Friday, April 14, 2023

You Can Call Me... Elmer (Part 2)

Don't call me Al, or late for dinner. Ba Dum Tss

Image by Vkastro from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"As I've said before, free money scams are a problem." -Mathew Lesko 

Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

In You Can Call Me... Elmer (Part 1), I cleverly tied together the occasional disruptions in my cash flow prior to retirement to religious cults to financial cults to Amway, a firm that makes billions of bucks by serving(?) souls seeking financial salvation.

I wish to elaborate on why thinking about cults got me thinking about Amway. 

For a yearly fee of only $76 (or the equivalent if you're a citizen of one of the 99+ countries besides the U.S. Amway operates in), you can allegedly supplement your inadequate income, or even build a full-time business of your own. 

Your fellow Amway "independent business owners" will show you how and provide resources and guidance. Not only do the folks who sign up folks and teach them how to sign up other folks so that everyone can get rich (or at least less financially stressed), they helpfully supply meetings, classes, seminars, literature, etc. — "business support materials" — for a price. 

{Amway's (in)famous for that sort of thing, it's widely known, what's your point?}

Amway's reputation for holding meetings and rallies that resemble revival meetings to fire up the troops is one of the reasons some call Amway a cult.

Another is that it's possible to find yourself being recruited by one of the faithful who lured you into a pitch by being careful to never utter the word Amway, a tactic common to people who recruit new members to join cults. 

This actually happened to me once and I nearly lost a friend who talked my late, great, sorta/kinda mother-in-law (it's complicated) into meeting a certain someone who wished to discuss a "business opportunity."

Joyce: "This isn't Amway is it John?"
John: "It's just a great idea that I, uh, personally recommend."  

At a certain point in this person's pitch, which I also attended, Joyce had an aha! moment and forced him to admit that he was looking to add people to his Amway "downline." 

When it was made, um, abundantly clear to this individual that the meeting was over and that he should go away, now, Dr. Amway transformed into Mr. Hyde and viciously turned on her before stomping off into the sunset. 

However, no one was killed, and my embarrassed friend apologized, slunk out, and shortly thereafter decided that Amway wasn't for him either.  

I don't have a problem with Christians, in fact, although I'm not a Christian, I'm hoping that America has one of its periodic Christian Great Awakenings soon to fill the growing God-shaped hole in the American heart that the wacky Wokies are, to a great extent, responsible for.


long story, Dana, and perhaps a future column. 

I don't have a problem with the adherents of any faith that take their religious beliefs seriously and live their lives accordingly. Assuming, of course, they believe that "live and let live" are also words to literally live by and are willing to gracefully share the playground with all the other kids. 

I firmly believe that the sermon you live is much more effective than the sermon you preach and I'm repelled by spiritual/moral/ethical/etcetrical hypocrisy (all sins, I confess, that I'm occasionally guilty of). 

I've personally been involved with more than one materially successful individual, Christian and otherwise, who wore/wear their faith on their sleeves, seemingly oblivious to the fact their success derives from their willingness to exploit others.

I've heard varied versions, delivered with a straight face, of what I think of as divine-right monarch logic. "If God disapproved of my actions I wouldn't be wearing a crown, right? 

Amway's founders, Jay Van Andel ("Christianity involved the living out of Biblical values of honesty, generosity, and respect for others in our everyday life.") and Richard DeVos ("As business moves forward, you realize that God has his hand on the whole business and that he brought people to you who are like-minded. It starts with faith.") were both billionaires when they died. 

In 1993, Mr. DeVos published a book titled Compassionate Capitalism: People Helping People Help Themselves. According to Amazon DeVos argues that as capitalism spreads around the world "it needs to develop a moral base that would incorporate the interests of corporations, workers, customers, and the environment." My emphasis.
From last week's column: Amway reports on a 2021 U.S. Income Disclosure that "For calendar year 2021, the average income for all U.S. registered IBOs at the Founders Platinum level and below was $766 before expenses."

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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