Friday, June 12, 2015

The Square Peg - Multilevel Marketing

Multilevel Marketing
Copyright S. Bradley Stoner

Harold stopped by today. He's into everything. He likes to call himself an "entrepreneur." Loosely translated, that means unemployed most of the time. When I saw him coming, I tried for the door. I didn't make it. "Hey," he sang out, "wait up! Boy, have I got an investment for you!" Harold talked in exclamations most of the time. I gave him points for general enthusiasm.

I groaned. The last time Harold had an investment for me, it was in soybean futures in Bora Bora. "It could've worked out," he told me later, "if only the jungle hadn't grown faster than the beans." Harold's schemes are mostly like that. The small investment and the huge profits generally go to the same place. I'm not sure where that is, but you never see them again.

Harold invited himself in. He made himself comfortable. I don't know how he does it. I was doing everything  in my power to make him uncomfortable. He asked if he could have a cup of coffee. I gave him one. Mostly in his lap. "That's okay," he chirped cheerfully, "I didn't want a whole cup anyway." Right then I thought I was in trouble. He opened his briefcase. I KNEW I was in trouble.

Harold shoved the plants on my coffee table aside and laid out his brochures. They were impressive. Color and everything. I could make a second income of a million bucks in six months.  Working only part time. I asked him why you would want a first income when you could make a million bucks working part time. He bobbed his head in agreement. "You have a point!" he returned enthusiastically.

He continued with his pitch. It was impossible to stop him. I know... I tried. He pointed to a picture of a man in a plaid sports coat. "See this guy?" Harold asked. "He made four million in two years and retired to Miami!"

 looked at the picture, "Looks more like Bermuda to me."

"Better yet!" Harold practically shouted.

I don't trust millionaires that wear plaid. I asked Harold how much he had made so far. "Well," he explained, "I'm just getting started. I expect to be rolling in it soon!"

"How much?" I repeated.

"Well, I'm ahead a clock radio and a VCR." That's how you started out, he told me. You got products for signing up your friends. Later when you had signed up ten friends and they had each signed up ten friends, you got a commission. Now when the ten friends of the ten friends had each signed up ten more friends and..."

I told Harold I was getting the picture. "What is the name of the company? I asked.

Harold looked at the back of the brochure and proudly pointed to the large triangle with printing in it. "Giza Enterprises!" he pronounced with a broad smile.

"Harold," I said.

"Yes," he answered, wetting the end of his pencil and taking out a contract the size of a book.

"Get out... NOW!