I have joined the network marketing fraternity.
(It’s not pyramid selling. It’s sharing an exciting opportunity with friends.)
The company is called Forever Living Products.
Let’s get one thing straight. They are by no means suggesting usage of their products will make you live forever. Just a very, very long time. My sponsor is 203.
At its crux, some chap in the States (who drives the car of his dreams and takes 5 holidays a year) has harnessed the magical properties of the Aloe plant to get rich- literally earning as he heals.
Everyone is a winner.
(It’s not pyramid selling. That left you ostracized and bankrupt at university. This is less hateful and more lucrative.)
Inside the business starter pack, featuring imagery of a blissed-out family, you expect to find literature about how the elderly in your family can euthanise themselves to ease the financial burden on their children:
You can only try not to look disappointed to find it housing products based around the Aloe plant instead.
However, as a short botanical lesson reveals it to be a wonder substance, I was persuaded to sign up, via the recommendation of a trusted friend (see how this works?)
Others in the promotional video had more compelling reasons:
‘All my projects had failed and I was at a point in my life where I thought I should start researching the right formula for an overdose. Then I discovered FLP and met lots of other people like me. I’ve never looked back. I always thought being on speaking terms with my family was overrated. Now my kids all go to private school and it’s not ridicule paying those fees!’
Inevitably some of the products are better than others but I’d have to sit you down in a hotel lobby and get you to look into my eyes, look into my eyes, to really sort the sheep from the wolves.
(It’s not pyramid selling. Someone has simply realized that my mother would rather write a cheque to her gormless youngest daughter than to the gormless school-leaver at Holland & Barratt, even if she is tipping her daily gel down the back of the sofa, while she smiles.)
When they diversify into Aloe kettles (2009) I might be stroking my chin but I’ve reigned in that cynicism for the Aloe Gel drink, the FLP star earner.
And so, dear reader, should you:
*START HARD SELL*
BENEFITS: Aloe vera is bactericidal, viricidal, fungicidal and everything else ‘idal that good. It penetrates tissue, relieves pain, hastens healing, improves circulation, breaks down dead tissue, moisturizes healthy tissue, reduces scarring, aids digestion, boosts the immune system, enhances skin quality, is nutritional and mostly tolerant of politicians.
The idea is that you drink it every day, so you absorb all the goodies and get less colds and digest food better, which makes your body use your food as fuel more efficiently, which gives you more energy and glow, which makes you A MORE SUCCESSFUL AND HAPPY PERSON.
Since imbibing it I, for one, have grown exponentially more popular- a welcome effect balancing the loss of friends I have experienced as a result of trying to get them to reap the same benefits. Cruel world.
If you still feel like a homicidal maniac with IBS and bad skin after 60 days you can get your money back.
I might be spending some of it in Barbados but I will definitely owe you.
BUMMERS: it tastes like sewage and is £18 a bottle, which makes a daily habit £36 a month.
But still cheaper than crack.
*END HARD SELL*
The Aloe Vera Gelly (£10.59) is also rather special. In fact, it is the 5th emergency service in a tube (ooh, that’s good. I might try and sell that back to them.)
You can use it on burns or skin conditions or athletes foot or apply it to your gums for gingivitis or put it on sunburn or rub it into the glasses of your bus driver, to make him more polite.
It even works on hemorrhoids, which the chap at Training Day will definitely be recommending to his wife, if the impressed eyebrows he raised in her direction when the subject was discussed, are anything to go by.
Ah, Training Day. I couldn’t get enough of it. It was so educational- not least from the viewpoint of the biodiversity of the attendees.
As well as dribbling luke-warm coffee down my top from my slim stainless-steel flask (I knew I’d have an occasion to use it) I drank eagerly from the company cup, as served by motivational speakers, jazzed up on conspicuous slugs of the Aloe Gel.
And I don’t mind saying I would do so again over a day at Chessington World of Adventures, in a heartbeat.
I am this in any forum:
So it was a matter of time before I dropped the big one: ‘Is it pyramid selling?’
Whereupon loud sirens and flashing lights as I was pinned to the back of my seat by a Patrick-Swayze-possessing-Whoopi-Goldberg G-force of denial.
Of course, nothing so sinister took place. It’s not pyramid selling- let’s just leave it at that.
An afternoon of Aloe evangilism followed, lost souls united in their submergence in Forever Living lore, their fondness for Charity shop sartorial steals, their eagerness to share cold-calling commandments: Never engage in personal banter, Every contact is a potential client, Stick to the script.
This means that the call should go something exactly like this:
‘Hello Dad. I know we’ve been estranged for 20 years and I’d love to get together some time. But what I’m really calling for today is to share an exciting business opportunity. Of course, it may not be for you- only you can decide that- but I’m quite sure that when you’ve heard what I’ve got to say you’ll be psyched.’
and should not continue anything like this:
‘No, it’s not pyramid selling, you ignorant arsehole. You just can’t stand it that I’m making a success of my life, can you? First you walk out, now you won’t even buy green toothgel and ‘Gentleman’s Pride’ aftershave from me…’
Each impassioned pitch made perfect sense. Only when the practice group chanting of the telephone script began, did I start to have Utah flashbacks.
By the end of the day, the group was buzzing with images of the family tree of network earning potential, like a fully-charged Ann Summers vibrator (that’s not pyramid selling either, it’s pissed parties at girlfriends’ houses.)
I could barely wait to draw up my action plan. In retrospect, I should have told the class leader, as it would have saved the messy stalking court injunction I had to take out against her afterwards.
We may have been numbing our bums on hard chairs in the dingy Fulham HQ basement but we were all dreaming of the Chicago Profit Share Achievement weekend.
Do I want to catch my dreams? Yes! Yes!
Do I want to be a winner? You bet I do!
Do I want to keep my friends? Yes! No! Whatever! Show me the money!
Spare yourself The Call and email me for a carton of the good stuff.
It’s bloody brilliant.