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Home arrow Commercial Cults arrow Amway arrow The system wasn't working...It was my fault

The system wasn't working...It was my fault

February 22, 2001

By a former Amway distributor

I was a "distributor" with Amway/Quixtar or Bill Britt International a few years back, and I'm still recovering from that experience. I spent 4 years in their little mind control games. Needless to say, my bitterness remains. I lost thousands of dollars with them, after being gently coerced into buying all of the "tools" I could get my hands on.

Here's a note I recently sent to a friend of mine. I thought you might find it informative.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister and her husband. But I did want to warn you about trying to get them out of [Amway], and I'll tell you from my personal experience why.

"Uplines" (the people that sponsored her and the people that sponsored the people who sponsored her) have an arsenal of lines that they use to warn their people about the "lies" that exist about Amway/Quixtar. They claim that most of their critics are people who are uneducated about the program, or that they're basing their opinions on what they're uncle's neighbor's daughter said about Amway back in 1972. In other words, they mentally prepare their people for arguments against Quixtar. Additionally, the meetings, tape sets, and seminars are designed [sic] to break down their objections and the objections that their families/friends have into "excuses." After a period of time, there are no valid objections to the business.

Additionally, uplines make every effort to integrate Quixtar into every part of a distributor's life.

First, they approach the business under the guise of friendship.

Second, they equate spiritual maturity with monetary wealth (i.e. success in "the business").

Third, they equate strong marriages to being successful in the business (they tout the low divorce rate of Quixtar couples).

Additionally, they equate being a good parent, friend, and/or philanthropist to being a successful distributor. Even good American patriots are good Quixtar distributors.

These views are upheld in the books that are "recommended" to read. They are upheld in the videos and tapes, which are recommended that distributors buy. Time and again, these views are stated throughout each of the meetings and seminars, which members are "recommended" to attend. I put the word "recommended" in quotation marks because members are basically coerced into attending and paying for them. Why else would I have spent well over $2,000 per year for four years on books, tapes, and functions if I weren't told "If you want to be successful, you need to..."

In addition to these uplines snaking their way into every aspect of their downline's life, their views are presented in ways that appeal to every human emotion. You name it, and the Quixtar message is presented to appeal to that emotion, except sexuality and hatred, which is appropriate for the moment. Religious fervor, marital bliss, love, friendship, patriotism, pride, humor, arrogance, sadness, grief, hope, connection to God, filial piety, purpose, meaning, etc.

I'm telling you this because I bought into it all. I was a good (damn good, in fact) distributor. I never missed a meeting. I always came early and left late. If I didn't have someone to call on my list to propose the business to, I'd literally pick names out of the phone book, call them, and act like we'd met--just to try to get them to sit down across from me so I could explain the business to them. This was one of the techniques I was taught by my upline. I'd hang out at bookstores, stalking sharp looking people, waiting for the right opportunity to start a conversation with them and talk about the business.

I was told you could do this business in 5 to 15 hours in a week, but I spent 3 to 5 hours per night and most of my weekends doing it. It was literally like having another full-time job.

But my largest monthly check was $115, which was after a very successful Christmas season. Most months, I got a check for $6.05. Maybe you missed that. That's six dollars and five cents for an entire month.

I would drive three hours from my home for a "no-show" (i.e. someone that didn't show up at the meeting that I invited them to). I drove to different states to do the business--all during my regular work week. I'd get home at 2 in the morning and get a few hours sleep before I got up to go to work.

I lost many of my friends as a result of the business too. Those that didn't get into the business with me, my upline said weren't my real friends anyway--so I stopped hanging out with them. Those that did get into the business, and didn't perform, I put too much pressure on--so they left.

Eventually, my only social outlet was people from Amway/Quixtar. They swore undying friendship to me, but when I quit, not one of them called me. None of them returned my calls or even my e-mail. I was shunned.

Can you guess what my upline said to me when I said the system wasn't working? They said that there was something in my life that was preventing me from moving ahead. In other words, I was harboring sexual thoughts, or I wasn't close enough to God, or I had wronged someone that I needed to ask forgiveness from. It was my fault.

It's not very likely that you will be able to say anything that will get them to change their minds about Amway. Their uplines have prepared them for any approach you might try. The only hopes that you have is that when the initial enthusiasm wears off, and they don't sponsor someone right away, they may lose interest. However, if they sponsor someone and sponsor someone else and have some success at first, it's not very likely that any intervention will work. By that time, they'll have been programmed effectively.

It took me four years without "success" to learn.

I hate to sound so negative, but brainwashing is serious business, and there are no more knowledgeable people on brainwashing than Amway/Quixtar distributors [sic]. What's worse is that most people don't know how seriously detrimental Amway is, so they don't look at it like they would a religious cult.

There is more that I could say, but none of it is good. I could literally write a book on my experience with Amway.

Bill Britt, the master of brainwashing in Amway [sic], is someone who literally has made hundreds of millions off of these lemmings. He tells his people that the only definition for the word "cult" is a group where the leader puts himself/herself between the flock and God. So, if you say that Amway is a "cult," that's the first rebuttal.