Some friends of mine are into Amway & are showing it to me. I am skeptical, but as I look into it things are looking good. There's some points in one of the first books you read that appear to contradict what the uppers are saying, but that's where that "Ask Questions" part comes in. Anyone can make a company look bad, either by accident or for lolz. Those that only buy their own product aren't necessarily doing it wrong, but they won't make as much as thewy would 'hiring' a 'team'. Essentially the distributor gets points for product sold, then paid on total point value (PV). Anyone can surpass their mentors, so not shaped like a pyramid :)
Amway: The True Story of the Company That Transformed the Lives of Millions reads like an extended advertisement. Its author, Wilbur Cross, became acquainted with Amway cofounders Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel when they commissioned him to write the first ‘official’ history of the Amway Corporation, Commitment to Excellence, published in 1986. In Amway, Cross repeatedly references the work of Shad Helmstetter, PhD, a ‘motivational expert’ specializing in ‘programming’ yourself to change negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Negativity is expressly verboten in the world of Amway, as it breeds doubt – distributors are advised to get rid of any negative people in their downline as soon as possible if they can’t train them to be positive.
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.”
The prospect is alarming enough that Charles Paul Conn, in Promises to Keep, works hard to prove it’ll never happen. “The reality,” he tells us, “is entirely different from what might be predicted by a statistician with a slide rule.” He points to the millions of likely untapped prospects—youths, retirees, downsized professionals, foreigners—although he fails to acknowledge that recruiting them would only make the Business hungrier. More plausibly, he adds that Amway is a small part of the population and will stay that way. The Business’s high dropout rate, he explains, though “often cited as a negative factor, actually serves to keep the pool of potential distributors large.” In other words, Amway’s salvation is its high rate of failure.
Amwayers are like vampires: To join them, you must invite them into your home. Unpacking the Starter Kit was mainly Jean’s show, she being the most balanced of my upline trio, the calmest and least prone to outbursts of enthusiasm. (Josh limited himself to preparing my contract and casting a longing gaze every time my roommate ventured out of his room.) Jean was also the only one who had actually read the Amway Business Manual (included in the Kit). Nonetheless, she deferred to Josh: He did the “more important” work of “building” The Business, while she performed the womanly tasks of customer service.
We had a fireplace, a poolside grill, and a river-rock deck with closing screens. We had an island counter. We had walls covered with mirrors. To get to my parents’ master bathroom, I passed through a dressing area connected to a walk-in closet. The bedroom next to mine was expressly for guests; the one at the end of the hall became a study. One of two living rooms seemed intended only for show, and the planter inside the front door housed pots of plants – silk, they never wilted. The bathroom off the family room had an outside door and a shower for people coming in from the pool. We bought new furniture, new rugs, new artwork. I had never felt more proud.
My parents more or less broke even in Amway. They didn’t lose any money; they also didn’t make any. I learned recently that my mom was against it from the start. ‘She never wanted to do it, never warmed up to it,’ says my dad. She believed it was a cult, and wasn’t happy about giving their time and money to it. She hated Amway’s rightwing political propaganda and evangelical bullying. She hated that it kept the two of them from spending time with me. ‘She wasn’t going to leave me,’ my dad says. ‘But there was tension because she didn’t want to go do these things.’ Even as he admits he agreed with her on some level, he wanted to believe that The Business was viable.
‘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.’
He ended with a Wizard of Oz motif, reminding us to stay positive and focused: “You have to stick to that yellow brick road. Just like Dorothy. She followed it all the way to the Emerald City—and picked up three legs along the way! You know what? The Wizard of Oz is really an Amway movie!” The crowd erupted in laughter and cheers. In the midst of their long applause, they seemed to have forgotten what the Wizard turned out to be.
You will find yourself being sold a whole life policy by a friend who has one or two "brokers" that they work for, and unspoken is that some of the commission goes to this person - it's structured just like amway, the commissions flow up the chain. There's even an old joke built into the movie groundhog-day. "ned the head! Needlenose ned!" People who know people like ned realize that ned was probably very near killing himself before the main character bought a bunch of insurance from him.
Their vertically integrated supply chain is one of longest in the industry. In addition to running plants, they own organic farms. They have farms in Brazil, Mexico, and the state of Washington where they grow and harvest key botanical ingredients like echinacea, spinach, alfalfa, watercress, and cherries. They then take those products and manufacture intermediates. Cherries, for example, are processed for Vitamin C. These intermediates they both use in their own products and sell to other companies.