Everywhere you look, things are creeping into the church. And for the sake of "not offending anyone", we are all silent. We graciously say "no thank you" and let well-meaning people continue to wallow in the sea of bad decisions.
Meanwhile, the waves of financial chaos, friendship manipulation, and spiritual fragmentation are crashing on all sides of the pews and pulpit alike. What is this well-packaged intruder that splintered the Gospel focus in the name of financial security? Can you guess?
It is usually labeled as an "opportunity". It's more like a "flop-or-turn-on-me". Do you have it yet?
Multi-level-marketing. MLM for short. Companies that sound like "Shamway" or "Manna-take" or "Longest burger baskets" "Mary (fake-it, til you make it) Kay" and others like it.
First of all, I should define terms. Multi-level-marketing is a "business model" of several layers.
Let's say you come up with a product to sell, preferably something that has a lot of value, such as laundry soap, cosmetics or miracle-cure vitamins. If you jack the price up to double or triple what its actual worth is, you can easily share your profits with as many underling salespeople as you want to. If you recruit one underling, you agree to give them a 30% discount. If they are able to recruit other underlings, they make a share of the profits from their underling.
You can use this discount to merely buy products for yourself, or you can recruit and get others to recruit. Before you know it, there are several "levels" that you have created above and beneath you. The people who recruited you are your "upline", and the ones you recruit, are your "downline"?? (not sure of that term) Either way, there are many (over 350) of these types of companies in existence today, and more get added to the ranks every year.
Overpriced products: The miracle of this system is that extremely overpriced products are the cash cow of this business model. What would possess seemingly normal, intelligent people to buy such overpriced merchandise? To promote their business quota, of course!
Here's a good example. Let's say you buy a can of pop for $.65. You drink the pop, and notice there is a $.10 refund. So, now you've just made 10 cents! So, the more pop you buy, the more money you make.
Now, if you just add incentives to this plan, you almost have the profit structure of a typical MLM. Let's say you could buy your pop for only $.35 a can, if you can "purchase" more, either through your sales recruits or for your own personal stash. And really, it doesn't matter if you like the products or not at this point. Once you get so entrenched in this, you will consume products as often as you can just to keep your numbers up.
Hey! Wait a minute! My MLM is not selling pop, already. WE sell nutrition--full bodied nutrition that you can't get anywhere else, like pure WHEY protein. And vitamins that cure everything and anything. And things that have purely secret things that have documented testimonial evidence..
Yeah. If I were selling miracle drugs that were not verified by the FDA as the true miracle that they really are, I'd rely on testimonial evidence also.
There are many things wrong with this business model on so many levels. We are going to talk about them bit by bit. If you are reading this and you are highly involved with the recruiting aspects of your current MLM, you are going to bristle at this. For now, don't get all upset or even quit your MLM. Just ponder these thoughts and see if they apply to you.
Consumer level problems: Consumerism in America is based on competition. That is what keeps our prices reasonable. As soon as our choices are limited, we end up spending a lot more money than necessary. Keeping your own budget in check tends to go out the window when you are on the consumer level. If you have merely bought into an MLM for the pure purpose of getting a discount on the products you actually like, this is the only viable form of involvement in this scheme. Keep in mind, you still are paying more for a good product than you should be, but it could be worse. You could become a recruiter.
Recruit level problems: Once you've been bitten by the greed bug, it's hard to wake up out of it. The promise of fortune seems so real that many, many people buy into the sales-person approach to "paying for the products they like". I am literally looking at the tip of iceberg when I make this list.
1. Relationship issues: You've worked so hard to form relationships with people, but you are about to become the disdain of everyone you know. Recruiting your friends and family is the next logical progression to business model. Everyone knows it, and everyone HATES it.
2. Financial issues: Statistically, less than 10% of MLM salespeople make money. Do the math and see what you are actually "making".
3. Spiritual issues: There are so many! I guess I'd rather sell laundry detergent than some of these miracle cure drugs, at least God could be thanked for doing the healing.
Fragmented focus/ lack of focus is the main issue that I can think of at this moment.
I think I'll stop there. I just cringe when I hear of yet another friend plunging headlong into this nonsense. I'm reaching out to you, whomever you are, and trying to get you to see this craziness for what it is.
Don't stop there read the next article.