is USANA a scam
August 16, 2004 8:47 PM   Subscribe

What is the lowdown on USANA? A friend of mine swears its great, but seems like a big scam to me... anyone had any experience with this sort of thing? Website is vague and pyramid-scammish.
posted by ac to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"A friend of mine swears its great" is not at all contradictory to "pyramid-scammish." In fact, they kinda go hand-in-hand (no offense to your friend).
posted by scarabic at 8:53 PM on August 16, 2004

It is some sort of multi-level marketing. So it may not be a scam, but it's definitely a pyramid. If you don't want to spend your time recruiting your relatives and soon-to-be-ex-friends I would steer well clear.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:31 PM on August 16, 2004

I have to say though, that you and your friends and family are probably going to buy soap, toothpaste, and shampoo from *somewhere,* right? Dove, Crest, and Panete aren't going to cut you all a commission. Why not turn your whole community on to someone who will? The whole trick there is to move first and have several healthy pyramid levels beneath you. Skeptical scam-sniffers rarely wind up enjoying this early-mover advantage because they spend precious time waiting for others to try it first. Then again, skeptical scam-sniffers probably don't have what it takes to do sales anyway (which is what you'd have to do to make this succeed). Maybe it's got its merits, but it still isn't for you.
posted by scarabic at 9:41 PM on August 16, 2004

scarabic: if only it were that simple. I had a friend doing something like this at some point. You don't get to say how many bars of soap you want. They badger you about how many bathrooms you have and do a little calculation "Let's see, 3 bathrooms use 4 bars of soap a week for 52 weeks so we'll put you down for 750 bars right now, just to be safe. But you just saved $7! Now don't you have some friends who need 750 bars of soap?"
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:01 PM on August 16, 2004

Usana is not good news - it destroyed my parents relationship and any semblance of family structure my brothers and sisters had, thanks to some hardcore dogma and my mum's desire to reap millions.

The health benefits of the drug are all psychological - you don't want to mess with a cultist who can't get their Usana fix, scary stuff indeed.
posted by elphTeq at 10:21 PM on August 16, 2004

They built one of the better large venues in Utah. If their only action is making sure that fewer concerts are held in the Delta Center where, I can assure you, the sound truly sucketh, they earn a few purgatory points from me.

Chances are they're not really a pyramid scheme, they're just another health supplement / beauty product company like dozens others in Utah that have products at least as legit as any other health/beauty products but decide that network marketing is the way. I worked for NuSkin for about a year, and their products are OK, you just end up paying too much for them to support the network.
posted by weston at 10:25 PM on August 16, 2004

USANA = Herbalife?

I take it all back, RustyBrooks. You're totally right.
posted by scarabic at 10:25 PM on August 16, 2004

I don't know if USANA and Herbalife are related, but they're certainly similar.

Living in Utah, USANA is regarded as somewhat legitimate - it's certainly not a fly-by-night scheme that could shut down and move out of town any minute - but it's still multi-level marketing.

Like any MLM, it mainly makes money by getting more distributors (that's you) to sign up and buy some inventory. The actual products are a sideline. Unless you plan on recruiting a few friends or relatives and building your own pyramid, you aren't likely to make money.
posted by mmoncur at 9:19 AM on August 17, 2004

I have worked as a recording engineer for a mid-level marketing partner in Usana, and have nothing but negative things to say about the whole prospect. It, like any other MLM scheme, is built on people who are willing to sacrifice their friends, family, and acquiaintances in the name of the dollar. You must sell, sell, sell all the while trying to convince others that selling, selling, selling is what they want to do. The products are no better than what you can find in any non-MLM establishment (such as, say, any beauty store) and if the threat of annoying ass salespeople calling you at all hours isn't enough to make you vomit, perhaps the realization that others will view you in the same light as said salespeople will.

Do yourself a favor, get a decent normal job, keep your friends and sanity, and get your alpha hydroxy extra erasing crow's foot termination filtering corneal lubricant at the Body Shop or something.
posted by plexiwatt at 11:03 AM on August 17, 2004

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