OT - Letting Down Pyramid Schemers

Submitted by Blazefire on April 30th, 2010 at 12:57 PM


One of my coworkers, a nice guy I really like, is all of a sudden trying to sell me on some Pyramid Scheme, like Amway but not Amway. Worse than that, at first I thought he was just inviting me over to hang out, before I figured out what he was after, so I agreed.

How, exactly, do I tell a nice guy who I like working with that I have to see and deal directly with every day that I'm not interested in signing on and subsequently recruiting my own family and friends?



April 30th, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

"Good luck.  Thanks but no thanks."

Don't want to make it complicated and if you have a working relationship with him, it would probably be better not to preach to him about it either.


April 30th, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

I've done this a few times.  I typically say:

"Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me about this.  It sounds interesting, but I don't think I have the time to promote this idea to my family and friends, and I don't like to start new things like this without giving it 100% of my time and effort.  I appreciate your time and I will keep it in mind for the future."  

You could also say you've tried similar things in the past and had a hard time making it beneficial for you, but then you leave him a window to say how his program is different than others you might have tried before.

I now have 2 cents less in my pocket than 3 minutes ago.

Huntington Wolverine

April 30th, 2010 at 2:00 PM ^

Coming from a guy that grew up in an Amway family before my parents realized it wasn't working for us/didn't work for anyone:

You are not responsible for him being a jerk if you politely decline his offer.  If you are only a potential downline to him, he is treating you as a commodity, not a person.  Ditto for your neighbors.


April 30th, 2010 at 6:28 PM ^

something like this happened to us it was a big surprise. These were people we went through 4+ years of undergrad with and thought we knew pretty well.

So, these "friends" invited us over to their place for dinner and it was essentially the same gig, but they wanted us to buy in on a set of "very high-end steak knives".

Once dinner and their pitch was over, my wife and I got up to leave and I said, "Thanks for clarifying our friendship. No thanks on both counts." and left.


April 30th, 2010 at 1:05 PM ^

just tell him you've made some risky financial investments in savings accounts and savings bonds and you're not sure if you can afford to make another move at this point.


April 30th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

Since most of these "sales" organizations have pre-scripted presentations designed specifically to overcome your objections you need to be especially firm from the beginning.  Let them know that you are supportive of thier efforts but it just isn't for you.  These groups, especially Amway and their offshoots, really pit their recruits against anyone outside of their group that they would label a "dream stealer" or something similar.  So my best advice is to be supportive and don't bash or joke about what your friend or coworker is getting into.  Unfortunately, they will find out soon enough.


April 30th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

I politely told the guy no thanks. The subject was brought up again, and I said no again, without the thanks. He is either dumb enough to believe this scheme is a good deal, or he thinks you're dumb enough, either way you could probably do without him.

Kalamazoo Blue

April 30th, 2010 at 1:22 PM ^

"I was introduced to this business model before. I gave it serious thought, but ultimately I just wasn't passionate about it. And I still feel that way. The proper thing to do is to pass."

Douchy alternative: "Sorry...I'm not interested in an opportunity to alienate my friends, family and co-workers at this time..."

I never had the balls to say the second one.


April 30th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

This has happened to me three times.  I politely declined after considering, but gave in the fourth time AND NOW I'M A MILLIONARE!!!!!!!!!!


April 30th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

Tell him you had sex with his wife.

No really, couldn't you tell him some B.S. about being into somthing else at the moment and have all your free money tied up?

Or just tell him you do not mix business with friends, never works.


April 30th, 2010 at 2:14 PM ^

You are right, not a bad product, but, they sell something for twice what it is worth via high pressure sales techniques...so to be safe buy a different brand properly priced and avoid the pushy sales demonstration that sometimes comes with those products.

Maximinus Thrax

April 30th, 2010 at 4:16 PM ^

For $350 off Craigslist.  It worked great.  Kirby people came to my house and acted like owning a used Kirby was a crime.  I told them that I had some idea of how laws work, and that it was absolutely ridiculous to say that it is illegal to sell a used Kirby.  They said that the warranty was null and void.  I told them that I had no idea that there was even supposed to be a warranty on it.  I bought it because my wife saw it and thought that $350 was a great price on a barely used Kirby.  I think they were really pissed that they were going to try and sell me a $1,300 dollar vacuum and I bought essentially the same model for a fraction of that price and took great pride in telling them so.  They scared my wife because they implied that they could call the police and have me in the slammer by nightfall.   

Maximinus Thrax

April 30th, 2010 at 1:32 PM ^

He was waiting outside school.  I had been unemployed a really long time and he made it seem he was offering me a job.  Told me to meet him at Arby's.  I met him there.  He wasn't eating anything, and he didn't offer to buy me anything.  He just showed me graphs saying that the internet was going to blow up soon (this was 2004) and that i should get in on the ground floor.  He told me to come to some expo the following week.  When i left there were like 3 people waiting behind me to talk to him.  Against my better judgment, I went to the mass meeting and some guy called "Craig T. Roller"  pumped us up with tales of huge cribs on the water and big yachts.  Then we left.  That was it!!!  Meanwhile, I had not even heard the name "Amway" mentioned yet, just "Quixtar".  My host asked me how I liked it.  I was like uhhh....?  He gave me a CD (more riches to come laden pep talk, mentioning Amway this time).  I was not interested.  I kept ignoring his calls for like 2 weeks, then I listened to one of his messages and he was totally freaking out because I still had his CD!! He was PISSED.  I thought it was some worthless throwaway CD. Anyway, ask to borrow a motivational CD from him and then don't return it for a long time.  I think they get royally raped on these kinds of supplemental materials, so they treat them like gold.  


April 30th, 2010 at 1:53 PM ^

I knew a guy who got hooked on Quixtar (the online version of Amway)--the motivational material is really expensive and one of the ways that the most 'successful' people make their money.  The whole thing is so ridiculous.

This is still one of my favorite news stories: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8896568/ about two people who were arrested after a taxi driver got suspicious when they claimed they were Amway sellers but never tried to sell him anything.

Zone Left

April 30th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

Find a cease and desist order from the web.  I had a co-worker try to sell me on something called People in Profit that promised a 2% per day return--obviously a scam. 

After doing a little math and realizing I'd be the richest person in the world in a couple of years based on a $3000 investment, I found a cease and desist order from Texas barring the group for marketing their investment.  That shut him up--although he still somehow believed that he'd get his money back...


April 30th, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

Simple, agree to do it.  But first tell him that all your money is in a Nigerian bank and you need his help to get the money out


April 30th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

Send him a link to the FreekBass video and know that he will be so dumb afterwards that he will forget that he asked you to the meeting.


April 30th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

got all your money tied up at moment forwarding emails about Bill Gates' fortune being divvied up and once your collect from that you'll be happy to invest in his business.

Captain Obvious

April 30th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

This is your hard-earned money you are talking about.  You spent years or decades building it up.  Someone is asking you to put it at risk to further their own interests in a scam.  Friend, family or whatever--what's wrong with being firm and blunt about saying no?  Most people are smart enough to know that there are no sure-fire magic bullet investments.  My intelligence would be insulted if someone tried to get me to invest in this crap.

Why are people advocating polite, tip-toeing responses to "keep them in mind" and such-why can't you just say "no, and I don't think this is a legitimate enterprise?"  I'm normally not a jerk but come on.  Do these people carry baseball bats or something?  Am I missing something?


April 30th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

My brother tried to do this to me several years ago.  I was very direct.  I told him that I didn't believe the program would work for me.  I wished him luck and asked to not promote it to me again.

He said that I would join him eventually.  He said that when he was driving a brand new Mercedes that I would beg to join him.  I told him I'd consider it after he was driving a new Mercedes.

He stuck with the program for about three months and never got his Mercedes.


April 30th, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

I have two options for you

1. Tell him that there is no money in pyramid schemes unless you are at the top. So offer to start up a Pyramid scheme with him and have him give you his money.

2. Tell him that your money is currently tied up with the Nigerian Prince. Once he dispurses you the money he promised, you will be more than willing to join his scheme.


April 30th, 2010 at 2:59 PM ^

Tell him that because of your Uncle Bernie the feds have been up your ass for over a year now and you don't want  to burden him with the constant surveilence and frozen assets that come along with being your business partner.

He'll appreciate that you are looking out for him.


April 30th, 2010 at 3:32 PM ^

Politely decline.  Don't worry about alienating him.  Decline in a matter that makes it clear that you'll pretend it didn't happen when he decides to quit.


April 30th, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

Tell him you spend all your free time playing WOW and don't have any patience for him unless he has a lvl 80 pally tank that can take down the lich king and he helps you get some phat lootz.



April 30th, 2010 at 3:40 PM ^

that you're talking about as the product then... it was put together by one of the former amway higher ups... my sister in law got caught in it... she called me one day out of the blue and asked if we could meet up (we're not close and its not because of hate, but more like a choice on my part)... i asked why and the first words out her mouth was a "business opertunity dealing with energy drinks" for you... as soon as she finshed i said "no thanks"... she tried to finish and told her right out that it was pyramid scheme, and that here uncle told me about it at x-mas time... i tried to explain it to her and she didn't get it, so i left it alone... now everytime i got over to my in-laws she is there trying to get me to take some because she bought 3 cases up front and no one would buy it...


April 30th, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^

... "thanks, but I don't want to sell soap* in my spare time to relatives." _______________________________________________________

*or vitamins, noni juice, space food sticks, face cream, mobile phone service, web hosting, legal services, blah, blah, blah...


April 30th, 2010 at 4:56 PM ^

By someone with one of these "surefire, can't miss" schemes? I had a colleague who was in a pyramid scheme selling ... wait for it ... golf carts. I was like, "What the f--k?"

The worst, though, was sitting next to a guy on a plane a few years ago. He'd been in a class or two with me at U-M. I started chatting with him about how things were going since we'd graduated and he launched into his spiel. It was the longest flight to California I've ever taken. It gave new meaning to the term, "Captive Audience."


April 30th, 2010 at 5:12 PM ^

Seriously. No one ever gets to talk sh*t about any of you.

You TIPTOE around Amway people? Good god. Do you run half-way houses for wayward spiders as well?

I had one those Quixstar morons try and sell me crap while I'm filling my car with gas. I told the guy I didn't want to buy any of his products, could he please p*** off?

No, no, no...I didn't understand. He wanted me to SELL this worthless crap!

"Dude, I'm already getting f*cked right now by $3.00 gas. But you could wait to shove your ***k in my mouth, could you?"

Perhaps I was too graphic?


April 30th, 2010 at 5:14 PM ^

"The worst, though, was sitting next to a guy on a plane a few years ago."

A co-worker of mine was at the hospital watching his first kid be born. After the birth, he steps out to call a relative and let them know everything went well. A guy approached him, congratulated him...and then started the spiel.

Would it have even been a crime to have killed the Amway huckster right then and there?


April 30th, 2010 at 6:25 PM ^

I have a cousin who lives in Columbus, fairly near me, and is one of the reasons I was willing to move to Columbus in the first place. 

His in-laws are hugely into Quixtar. My cousin's wife, and subsequently, my cousin as well. It was pitched to us, and my wife joined. When Quixtar pissed off Amway and Amway started advertising again, we left Quixtar, happily as far as I was concerned.

Every time I see my cousin's in-laws, I tell them...


I'm not a salesperson. If I were, I would be in sales. I'm not. I'm a nurse anesthetist. I make enough without  trying to sell shit to my friends and family. I don't want to work on weekends. I don't want to go places and listen to people trying to sell me shit in other cities. I don't care to work more than I do now. I'm not joining. 

It doesn't work. The guy just keeps at it. I'm to the point of being more than ready to be rude about it. 


April 30th, 2010 at 8:54 PM ^

Some time ago when I was drawing unemployment, I got cold-called by some guy from Ameriprise Financial.  He told me that my name had been referred to him by an associate.  What he wanted was for me to come down to his office for an "interview."  He thought I would make a great financial officer for Ameriprise. 

Seeing as how I was unemployed, I thought this was an opportunity worth looking into.  I agreed to an interview on a Friday.  

It occurred to me to research Ameriprise Financial.  I wanted to know as much about them as I could.  That way I would come off looking sharp in my interview.  I went to Google and started typing Ameriprise Financial.  Before I even finished typing, Google filled in the most popular searches.  The first one was "Ameriprise Financial scam."

I quickly found out it was a crock.  My "interview" was going to be in a room with about 10 other people.  And it would not really be an interview so much as a presentation.  It was a pyramid scheme similar to Amway.  Only instead of soap, these guys were selling financial stocks, annuities, life insurance, and what-not.

I decided I had better call and cancel my appointment.  I surely did not want this guy to keep calling me.  So I resolved to tell him firmly "Thanks, but no thanks"  I figured a firm and direct "No" would be enough.  So I dialed the number.  When he answered I was as nice and polite as I could be.  I told him who I was and that I had agreed to an interview on Friday.  I then thanked him for considering me but told him that "I would have to cancel my appointment."  I figured he would ask why, and he did.  In my head I thought I would say "Because I am looking at going in another direction" and he would say something like "well thats to bad.  Best of luck to you"   He would hang up and we would all move on.  Well, of course that is not what happened.  These guys never give up.  They can't take no for an answer. 

So here is how the conversation actually went:

Me:  Thank you for your consideration but I will have to cancel my appointment.

Slick:  Would you like to reschedule an appointment at another time?

Me:  No thank you

Slick:  Why not?

Me:  I'm planning on going in a different direction.

Slick:  And what direction is that?

Me: *pause for a single beat*  The opposite direction.

Slick:  *obviously dumbfounded*   the opposite direction?

Me:  umm yeah,  thanks but no thanks.  Have a nice day.

Slick:  ooooo k

It made me laugh because I had not planned on being sarcastic but he drew it out of me.