The odds, sadly, are no. But hopefully he or one of his associates reads about one young woman’s dilemma and decides to reference it in the next quarter’s letter to investors as evidence that this thing must be shut down. Meanwhile, if anyone has any advice for someone looking for a way to gently let her best friend/best friend’s fiancé know that they can stop making the hard sell for her to join the sales team, speak up. Even if her GI issues didn’t prevent her from avoiding the shake ‘n supplement company, her desire not be affiliated with what she’s pretty sure is the Bernard L. Madoff Securities LLC of the weight-loss industry just might.

…Both [my best friend] and her new fiancée are active members of an international Multi-level Marketing company that focuses on health and wellness. Fiancée is a notable and well-known success, due in large part to his family’s early involvement with the company. Best Friend has “recruited” her entire family into the business. They frequently attend company events, and most of their other friends are members. As for me, I cannot in good conscience participate in the business, and it is starting to cause a rift between us…the core product of Best Friend’s MLM company is a “weight loss plan.” The “plan” is basically just their low-cal meal replacement shakes (soy protein heavy) subbed for 2 out of 3 meals a day, then a combination of “supplements” full of caffeine and all the other vitamins you miss out on when you don’t eat actual food. This is, in my opinion, nutritionally unsound and a starvation diet. A number of the other “energy” supplements rely on artificial sweeteners and non-FDA approved diet herbs. Even putting aside my belief that whole foods are the best sources of nutrition, I think that it is questionable to promote these products as quality sources of nutrition. I also don’t agree with certain marketing and sales practices. Basically, they exploit people’s body insecurity for money. Fiancée actually has a button that reads “Lose Weight Now-Ask Me How.” He wears it EVERYWHERE. I am not that close to him, so I haven’t said anything… but I’d really like to point out how gross that is without him going on the defensive. In addition, the company frequently makes lofty promises of financial independence to lure in new members. They throw events and parties that showcase the best and brightest in the company… but minimize the massive amount of people involved in their success. It is a classic MLM—as in, the people at the top are making money due to the quantity of people at the bottom. In reality, very few actually make a living off of the sales of the products, let alone get rich. The prices of the supplements are also very inflated for the average consumer, and are only “discounted” if you sign up to be a sales representative (this of course, includes kickbacks and additional discounts for the person who “brought you in”)…

My question is, how can I effectively communicate that I do not want to join the company, without alienating or offending my friend and her family?

Ask Polly: My Best Friend Keeps Recruiting Me To Join Her Multi-Level Marketing Scheme! [The Awl]

34 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (34)

  1. Posted by heavy sarcasm guest | August 22, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    This couple sounds awesome.

  2. Posted by santelli spitstorm | August 22, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    if you need a special pin to encourage people to ask for your advice, your suit is too cheap.

  3. Posted by Ironman Ninetytwo | August 22, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Where's the fun in not alienating or offending?

  4. Posted by TT. | August 22, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Maybe she could start wearing this button when she's with her two friends?

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  6. Posted by KennyPowersCFA | August 22, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Also a screed against MLM on Kissing Suzy Kolber. I think SOMEONE may be taking advantage of the new hedge fund advertising rules in a creative fashion.

  7. Posted by Guest | August 22, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    I think it is Icahn just screwing with Ackman.

  8. Posted by Brick Tamland | August 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    I'd like to extend an invitation to you for the pyramid party.

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    She obviously is not a serious business builder.

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    If you want a positive change in your LIFE…You need to do things that are uncomfortable!

  11. Posted by Rene | August 23, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    This lady has a personality trait like Ackman. She is full of intelligent comments and observations, but very foolish in her conclusion.
    She needs to know what are the products good for and see if she needs them. If she does give a try, what have you got to lose?

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    Uncomfortable like: acknowledging terribly uncomfortable truths.

    Here's an example: there's virtually no at-home business opportunity that is not in some sense a scam.

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