Monday, August 17, 2009

White Shirts and Multi-level Marketing

Please understand, this isn't a post directed at Mormonism - rather it's directed at a culture which has sprung up within Mormon communities, and while it would seem at odds with basic Mormon teachings, actually basic Christian teachings too, it gets embraced which some much vigor and enthusiasm as to make me sick...

Case 1:

I'm a facebook guy. I'm not an addict, but I like the program. I've made many great friends, caught up with countless others, and just like the way the thing works. So there I was right before lunch today, perusing the latest updates, when... We'll call her MZ for this example... MZ pops up in the Chat window.

First a little history on MZ... Just over a decade ago, I was a Mormon Missionary in Africa. MZ was as well. I wasn't a huge fan of her but she was OK. My companion (coz you have to go two by two), absolutely loathed her, but he and I got put in a position where we had to work with her closely and so he tried really hard to overcome that. A couple of months later, we played a wee prank on the lady missionaries - nothing bad, just something fun to remind us that we were normal people behind the badge.

Next thing I know, I get hauled down to Mission Presidents office and absolutely chewed out by the man. Turns out... A - My loving parents had absolutely screwed me over on a separate incident, although at the time I was unaware of this. B - My companion kind of had a thing going with MZ, which she initiated. I found out about A, only after I got done with my 2 years. I found out about B that night.

Apparently MZ had taken the prank seriously, and called the Mission President to confess everything, and narc on us at the same time. Me and the companion got sent to horrible areas and put on bikes, although in hindsight - the bike wasn't a bad place for me to be - but we got screwed for the remainder of our 2 year terms, but I digress.

Next time I speak to MZ, she's happily married and living in Arizona. She calls up out of the blue, and starts talking about her new business to my wife... Primerica. Every person I have ever had approach me about Primerica, starts with the long story of how broke they were, how much financial trouble they were, but Primerica save them. And now they want me to take financial advice from them... Sorry folks! I ain't buying. MZ was no exception, and when my wife explained my bad experiences with it, she dropped the conversation...

And then had her husband call and talk to me about my bad attitude towards the greatest thing in the world. 2 hours later I get him off the phone, still unconvinced and thoroughly annoyed. Turns out he was a huge porn addict as well (Nice good Mormon boy that he was!) He would watch it all night long, and then mentally and physically abuse her and their kids during the day. They're divorced now and she's remarried....

Which brings us to today...

MZ: hey Koda! What's up?
Koda: Not much! You?
MZ: just keeping busy!
I have a question for you ... mr marathon fitness runner! :):)
have you ever used the Access Bar?

First of all... I'm pretty open about the fact that I'm a triathlete. And I don't want to get all technical, but I run as part of that, I do marathons to train for triathlons, and you've mentioned marathon and runner in the same delightful nickname. My BS detector is starting to glow...

Access Bar... Why do I know that name...

Koda: Is that a sports bar? And my ignorance probably answers the question...
Oh wait... Is that the melaleuca one?
An acquaintance worked in there a year or two back, and got me a few samples to try...

MZ: lol, yeah it is Melaleuca .. you know about it?

OK Folks... LOL's in places they really shouldn't be make my ass twitch, and the BS Detector is now emitting a good solid glow.

Koda: They were still developing the wrappers I think.
Right now in prepping for IronMan, I'm almost exclusively on Hammer products....
Perpetuem and Heed
MZ: hmmm, well, they are AMAZING!!!!!!
not sure if you knew the science behind them, but it allows your body to access fat immediatly as soon as you rais your heart rate, instead of having to wait the normal 20-25 min. that it takes
it is all patented and scientifically proven of course

Of course it is!! Anything else you'd like to quote from the box of them in front of you? Perhaps I should add... They weren't bad tasting bars, but for $2 a bar, the only one's I'll be trying are free samples, and I generally only take liquids when I race - Note how she jumped right over my comment about Hammer Nutrition too...

Koda: I'm guessing you're a melaleuca distributer....
MZ: well, not really a distibuter, since I don't actually sell the products, just set up shopping accounts, but yes, I own my own business with them
I've been using the products for 13 years though
just started doing it as a business last year
I just met Dr. Wang, the scientist that did the research leading up to the develpment of the access bar
incredible man ... incredible research, and discovery
Do you know who Shalane Flannagan is?
not sure if I spelled her first name correctly

My kids try play the semantics game with me sometimes... They're learning it doesn't work...

Did you hit your sister in the arm?
Why is she crying?
I don't know...
Are you the reason she's crying?
Did you touch her?
Kind of...
How did you touch her?
***Kid motions punching***
I asked if you hit her. Why did you lie to me?
I didn't lie, you asked if I hit her, but I punched her.

Kid usually ends up in his room for a long time after this one...

But back to MZ... There is a pause because a co-worker comes in to ask something...

Koda: Sorry - just chatting to a visitor
MZ: no problem
I was just asking if you know who Shalane Flannagan is... she is a silver medalist in long distance running ... anyhow, she swears by the access bar
Koda: YEah - Iwatched her run at the olympics - pretty awesome runner!
MZ: yeah, she is amazing
Koda: I'd better head out though on my lunch break. I'm pretty set on my nutrition for now, but I'll let you know if I want to try those Access bars out!

Freakin' HELL!! No contact for 6 or 7 years, and all you want to do is make a sale. If I could compare the whole sales thing to sex (And just so we know, if I was single and her and I were the last humans on earth... Still hell no!). In this interaction I guess I would have been the woman and her the man. First date, she comes to pick me up, walks right in the door, strips me naked and tried to have sex - no foreplay, nothing. Wouldn't work with sex - wouldn't work for a sale either.

And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
2 Nephi 28:8

Mormons love multi-level marketing. Utah is MLM central. It's all about get your friends to make you rich.

Case 2:

So... to escape MZ, I take a walk around City Creek Canyon... A mile or 2 into it, I come across 2 LDS Church employees. How can I tell? They're wearing long-sleeve white shirts, suit pants and have their suit jackets slung over their arms. It was 80 freaking degrees outside - so why dress like this? The LDS Church believes that it's employees are the most professional in the world, and so they need to look the part, hence if you leave the campus during business hours, you are to wear a suit - jacket and all - technically they should actually have had their jackets on, but I digress.

The problem is... The LDS Church pays their employees like utter crap (at least the lower level ones), treats them like crap, and if any of them have the audacity to try and excel, they get hauled into HR and asked to play solitaire at their desks for a couple of hours a day, because they're making their co-workers uncomfortable with their performance - True story, it happened to me!. But keep paying your tithing anyway - it's going to worthy causes ;-)

That's not my point today though... As I pass, one of the guys is complaining to the other...

Have you heard about Markham?
Apparently over at his office, the management have decided that they can wear colored shirts on Fridays.
And I guess Markham feels he needs to do this to fit in. (With a rather sarcastic and judgmental tone)

By this point they had passed me and where out of ear shot.


The LDS Employee handbook used to state that white shirts were preferred, but light colored shirts were acceptable. But even back then, whenever someone wore a light blue, or light yellow shirt, the corridors buzzed after they walked by. I wonder if it's changed or if everyone just still assumes that means it's a white shirt or else...

Judge not, that ye be not judged.
St. Matthew 7:1

Although in fairness, the founder of Mormonism did update it to read...

Now these are the words which Jesus taught his disciples that they should say unto the people. Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment.
JST Matthew 7:1-2

Apparently a righteous judgment is the one surrounding another man's choice of shirt color.


  1. facebook has been something of a mixed bag for me too. It put me back in touch with some very dear childhood friends, and has at times added plenty of drama to my otherwise quiet life that I'd been better off without.

    One thing that is possible is the assignment of such annoying pests to various groups in the chat app. You can be available to the people who don't constantly spam you and invisible to the time-wasters. It works well for me.

  2. Hmmmm - I need to look into that...

    Actually I'm considering doing a bit of cleaning house - cutting loose the dead wood (and 'friends' who view me as an asset to accumulate capital, more than a person with which to interact socially.)

    For anyone following this... Turns out MZ just returned from a big Convention in Florida and was told that the head sales team over the next 6 weeks gets an all inclusive vacation to the Caribbean - SHOCKER!!!

  3. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've been pitched for a pyramid scheme, I'd have enough money to invest in Primerica or get a nice condo at Tahiti Village, Las Vegas' newest premiere resort!!!

    I guess people percieve me to be a complete idiot. There's a guy in our neighborhood who was heavily involved in multiple schemes, all of which were dealt major blows when the economy went south. He lost 2 houses and all of his vehicles. Thing is, he was one of these 'keep up with the Joneses' people, so he'd still dress really nice and carry around his iPhone, even though his service had been cancelled.

    You'd think he might have learned his lesson from all of this. Nope. I get an email from him a month or so later pitching reverse auctions (the new craze in ponzi, err, "multilevel" businesses).

    I have some relatives who got really involved in Quixtar, a multilevel online "convenience store" that duped many in the Mormon market by advertising itself as a precursor to the United Order (they didn't exactly say that, but the language they used during pitches conveyed that thought really well).

    We were really close with these relatives until they pitched us. TRIED to pitch us, that is. I may look like an idiot, but I'm not one, and they didn't get past the first pre-pitch sentence (like "so have you tried the access bar?") before I shut them down. Haven't spoken with them since.

    I don't get offended very easily, but if you're a friend or family, one surefire way to destroy a relationship with me is to pull a pyramid scheme on me.

  4. I don't know if people see you as an idiot... I tend to think it's more they see an asset capable of building them capital...

    I've screwed up my life, but DS is successful, and with this winning, can't fail scheme, he could go all the way - and since he's in my downline... I could go all the way too!!!

    I love the Mormon references they use too... Apparently the founder of Primerica is a member of the Church - served as a mission president too!!! The founder of WMG has exactly the same credentials - wonder if it's the same guy?!?!

  5. "The founder of WMG has exactly the same credentials - wonder if it's the same guy?!?!"

    I wouldn't be surprised. They're all sort of intermingled.

  6. Did some checking... First, my mistake it was actually WMA not WMG.

    Both the Founders originally worked on the Primerica company together until it was sold, and then there was a falling out, and one of them then left and form WMA.

    Neither of the two men's biograph mentions any LDS ties, missions or anything like that. I suspect they may be as LDS as Lionel Ritchie and Amy Grant.

  7. Lionel Ritchie and Amy Grant really aren't Mormons? Shoot.

  8. In my day it was Mick Jagger and Steve Martin.

    You'd think they'd be happy with Matthew Modine and Ryan Gosling, ferchrissake.

    I went to priesthood meeting with Private Joker. How many fellas can say that? ;)