Amway: the revelation and some feminist thoughts

November 5, 2010

OK, I think I’m tired of blogging about Amway now, so I’ll finish up with this post as conclusion.

As the “creating wealth” tract was turned to the last page, it had an image which contained two empty blocks. My evangelist filled in “Amway” and “NW21” into these blocks. Now the secret was out. It was revealed what this guy was selling all along! And somewhere deep down I remembered hearing about these two companies, and what I heard wasn’t good. So I understood why he was hiding the company he was presenting up to now. First had to convince me how poor I was and how quickly I can make money.

There was a second part, however: I could immediately call up the wikipage on Amway, note the recent court cases against them, note the sociological work comparing Amway to religious cults. Had I knew before the appointment what company I’ll be speaking to, I could have prepared for this. When he finished, I asked about some of this. Answers focused on how legal this company are, and on their 90-day money back guarantee.

I was told about the 8 couples in South Africa who made it to diamond level, which meant a R1.6 million a year income. This sound like a lot, but since they work with couples, it’s R800000 per person, and then you still need to deduct all your business expenses from this, since the R1.6 million isn’t profit, it’s income for the business. Suddenly the riches doesn’t even seem to be that much riches anyhow. Well, R1.6 is a lot of money, and probably more than I’d even earn, or really care to earn, but in the business world your not really noteworthy. Also, if only 8 couples could actually make it, then I can be sure that with my low commitment to marketing I will never make it. This is like telling a worker the CEO’s salary then he apply for a job. He know he’s never gonna get that salary, so why should this even motivate him?

The last thing that I found really really strange was the gender issues in the approach. The man invited only me, alone. But the whole interview was about how me and my wife can make this huge amount of money. No thought for the possibility that maybe we like to be independent people doing different stuff, and not even considering that if you want the both of us to buy into a business idea, then both need to be invited. And all the examples he used was about married couples running this Amway thing together. Some of my friends who attended similar events in the past confirm that this is always the case, and the Amway South Africa wiki also confirm this.

So with this I’d like to conclude: I have questions about the ethics, and I can understand that people would run businesses which is ethically questionable. I believe a time will come when Amway, as with similar schemes in the past, will be found illegal and end, but I can understand that people would want to make as much as possible from the scheme while it’s still  possible. However, not even in the church do we still work with the idea of “pastoring couples”. What is behind this strong emphasis on couples selling Amway? Forget the money. The feminist in me becomes a skeptic…


4 Responses to “Amway: the revelation and some feminist thoughts”

  1. Steve Says:

    About 30 years ago a guy I knew asked if he could use our church hall for a community development project, to help the unemployed. I said sure, no charge.

    Turned out it was a plug for Golden Products, another Pyramid marketing scheme. They’re really sneaky — “helping the unemployed”.

  2. Kristy Says:

    Hat-tip to you, Cobus! I am delighted to hear that you (and other men) are becoming sensitive to gender issues. It says a whole lot about how far we have come in acknowledging and enhancing the freedom of the other. Any theories on why the women uphold the patriarchal narrative (and are often more resilient than men in maintaining it)?

  3. BrotherZA Says:

    You have to admire the skill and planning behind AMWAY. AMWAY selling techniques literally uses almost every basic human need as a hook to get more people to join. Pity those techniques results in people (include myself) having to see how good family ties and friendships are broken. How do you help someone that is stuck in this mess?

    • jathanlane Says:

      Really? You must have ran onto the three percent of Amway people who are weird. I run an Amway business, and my family has paid us every single month for the last ten years. My wife is pregnant now and she will not have to work after we have the baby. I understand there are some weird people out there… But when I’m building teams, I want normal, fun, intelligent, driven, and happy people. If they don’t qualify, I don’t sign them up. As far as selling… There are only two things an Amway ABO does… Use their own products (save 30% on retail price) and suggest other people to do the same. We don’t PUSH or HOOK or SNATCH people and SNEAK people in to to do this business.

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