Ever since my article “The Pink Pyramid Scheme” ran in the August issue of Harper’s Magazine, I’ve been getting the best emails (and blog comments and Facebook messages) from you readers. (Okay, I also get some funny and not so friendly feedback… but the positive outweighs the negative by a significant margin.)
If I haven’t responded to your note directly, please understand that it’s only because I get such an onslaught and I am but one medium-sized person. But I love and read them all because hearing your thoughts and experiences has a major impact on the work I do. Anyway, I thought I’d share this one email, from a reader who asked to be anonymous,* because she’s in a pretty vulnerable spot. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to quit an MLM-style program and reconcile your losses (whether it’s money, self-esteem, friendships, or a combination thereof). Her experience is pretty much why I wrote the article in the first place — to help women who have been exploited by these scams see what they are up against and get out.
Thank you for your article in Harper’s, “The Pink Pyramid Scheme.” I read this article when I first took a job for a company that employs MLM strategies — without paying its agents. Agents instead take on the position because they are constantly told they are doing good in the world by spreading the company’s services. Instead, they do office tasks, for free. The rhetoric used to push sales and keep people in programs is very similar to what you reported in your article.
I myself was enrolled in the program that turns out such agents when I took the job with the company. Something in your article shed light on why I continued to do it, even as I had a nagging feeling I was doing something wrong–I had too much emotional and financial investment at stake to suddenly drop it. I tried to put my nagging thoughts behind me, but when I needed a good dose of reality I would re-read your article. I identified strongly with Lynne. I finally quit my job this week, no longer able to support the façade — and I have again found solace in your article.
Thank you for your work.
* This is probably a good time for me to tell you that all emails/comments/other forms of communication to me are fair game for blog postage and I may edit for length or clarity — but I will keep you anonymous if I think your note requires that protection or if you request it.
UPDATE 11.13.12: This post has been edited to further protect this reader’s privacy.