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.”
Kyritsis got off easy. You can find stories online of people spending $192,000 to "make" $30,000 (shit, we think there are actual cults with a higher rate of return). It's impossible to know the exact "success" rate for Amway independent business owners (IBOs), but one case from 2008 showed that out of 33,000 IBOs, only 90 made enough money to cover the costs of their business. That's a failure rate of damn near 100%. But of course, to Amway, those aren't failures. Amway doesn't make its money selling the random household goods the distributors are handing out -- they make money selling a dream. Then once you've committed yourself and forked over serious cash -- and convinced friends and family to do the same -- how can you leave? At this point, you've got too much invested not to see it through.
The compensation plan is called a “stairstep breakaway,” which requires the business rep to effectively rebuild a leg once it has reached what’s called Platinum status (7500 points). Basically, legs break off once they qualify and the commissions turn into 4% royalties instead of commissioned payouts of ~30%. I asked a former Amway emerald once what it was like having his first leg break-off and his reply was: “it’s awful, you really know how to ask painful questions don’t you.” He went on to explain his commissions dropped by at least 80% when they turned into “royalties.” It should be noted that the royalties technically disappear if the volume in the leg drops below 7500 points, so it’s not really a “permanent” royalty unless you maintain your volume. It is in essence a “punishing” compensation plan that forces you to rebuild a leg once it reaches this trigger volume, effectively causing you to “not” want others to pass you up.
‘It was very marshy. They rearranged the golf course because part of Bardmoor was in here, so they restructured it,’ she says, referring to the adjacent gated community. ‘Bayou Club is divided into two cities: Pinellas Park and Seminole. When you first drive into the community, while you’re technically still in Pinellas Park, you wouldn’t know it. Pinellas Park is low-income – we call this section an oasis in the middle of Pinellas Park.’
Amway North America Managing Director Jim Ayres talks with Rick Neuheisel, former player and coach and current CBS Sports analyst in “Team Building On and Off the Field.” Neuheisel’s approach to leadership is forged by three key questions: Who are we, where are we going, and how are we going to get there? The resulting clear sense of identity and direction – coupled with the active, daily choice to have a positive attitude – makes leaders and their teams relentlessly positive, convinced that anything can and will be accomplished. Watch Now
The family is also heavily invested in right-wing politics, earning comparisons to the Kochs for the enthusiasm with which they back Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio, and their sizable donations to ultraconservative organizations like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, both of which promote Christian value-based public policy such as anti-abortion legislation and bans on same-sex marriage. In 2014, the DeVoses donated in the six figures to Michigan-based conservative think tanks including the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which promotes free market economics within a Christian framework, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, also a supporter of free market economics. Elsewhere, conservative organizations that received DeVos funding of over a million dollars each include the American Enterprise Institute, another free market think tank; the Alliance Defending Freedom, the right’s preeminent legal defense fund; and the Heritage Foundation, which promotes free market economics and ‘traditional American values.’
What with backorders and unexpected disappearances, it took me a few weeks to gather enough items for my next experiment: a blind taste-test pitting Amway food against brands from “communist” supermarkets. Unfortunately, biases crept into the data when my subjects learned to identify what they called the Telltale Amway Aftertaste, a lingering cardboard bouquet with unmistakable PineSol inflections. Aftertaste aside, Amway food still rated low: Only the Critics’ Choice Cherry Flavored Toaster Pastries (a Pop-Tart analog) managed to eke into second-to-last place. The Goglonian Bagels were universally declared the worst ever experienced. And the Big Fiber Fudgies? Let’s just say that they were pretty much all Telltale Aftertaste.
One day, Sherri asked me to attend a meeting at which a “millionaire from the West Coast” was to talk about “business trends of the nineties.” I was not entirely caught by surprise—Sherri had dropped hints about starting her own “distribution business” at about the time that Amway Dish Drops appeared in the E2020 kitchen—and although she didn’t tell me the millionaire was from Amway, it wasn’t difficult to guess which version of the gospel of wealth he’d be preaching. I jumped at the chance to meet this mysterious man of money, although from totally insincere motives—the old anthro major in me was hankering for a bona fide subculture to gawk at.
His tedious auto-encomium was enlivened only by occasional, chilling anecdotes of violence: His mother hit him as a child until, old and strong enough, he could credibly threaten to hit her back; his frat brothers, drunken and rambunctious, tried to shave his head one night, whereupon he barricaded himself in his room, audibly cocked a semiautomatic shotgun, and threatened to kill them; and his family needled him about Amway until, one Thanksgiving, he jumped up and shouted, “I don’t dump on what you do, and if you keep dumping on what I do, I’ll take you outside and knock your block off; and if you’re a woman, I don’t know what I’ll do!”