In October 1994, Amway gave the biggest corporate contribution recorded to that date to a political party for a single election, $2.5 million to the Republican National Committee, and was the number one corporate political donor in the United States. In the 2004 election cycle, the organization contributed a total of $4 million to a conservative 527 group, Progress for America.
To test these claims I took my new Amway wholesale price list down to the local supermarket for a price comparison. As it turned out, Amway wholesale prices were only slightly better than supermarket retail prices, although a few Amway products, like freezer bags, were significantly cheaper. And this was giving The Business the benefit of many doubts: I factored in its claim that its detergents are more “concentrated” than other brands; I compared Amway with high-quality brand-name products, not store brands or generics; and I compared only regular prices, ignoring the fact that the supermarket, unlike Amway, always has items on sale (not to mention coupons). The same results obtained at the local drugstore in comparisons of vitamins and cosmetics. All in all, the 30 percent Basic Discount was nowhere to be found.
The move unified the various Amway companies worldwide. "We're now reintroducing our brands in North America, moving away from Quixtar and going back to the Amway name", said Steve Lieberman, managing director of Amway Global. "We decided there were a number of roads we had to go down in order to recreate awareness for a brand that, quite frankly, a lot of people felt had gone away."
MLMs, which thrive in rural communities like Owosso, on military bases, and in countless Facebook groups, aren’t often targeted in mainstream reporting; when they are, Marie says, “It’s from the viewpoint of an old white guy activist investor on Wall Street. That doesn’t tell me anything.” Though she hopes The Dream might shine a light for some people on what a raw deal MLMs can be, Marie also sees endless juicy stories. “It’s entertaining and weird, this weird world that you see in your Facebook feed, and on anti-MLM Reddit channels where everyone’s gossiping about their cousins. I wanted to like, go inside and be in that industry. . . . I want to know why my cousin Stephanie is doing this every day on Instagram, and is she making any money or not? Or what are her friends saying?”
‘The gym used to be the men’s smoking lounge,’ Dale says to us. ‘This is a pretty young club, but already we’ve seen a lot of changes. It’s not all about the men saying, ‘I want to join a golf club.’ Now, with women having a much larger role in the family, they want to know, ‘Well, what’s in it for me?’ There’s got to be a fitness center, there’s got to be some activities for ladies and kids, and it has to be more of a family culture. A lot of traditional men’s golf clubs have had to really evolve into family clubs.’
In the 1990s, the Amway organization was a major contributor to the Republican Party (GOP) and to the election campaigns of various GOP candidates. Amway and its sales force contributed a substantial amount (up to half) of the total funds ($669,525) for the 1994 political campaign of Republican congresswoman and Amway distributor Sue Myrick (N.C.). According to two reports by Mother Jones magazine, Amway distributor Dexter Yager "used the company's extensive voice-mail system to rally hundreds of Amway distributors into giving a total of $295,871" to Myrick's campaign. According to a campaign staffer quoted by the magazine, Myrick had appeared regularly on the Amway circuit, speaking at hundreds of rallies and selling $5 and $10 audiotapes. Following the 1994 election, Myrick maintained "close ties to Amway and Yager", and raised $100,000 from Amway sources, "most notably through fundraisers at the homes of big distributors", in the 1997–98 election cycle.
Similar to previous years, the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report features the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index (AESI). Introduced in 2015, the AESI measures three dimensions that influence a person’s intention to start a business: desire, feasibility and stability against social pressure. The average for all countries slightly declined from 50 to 47. In the U.S., AESI score was 54, similar to recent years (2016: 56 and 2015: 53). Additionally:
And for those of us who had no taste for sales, Scott had fabulous news: A group of Amway millionaires had come up with a sure-fire system for making The Plan work—and had formed World Wide Dreambuilders LLC, a corporation independent of Amway, to teach that system to others. All that was required to ensure an Amwayer’s success, Dreambuilders taught, was that each distributor simply bought $100 of Amway products a month for his own “personal use.” That meant no high-pressure pitches, no Tupperware parties—no sales at all, in fact. You could meet your $100 monthly goal by selling to yourself—at 30 percent off retail to boot! Being an intensive Amway consumer was such a great deal that once we spread the word, our businesses would practically build themselves. We could quickly 6-4-2 to that extra $2,000, and once our six “legs” did likewise, we’d be pulling in $50,000 a month; if we included some other “factors,” more like $100,000! And that was just the beginning: There were some truly spectacular incomes to be made through The Business—which Scott would have told us about but for FTC regulations barring him from doing so.
According to this article, “The way that you’re actually going to make residual income is by sponsoring people into a downline. Yes, this means that you are going to need to get really good at recruiting your friends and family into the business to become an active distributor just like you.” This means that if you’re looking to make it to the top of the Amway hierarchy, you’re going to need to create a large network of IBOs underneath you, and earn a commission off of each sale they make. In other words, creating recurring monthly income occurs not necessarily by selling Amway products, but by recruiting others to sell them for you. And this simply can’t be avoided, because in order to begin selling Amway products, you’ll have to sign up under an existing IBO, who will make money off each of your sales.
My uplines’ despair made me reluctant to add to their failure. But I had stayed in too long already. Having run out of other things to buy, I had resorted to subjecting my cat to Amway pet food. And I began to sense that when Josh and Sherri looked at me, they—in their last-ditch hopes—saw Diamonds. Before I disappeared from their lives, however, I accompanied them to one last Rally.