Robert Carroll, of the Skeptic's Dictionary, has described Amway as a "legal pyramid scheme", and has said that the quasi-religious devotion of its affiliates is used by the company to conceal poor performance rates by distributors. Erik German's memoir My Father's Dream documents the real life failures of German's father as he is lured into "get-rich-quick" schemes such as Amway.
On its face, the debate over right-to-work is about an arcane bit of labor law—whether workers under a contract that was collectively negotiated by a union should have to pay dues to that union, regardless of whether they’re members. But that debate is a proxy for a larger battle that is less about employment law than political jockeying: Unions tends to align with Democrats, and as a result, if it becomes more difficult for unions to collect dues, they’ll be weakened and less able to advocate for the political causes of their choosing.
I am an IBO for the second time in my life. I tried when I was 20 and in the Air Force. Gonna make it rich in a year. Pffft. Naw. Can you get rich in Amway? Absolutely? Will you? Probably not. Same as any business you really have to work hard and put in a lot of time and capital in the beginning with little to no return. But you stick with it, don't quit before the miracle happens. This time around, I just want to work the business, maybe grow it a little, and make enough money to maybe get my wife home to raise our daughter and home school her full time. So, hey, if I can get it to $3000 a month....great. If not.....great. I love the products anyway and if some people want to come with me and maybe make a few bucks or just enjoy some good products, great. I'm happy with it and other people's opinions of me or my Amway business are none of my business. No need to be defensive....Amway's reputation speaks for itself.
This collective approach is how the family runs their home lives, too. The DeVoses’ myriad properties are managed through a single private company, RDV Corporation, which both manages the family’s investments and operates as a home office, paying the family’s employees, maintaining the DeVoses’ residences and assuring them as frictionless a life as possible. (The duties outlined by one recent property-manager job with RDV Corporation include “ensur[ing] doors are well-oiled to avoid squeaking” and that “broken toys [are] repaired or disposed of.”)
Amway gives some idea of real chances for success in its “Amway Business Review” pamphlet, which the FTC requires it provide to all prospects. The “Business Review” is an ingenious mixture of mandated honesty and obfuscatory spin: The average monthly gross income for “active” distributors, for instance, is revealed to be a meager $65 a month; but the “Review” leaves out the median income and the net profit, both of which would probably be negative. Likewise, it states that “2 percent of all ‘active’ distributors who sponsor others and approximately 1 percent of all ‘active’ distributors met Direct Distributor qualification requirements during the survey period.” From this, it derives the optimistic conclusion that “once again, the survey demonstrates a substantial increase in achievement for those who share the business with others.” Increase implies that there are some non-sharing distributors who succeed; an alternate reading of the statistics would be that all distributors try to share, none succeed without sharing, but only half are able to share. It’s also a measure of Amway’s PR savvy that every article I’ve seen (even the critical ones) that mentions the number of Directs uses the 2 percent, rather than the more accurate 1 percent, figure.
In Amway's eyes, your friends and family are all potential cash cows you should be milking -- you're trained to go after the people closest to you first (to rack up those sweet pity sales). "I was thinking that every friend that didn't join my network didn't want success for himself or me, that he was somehow against me." This crazy train of thought led Kyritsis to harass his loved ones in an attempt to better their lives. Desperate to convince someone of the amazing untapped Amway potential, Kyritsis pushed the Amway rhetoric on anyone who would listen, especially his girlfriend. He would tell her that her studies were pointless when she could be making so much more money, dragging her to seminars and showing her the Amway tapes like a really boring version of The Ring.
The way they sell it is by leveraging people with wide networks of friends (people who are good at creating new acquaintances) who are also sociopathic enough to put a dollar figure on their relationships. You might make a living wage in such a career. You might get a pink cadillac from mary kay. It's a maybe. You might end up out on your ass if you can't make enough money doing this and you sink all your money and time into it.
1, no inventory loading? Hebalife distributors are re-evaluated for their qualifications every January. Based solely on how much products they purchased. Distributors can claim the products are for their own personal consumption any time they need to make up the volume points they needed for the qualification. 2, way over priced products : 2-10 times of equivalent products in the market. Why would a real consumer pay such premium for products that are available everywhere? 3, the refund policy. Herbalife distributors make purchase through their uplines. Uplines get rolty override payment on every purchase their downline made. This policy only encourage focus on recruiting, push unwanted purchase, and in factual denied refund.
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.
Ultimately, however, he dealt with his catch-22 through simple fantasies of escape. He was adamant that someday he’d be a millionaire, his current predicament no more than a bad memory. His hand would describe a hyperbola as he explained that The Business was hard at first, but if you’d just stick in there, you’d soon enjoy exponential success. This would happen so soon that he wouldn’t have to prospect long enough even to get particularly good at it. “The point is not to get good,” he insisted, “It’s to get done!”
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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.’
‘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.’
"We learned that two Dateline producers had registered as IBOs and for months had been conducting undercover research for the story, which included using a hidden camera to videotape meetings and conversations with IBOs. The producers did not identify themselves as working for Dateline, instead feigning interest in building a business powered by Quixtar."
In 1983, Rich DeVos, one of Amway's founders, made recordings which, among other things, communicated his displeasure with several issues regarding some of the high ranking distributors/IBOs. These recordings are entitled "Directly Speaking" and were addressed to Direct Distributors (now called Platinums), who are considered leaders with various responsibilities for their downline group. In January 1983 Rich DeVos announced that Amway would pay Business Volume (BV) on Amway produced tapes. He expressed concern about the level of income from the sale of Business Support Materials (BSM; tapes, CDs, books, and business conferences/functions) compared to the income the high level distributors were making from Amway products. He stated his legal team was concerned if the tool income exceeded 10% of their Amway income, and stated that BV payouts on tapes can never exceed 20% of the distributor's total Business Volume.
Disguising the upward flow of fees within a downward flow of commissions definitely has its advantages. One of the decisive factors in the 1979 FTC decision exonerating Amway from allegations of pyramiding was that most of its revenues came from product sales, not from enrollment fees. The assumption is that those sales are based on rational consumer choices—made on the basis of price and quality—and that the money paid into the bonus system is not an extraneous surcharge, but merely the portion other corporations would pour into their marketing budgets. Amway claims, in fact, that it’s able to save even its small time distributors money by avoiding things like pricey mass advertising. These savings are the source of the alleged wholesale 30 percent Basic Discount that every distributor is supposed to enjoy even before the bonuses kick in.
In 2010, Amway reached a settlement reportedly valued at $100 million in a California class action lawsuit filed by three former distributors who claimed the company was operating as a pyramid scheme. In addition to paying the plaintiffs and their attorneys, the company announced in a letter to its employees that, as part of the settlement, it was taking action to address many of the concerns raised in the case. Among the actions taken were tripling investments in IBO education programs and more than doubling the number of professional trainers, such as the Yagers, across the country. A year after the California case was settled, Amway offices in India were raided for the second time among multiple complaints about the company’s practices and its upper-level distributors. The following year, they were raided again, and the CEO of Amway India was arrested for fraud.
Brad spoke in parables: There was Brad’s father-in-law, who, upon being given a brand-new souped-up truck, sat down and wept. After a few years, the “newness wore off,” so Brad again bought him the latest model. And again his father-in-law sat down and wept. (Brad’s own fluid dynamics were more spectacular: When he first saw the jazzed-up truck, he admitted, “urine streamed down” his pant legs.)
When a friend first presented the Amway business to Gomez, she admittedly wasn’t excited. “I was newly married, working three jobs and going to school,” she said. “I don’t do anything halfway, and so didn’t believe I had the time to devote to something new.” But when her husband, Adam, weighed the start-up cost against the potential to make additional money each month, she decided to come on board.
Bottom line: If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, Amway may not be the place for you due to the company politics. Sort of ironic, since the Amway business thrives on the entrepreneurial spirit of the distributor force. But, if you are looking to just go to work every day, maintain the status quo, get paid fairly, and live a balanced life, than Amway is great!
Listen to Rosemarie and Otto Steiner-Lang, who joined Amway in the hope of funding their own construction company and now run their Amway business full-time: ‘We have found in Amway the independence we were looking for. This business is a doable and affordable solution for the problems in the labor market today. Amway, which represents free enterprise perfectly, postulates and promotes the initiative of the individual, reducing the burden on the public social system.’
Scott confidently reprised decades’ worth of conservative alarmism, invoking inflation and national debt and other flat-earth bugbears in a doomsday routine as charmingly archaic as it was fatuous. An accurate narrative of the last few decades—growing productivity, GDP, and per-capita income, accompanied by a massive upward redistribution of wealth—would hardly have packed the millennial portent Scott was looking for. The Second Wave, like Communism, like all the works of man, was destined to decay and collapse, making way for the coming entrepreneurial kingdom—which, for those who lacked faith or zeal, would bring a day of reckoning. Were we ready? To prove he “wasn’t making this crazy stuff up,” he littered the floor with copies of Fortune, Money, and Forbes, citing the relevant disaster stories. I felt like I was back at ENTERPRISE 2020.