Should I help her sink or swim?
February 8, 2017 3:11 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend who has joined up to sell a product via social media. It smells a little scammy to me but it doesn't seem to be an out-and-out con. The problem is she's really bad at it. I'm not sure whether I should try and help her get better, or rely on the fact that she's terrible to allow the whole thing to fizzle out. which would be the kinder and more ethical thing to do?

Let's call her Pat. So she set up a FB group teasing an amazing thing she was going to unveil, which turned out to be basically a direct sales scheme she has joined. Let's say it's to sell a range of cooking equipment (it's not). My first thought was "Weird - Pat doesn't like to cook, strange thing for her to be promoting." She trailed the first demo she would be doing for a couple of days - it's all through FB Live videos - and I watched it because I like her and want to be supportive. She started by saying how it was a little known fact about her that she loved to cook but didn't because she had never been able to find a range of cooking equipment that worked for her. Ok. She then went on to open her demo kit live as she talked us through it, and it was just not good. She clearly didn't really know what she was talking about, the lighting in the video was awful, she had no script and was just rambling on...but ok, it's her first one.

And so it continued. Now it's been a couple of weeks and she has posted maybe 10 of these demos and honestly, it's killing me to watch. A typical one will go something like this: "I'm not feeling great today because of my medical condition but I guess I told you I would do this. So today we're going to demo making an omelette. I know a lot of people are afraid to make them because they're very complicated. I'm going to use this tool from my great kit - and remember to let me know if you'd like to host your own cooking parties because you can earn free cooking equipment. So I guess you'd call this a looped metal stirry thing? For stirring the eggs while you make the omelette. So I'm just going to do that [stands with back to camera while making the thing, no one can see what she's actually doing]. And now I'm just going to add in something else [imagine doing something to an omelette that would make any cook who knew the basics of omelette making want to cry]. And there you have it!" [Way too zoomed-in close up of something that looks like cat sick]. So I'll put the link to the site in the comments and tomorrow I'll do another demo where we'll talk about how you make good toast." By the end I'm just on fire with shame for her and I really don't know what to do. The thing is I actually love to cook [in this analogy] and in fact I did it professionally for a while and she doesn't know the first thing about it and it's screamingly obvious, and it would be hilarious if I didn't care about her feelings, but I do.

From research I have done it's an ok company as these things go. It's not a massive outlay, say $100 for the kit, and then you have to buy or sell $150 every 3 months. The commission is ok, not amazing. But with all these schemes the real money is recruiting other presenters. The products are ok - mixed reviews from good to terrible - but they're not cheap, think higher end of mid-range. She has a history of being vulnerable, being fleeced by men, getting into debt, and I'm afraid that she will end up investing a lot of money in the products in the hope that she'll recoup it, but she is never going to based on the fact that she's a really bad presenter, and if anything will make people never want to ever buy these things. She has a real job so it's not like she'll go under if this fails, but she is also prone to depression and I'm not sure how much failing would knock her back.

So, quandary:
A - do I help her make a go of this? We've been friends for a long time, but not at a deep level, and personally I wouldn't be able to directly say "You suck." Should I offer to teach her some tips as she knows this is an area I'm knowledgeable in? Should I tell her to Google cooking equipment demos, of which there are a billion, to see what it should actually look like (basically the exact opposite of everything she says and does) even though that might sound patronising or passive aggressive? Some people are commenting in the threads things like "omg hon that looks so delicious you r amazing" and I honestly can't tell if they're making fun of her or just being supportive in a stupid way that means she won't think she needs to do anything different. Should I help her to at least get the basics right so she's not making a fool of herself, although I have barely any free time and I actually don't feel like I have the energy to start teaching a total beginner about this stuff when I left the job because I'd grown to hate that side of it? I'd guess all of her friends will buy at least one thing from her (I feel like I should) but after that I can't imagine any repeat sales. So even if she gets good I can't see it being worth her time to make all these videos and do all the promotion. Should I try and encourage her and who knows, maybe she'll get good enough to make at least a little money as a sideline?

B - do I say nothing and let it all fizzle out? My fear here is that even if she's not generating sales or recruiting new people she will keep buying stock because she'll keep thinking it'll get better - a pattern with her for example with terrible relationships. I don't want her wasting money because I know of her debt issues. I don't want her to feel like she's failed at another thing, although I wonder why she chose this thing to sell of all things when she must know she has no clue about it. She's a grownup and maybe I should just keep my nose out and let nature take its course? At least if it gets to a point where she gives it up she's not spending any more money and time on it. So then should I keep supporting her? I feel it would be mean to disengage from the group without explanation, especially when she knows I have an interest in the subject, but I feel really two-faced to "like" her posts when I'm really waiting for it to die. But the company itself doesn't seem so bad that I need to stage some kind of intervention and tell her to get out of it completely asap, and she's not a stupid person so I'm sure she did her own research and saw the testimonials and reviews I did. So it might be a long drawn-out death during which time she loses out. Plus there are these other people who are telling her how great she's doing which might prolong things even more, so how can I turn around and tell her it's awful? But is that the thing a good person would do?

TL;DR: I really don't know what the friend move is to make here. Help her try to succeed or allow her to fail.
posted by socksually active to Human Relations (35 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Has she asked for your advice? It doesn't sound like it. Stay out of it unless she specifically asks for your input.
posted by horizons at 3:17 AM on February 8, 2017 [44 favorites]

B. It sounds like others are being supportive, but if theyre not actually buying products, then this will fizzle out. It might take a while for the fizzling to happen, but it's her decision on when to pull the plug. If she is selling, then her strategy is working for someone , if not for you. There's no obligation for you to watch these videos and enrage yourself with her bad decisions and performances, is there?

(That does sound pretty awful, and it's kind of you to care)
posted by Fig at 3:18 AM on February 8, 2017 [9 favorites]

It'll fizzle out by itself, and hopefully she'll have learned a lesson.

As a friend your job is to be watchful, non-judgmental, and only intervene when it looks like she's about to compound the bad decision (e.g. by throwing a lot more money at a bad idea and pushing herself further into debt.)

Probably the worst thing you could do is be unconditionally supportive in a way that will distort her perception of how well the business is doing. But on the other hand, you don't want to be a bucket of cold water. If her business comes up naturally in conversation, listen first, be sympathetic, and then express any concerns you might have if you don't think her plans are realistic. But if you're going to take that step, be supportive in your advice ("I think it's a great idea that you're looking for self-employment opportunities, but is this scheme the best fit for you?").
posted by pipeski at 3:38 AM on February 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

Should I help her to at least get the basics right so she's not making a fool of herself, although I have barely any free time and I actually don't feel like I have the energy to start teaching a total beginner about this stuff when I left the job because I'd grown to hate that side of it?

Nope! Your friend's decisions do not obligate you to pitch in with this terrible idea.

I have watched friends and family go through several rounds of this type of thing. Be patient, keep being her friend, and be positive about the things you can be genuinely positive about. It will fizzle and you can be supportive of her by staying in bounds of your role as Friend, not Expert. You hope it's going well, you are proud of her for trying something, you hope to get together for coffee soon, did she see this new tv show, etc.
posted by sadmadglad at 3:39 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Not to threadsit but:

@horizons she has posted in the thread saying "So what is everyone thinking of the demos so far?" to which I didn't reply because I didn't know what to say. One person replied and said "loving them!" but she's also the "omg amazing" person. Pat and I were messaging about something else and she said "You'll have to come on and do a demo with me" and I just said "oh you can't afford me haha" because I really do not want to appear on camera doing it, and she also mentioned me during one of the videos saying "oh I'll get SA on some day" but I didn't say anything. So I'm guessing from that my input wouldn't be totally unwelcome, but no she hasn't personally said to me "what do you think/what can I do differently".

So far as I know she hasn't sold anything as yet but it's only been a couple of weeks. I'm just assuming this as no one has said anything other than "I'll buy something on payday", no one has talked about anything they've bought.
posted by socksually active at 3:45 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Honestly it sounds like she's so bad at it, and it's not a complete scam (?? she's not contracted to send the company like $1000 a month or something?), I'd just leave her be and let it fail. $50 a month is pretty low budget, even if she's on the hook for that herself if she doesn't actually sell enough, it's not going to bankrupt her (I assume).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:50 AM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Don't watch the videos, don't say anything. She is presumably an adult, who willingly took this on. Having been used for my wallet by friends involved in schemes of this nature in the past - now I just breeze by things like this. Leave it be.
posted by 41swans at 4:18 AM on February 8, 2017 [17 favorites]

Your friend is an adult. You are an adult. Remember those two things. Also remember that "no" exists in your vocabulary and that friends say "no" to other friends all the time. That is normal and healthy boundary-setting.

and she said "You'll have to come on and do a demo with me" and I just said "oh you can't afford me haha" because I really do not want to appear on camera doing it, and she also mentioned me during one of the videos saying "oh I'll get SA on some day"

The magic word here is "no".
posted by kariebookish at 4:26 AM on February 8, 2017 [15 favorites]

If you offer advice but don't buy anything yourself, she might take it the wrong way. I mean, you certainly shouldn't have to buy anything from her; it's just another thing that makes MLM marketing to your friends on Facebook a sucky idea for all involved.

I'd say keep out of it. Most of these ventures fizzle anyway, and if you're in a position to provide support after that, keep it general (it's really hard to break into, very few people make that much money blah blah) instead of anything implying that it was her fault she failed (even if it was).
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:32 AM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

I had a friend hawking one of these types of deals on Facebook a few years ago- I made a pointed comment or two to her about it (thought the product was kind of a scam and sort of said that in not so many words, was questioning the efficacy really) and, you know what? She's no longer selling that stuff (stopped later of her own accord) and we're no longer friends, not in any meaningful way. And I am pretty sure that's a direct result of my critical comments over something that was important to her at the time. So, if this friendship is important to you (and unless your friend has really thick skin) I'd advise just supporting her in this. It will probably fade out anyway.
posted by bearette at 4:37 AM on February 8, 2017 [7 favorites]

I have barely any free time and I actually don't feel like I have the energy to start teaching a total beginner about this stuff when I left the job because I'd grown to hate that side of it

I think this trumps everything else, plus it gives you a convenient excuse if you need one. If you don't have the time, you don't have the time. Period. ("Hey, when are you going to come and do that demo with me?" "I have so much going on in my life right now, I simply don't have time, sorry.") You can also fall back to being completely burned out on "cooking" from the time you did it professionally, if she doesn't already know you still like to do it as a hobby.

If she contacts you directly, or specifically tags you, be polite but firm and clear. Not a "joking no, lol" but a clear no. But also keep in mind that FB doesn't show you everything that your friends post in your timeline; if she hasn't specifically tagged you, you can plausibly claim not to have seen something she's posted. Don't "like" or respond to her videos.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:51 AM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

"Friend" does not mean "enabler." Stay away her involvement in this scheme. The more people flunking out of MLMs, the clearer the scam is to the rest of society.
posted by BostonTerrier at 5:19 AM on February 8, 2017 [8 favorites]

If it comes up again you could say something like "Personally, I'm just not comfortable with direct sales. It seems like the seller takes on all the risk and the company gets all the reward. I want you to be successful but I'd feel weird about getting involved." Make it about you - that's reason enough for you to not get involved, plus it introduces some qualms about direct sales.
posted by bunderful at 5:20 AM on February 8, 2017 [36 favorites]

short answer: butt out.

It seems to me, though, there may be some ego as well as altruism involved in your concern? Only human. If part of this is that your friend is kinda stepping on your toes, sit with that and make peace with those emotions.

Anecdote: I have been writing some art criticism lately (professionally). A friend wrote a review of a show for the first time and wanted me to look at it before she submitted it to a magazine. It was not good. Still, she kept saying how proud she was of it and how much she was looking forward to her new sideline as an art writer. Since she asked directly, I gave some general feedback and gentle cynicism about the feasibility of her new side career as an art writer. She got defensive and didn't take the advice, no big deal but kind of annoying since, like you joked, "she can't afford me."

It is so so so so tempting, since then, when she says I should send her my texts so she can edit them, or talks about how well her art writing is going, to be like "wake up girl! This is my job and life ok? Respect my authoritayyy!"

But I don't do that. She doesn't want real talk and what's the harm, really, for her to try this out? If anything it's kind of flattering.

If your friend asks directly, you can give some very general "cooking" tips or express your discomfort with direct sales.
posted by athirstforsalt at 5:42 AM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yes, remove yourself from the group -- I do this ALL THE TIME -- and if she asks just say you're not very comfortable with direct sales. But seriously nobody has ever asked. If she hawks it a lot on her main Facebook feed (rather than just in the group), tell Facebook to "hide this post -- see less like this" and it's pretty sophisticated about hiding the direct sales stuff without hiding the kitten and baby pictures.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:21 AM on February 8, 2017 [13 favorites]

Devil's Advocate answer here... If you believed that by working with her, you could make her into a success, where she'd be one of their top sellers in your area and actually make a career out of this, then you might step in. But you'd want to do it as a business partner - you help her and she gives you a cut out of it when she's successful. You could even offer her that deal, in writing (with the percentages spelled out). But it sounds like you don't believe that even with extreme coaching she could actually turn this around. Plus you're not interested in this, and I'll bet anything that she wouldn't be either. Still, it's the only way I could think it might end well.

If you believe that by working with her, the best thing that could happen is you might make her suck a bit less, but it will still be a failure, then you gain nothing by helping, and could easily lose the friendship over it, because you will be giving her an easy person to blame when things don't work out.
posted by Mchelly at 6:25 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

As Oscar Wilde famously said, "True friends stab you in the front." Tell her about your reservations. Let her know that they come from a loving place. Support her when she does this anyway, and fails.
posted by Mr. Fig at 6:34 AM on February 8, 2017 [8 favorites]

I've been enjoying the Side Hustle School podcasts. Short, snappy, daily, and a balanced combination of inspirational stories and good advice. One of the themes they've returned to a couple of times is "fail early, fail often".

I suggest you throw her the link with a "thought this might provide some inspiration". If she can't learn she can't learn, but she deserves every chance to get better at what she's trying to do.
posted by Leon at 6:58 AM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

There's nothing inherently wrong with this sort of thing. I mean, my Avon Skin-So-Soft is amazing. I have a cousin who has won the literal Mary Kay crown for best sales in America multiple times and has supported her family through that business. So, if you would ordinarily support her in a business, support her in this one.

You able to give her hands-on help? Like can you go over there and say "Hey I want to practice my video skills and I'd love to work with you on a demo?" And when you're there can you laugh and say "Dude, no, HAPPY video, no health problems! Let's start over. Ready? OK go!"
posted by DarlingBri at 7:32 AM on February 8, 2017

My policy on direct sales is just to say "Hey friend, I support you but I've run into so many problems when my friends have started direct sales businesses that it's best for me not to get involved. Sorry!" I also don't go to "parties" that are really sales pitches unless I actually want the things.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:50 AM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

It really sounds like it will fizzle itself out soon.

With regard to her kinda-sorta requests for input... I am like you, so I get it - I always feel responsible for helping a friend and I'll take a post that was blasted randomly to 500 people right to heart as if it were just for me. Please remember this is 100% not your responsibility and she literally has not even asked you for help. Just because she posted a general "whaddaya think??!" is not a literal request for feedback and guidance from you, even if you guiltily feel like you have some to offer. All it will do is hurt her feelings.

She sucks at this, there's no way she's going to last at it. If asked directly, just say it's not something you have the time and/or inclination to get involved with - do NOT offer any criticism of her or her judgment in getting involved though. And if not asked directly, just sit this one out. Hopefully she'll find something else that she's actually good at. If she's standing with her back to the camera, I mean, she can't be REALLY taking this all that seriously either.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:55 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Also, now that I think of it, the very fact that you do have authority and experience here will make it very hurtful for you to tell her how much she sucks.

Some months ago, I took on a professional endeavor that would have been a huge leap for me. I didn't realize at the time how unrealistic it was, and I threw myself into it with enthusiasm, and told some friends who are highly experienced at (this profession) that I was giving it a try. They were kind and supportive about it, but didn't offer to get involved in any way. I didn't ask them for specific help, although I'd have welcomed it.

A few months later I hit the wall that they must have known I would. When I saw them later I told them, with no shame, that I'd given it my best shot but realized that without certain hard-to-get foundational training I was never really going to get there. They made sympathetic noises, something like "I was a little worried about that, but was hoping you'd find a way." And that was the end of it: I never felt like they were scornful of me for being an ignorant amateur. If they had said, at the outset, "that's just not realistic" I think that would have been a lasting and hurtful blow to my pride, just because it WAS true.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:12 AM on February 8, 2017 [8 favorites]

To use your analogy, if you're a cooking expert and your friend is doing cooking a disservice, yes, it would be considerate of you to let her know. If you let her know, please don't do it via social media! Arrange a coffee or have her over for dinner, then bring it up gently.

I'm often stunned by threads in which people say one's duty to adult friends is to "butt out." That's, um, a little crazy. If I'm trying to drive everyone around in a stick shift, but I can't manage standard transmission, I don't expect my friends to just grin and bear it--I expect them to say, good lord, you're doing it wrong, it shouldn't make that sound!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:31 AM on February 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

nthing bringing up your concerns about MLM. Best case scenario, it fizzles out before she has sunk a lot of money and alienated a lot of friends. Well, truly best case, she's successful but you have to have a network in place and it's probably already clear whether or not she's got that. These schemes are designed for most people to fail after giving the company a few thousand for free, basically. In your shoes, I'd be concerned with keeping the friendship and making sure she didn't have to feel embarrassed about it if/when it fails. Getting involved isn't really going to accomplish this. If you do end up feeling she really, really wants technical help, give it with the caveat that you are doing it as a personal favor and reiterate your thoughts on MLM.
posted by BibiRose at 9:01 AM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who's just started doing this and oooooohhh the cringe factor. She hasn't asked me yet but when she does, I'm planning on using something I learned from the book "The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck" and saying "oh sorry, I have a personal rule about network marketing" and hoping the problem magically disappears. Oh gosh I hope so.
posted by Chrysalis at 9:56 AM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Personally if it were me I'd probably give a super gentle suggestion about the most egregiously bad parts of the video, something like, "Great video, I love (name something you genuinely like about it). One thing that would make it even better is if you faced the camera for this part so it's easier to see the actual steps to make the omelette; you might also look at these lights from Amazon, they can have a dramatic effect on the look of the video!" Then based on how she takes your suggestions you can figure out whether actual advice is welcome or not. Because that's my personality. But based on the backstory and your feelings toward your friend (you don't seem to respect her too much and it seems like she's kinda fragile emotionally) just saying nothing is probably the right thing to do.
posted by phoenixy at 11:32 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am a huge, huge conflict avoider. If at all humanly possible, I am all over the "let it fizzle on its own" option.

Except in cases where it is clear to me that the problem is unavoidable and will follow me around relentlessly and hunt me down if I merely try to avoid it. At that point, I take the bull by the horns sooner rather than later. Such problems are easier to resolve when they are still small. Doing nothing just gives them time to grow into a big, hairy monster.

Based on the following, I judge this to be the latter kind of problem:

"You'll have to come on and do a demo with me" and I just said "oh you can't afford me haha" because I really do not want to appear on camera doing it, and she also mentioned me during one of the videos saying "oh I'll get SA on some day" but I didn't say anything.

Your description sounds like she mentioned you in a demo after you tried to privately give her a polite brush off. She is maneuvering to pressuring you into doing this and she has your number: She knows you don't want to hurt her feelings or publicly embarrass her. I think that is the real reason you posted this question. You can't quite put your finger on why, but you don't really believe this will quietly die.

I would leave the group promptly, privately message her and let her know unequivocally that you will not be appearing in any demos, however, given your background and expertise, you would be willing to ONCE and only once give her some constructive feedback on her demos if she wants it. If she accepts, make an effort to tell her how to do things right rather than what she is doing wrong. Include some links to additional resources for self study, if you can do so without spending excess time on this.

Be prepared for this to turn into drama anyway. She has boundary issues and is a manipulator. This is why she is publicly name dropping after you privately tried to brush her off. She likely will not take it well that you are setting clear boundaries. Do it anyway or be prepared to get slippery sloped into regularly appearing in her awful demos and other horrendousness.
posted by Michele in California at 12:14 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Respond to her passive aggressive requests with "You have sort of asked for my help on your direct sales business, but I do not want to offer unsolicited advice. Do you want my input? I will blunt and honest, but in a constructive fashion."

If she wants it, then there are plenty of excellent ways mentioned by others
posted by 6ATR at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2017

do I say nothing and let it all fizzle out?

Most of the time when people get into MLM stuff it doesn't end up becoming a financial success for them. It's likely to fizzle out whether or not you get involved, whether or not her cooking videos are wonderful. If she is successful, it's going to be due to recruiting people for her downline, not because she made better videos. If she's good at recruiting, those people can make their own videos.

I'd avoid buying any of the MLM products, so as not to encourage her to get into other MLMs in the future. You don't have to follow the posts in the group or comment on them.
posted by yohko at 2:41 PM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have a friend who wanted to start a food blog, aimed firmly at the Pinterest demographic. But her blog was terrible. Like, really, unbelievably awful. Since I have some experience in food media, and also, I have Pinterest, and I know what not shitty food photos look like, I tried to offer her some friendly suggestions.

She still has a shitty food blog, and we are no longer friends.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:48 PM on February 8, 2017 [10 favorites]

Hard B. "I've seen a lot of people have bad experiences with direct sales companies," is a good all-purpose deflector when you're being peer-pressured/guilt-tripped/pleaded with to buy stuff or participate in videos or go to sales parties or whatever (and if it's not already a true factual statement, about two minutes of googling can make it so). Unfollow the sales group, stop feeling obligated to "like" posts about it, stonewall any attempts to drag you into it, and let this venture develop as it will without your involvement.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:36 PM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

B, no question.

What happens next, though, I think totally totally depends on how good of friends you are, your temperaments, and the level of trust and goodwill you have invested in each other.

I once expressed a strong, unsolicited, and unwelcome opinion to a close friend and our friendship eventually got BETTER because of it. It was a "No, really, nobody else is telling you this, and you're about to massively fuck yourself over if you do the thing you just told me you're going to do" situation. They got super duper angry at me, and also did the thing anyway. It fucked them over, as I had predicted. I was the first person they turned to for support getting out of the bind, though. See, they trusted me MORE because I had taken that risk for them. It was a high stakes situation with the potential for major damage, and I decided I could not stand by without saying something about it.

I have a friend that sounds like the same level of friendship as you have, and they were selling something that them to invite me to a party or something online. I thanked them for the invite and said, you know, I hope that you understand that I just have some pretty strong reservations about direct sales like this and have a blanket pledge to myself not to support them. Their reaction was "I know you and trust your judgement on this sort of thing. Can you tell me a little more about why you feel that way?" And then i explained, and it was so super nice. (That was the last thing we said about it, and as far as I know they're not still selling it.)

Both of these outcomes could have gone very differently than they did. My tendency to have my strong convictions guide my actions has also lost me friends, I am sure.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:20 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've known two ppl who have done really well with this sort of thing, one with Mary Kay cosmetics, the other with Amway (I *think* it was Amway -- it's been years.) Both of these ppl had lined up many to work down the line for them, and both of them still sold on their own. They really were good at it, and they really thrived.

But both of these ppl would have thrived in most anything they might have gotten into; I could see either one doing great as real estate agents. Both of them were alert, both were hustlers, both worked it unbelievably hard, they never turned the switch to "Off" and they never even seemed to want to. Very capable sales ppl, both of them; the Mary Kay sales person would I think have made *tons* of money selling software or hardware or whatever, I believe that what kept her from doing so was lack of a college degree. But most ppl with college degrees don't drive around in bright shiny pink Cadillacs like she does.

The daughter of one of my best friends started in selling gold a few months ago. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I'm getting these emails from her, telling me of the great opportunity that's open to me, and it's my responsibility to myself and to my community and to god to get into this and blah blah blah blah, really annoying. I spoke with my friend about it -- as you might imagine, he's *really* getting a deluge of hogwash from her -- and he told me to let him know if it gets totally out of hand, and he'd deal with it then, that he will then give her the word to lay off me. She's now set to "Spam" in my in-box and that's where she's going to stay until this jive dies. Which I'm certain it will.

This thing your friend has going is going to die on its own, too. I suppose it's *possible* that she will get totally into it, grab on and totally dig in and learn and enter the fray full-on; it's possible but very, very unlikely. Back away as suggested upthread, disengage saying you don't like multi-level sales. But say it softly, kindly, so you'll still have her friendship when it does die.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:27 PM on February 8, 2017

I've had friends and family members get into MLM schemes. It's annoying, yeah. I've thought through this same "intervene, or let it burn out" dilemma a few times. The answer I decided on is, meh, they're having fun and it's giving them hope. It's less costly than some other hobbies they could get way into, like skiing or golf.

One thing to watch out for isn't the cost of product they intend to sell, it's when they start buying product to fake the next "level" of sales-target glory in the organization. That they know they don't have the capacity to sell and don't need themselves.

The other thing, and reason not to tell her she sucks unless you want to teach her, is because the true money suck isn't even product. It's the company's own "optional" training materials on how to do it better. It's insidious - if you aren't keeping your head above water it must be because you need to spend even more money on training videos.

I don't encourage people to quit or shit-talk the company/product, but I do point out those two temptations as Bad Plans at least.
posted by ctmf at 6:42 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Great video, I love (name something you genuinely like about it).

Whatever decision you make, do not let a "Great video but [X]" style buffer/criticism out of your face. She will latch onto what's supposed to be cushioning and drown herself in it to avoid hearing The Truth.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 7:55 PM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

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