The Perils of Amway, continued
At this point it is important that I once again qualify my information by saying that I never signed up as an active distributor for the Amway Corporation. The arguments in here are my own opinions, based on a summary of what I've read and understood. By this time there are a good many pages written by former distributors, and if you're looking for more hard evidence (financial statements, statistics, testimonials, and so forth) please be sure to check out my links.
Although I am not an expert, I feel entitled to present this information because I had some very strong personal experiences with Amway before reading these documents, and everything I read tended to be exactly on target when I compared it to my own observations. Whereas it had taken Ted two weeks to break down my natural skepticism and get me to trust him and Amway, it took about thirty seconds of reading to spin me around 180 degrees, because all the new information struck me as obvious right away. So if you skipped directly to this page, you might want to consider reading my story later after you've heard all the information. That way, you can have the benefit of my experiences without having to go through them yourself... or worse, learning the hard way after spending a few years as a distributor.
"Make something of your life, boy, let me into your mind."
Operation : Mindcrime
Part 2: You will be assimilated.
Can you get by in Amway without listening to tapes, reading books, and going to conferences? Why sure; nobody's forcing you to do all that. But this is what I want to stress here: everyone from Amway tells you unequivocally that you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT SUCCEED without buying the "educational" material which is at the core of Amway. Well, sure enough, my experiences tended to confirm that. You can't succeed without the motivational materials. The problem is, your chances of succeeding WITH the motivational materials aren't so hot either. (Amway will not release information that flatly states how many people turn a profit; however, some very good calculations have been done on this page and this page which both estimate that less than one percent are earning any money whatsoever, even a very small amount.)
SO, your upline will tell you that you can't be successful without tapes and so forth. But I told you (and many other people also feel) that I found all the tapes to be repetitive, vague, and unhelpful! So why do you need them? Why is it urgently fed into your mind that you must listen to the tapes every day, and read all the books, and go to every meeting you can? I'll tell you why, and the reason is devastatingly simple: the guys on top are making their millions of dollars off of book, tape and ticket sales. And that is the only money that constitutes a positive cash flow through Amway.
Hey, don't leave yet! I'm just getting started.
The core of the business
What material is actually contained in these motivational items?
Amwayites may be a captive audience, but even they could recognize it if
they were listening to the exact same message word for word a thousand
times. So obviously something meaningful must be contained in there,
right? You bet. Amway propaganda is designed to tell you the following
things, and tell you them so often that you get them drilled into your
Those are the main doctrines of Amway. According to
information gleaned from the Cult Awareness Network in Chicago, obtained via
Sidney Schwartz's web page, the following are primary characteristics of a
"Destructive cults fall into several different categories, including: 1. Religious, 2. Therapy/Self-Awareness, 3. Political, 4. Commercial, 5. New Age, 6. Satanic/Ritual Abuse.
Marks Of A Destructive Cult
A bit more than a passing similarity, I think you'll agree.
A call to action!
I went on to read a number of stories from people claiming they
had lost all contact with their friends and families, and had no
social ties outside of Amway. Why? Because they had become salesmen
and saleswomen, not just as a job but ALL THE TIME. Everybody they
met off the street was a potential recruit, and they couldn't be in a
conversation for five minutes without going into a pitch. Gradually
their personalities had changed without them realizing it, until they
realized that Amway members were, in fact, the only people left in
the world that they could relate to.|
What have we learned so far? That Amway bankrupts people by forcing them to pay money for reeducation, which profits no one except those at the highest levels. That Amway uses said motivational materials to crush your spirit and make you dependent on them for all your needs in life, be they financial, emotional, or spiritual. That Amway demands fundamental changes in your personality which wreck your personal relationships. Is it overreacting to think that Amway is an honest-to-god cult? I'm not so sure. It's up to you to make the call.
Well, I was sickened by this information, but at the same time I felt elevated and much stronger than I had in a long time. It is said that the truth will set you free, and I felt very much like that. I could feel my mind growing clearer as I read more, as I shook out the mental acid which had been eating at me for two weeks.
And I felt a wide variety of other emotions as well. First I was really mad because I knew I'd been manipulated. Then I realized that being mad was useless, because the people who had manipulated me were themselves being manipulated! Yes, Ted seemed to me like an unprincipled salesman who had preyed on my emotions to get my cooperation, but he didn't realize he was doing so. He really and truly believed that he was offering me a legitimate business opportunity, which would help both him and me to become rich and happy. But Ted had been in the business for a year, and he only had four people downline. (That's pitiful!) And chances were, few people in Ted's upline knew what kind of bad things they were doing either. For most of the higher-ups, it was obviously too late. But Ted was getting swindled worse than I was.
And what about all the innocent people who got into it every day? They weren't to blame for letting their greed and their imaginations run away with them; after all, I was almost one of them. Wouldn't more people profit from this information? Hey, the world wide web is a fantastic forum of knowledge, and it's unique because everybody has a fair chance to speak; nobody can dictate what gets published. But most people don't use the web.
I was out. I knew in a moment that I would never join the Amway sales force. But later that night I asked myself, was it enough? I was developing this Lone Ranger complex, struck with the idea that I'd like to make a difference in some people's lives. How could I do that? What would you do if you were in my shoes?