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Why You Can F*ck Off With Your Pyramid SchemeIf it was a "legitimate business opportunity" you wouldn't be so desperate to suck me in...

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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

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Enter the “amazing opportunity to be your own boss” ads. You find them on legitimate job sites.  Presumably they’ve run out of family and friends to annoy, or they’re just expanding their horizons. They’ll spam mum’s groups on Facebook using  some shitty stock photo of someone lying on a beach with palm trees making claims that you can have the “lifestyle you always dreamed of” and “create wealth” and all sorts of other promises that sound too good to be true.

They NEVER reveal what the business is of course, and they’ll usually have a spammy email address for more information like [email protected] This should be your first clue that this person isn’t a serious business person with a worthwhile opportunity right here. If it were, say, a major fast food chain looking for franchisees they’d tell you that they were a major fast food chain looking for franchisees and they’d have an email address that reflected their business name. They wouldn’t have an email address that looks like it could have belonged to a teenage girl in the early 2000s.

The reason they don’t reveal who they really are is because if they were truthful and said “This opportunity is to shill diet supplements on behalf of a company that Choice recently exposed as being dodgy” you wouldn’t bother applying, would you?

Once you respond to them, they will give you their sales pitch. And it’s easier to rid an infested kindergarten of headlice than getting rid of these people once they have your contact details. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I don’t want to join a cult, thanks!

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To try to get you on board many of these people will turn to faux spiritual shit about how they are now on a journey to fulfill their destiny, and they couldn’t have done it before they “opened their minds to the possibilities”.

You’ll start to wonder if they’re still trying to get you on board to sell some beauty products or diet pills, or are they recruiting you to a religion?

It’s really the same thing in many cases: cults also prey on vulnerable people to exploit them and make lots of promises that are utter bullshit.

How to lose friends and alienate people

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I am bracing myself for the inevitable backlash my opinion is sure to generate. There will be howls of “I earn hundreds and thousands and billions of dollars every month at home flogging diet pills! You have no idea what you are talking about!” Come at me, I’m ready for you.

If you are pushing this stuff on your family and friends you are either extremely naive or a shitty human being. I don’t think there’s any middle ground.

How many people really do “retire early” because of the amazing successes of being part of these programs, when they aren’t the ones at the very top? Real world examples and statistics, please.

Inviting people who are struggling to make ends meet to part with what limited cash they actually have, to shell out for a “sales kit” and other joining fees to take part in your bullshit is morally bankrupt. Especially when most people selling this stuff can never hope to make anything approaching a living wage off of it (unless they recruit lots of marks of their own).  If you’re doing that to people you purport to care about, you should be deeply ashamed.

Robert L. Fitzpatrick, author of False Profits, explains how the multi-level marketing system forces people to exploit their relationships:

“At best it is awkward, annoying and manipulative. It could not be otherwise since it is based upon commercialising and exploiting relationships of love and trust, the so-called ‘warm list’ for recruiting,” he says.

“With a 99 per cent failure rate, it is inevitable and understandable that recruiting friends, families and neighbours into such losing propositions leads, almost universally, to rancour, alienation and the loss of trust. Divorces are a common outcome.”

So please, if you value me as your friend, family member, colleague, former colleague, neighbour or casual acquaintance, don’t badger me to join with you in whatever it is you are selling. And don’t act surprised when I tell you to stick your pyramid scheme, pointy end first, right up your arse.

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