approached by him, decided to play a practical joke, and said to the guy, “I know some young ambitious guy who might be interested” and gave the guy my number.

So here I have this guy leaving messages on my phone not even knowing he once gave me a presentation on Quixtar in my own home almost a decade ago, not even remembering my name or who I am. He once approached me at Centre Pizza in Little Neck (again forgetting all the other times and who I am). I shook him off mid conversation by dissing self help gurus. He got noticeably annoyed and ended the conversation.

I have gotten approached at two other jobs as well, one for energy services with another company some other time for some type of legal services MLM pyramid.


#4

I didn’t know that they had an actual product (if you want to call it that). I guess technically they need some tangible object so that it isn’t just spun sugar. My neighbor does some kind of mlm thing, but she isn’t very good at pitching it. She is persistent though.

My wife will usually pick up a product like a line of kitchen gadgets that went around for a while or jewelry once a year. They type of stuff that encourages an agent to book parties and pitch en-mass with about a fifty-fifty split between product and becoming a rep. She’s always careful not to get all caught up in the marketing aspects of it though, and once her supervisor sees that she’s booking parties and actually selling the product they drop her. Not before she makes a few hundred bucks and gets a bunch of free stuff though. She’s actually really good at sales, has made a living working for a couple of actual companies as an independent agent and currently manages a sales floor, so she knows the structure of a sale and how to close.

I’m like pepper spray to mlm or any other kind of conceptual sale that requires emotional investment, and I think most of the people that do that kind of thing pick up on that very quickly. Even the neighbor quit bothering with me after the second attempt.


#5

Why just probing into Herbalife. There are tons of MLM companies that follow this model - Mary Kay, Avon, 31, Sensi, Amway, Advocare, Monavie, Pamper Chef, etc, etc…

Why target just one company? Maybe somebody at Herbalife pissed the wrong person off?


#6

MLM prime target = stay at home mom’s…

My wife (so me) has fallen victim to more than one of these fucking blood suckers…


#7

[quote]AliveAgain36 wrote:
Why just probing into Herbalife. There are tons of MLM companies that follow this model - Mary Kay, Avon, 31, Sensi, Amway, Advocare, Monavie, Pamper Chef, etc, etc…

Why target just one company? Maybe somebody at Herbalife pissed the wrong person off?[/quote]

This^ is seriously frowned upon when you get people to throw all in on something that is virtually guaranteed to fail. Main crux of the issue being that the reps weren’t selling or getting paid on the actual sale of the product, but on getting the buy in of the next person or set of people.

It is based on the structure of a Ponzi scheme and also closely resembles a Matrix scheme.

Hence the loss of interest in having my wife in their queue when she would call them in on her commission without creating a new set of agents.


#8

Like most business ventures that succeed, great for those who got in early.

I do question 2 things - if item is so wonderful why not moving through usual channels and also why no one wants to actual sell the product, but instead spend 95% of their efforts recruiting other salesmen?
Mary Kay is perhaps the exception.

Bottom line to me - if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, …


#9

Here’s a fun presentation for ya.

It’s a little long but totally worth your time.


#10

Utah is ground Zero for 90% of MLM’s…they are great if you are in the first 10 people to join, other than that…FUN FORREST, RUN!!


#11

[quote]UtahLama wrote:
Utah is ground Zero for 90% of MLM’s…they are great if you are in the first 10 people to join, other than that…FUN FORREST, RUN!!

[/quote]
That meme sums it up pretty well. This is a copy of a post from my facebook feed, a woman selling wraps and whatnot-

[quote] Ok. Let’s get down to it! The post below is true. You may think it’s bs. That’s ok. I would have never believed it myself if I haven’t seen it with my own eyes. I can see where this is taking me. I have the vision and I am a mission! Just give me a chance to tell you more and what it all really means! Mark my words people! My life WILL change! So can yours! Why wait for when you retire and get that “fancy silver pen” from your employer and what’s left of your pension and social security! Oh, AND don’t forget your medical debt! Get a wrap on your life!
[/quote]

along with a pic of text that is very careful not to project earnings, but does intimate what people on all kinds of diamond levels are making per month, with the implication that you can too if you just blah blah blah.


#12

A few years back a buddy of mine asked me to accompany him to a Mona-Vie presentation that one of his co-workers had been pestering him to go to. I guess he figured being nutrition-savy, I’d see through any of the usual marketing BS to what this was all about.

Well, we sat through a buncha people telling “amazing” stories of how this product changed their lives. All were completely full of crap, and when I actually posed any inquiries, the questions were talked around as the speakers got visibly flustered. And yes, of course they mentioned the benefits of reaching ‘diamond’ level as a distributor -lol

S


#13

Amway.

I rented a studio apartment from a woman who, unbeknownst to me, offered such a low rate because it gave her the opportunity to constantly pressure tenants into buying into the MLM under her.

I should have known something was up when the former tenant left Amway bath products in the medicine cabinet and didn’t care enough to also leave with his unopened April 2002 issue of Playboy with Tiffany Darwish on the cover.

My landlord was relentless. She had a key and popped in every other week, and twice when I was at work to leave marketing material for me on the counter. When I refused too many invitations to attend meetings she pulled the parking spot originally offered as part of the lease. This forced me to park outside of the gated community and I accrued multiple parking tickets and tows.

When I had enough and took steps to get out of the lease, this woman lied by saying I was in breach because I was late with several payments and used it as a reason to keep my large deposit. She picked up my checks personally and purposely deposited them late.

I would have been out over $1500 with the deposit, early termination, and the parking/towing fees, but noticed on the lease she rented it out to me unfurnished. She verified on the document the apartment was completely empty when I moved in and it had to be that way upon my departure. But it wasn’t exactly empty, she wanted to keep new appliances to match the renovated kitchen and never had the energy to move a large Victorian mirror belonging to her great-great-grandmother from a wall.

So when I left I took everything, including the brand new microwave and the heavy antique mirror with me.

I had another experience with Amway when I was set up on a blind date. Instead of getting laid I got a sales pitch.

Amway people are sneaky as hell. Now when I encounter anything like them I have to resist the urge to cock back my fist.


#14

A supp based one I ran into a while back was a friend of one of my lifting partner who would join us every so often. He had a great inroad into an explosive new company and all that, with all of the usual stuff about being financially independent. So I asked him to bring some over next time we lift and we’ll use it pwo for a little while.

So he brings over a 16 oz. can of whey protein and .25 kg. of creatine and some tri-fold brochures about the previous stuff. We got done and mixed up a glass of the whey and it was the lumpiest most acrid tasting mess you could imagine. Like burnt hair. The creatine had the granular consistency of table salt and sat firmly in the bottom of the glass.

The prices were something to be reckoned with too. Forty some dollars for the whey because it was pure and not cut with any lecithin, sugars, or artificial flavors. Twenty some dollars for the creatine cause everybody knows that stuff is like the next level stuff.

All free though if you buy the introductory package and there was way more too when you move up and start running trade shows!


#15

[quote]fncj wrote:

So when I left I took everything, including the brand new microwave and the heavy antique mirror with me.
[/quote]

Stories like this always make me feel all warm and fuzzy.


#16

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]fncj wrote:

So when I left I took everything, including the brand new microwave and the heavy antique mirror with me.
[/quote]

Stories like this always make me feel all warm and fuzzy.[/quote]

Absolutely.

Job well done!