Tuesday, November 8, 2016

MLM and Visual Appearance

Today's post is about the visual aesthetic MLMers want to portray. MLMers, by and large, are very robotic personalities, and they can be easily identified by certain traits. The clothing choice is another way MLMers condition their downline to act a certain way, and create a certain set of values they deem suitable (all puns intended) for the business. It is extremely important to create a particular facade that starts with the initial appearance, because this helps to deceive the consumer into listening to the pitch.

"If your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer."- Neil deGrasse Tyson

MLMers have been practicing their pitches for decades, and their appearance has also been carefully tailored to create a persona of magnitude. They will wear three-piece suits to every meeting, and they will be carefully manicured from head to toe. This image creates false connections in the consumers head, because they will establish this facade as someone with great power, connections, money, esteem, and success. The image an MLMer portrays can help to prevent consumers from asking questions, because the automatic response is to trust someone with this look when referencing a business topic. The consumer will be far less likely to question a MLMer that is in a three-piece suit, than they would a MLMer in a t-shirt and cargo shorts. 

I have never seen Fred (sponsor), or Tom (upline) in anything other than dress clothes. Tom was always in a nice suit, and Fred was usually in something business attire related. Fred was more charismatic than Tom and he got away with wearing some different types of clothing that weren't suits, but his attire was always professional. In fact, when he propositioned me for the business, at the comedy club, he had the opportunity to go home and change first, but opted to remain in his work clothes. He already overdressed for his job position (telemarketer), and this was an even stranger venue to be professional in appearance. He stuck out like a sore thumb, but his charisma helped to make his clothing seem normal. Even if he was a successful professional, it would have been awkward for him to show up in that kind of outfit at this type of business.

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we intend to be." -Kurt Vonnegut

This quote couldn't be more accurate about the transformation into an MLMer. The suit I wore and the attention I got when attending the MLM seminars made me into something completely different from what I was. I felt strong, important, and even a little indestructible. My descent was rapid at first, and I felt as though I had the "golden ticket" to happiness and nobody could take it away. I was becoming a phony and it felt both real and right. I was losing my ability to care about others and their opinions. I was losing my ability to think about the here and now, because my dreams had begun to take over. I was losing myself.

This particular post doesn't stop at MLM, because everyone has a facade and tries to maintain their idea of how people expect them to be. Nietzsche wrote about everyone's masks, and the difficulty in knowing who somebody truly is, but as Vonnegut said, people become the facade they are pretending to be, and the lines between identity and self become blurred. It is important to remember that MLM is a business opportunity and not who you are as a person. Don't let someone make you conform to their ideals.

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. Well, there's nothing wrong with dressing up nicely. I wish more people would do it. But business or "professional" attire is not required everywhere, nor is it appropriate in some situations. Amway idiots who wear three-piece suits to barbecues are totally clueless.

    The real issue here is whether getting dressed up is an expression of one's personal good taste and refinement, or an expression of lockstep uniformity. Since Amway actually prescribes the type of suit an IBO should wear, it's pretty clear that we are dealing with a surreptitious uniform. You've got to wear the Amway suit, not an Armani suit of your own choosing.

    Uniforms are not worn to show one's personal taste or refinement. They are worn to show one's LOYALTY and COMMITMENT to an organization or an ideology. In some cases (as in the police, the military, or security personnel) this is perfectly OK and necessary. But when Amway types wear that same dreary cheap business suit, all they are doing is proclaiming their slavishness, their mindless devotion, their fanaticism about the Amway "idea."

    Let me give an example that may clarify what I mean. I personally love three-piece suits, and I wear them frequently. But a three-piece suit really requires an old-fashioned watch and a chain worn across the vest pockets. Since I have a couple of watch-and-chain sets, always wear a set with my three-piece suit. It invariably looks very sharp.

    But consider: if an Amway freak were to show up at one of those functions or night owls or business meetings in a three-piece suit that also sported a watch-and-chain at the vest, what would happen? I'll tell you what -- his stupid up-line would take him aside and berate him for doing something "not in keeping with the Amway image." I can just hear the stupid schmuck: "Don't wear that watch-and-chain! It looks old-fashioned! You won't give the right impression to prospects! Wear a nice modern wristwatch! You've gotta look like an up-and-coming mover and shaker, boy!"

    In other words, the Amway crappy business suit is a uniform, and if you don't wear it precisely and exactly as prescribed by your up-line assholes, you'll be chewed out and criticized just like a soldier being dressed down by his commanding officer for "not being in proper uniform."

    Amway doesn't want the free play of personal imagination or individual choice. It want you to DUPLICATE everything! Any stepping out of line by the IBO brings down chastisement on his head.

    1. Remember 'MLM' adherents are not selling products or a 'business opportunity,' they are deluded evangelists peddling a non-rational belief system which - although presented as 'Good News/ Salvation' - is really a plan to commit economic, social and psychological suicide.

      Following the Messianic example of the instigators of the original 'MLM' cult, 'Nutrilite/Amway,' deluded core'MLM' evangelists have invariably been taught to dress, and behave, like heterosexual Bible-Belt preachers and their supportive wives.

      For years 'Amway' shils were known as 'Black Hats.'

      It's also interesting to note that when I was trying to deal with my Ambot brother, he had radically transformed his previously scruffy appearance - wearing a sombre suit and tie for all 'Amway'-related activities- but when I had to sign a non-'Amway'-related contract with him in an attorney's office, he returned to a tracksuit and sneakers to show his contempt for me - a non-believer and perceived threat to his own future 'MLM' salvation.

    2. Anonymous,

      I can't verify that the MLMers were that stringent about the dress code, but I was told a couple of times that I must be in a suit and tie for all MLM related matters.

      I believe the Amway suit has a double meaning, and you are correct that part of it has to do with keeping a specific identity. The style of attire also has to do with the deception and looking important when dealing with "business" related activities.

      The deception MLMers create, when wearing the suits, is extremely effective and dangerous, because they are giving people advice about a subject they know nothing about. If they were wearing the suits because they had a legitimate knowledge of the field, and were actually conducting appropriate business, then there would not be a relevant issue. The manipulation of their identity for self-gain is the crux of the issue.


      I'm hoping people will begin to realize that these "MLM adherents" can be regularly identified by their attire and opening words to the pitch thanks to the John Oliver piece. One of the things I like about the Mormons are their readily identifiable attire, because I won't have to try and decipher what their mission is, if they walk up and pitch something to me. My brain immediately knows that these people have one agenda, much like an MLMer, and it is not something I want to be a part of, or waste my time listening.