I’ll normally say “yes” to anything once.
So when I was invited to a “group marketing seminar” a few months back I figure sure, why not. I had nothing else to do.
Some supposed big-wig in this company had come into town to give a presentation.
I’d never heard of the guy.
Heck, I’d never heard of the company.
But, according to my inviter, this person was a multi-millionaire. And, as she put it, “you can always use more marketing insights, right?”
Well, yes. Technically.
I do write for a living, and I’d love to write 100% my own stuff, instead of some of the mindless I, and every other copywriter on the planet, is forced to pump out because some new business owner is 25 years behind and just discovered search engine optimization.
So I agreed to go.
I was told to “dress to impress.”
We go to the hotel convention center. I walk in the room. And I stop cold.
There in the corner is a table full of products.
This wasn’t a “marketing” seminar.
It was a multi-level-marketing (MLM) seminar.
A pyramid scheme.
Well This Is Awkward
So there I am, being shown off these “really great products” I had never heard of. Beauty products. Vitamins. Shampoos. Sports Drinks. All with inventive names from an unknown manufacturer.
Because who doesn’t like a mysterious vitamins manufacturer.
I took a seat.
We had to get there early so we could get a “good seat.”
So there I am, looking around, trying not to look like I’m looking around. And something seems unusual. I tried to put my finger on it.
And then the presentation started.
Completely in Spanish.
I don’t speak Spanish.
And that’s when I realized what I was trying to put my finger on. Everyone looked to be first-generation Mexican immigrants.
I’m from Lansing, Michigan.
I had to laugh at myself internally. A funny situation.
A Scammer Is Going to Scam
As someone who’s been in the online writing business for over a decade now, I’ve written about any number of multi-level-marketing schemes.
You know, those “you’ll get super rich” programs if you just sign up a dozen people to try the product, and then they each sign up a dozen people, and then those dozen sign up another dozen, kinds of things?
Yeah, I can’t tell you how many of those I’ve written about.
I’ll still receive the occasional request.
So I was there, watching the presentation, making up words in my head to the hand gestures the supposed millionaire company rock star was making.
The guy wore a suit several sizes too large, had loafers worn down far enough you could probably poke a finger through and talked about a wife without wearing a wedding band. Apparently, he had spent all his money on that big Cadillac Escalade he gave his kids in his story (thankfully the presentation did have visual aids).
As the presentation went on though I started to get a bit upset.
Not at the situation, which honestly was kind of funny.
But that here were people trying to take advantage of first-generation and new immigrants. People that might not have had the language skills or specific tools to make the kind of money they dreamed of.
That part really bothered me.
For the Love Of God, Stop Inviting Me
So you probably haven’t found yourself in the middle of a pyramid scheme presentation given in a different language.
But you’ve probably been asked to join up with some MLM by a social media friend.
Heck, I won’t post gym pictures because one, that’s not my style, and two, if I do a bunch of Beach Body representatives will crawl out of the woodworks and try to get me to sign up with their program.
A program where all I have to do is buy these great products at a discounted price, and then try to push all the products down the throats of my friends so I can make money as well.
I don’t even like sharing the YouTube videos I create on my Facebook page. There’s no way I’m converting it into a real-time infomercial for a pyramid scheme.
Telling people you work for a pyramid scheme company like Nu Skin, Amway, or Mary Kay is like wearing sweat pants in public. You’ve kind of given up, don’t care what other’s thing, and you have no problem bugging your friends with it.
Although honestly, I’d rather see the meatball sub stain on your sweatpants because you wore the same pair yesterday than to be told to “take control of my future” one more time on Instagram.
So if you’re reading this and you’re a social friend of mine, please, for the love of god, stop inviting me to your scam job.
I, unlike you, have enough respect for my friends (or maybe just myself), to not try to scam my friends out of their money and time.
But that’s just my opinion.
What do you guys think?