Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I Can Make $123,000 A Year Selling Life Insurance!!!
(Wanna Buy Life Insurance From Me?)

Oh dear.

So the guy I work with, Columbine Boy, has gotten involved with this multi-level marketing scheme called Primerica. I hate these things.

Years ago, I was visiting a dear friend of mine in Milwaukee, a woman I knew from college and her husband were going to grad school there. I was in their apartment, catching up, going through all the 'remember whens,' and they started in.

"It's time for us to have our shakes!"

"Oh great! I'll have a chocolate one! I had a vanilla this morning, and I'm looking forward to the Very Berry for tonight!"

"I'll make them. They're so easy to prepare! And they taste delicious!"

"It's incredible to think that we get all of our nutritional needs met from these great tasting shakes!"

It was awful. And sure enough, before my time with them was over, they had to go to a meeting, and invited me to come along and sit in. Their mentor or manager or whatever he was cornered me and told me more about the benefits of whatever this thing was called.

"It's not a supplement! Don't call it a supplement! It's food you drink!"

Any questions I asked ("What about phytochemicals? Nutritional necessities that break down easily and so are only available from raw, unprocessed foods?") were deflected, or I was told to talk to someone else who would know, or come to a meeting on Tuesday when that would be discussed.

I've forgiven my friends, but I felt so abused by the whole thing. And after they were unable to either sell any of the crap from their "Representative Starter Kit" or sign up any of their nearest and dearest as representatives working under them... well, let's just say I haven't heard a word about it since.

So when Columbine Boy told me about this great opportunity he'd stumbled upon, and wanted to extend to me, I pretty much knew what to expect. But, for political reasons (like, I work with this guy every day, all day), I had to go to this damn meeting.

And it was way down in Conshohocken, an area I don't know at all, and my MapQuest directions had me going left when I should have gone right and right when I should have gone left. So it took me twice as long to get there and twice as long to get back than it should have.

And it was really bad. Lots of hype; no questions answered in front of the group; white people talking in the front of the room telling African American and Latino people listening to them that they can become financially independent, get out of debt, and leave behind their unrewarding low-paying jobs. Basically, they enlist you to sell life insurance, 401k plans, and mortgage refinancing. (And, the principle of multi-level marketing is that the product--whatever it might be--is inferior to what you'll easily find elsewhere, but because it's your sister-in-law or whoever who is hawking it, your chances of buying are greater.)

Now, would you trust me to refinance your mortgage?

Neither would I.

In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say it would be a really bad plan for me to refinance anyone's mortgage. Ask anyone on the Board of GMSMA during my term as Treasurer and you'll find out just how bad a plan that would be.

Luckily, my charm and wit got me out of there without too much of a hassle. I only had to talk to one person to explain that "gosh it's been a really interesting evening (Lie!), but it's not for me (Truth!)."

I'm hoping that Columbine Boy will A.) leave me alone about it from now on, and B.) not ask too many questions.

And I got home too late to watch the UK version of 'Queer Eye.'


No comments: