Just when I thought I could no longer be surprised by shady people and the shady things they get up to….ARRRRGGHHH!
Let me rewind. As you know, I like working for Bourke Accounting. My co-workers are cool, the boss is…interesting and I like the job. I also like the steady schedule: 8 AM to 5 PM (we even get to leave at 3 PM on Fridays). I know that if I come to work and do my job, my paycheck is going to be the exact same from week to week. Call me boring and I will gladly agree.
I received a text from someone I hadn’t spoken to in years. Within a few exchanges, she attempted to sell me lipstick. I politely declined. She then told me of her success and wealth and invited me to join her in the great and lucrative business adventure of direct sales. When I, again, declined, she subtly shamed me for being anti-woman and little more than a tool of a capitalist, patriarchal society. I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. I had narrowly escaped evil – A.K.A. “The MLM (Self-Proclaimed) Boss Babe”.
Since then, I’ve done some reading only to find that I am not alone. First, MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing. An MLM is a “business strategy where revenue is generated from both product sales and the recruitment of new distributors” (TheGuardian.com). When a person (the “upline”) recruits someone (the “downline“) to sell a product, a portion of the money from every sale is kicked up from the downline into the upline’s pocket (Huffpost.com). While this looks like a pyramid scheme, since an actual product is being sold, an MLM is considered a legal business model (TheGuardian.com). Obviously, MLMs can’t be bad, right? Even that person staying in the White House bunker had his very own MLM!
MLMs target stay-at-home moms, single women and single mothers with the promises of sisterhood, empowerment and, of course, lots of money (QZ.com). Recruiters gush with pretty stories of the pride that comes with financial freedom and owning your own “business.” Sadly, this isn’t quite the experience of many who try. A consumer advocate group study showed that about 99% of participants either don’t make money or actively lose money (Huffpost.com). This is because a “consultant” is forced to buy a certain amount of product every month or risk being kicked out of the scam (Huffpost.com), even if they currently have tons of unsold product. Since these people are trying to recoup at least some of their losses, they fall further into debt.
If you like heartbreaking stories, simply Google “MLM Horror Stories.” Former “Boss Babe” testimonials include being pressured to lie to partners about money spent and eventual divorces. Some women have been coerced to open secret credit cards, sell cars and forgo needed surgery to buy more product. Well, of course, the uplines are trying to recoup their losses, too. Another problem is that a lot of these products are not easy to sell. For example, as of 2018, the haircare company Monat had over 550 customer complaints and lawsuits filed against it (MLMnewsreport.com). This is because Monat has burned scalps and, in extreme cases, caused permanent hair loss. Consultants are advised to tell customers that this is the normal “one-month detoxing” period (MLMnewsreport.com). I’m not making this up.
Hard work and entrepreneurialism are great things. However, empty promises and taking advantage of desperate people are not. Generally, companies that offer thousands of dollars a month for minimal work should not be trusted. Going further, companies that take advantage of the downtrodden should be held accountable and punished severely. We have enough to worry about right now, don’t we?
Bourke Accounting is not an MLM and I am not a Boss Babe. When your Bourke Accounting expert makes a promise, you better believe that they will follow through. Your Bourke Accounting bookkeeper or tax preparer will never betray your trust and they will never make excuses. Honesty and integrity are not mythical beasts, they are attributes deeply ingrained within every Bourke Accounting specialist.
Written by Sue H.