Herbalife, Amway and Mary Kay: How multi-level marketing ‘pyramid schemes’ are bankrupting America

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When 23-year-old college graduate Julie was invited to a “girls night party” where the guests were told by a woman named Shawna from a company called Pure Romance that they could make big bucks selling middle-class suburban housewives “bullet vibrators and dildos,” Julie was down to get started.

All she had to do was buy one of four Pure Romance starter kits for “demonstration and sale” for $99, and then hawk the company’s “sex toys” to friends, neighbors, strangers, her mother — even herself.

Better yet, as Shawna explained, the really big money could be made by “recruiting” other women to buy Pure Romance starter kits and become their own saleswomen, just like she was. That way Julie would receive an immediate “bonus” for signing up a newbie, who would then become part of Julie’s own “team of employees” making more money for Julie “downline.”

Over the next six months, Julie would spend hundreds of dollars adding Pure Romance items to her sales kit.

But Julie’s get-rich dream soon became a costly nightmare: Despite all those promises of big-money, she had been lured, like untold millions of other women, into one of America’s oldest business scams, the pyramid scheme, run by shrewd marketers promising financial independence and an abundance of riches.

“The product being sold doesn’t matter since most of the money is being made via those recruitment fees and distributors stocking their own shelves with inventory,” writes Jane Marie in the new book “Selling the American Dream” (Atria).

An award-winning journalist-podcaster, Marie exposes the dark underbelly of a billion-dollar industry sucking the blood of mostly working-class women struggling to make ends meet.

Content retrieved from: https://www.aol.com/herbalife-amway-mary-kay-multi-120000091.html.

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