Pyramid uhh, Multi-Level Marketing schemes and the persistence of Salesmen

Posted On: Friday - June 21st 2019 10:47AM MST
In Topics: 
  Humor  Salesmen  Scams

(I loved this guy's cartoons, but "salespersons? Really?
This PC bit was with us back 3 decades ago!)

Just some Steve Sailer Southern California nostalgia, "The 1970's Called", here to follow up on Peak Stupidity's Jonestown retrospective (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and story of Congressman Leo Ryan), was some memories of both "pyramid power" new age nonsense and "pyramid schemes", sales nonsense. Unfortunately the latter survives to this day, dubbed now as Multi-Level Marketing. These annoying schemes and the bullshitters that promote them give the average salesman, not a favorite of Peak Stupidity to begin with, a bad name.

Why Peak Stupidity is so down on Salesmen is the subject of this post. (Note that not all the topic keys are groupings of posts on subjects we rail against. Some are subjects we like, such as The Dead.)

It was an example of one particular comment on the old Steve Sailer iSteve site*, under a 10 year-old post of his he linked to, The Great California Pyramid Scheme Mania of May 1980, that got me thinking about these salesmen.

Almost all of the well-written comments showed an understanding of the stupidity of these pyramid schemes, at least for those who didn't start them, along with great personal stories and some discussion on how these scammers talk or write to rope people in. Still, at the tail end of 40 comments, 6 years after the thread mind you, ( minus 2 other late ones a few years later), comes this comment from, well, one of these salesmen, making a sales pitch. Yes, I LOLed, in fact. His pitch here, though writing to a database with 6-year-old blog-comment data, is that, hey, "I felt the same way", but with "MLM", it's different this time ... with my way, if you get a "full Matrix", whatever the hell that is!:
D Smith said...
I was in So. Cal. during the pyramid time frame and saw that it fizzled out when there were no new people to invest in it. It was on all the news channels and was quite a spectacle.
I can identify with previous posts on MLM because I felt the same way.
Since it is apparently a legal form of business has anyone spent any time at all on developing a MLM business plan that would actually be a benefit to people?
I think the majority of people think that the last people to join a MLM would be left holding the bag, so to speak.
What if the last people to join would be in profit?
How would that be possible you might ask?
[ uhhh-oh, here we go ... ]
With the schedule C 1040 Tax Form claiming home based business write offs.
How much would it cost to participate? $60 or less per month.
How much could you make per month residual? $29,523 with a full Matrix.
Compensation plan would be a 3 X 9 Forced Matrix with spillover and compression to infinity.
Don't know what that is? Well, I guess you might have to spend a little time to figure it out for yourself. That is if you want to make some money in MLM.
It seems that if even MLM was a good thing it would still be outside most peoples comfort zone to even consider stepping outside group think.
If I am right, who do you want to here it from me or your friends?
Talk with whoever who does your taxes and get their advice on the subject.
D. Smith uses the "MLM" term 5 times without ever saying that it stands for Multi-Level Marketing. I got it after about 5 seconds, but that's after just reading the Steve Sailer post with comments. I suppose D. Smith is reckoning he'll tell customers what it stands for AFTER they get into a Matrix.

It takes a thick skin to be a salesman, and trying to hook people on a pyramid scheme at the bottom of a thread that takes a retrospective laugh at those very schemes is bold. Well, it'd have been bolder if he'd caught up with that thread the same day, the same week, maybe? It also takes stubborn persistence, and D. Smith is nothing if not persistent. (I wonder if he'd reply within the hour, if I wrote a comment now, 4 more years later, or do they have the internet in white-collar prison?)

Before I finish here, I want to point out that there are plenty of exceptions of salesmen that don't deserve any disdain. There are engineering sales types who have products or services to sell in which the technical details matter, and the persistence on their part is simply to get the ear of the customer, not to bullshit him. Let's say his company's roller bearings have been engineered to last twice as many cycles as the competing product, and he has test data to show it. Maybe, this other guy's wiring harness company has a new interactive website in which one can specify lengths, conductor sizes, connector types and even colors for quantities as low as one-offs and get them back within a week.

In these cases, the persistence can be really important just to have a chance to get this information to somebody in this world in which Big-Biz dominates all the mass-media. (Hey, that's what internet ads are about, though, to circumvent all that and advertise more directly, but it's been overkill and many like me never even see them.) "Keep at it", as they say, but the "never give up" part, that's another story. "Yeah, you like minor league baseball, so do we! We'll see you at the game. I'll come see you during the 7th inning stretch and buy y'all some hot dogs - just give me 5 minutes.", whatever you've got to do.

However, this kind of salesman is still a technical guy with integrity at heart, so if the counter-argument is (in the former case) "Dude, you don't get it. We WANT our bearings in these cheap Sears China-made exercise bikes to fail!", or (in the latter case) "No, see we buy thousands of the same harnesses at a time. You've got that great site, but it costed money, and we'd rather save $10 apiece. Sorry.", well, he's right. He's right, and you leave him the hell alone after that. You give up. That's integrity as opposed to BS.

Back to the BS, what gets me is not the persistence itself, as that is usually a good quality in people. No, it's that the persistence is often based on this saleman's KNOWING that I don't need, even DO NOT WANT his product or service. His plan is to be persistent to sell it anyway. There's no integrity there. It's not always even that I don't want it, but I want to think about it and make a decision with some facts. What does it say about you as a salesmen when you keep trying to sell me windows without ever giving me any price estimate, no matter how many times I ask for it? It says you are assuming I'm stupid - that's what it says. I don't like that assumption, so don't wonder why I won't let you in the house next time.

Now, there you see Peak Stupidity's problem with (most) salesmen. It'd be a good change if our society would produce more of the engineering/technical types and fewer of the bullshitters.

Michael Scott, Branch Manager of the Scranton office of Dunder-Mifflin Paper, shows you that it's pretty easy to get roped into one of these pyramid schemes, even as a salesman one's self:

(Of all the great scenes with Michael Scott (Steve Carell), this may be tops, and I couldn't find it on youtube until recently. "You know what, Toby, when the son of the deposed King of Nigeria emails you DIRECTLY, asking for help, you help! His father ran the freakin' country, OK?!")

* BTW, it struck me also that the almost even-decade-ago post has writing just as good as Mr. Sailer's current writing, and also the commenters are just as good. None of the names match the current ones, so I assume it's a different set of them in general. (Some may have switched handles during the changeover to the unz blog or for other reasons, but I'd think people this bright and literate would want to hang on to their handles.)

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