There is a local sushi place that I’ve frequented an average of 1-2 times a week for over 4 years. The staff there is great and has always treated me well. In exchange, I treat them well.
Friday I went there with my laptop in hand hoping to do a little work over lunch after visiting my daughter at daycare and sharing some story time with her.
When I sat down, I was almost immediately approached by the owner (we’ll call him “Tsai”; not his real name) of the sushi restaurant with an offer to join his “network” of friends and family who are in the process of selling a very specific product from a company called “Mona Vie”. He showed me a website that is the front-face of his “leg” of the network.
Disclaimer: I am not going to mention the sushi owner’s business name, his real name or link to any of the MLM websites involved, because I am not in any way promoting them, nor denigrating the sushi restaurant or their owners.
I still respect Tsai and his family and if they wish to pursue being successful with these business ventures, I’m not going to actively hurt their potential to so do in the process.
For the next hour or more, instead of allowing me to enjoy my lunch in peace (which he has always respected in the past), I was affronted by his pitch to join his MLM program buying and selling cases of this “energy juice” that contains extract of Açaí berries (along with other unlabeled, unknown concentrations of blended fruits and vegetables).
At first, I was patient as I am with everyone who has something to share, and let him talk. Then after several minutes, things went south… fast.
I’m a reasonably smart person, and I started asking questions about the “system”, about the earning potential, about the bonus allocation and so on. Apparently the system was not made for “smart people”, as I was told several times. Then his explanations got more and more confusing, so I started asking questions, and was met with comments like “Shut up and listen.” and “You’re so skeptical, just shut up and stop thinking.”
He showed me some of his earnings, using their online “Distributors Virtual Office” control panel. He said that they have weekly “tasting parties” where they invite people to come by and try the juice, and encourage them to join the network to start consuming and selling the juice themselves (herein likes the crux of the scam; more on this later in this post).
In response, I showed him the revenue I make from my Google and LinkXL banner ads that I run on very specific, targeted websites which more than surpassed his earnings from selling this juice at these “tasting parties”, and I didn’t have to spend a dime or any time on driving to the parties, organizing them or bringing any product or marketing materials to them. My websites stay running, I get paid an ever-increasing amount each month. Simple.
This is where it began to get personal. After his pitch, and my hesitance to join his “network”, he started to insult me, my friends, my family, my intelligence and my background (none of which he knows a single shred about).
“Are you crazy? It’s only $39.00 to join. Don’t you have the money? I can pay for it for you, if you’re low on cash.”
“You’re just afraid. You’ve never taken a risk or a chance in your life. You just sit back and live in fear.”
“Don’t you have any friends? Maybe you need to get some new friends who you can get to join your network.”
“You need to make time to make this work. Just forget your work and your daughter and focus on this.”
At that point, I told him to get up, out of my booth.
I won’t repeat some of the further comments he said, but it got ugly. True to form, I exercised restraint and didn’t stoop to his level. I packed up my things, thanked him for his time and the lunch through gritted teeth, and left.
Never to return again.
Later that night, I received a voicemail from “Tsai” with an apology for his behavior and that I should reconsider his offer to join his “network”.
This morning (Saturday), I recieved two VERY early morning phone calls from a number I didn’t recognize. The calls woke me up, but I ignored them and the caller didn’t leave any voicemail.
Later this morning, I called the number back. It was “Tsai” with another apology, but this time he added that he couldn’t sleep last night and it was bothering him at a very personal level. I listened to his apology, said thank you and hung up.
Later in the afternoon, the same number called again… again I ignored it, again no voicemail.
I’m going to separate the MLM and MonaVie details into a separate blog post, which I will be writing shortly after I publish this one.