Josh felt that duplication worked in the other direction as well. If he emulated the multi-multi-millionaires (“multi-multi’s” for short) above him—and did exactly what they said they had done—he would succeed as they had. In his mind, his interests were already merged with theirs. He would boast of their accomplishments, tell me how their bonuses just kept “getting better and better all the time!” For him, of course, bigger bonuses for uplines simply meant a more powerful drain on his income. But that kind of self-defeating “stinking thinking” missed the point, as far as Josh was concerned. By “visualizing” great wealth, by worshiping great wealth, and by imitating the consuming habits of the great and wealthy, he would somehow obtain great wealth.
Amway has historically gotten much more criticism for its business practices than its products. As middle men, distributors often falsely claim that they cut out that very middle man. This supposedly results in more competitive, “wholesale” prices. On the contrary, Amway’s prices are typically higher than their closest competitors. The prices only become more appealing when employees have a significant downline beneath them.
Amway blamed its seamy image on a few “bad apples,” impossible to avoid in a business that is open to all. (When Procter & Gamble, a competitor in the soap business, sued Amway for spreading rumors that P&G was a hotbed of Satanism, Amway shifted the blame to overenthusiastic distributors.) Since the eighties, the corporation has dealt with the issue by encouraging distributor groups to train Amwayers in “professionality,” and by promulgating elaborate rules of conduct and a code of ethics for distributors.
‘As long as you’re a golf member, you’re open to playing all the tournaments and games,’ Dale says to me. ‘There’s something for the ladies, and then if couples play together, we have a couples’ golf on Sundays. We have a senior group, and then a young under-forty-year-old guy group.’ He shows me a schedule pinned to a corkboard near the door. ‘These are kind of the core golf groups. And then we have a formal Men’s Golf Association as well, one tournament per month. If they win that tournament, there are parking spots up for grabs, if you want a nice parking spot – or some trophies. You know, when you love a game and you watch it on TV, to be able to still play it and go out there with a large group of guys, and then win a tournament? These guys are having a blast. They feel like they’re on the PGA Tour. That’s what it’s all about.’
As its hands reached “midnight,” the Rolex dissolved into a series of video montages depicting the consumer Shangri-La that our own forthcoming Amway success would open for us. We leered as a day in the life of a typical jobholder—all alarm clocks, traffic jams, and dingy cubicles—was contrasted with that of an Amway distributor, who slept in and lounged the day away with his family. We gawked hungrily as real-life Amway millionaires strutted about sprawling estates (proudly referred to as “family compounds”) and explained that such opulence was ours for the asking. We chortled as a highway patrolman stopped an expensive sports car for speeding—only to ride away a moment later with an Amway sample kit strapped to his motorcycle. Our laughter became a roar of delight as the camera zoomed in on the sports car’s bumper sticker: “JOBLESS … AND RICH!”
Individuals may buy products through Quixtar's web site with a referral number from an IBO. Quixtar also gives IBOs the option to create free personal websites that can be personalized to focus on health, beauty, health and beauty, and/or gift and incentive products. The referring IBO then receives the retail/wholesale profit (usually 30%), and a percentage ("bonus") of the cost of the sold goods (from 3% up to 31% depending on total PV generated), with Quixtar-exclusive products yielding a higher bonus per dollar in Point Value and Business Value (PV/BV). Quixtar offers a wide range of products for its IBOs to purchase for personal use and/or to sell to customers through Quixtar.com and IBO personal e-commerce sites.
DeVos quickly realized that the situation was unsustainable. So she hatched a plan designed to surprise Engler just as his opposition had surprised her: She would resign as state GOP chair without notifying him in advance. She chose a date in February 2000 when she knew Engler would be in Washington. Around 9 a.m., she left a message on his phone, informing him that she would announce her resignation at an early-afternoon news conference. Engler quickly changed his itinerary and booked a flight home for his own news conference that evening. Publicly, Engler saved face, but the message from the DeVoses was unmistakable: We are a political force with our own agenda, like it or not.
Amway has been in business for more than fifty years, and they seem to pay to their IBOs according to their compensation plan. Besides, they appear to have a positive online reputation. The customers are amazed with their customer service that involves pleasant and polite people who are always there to resolve any problem you might have. It is extremely easy to sign up and make an order. This professional and big American company offers a huge selection of useful products and a lot of benefits. The purchases usually arrive very fast and feature high quality. These include products from nutrition to bath, beauty and home.
After graduating from high school in 1975, Betsy enrolled at Calvin College, her mother’s alma mater. Calvin’s mission, as stated in the 1975–1976 course catalog, was “to prepare students to live productive lives of faith to the glory of God in contemporary society—not merely lives that have a place for religion … but lives which in every part, in every manifestation, in their very essence, are Christian.”
But as I came to know Josh better, I realized he was acting not so much out of a calculated strategy as out of a deep faith in duplication. Josh believed that whatever he did, his downlines would imitate: If he set the example of filling his house with only “positive” (i.e. Amway) products, so would they. Rich DeVos, more philosophically, calls this the Law of Compensation: “In the long haul, every gift of time, money, or energy that you give will return to benefit you.”
"The first part of the brainwashing," says Kyritsis, "was that 'there would be no success without the system.'" What's the system? The system is a series of seminars, recordings, and books that claim to be a guaranteed path to master salesmanship. Following Amway's guidelines successfully is seen as the only path to success, so if you aren't making money, it's because you're not "working the program" properly. Any success is due purely to their teachings, any failure is due to you not following them hard enough. Sound familiar?
Thanks to the DeVoses, Michigan’s charter schools enjoy a virtually unregulated existence. Thanks to them, too, the center of the American automotive industry and birthplace of the modern labor movement is now a right-to-work state. They’ve funded campaigns to elect state legislators, established advocacy organizations to lobby them, buttressed their allies and primaried those they disagree with, spending at least $100 million on political campaigns and causes over the past 20 years. “The DeVos family has been far more successful not having the governor’s seat than if they had won it,” says Richard Czuba, the owner of the Glengariff Group, a bipartisan polling firm in Michigan. “They have, to some degree, created a shadow state party. And it’s been pretty darn effective.”