This has been on my mind for awhile now. Pretty much since I read the Jodi Arias book; they never quite say this, but the company Travis Alexander—may he rest—worked for was, that’s right, a pyramid scheme!
It seems like these MLM (multi-level marketing) firms are everywhere now, and honestly, it makes me a little uncomfortable. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone you know—who is perfectly capable of earning a real living—getting sucked in to these crappy “careers.”
Not to mention how uncomfortable it feels whenever someone tries to recruit you for their pyramid. For the millionth time, no I would not like to sell Rodan & Fields, now please be on your way!
MLM Marketing And Cults: Not That Different
Here’s the thing about MLM marketing/ pyramid schemes: when you become part of one of these companies, you’re not getting a job; you’re agreeing to a new lifestyle. You’re expected to drink all the Kool Aid, swallow every lie about the overpriced product or service you sell, and, most importantly, it’s your duty to go out and find more poor, innocent souls to suck into this “life-changing opportunity.”
What I’m trying to say is: there are much less invasive ways to earn a living. Learn a trade, take a class, or maybe flip burgers while you find your real calling, but deep down, we all know pyramid schemes rarely turn into the “life-changing careers” they all promise to be.
“Hot” Shampoo Pyramid Scheme Sweeping the Internet
For legal reasons, I won’t name any names, but there’s a shampoo brand that’s been snaking its way through YouTube for awhile now, and it’s one of the scariest examples I’ve seen of a cult-like pyramid scheme in a long time.
There’s all kinds of crazy claims being made about the shampoo in question: it makes your hair thicker, it makes it grow faster, it helps reverse baldness… you get the picture. These sicko sales reps would even try to convince you the stuff could solve world hunger if they thought that would increase your chances of buying it.
Have I mentioned a bottle costs $100? Yup, that’s the kind of crazy we’re talking about.
Here’s why it’s a cult
I couldn’t believe the way I heard one girl talking about the shampoo I’m describing. She is, of course, part of the MLM, and boy, does she ever drink the Kool Aid!
I won’t say the girl’s name, but she owns a hair salon, and runs a YouTube channel with tutorials on haircuts, color, styling, and the like. I’ve always wanted to study cosmetology, so naturally, I enjoyed watching her content.
Until she started pushing this shampoo like her life depended on it.
The craziest part is that she spoke of the shampoo as if she had a lab coat in the other room and spent her own free time formulating it herself. She’d say thing like, “We only add the best ingredients… We’ve perfected this formula to help cleanse the hair and balance pH levels…” As I was watching this, all I could think was, “Who’s we?” This girl runs her own business and clearly spends plenty of time shooting and editing videos for YouTube; there’s no way she’s also running a shampoo business.
So I decided to research the brand, and that’s how I learned it’s a pyramid scheme… and a scary one at that.
Not only is this shampoo INSANELY expensive; it makes people bald!
But, even worse, women who’ve spoken publicly about losing their hair after using the stuff have even been SUED BY THE BRAND (hence the reason why I will not mention the name).
These claims have become widely associated with the brand, and I doubt there are any sales reps who haven’t heard about them. There are pictures online, and there’s even a video from another hairdresser (not associated with the brand) who discusses the chemistry behind the formula, explaining why the shampoo’s ingredients cause irritation and hair loss.
Now I know, there are supposedly two sides to every story, but considering how this brand has handled their bad press, I just can’t not think of them as a little cult.
And, honestly, most MLMs are run the same way.
Times are tough for many, and I sympathize with that. If you have money problems, it only makes sense that you’d jump on the first job opportunity to come along. But don’t let your vision be clouded by hunger; MLMs rarely provide a decent living, and most of the people who join MLMs cannot live off of the money they make.
Many people don’t realize this, but the key to becoming “successful” with a pyramid scheme is to keep recruiting more sales reps who can work “beneath” you and increase your commission. See what I mean? Pretty culty, indeed.
If you’re really at your wit’s end in your professional life, try to learn a new skill and make money with it. Or create a product and sell it online. Or sell counterfeit watches out of your car. My point is: there’s always something you can do to earn money, and pyramid schemes are never it.
Before You Go…
Share this post with your friends to warn them about the dangers of MLM companies, and leave a comment below if you’ve had a close encounter with pyramid schemes (or an actual cult)!