I have received many e-mails from readers asking for more information or just wanting to share their own stories. I have decided to post some of the most interesing e-mails. Please keep in mind that all of these e-mails are readers' opinions (and/or personal experiences) and do not necessarily reflect my views, the views of this server, or the views of their server. Also keep in mind that I have posted these e-mails "as-is" without asking for "hard evidence" to support the person's claims or correcting any grammar or spelling mistakes.
The following e-mails are in chronological oder, the oldest listed first.
January 18, 1998
Yes, I'm an ex-distributor officially as of December 1, 1997. The funny thing is I have read your page top to bottom and I have read so very many in the past, I think all of them to be exact. It was refreshing and so true. My sponsor who enjoyed very large bonus checks and my ability to financially make up for my groups mistakes i.e. bounced checks, ordering products without the ability to pay, or just plain quitting and leaving a large product order as payback. You name it, I had it done, tools being no exception. Direct Distributor wouldn't even buy them back like Amway Rules state, over the years about $8,000 dollars worth. I was just a little irritated!
Anyhow, your page speaks the truth and states facts very accurately. To those individuals who take the time to read this page, they will find it very beneficial in eliminating a financially draining, emotionally devestating business opportunity. The price we paid was to high, all for the sake of a false God called "Financial Freedom". Heck, they might want to rename that as "AMO Finacial Slavery" instead. "We will love you for your a buck".
I don't have much time tonight, but I will give you the whole story some other time. I just want to say thanks for a wonderful web site and good luck in your future endeavors. Looking forward to a new life and moving in the right direction--without AMWAY or its AMO's.
January 26, 1998, message #2 from the same author
Sometimes this planet is just to small. My upline Diamond WAS Charlie and Kim Schmitz, their upline is--you guessed it Hal & Susan Gooch. We were in the same large line of sponsorship. I'm in Nebraska though, I see it is a little warmer in Orlando! At the present time I have started to rebuild my Computer Consulting and Service business. We do have interestingly similar backgrounds.
Everyone that has left the business in some form or fashion that I have spoken to really enjoys your little quote "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.--Assimilate this!" [a reference to the old "signature" I placed on my out-going e-mails] I see the Borg are close cousins to Amway AMO's. I still laugh silently when I get approached by very anxious and overly excited new distributors. Guess it must be I have a different look after leaving the business, they can't tell whether you were in or not! So I give you full credit when I say "I have no interest in being assimilated, thank you!" A very successful entreprenuer Mr. Hoagland provided me with that response to your 2-5 year plan. They can't seem to figure that statement out.
Hope you don't mind my using your last name. I figured a little positive credibility and edification was well deserved. Have a great day and I'll chat soon!
January 28, 1998, message #3 from the same author
Just writing to say thanks for the information. One challenge I personally have had and most others with going to the FTC, Attorney General, and others is we simply don't want to drag the nightmare on anymore. Yep, alot of people loose considerable amounts of money and they are pretty upset, yet I figured out how it keeps building. New people don't hear all the horror stories and ex-ambots don't want to discuss how gullible or just blind to the truth they really are. I'm a college graduate with a BS in Business--appropriate initials for an tools business, but not for an ethical business or real life. Since I was warned more than once or twice or...., I have a hard time eating more crow as they say. Many people realize late however that this business is built on pure greed--accumulating vast amounts of wealth at all cost in the name of protecting your family and being a good christian. Those are not godly principals if you ask me and what is worse, we don't like to admit that we danced with the devil for 4 years either.
So what is all this about, why can AMO's continue to sucker people inside the business more than once no less. The need for the quick fix to all our problems, our society sells on fear or pleasure. AMO's take advantage of both and here's how. You get an entire family involved for at least a year, they will sell to their extended family and friends at a breakneck pace to achieve the quick fix. AMO's reward them with something so simple and so cheap--recognition and they feed on the need to be liked. Next, AMO's literally scare the hell out of you, they utilize statistics, tv, media, your friends who now don't want to or are not interested in being around you anymore, due to the obsessive nature of the business, and simply that you have no other option. I went through basic training with the military, they broke us down and rebuilt us with great confidence and team spirit. We felt different, looked different, and believed we were different. AMO's do the same thing--remold you after they have clouded reality, this allows the control and the need to be liked increases because nobody else likes you(all in one owns perception). Now you were right in saying that this is POWER!!!!. Think about it, you set up entire families to provide for the select few, the other cultures are at a greater risk than most because of strong family and cultural family oriented systems. I could expand a business by cultural selection alone. My view of the system is that it not permeates our government--the quick and painless fix. We won't fight a war anymore unless it is clean and painless for ourselves. War was never meant to be clean and never meant to be painless. I find that society is seeking the garden of eden and we are very susceptable to the AMO's and other cult like activities taking place in our society today. Those running the government are in someways no different than AMO's they perpuate the few gaining over the many via power and control.
I will continue this letter later, but I found that people don't like to admit they made a mistake more than once. AMO's have a built in safety net that allows them to get people back in the business when they have no where else to go. No wants to hang around friends and family who remind you of your failures--"At least in AMO's someone likes me" catch 22 is only if you are making them money. Can't buy love!
January 29, 1998, message #4 from the same author
My apologies for misspelling your name and I'm glad I don't have to listen to two tapes on Borg Logic!
Our line of sponsorship has common grounds due to Kevin Childers is under Hal & Susan Gooch and Schmitz is under Childers. Although after Susan's mid-life crisis and her asking for a Divorce, I don't believe they are still married and he had remarried shortly there after. That information was to be kept fairly hush hush because of the impact it would have on the business, if a big name Diamond and highly tauted as having a more than pristine reputation. Maybe the grapevine information of a few years back is not totally accurate. Kenny Stewart another top Diamond has Divorced is wife and had plans to remarry is secretary. He has been totally eliminated as a credible source for the business in the organization(as of 1 year ago), his tapes were not distributed by our line after he left his wife and I quote from door number 2, our Directs wife in her infinite wisdom "He wouldn't even speak to his Pastor who tried to convince him to come back to God!" Oops looks like that Divorce rate thing is blown all to Hades! So much for sound christian values too.
Mr. Hoagland, I had to read your name twelve times before I could spell it right--that is a joke! I didn't want you thinking that Nebraskan's are nice people, but can't spell for a hoot! Still have a little Borg influence and a few speech impediments--"Hey Sharp Guy! Ever look at other ways of increasing your net worth?" That's Ugly and all to familiar.
Now, on to your question regarding the number of times I have been approached. I was approached 4 times while I was active, 8 times during my year of inactivity, and 3 times in the past 3 weeks. Now, I either have a look on my face of total financial desperation or they think I have what it takes to make them alot of money. May it's the Borg targeting those who have greedy looks on their faces? I don't really know why, but it's rather irritating to continually be approached by all sorts of multi-level marketing schemes. Heck, a guy I'm looking to buy an apartment complex from is trying to sponsor me into Excel MLM, neighbor has his sites on me for Omni-nutrition, and just yesterday some kind of rapid debt repayment program that is an MLM by an attorney who's a client of mine. Next it will be Baby Food! Make money off of buying scummy looking smashed green beans--Yum Yum! Just think you're making money every time they poop and as long as there are babies being born, we will make money! It will be like they say in the cattle and hog industry when it gets very odiferous--That's the smell of money!
Prior to the business--this is how financial stress and the quick fix gets you into trouble. My wife was approached by a friend of hers who was in a retail group to sell See Spray, then in the early 80's by a friend in college. Here's an example of how good I was at sponsoring. In 1988 a dear friend from the military approached me about the business. He sat in my kitchen for 2 hours. I read the brochures (laminated copies mind you, didn't even have catalogs) and saw the plan. I said to him respectfully, "I truly appreciate you considering me for this opportunity, but I cannot see where you make money and or where you will break-even, if you must rely on the sales of others who are not loyal to you in any form or fashion and who do not get compensated for their time and efforts. This to me is a free sales force and one with no territories or means of covering their expenses without some kind of outside support--I must respectfully decline."
He quit the business in 1992 and I sponsored him in 1995, he stayed in for over two years and didn't make more than a $100. He believed I could do it if anyone ever could, but he just couldn't. Sad but true story. This person was in twice because he believed I could help him get to the top, but he couldn't do it without me. My upline promoted this that it was our group until it became their group and they continue to build it. This scared the Hades out of me-- 25 personally sponsored individuals and I had to build for them all until they could, I went by Amway rules I could front load or build it without them contacting the individuals themselves. An impossible task without me personally building it for them.
Well, I have written a mini-novel and I hope you endured all this information well. I must go now and we will chat again soon!
February 18, 1998
I read what you supposedly said to be true about the greatest business oppurtunity [spelling] in the world today.I feel that you need to get the facts straight before you try to criticize this business.It is obvious that you don't know what your [spelling] talking about. We (distributors) do not make profit off of tool orders nor do we order products thru [spelling] upline. Also, the seminars are to teach and motivate distributors who want to build a successful business. By the way,Amway does deal with over 90% of the Fortune 500 companies and over 1200 major manufacturers in all. You were also wrong about products being bought thru [spelling] upline, everything distributors buy is bought directly from the corporation and sent to our front door via U.P.S.!! I would strongly suggest that you find out the facts about this business oppurtunity [spelling] and its marketing concepts in 1998 and beyond. You really should not false information on the internet to mislead people who want to find out the truth about this business.
OUR VISION to be the best business oppurtunity [spelling] in the world!!! and it shall be done!!!
March 21, 1998
Amway, cult or not cult, is destroying my marriage..... my husband was told 3 years ago he had 4 months to live. A christian, he had the faith that most do not, and he took [a number of] series of chemo, and survived.... within the following year, had a massive heart attack and coded on the operating table.... [at age 43]
Amway people flooded us then..... and the horror began.... it changed his personality, made him turn against me.... his wife of  years..... throwing away good things in our home, replacing with Amway products...
Once a sweet husband, not a madman, on fire for Amway, and wants to get to the top, no matter who he hurts, steps over, he no longer appreciates a job that he prayed for to get for years... they have dones this to him....putting me down.... (I am in the [Healthcare Industry], have had my job [over 15] years), and made me feel, compared to the "Diamonds", my job was nothing, so he has made me feel that the hard work I have put into this marriage no longer matters....
I could not divorce this man throughout the last three years, because he was ill.... so I tolerated the mood swings, the insults, even personal injury during one of his rages.... three years, and no money made from this organization..... I have turned from a happy individual to an extremely depressed person.....
While our daughter made 1st runner up in the [hometown] pageant, he was not there... you see, he thought attending an Amway convention in [Orlando] was more important... and there are other things.... like missing our anniversary together, Amway was first....
After these three years, I have come to the conclusion that I must end this marriage, because no one can help him, he is hooked, line & sinker..... nothing else matters to him.... he said he was going to be a "Diamond" someday... but at the rate he is going.... and the way he is going at it.... his abusive insults towards me (however, I do support him), but now I am getting tired of this...
Every sentence that comes out of his mouth regards Amway.... He has come to the point of obsession. He gets angry when I try to watch a simple television show, such as Mama's Family, I Love Lucy, even the news.... he is told by Amway to avoid all negative stuff.... so if anything happens in our home town, and I try to casually discuss it, he tunes me out....
I have had to have counseling for the despair this has put me through, the depression is everywhere, our home life is terrible.... its like a funeral home in here.... my daughter can at least go to her room and close the door, talk on the phone, watch t.v. , has a car to get away, but what about me? It has gotten to the point that just going to work is a "Haven" for me... and that is just not right..... I have found remote controls thrown across the room, my laptop computer thrown across the floor (he resents my love for computers, which I do for a living at work), but at home its fun stuff)..... he throws away my newspapers, I have found them shredded, wadded up, thrown in the garbage can.... I have found my mail, such as advertisements for sales at our mall thrown away unread, my mail, at that...
He constantly condemns me for spending money [on our daughter].... she is all we have living at home.... but he can spend hundreds a month on Amway products, which even though are good products, costs so much.... why should I clip coupons at the grocery store, when he is not being frugal as well?
All I want is a husband that loves me and appreciates me, not a "diamond".... I don't care if we are not rich, all I want is PEACE, no fighting, to be appreciated for my hard work and dedication.....
This atmosphere at home is terrible... I feel the dread, the depression. He hangs on that phone, the "Amvox" several times a day.... hunts people "Prospects" (victims) in the malls, has approached nearly every friend that we have...... they already know about Amway and want no part of it.... his behavior has become [erratic], I am afraid of him... we have a swimming pool (I can't swim), and I have nightmares about falling into that pool (and sometimes I wonder if he is capable of pushing me in, during one of his rages)....
I have to talk to him before we visit his mother, because he has talked down to me in front of them, and she did not appreciate it, and told him so.... today he opened the microwave, found a bag of popcorn in it, and slung it on the floor, right in front of my neighbor....! I was horrified at his behavior, and now I don't trust him to go anywhere with him, nor do I trust what he'll do or say when the few times we have company...
This is not living..... we have had counseling with our Pastor and his wife, and they told him that if he was not making any money on this... its not worth it.... he is still persistent..... I can see him so tired when he goes out and tries to prospect people, I can see his discouragement, it seems that it is me that he takes it out on.... we can't even have a decent conversation most times without him saying abusive things to me... he's called me every name in the book in his rages.... and I try to put it off, saying its his illness... but now I am really wondering why..... and that I can't go on living this way.....
My doctor has me on medication now for depression..... there has been times when I have been so despondent, that I did not feel that I wanted to live any longer.... I have a beautiful daughter, who sees how her daddy is, and usually brings her friends home when he's at work (he works shift work)..... my son just moved back home, and he asked me recently, "Mom, how can you stand this, this atmosphere, I can't live like this Mom, how can you do it, and why???" He, needless to say, prefers to be away when he is not home... my son feels the friction in this home, and he is upset enough, already, just breaking up with his girlfriend. He is  years old, and had a brain tumor removed last year.... what did my husband do [just] after he moved in...???? He went into my kids bathroom and threw out his special toothpaste he has to use for bleeding gums, due to the medication he has to take after the surgery.... he was so mad... when I called my husband at work and asked him, "WHY??? HOW COULD HE???" He replaced it that afternoon when he came back from work.. A few days before that, he threw out our daughter's stuff out of the bathroom...., and she threw a real fit! Not only that, he went into her room, and threw out things from there, also.... out of our bathroom, our kitchen, etc. For a man married to me for [over 20] years, never cooked a meal nor washed a load of clothes, what gives him the right to barge in and take over my kitchen, we have to use the laundry soap, dishwashing soap, toilet paper, etc..... EVERYTHING.... and its very expensive.... but he feels that "its his business, and I have to support him and treat it like a "business"..... This is craziness! You have a job that tells you what to do 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, but to come home and can't call your home your own home, your castle, that's just too much...
Tonight, as I write this, I am mad, really mad, and decided I have to make a decision.... I can't take this anymore, and treat it as it doesn't bother me.... it hurts me from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night.... the pain, his tormenting hurting words towards me, his meaness, not caring about my needs, my wants and desires....
I love gardening, he threw a fit about that.... he hid water hose when I tried to water the lawn, he disc. my [Internet connection] without telling me, he disconnected our cable t.v., and refuses to allow me to watch television (I go ahead and watch it sometimes, but have to hear his insults, remarks, slamming doors, throwing things, etc.).... the precious simple things that one should be able to do, they are teaching him that its wrong... I love [rock music], can't listen to it in our home.... he says its "negative", calls me a drunk if I drink a glass of wine.... calls me names and makes me feel less than human.... even though others outside our home like me, and I have a lot of friends.... he says they are "worthless", they are working themselves to death, he says, because they "aren't with the program - Amway"... and will never amount to anything (he even says this about our doctors!)....He says there are doctors and lawyers in Amway..... maybe there is, but who knows, something must have happened to their practice.... I feel, to get "caught up" in this stuff..... Amway was losing sometime back, so they started using the "church" to get back on their feet....
What brought all this to an end, it seems, the [Directs my husband] has been following for 3 years "dropped out"! They were our leaders, wonderful family oriented, great people! And did [my husband] learn a lesson, no, he didn't... he said they weren't "plugged in" to the system, they didn't do it right.... well, they must have done something right, they had about  people under them, and if Amway is so great, why didn't they just stay in? They are selling something else now, and half the group followed them, the other (including my husband) followed another couple who were leaders, but not yet [Diamonds]....
When I work 8 hours a day, hard, mental, type work, stressful, I don't want to come home to this atmosphere.... it has gotten to the point that I would rather stay at work, at least I have friendly happy people to work around... who does know what's going on around them and can carry on a decent conversation with you..... and don't think that everything is negative..... I helped put my husband through college, he did nothing with the degree he worked so hard for, and when he got this plant job, he was so happy, our church members prayed so long for him..... now the Amway people tell him that this job won't last, that he'll be broke before he retires... but Amway will make him rich! Give me a break.... I told him that he needs to appreciate what he has, a wife, a family, a home paid for, I will retire within the next few years... I am not going to kill myself for a "cult" related "organization" like Amway that promises you the world but maybe 2% of the millions of people get to the top! And the ones like my poor husband are the "busy bees", or "working ants" to help the rich ones get even richer....
How many more victims are going to be caught in the web of "Amway"
Thank you for listening... (reading, that is!)
(addendum to the above message)
Another thing that really, really bothers me..... even though I have our daughter at home, and my son moving back for a short time.... in a couple of years she will be off to college....
The home you give to your children should be a happy one. All homes have some kind of strife....
I love, adore my kids.... no one can love kids like through the heart of a mother..... I would really, really be alone......
So, I must, must prepare myself to have the strength to end it now, before I am so down I can't pick myself up.....
I think I have really stayed long enough and given of myself enough, more than enough, to make this man happy, but obviously, after my crying and begging him to stop and see what he is doing to us, he turns a "deaf" ear to me..... he says that I must have a DREAM, I do have a dream.... of retiring soon, seeing my grandchildren grow up..... but the way things are now, the future really looks bleak.... the only way to solve the problem is for this man to wake up before its too late....
April 22, 1998
Thank you for you email. I will read your pages as time allows. First of all let me say that I in no way have anything bad to say about the AMWAY corporation itself. In my opinion they are run by some of the most forward thinking and honest people I have ever been assocaited with.
My problem has always been with my upline and AMO. I am part of the Brig and Lita Hart organization. I always felt uncomfortable with the religous aspects of the organization and the Sunday morning service. My philosophy has always been to keep business and religion seperate.
Here are some of the points that the AMO and brainwashing use that my personal experiences proved not to be so true.
One of my best friends who I sponsered was killed in a car wreck while out showing the plan. Because he was disabled from a previous accident and had no insurance, their financial position was not very good. (One of the reasons they got involved). I put together a fund raiser to help his wife with burial expenses and living expenses. She had just recently lost her job a few weeks before, so she had no income. My upline (2 Emeralds here in Nebraska and the Harts) could not find it in the hearts to send a memorial or attend the funeral. I guess the family maybe wasn't as important as they said.
The Amway Corporation however came to bat for us. At my meeting for new PSDD in Ada Michigan I met my Customer Relation Rep. I called him and asked if Amway had anything available to help with this type of situation. I found out that the ADBA insurance that most distributors buys for $2.00 premium would pay $50,000.00 of life insurance when a distributor is killed while engaged in building the Amway business. That $50,000.00 helped her keep her house and get her by until she found another job.
Enough said about point # 1
Brig Harts brother in law has been in jail in some South American Country for over a year. (What he was jailed for has really never been said at the major functions.) Brig has brought his sister on stage to speak and asked all his distributors to write their congressman to help get him out of jail and to make donations to the "Save Jim Wilson Fund." I dont know how much money was raised, but when I see everyone around me writting out checks for $100.00 or more I wonder. Also I wonder why Brig Hart just didn't buy his brother in laws freedom?
This was stressed so much that it even got to the point where I was told to lie to people in my group about certain situations rather than tell them the truth about something as it was looked upon as negative.
I never saw the money that the plan says you can make. As a PSDD I was suppose to be getting $2000.00 + a month. The biggest check I ever got was about $1,700.00 one month. Most of the time it was just over a $1000.00. However when I add in the "Tool Bonus" the amount would go up quite a bit.
In Brig Harts lawsuit which I have read at various sites on the NET, it states right in the lawsuit that 70% of the uppper level diamonds income is from the motivaitional aid sales and not from the product sales. Read what it says about Dexter Yeager and how Amway Corporation tells that Amway was designed not as a means for others to make a business out of motivational sales aids.
John, I could go on and on, but I am sure this is nothing new to your ears. Let me close by restating that I have not one bad thing to say at all about the AMWAY CORPORATION itself. It is the AMO's and the way they operate that ends up blowing out most of the people. I have had folks tell me that they cant believe that I quit after reaching the PSDD level. Well it is easy for me to do that as my principals are a lot higher than what the AMO are.
Have a good day and keep up the good work.
April 22, 1998
Recently someone approached us about "HDS" (we think that it stands for Home Delivery Service). They asked that we consider becoming distributors of name-brand products where the consumer would receive products through the mail at discount prices. My husband asked the gentleman if this was Amway connected.
He was vague about this at first and would not give a direct answer. He later told us that "HDS" only used Amway as a way of distributing the so-called name brand products. He also said that some of the products that would be sold would be Amway (about 20%) and the rest would be name-brand household items like Crest and Tide, clothing, applliances, etc.
Since reading your info. about Amway, we have serious doubts/questions about this "HDS". We have beened asked to attend a meeting tomorrow night (04-23-98). Is "HDS" the same as Amway? If it is, we will not go...I do not want to be involved with Amway. Could you please let us know.
April 23, 1998, message #2 from the same author
Dear Mr. Hoagland,
Thank you for responding to our inquiry re: HDS. Last night after I had e-maied you my husband and I decided that this venture was too questionable and we just did not feel good about it. Sometimes it is best to go by one's "gut feelings" and thankfully I called the person early is morning and cancelled our appointment. I only stated that we just were not interested. Well, since that time I have received 3 phone calls from 2 individuals asking if we had heard bad things about HDS. They wanted a chance to clear up any "misinformation" that may have been given to us. Each time I stated that we were just not interested. I hope that they do not call us again...but I doubt that it will be so easy. I hate to be rude to anyone, but if I have to I will.
Again I thank you so much for your helpful information. I feel that you have saved us from some potential grief down the road!
May 7, 1998
I would love to join you and your cause. Have some litigation to handle right now and need support to get through it. The big A is the one. Signed DD (Disgrunted Distributor)
May 7, 1998
I am sorry I could not locate your name in your Amway AMO website, but I found it extremely helpful. I am afraid, however, that I may need your help. At current, my brother (who lives several hundred miles away from friends and family) has recently become involved in an Amway AMO. I and my parents were unaware as to the extent of his involvement until very recently, when we were showed the "plan" by himself and his "Direct". My brother, a successful and bull-headed entrepreneur, looked suspiciously puppy-dog like and would not converse with his family about issues other than Amway without consent from his "Direct". After we (and the other guests) asked some difficult questions (I asked to see the price lists and motivational tool costs) both my brother and his Direct became cold and indignant. After this meeting, my brother has been a constant source of "canned" conversations and will continually revert back to Amway. Unfortunately, a large family blow-up occurred when we told him we were not interested, and a number of the basic retorts mentioned in your web page filled the conversation. These comments and conversations are CLEARLY not my brother. To make matters worse, my brother's pizza business has performed poorer than expected in recent months, and I am afraid that he and his wife do not have the financial resources to withstand such a scam. Overall, however, we are most interested in getting him back to normal.
I am curious if you would have any suggestions as to what can be done (offering other businesses, etc.??) in order to prevent further familial ostrasization? In addition, are there other people who may be able to help?
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
May 12, 1998
I'm not directly impacted by Amway. I never tried to become a distributor, but I recently "experienced" my first Amway sales pitch, however, and I was very disturbed, so I decided to do a little research. I have only just begun. Your site was only the second one I came across.
What we experienced was a "bait and switch" sales pitch from a "long lost friend" of my mother's. She went to nursing school with the man years ago, and was glad to hear from him. He said he was coming to town (Austin) for a seminar and wanted to stop by and visit. Mom was looking forward to it. She assumed the seminar was nursing-related, (and he knew she assumed that).
He ended up wasting our entire evening. By the time he left, it was too late to do anything.
We figured out what "Britta International" was right away, and said we weren't interested in Amway. It took three hours for his pitch to run its course and would've taken five hours if we hadn't put the brakes on during the third hour. He wanted to bring a chart into my mother's apartment!
We would've made short work of any other salesman, but he took advantage of us because we were supposed to be "friends." We had to be polite.
The first thing I thought of was "this guy is in a cult." He sounded like he literally worshipped the other Amway folks. He actually said "I'd take a bullet for those guys."
What really disturbed me was the fact that this man, who really is a nice guy, or used to be, got seriously into Amway after a family tragedy. His son died in a car crash, and that's when the Amway people "really came through" for him. Sounds like they really took advantage of him. Is this typical? Are they so into it that they would use someone who's son just died? He saw it as love. I don't.
Everything he said was completely memorized and he had memorized a great deal. Most of it was deliberately misleading. He kept referring to Sam Walton and Wal-Mart, knowing that we would recognize them as big business successes. But Amway has nothing to do with them, and operates nothing like them. Correct?
I was angry with the man for taking advantage of my mother, but I mostly feel sorry for him. Sounds like he's being eaten by others who are in turn being eaten. I think he's about to get ripped off, big time.
May 12, 1998, message #2 from the same author
Thanks for the e-mail and the info. I linked to your page from SOS: The Amway Scam Links. If I hadn't been looking hard for anti-Amway I probably wouldn't have found you. The Amway people have the Internet searches pretty well spammed. I'll recommend your site to my family.
May 19, 1998
I am the AmWay distributor and in my opinion your WEB page is excellent source of information for people "for" and "against" AmWay business.
My wife and me are looking at this business as any other on earth: It can generate income and it is really low cost start-up.
As in any other business it cost time and money to be successful. I've seen people going into this business blindly believing their "uplines" and not examining the facts (usually fired up after a meeting).
Success rate stated is excellent - can't do better than that!
What I do recommend is that people use some of the good "people skills" books offered (if they are in the business). They are not expensive ($10.00CAN) and can be very helpful on the current job - most of the time you have to deal with people! If my upline is making some $$ on books and I can generate N x $$ using the techniques - I really don't mind.
And use some common sense: BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU ENGAGE IN ANY OF THE BUSINESS ACTIVITIES: EXAMINE THE BUSINESS FACTS, HOW MUCH THAT WILL COST YOU AND WHAT YOU CAN GET IN RETURN FOR YOUR INVESTED MONEY.
Thanks for reading
May 21, 1998
I am an Amway Distibutor and recently visited your website. I have also been reasonably successful by any measure for a "part-time" income (including deducting business and tools costs). Although I would disagree with your assessment of the AMO's as being cult-like, if by your analysis this is a cult, then I will continue to follow them, as my financial situation is continually improving as a result. Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
May 25, 1998
[regarding my By building an Amway business, a person can earn enough money to have a completely debt-free lifestyle page:]
During an e-mail exchange with [some high-level distributors] I learned the following:
a. Diamond direct distributors across the board are tremendously under invested in relation to the income they earn. Their major "investment" is the dollars that they put into their conspicuous lifestyle in order to maintain the facade of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous".
b. Diamonds and Emeralds are regularly counseled to "make big purchases" when the business is going slow. This strategy is designed to fuel a motivational frenzy throughout their organizations.
c. There are a number of super-diamonds (my term) who are currently in arrears to the IRS. This may account for the Diamond policy of paying "cash only".
Bottom line to all this is the Emeralds keep their day jobs while the Diamonds sweat big bullets.
Incidentally, and you only have my word on this, my wife and I are debt free (with the exception of a mortgage). It takes discipline and hard work, not conspicuous consumption.
I've recently been researching a paper concerning Amway Australia and have discovered via my fieldwork that many aspects you mention within your vast page are indeed accurate. It seems the AMO's although they operate autonomously, each display generic similarities, culminating in a diverse collection of 'sets' of behaviours which undeniably can be called as 'quasi-religious', if not 'cult' like. Well done with the page it has given me many ideas to chase up.
June 5, 1998
You may or may not choose to read this note, but I felt I must respond to an anonymouse letter sent to me from my home town which contained several printed pages from your web site.
Understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion and I have a great deal of respect for yours, but, I must ask if you are still in the business and if so WHY?!
Now in regards to the information you have so graciously placed there to spearhead the Anti-Amway movement that is basically in place because of cowards that can not stand for anyone to succeed and are to scared to talk to people to succeed themselves. Below are a few points you may want to research a little closer:
Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope that this information will assist you. Also, I, as an Amway Distributor, make this offer to you: First please send your kit back and get a refund. Second if you feel you have lost money in the tools process please check with your upline and see if they will buy your tools back and if not e-mail me back, with a list of the tools you have, and I will see if I can't give you fair market value for them. The last thing that I want is for someone to lose money needlessly in the Amway Opportunity. THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA!!!
June 21, 1998
I am a current distributor that has just recently made a decision to quit the "system". I haven't even mentioned this to my [Direct] yet, but thanks to yours' and [others] websites, I realize that I am not alone when it comes to seeing the [tools system] for what it is. At my first "major" function, I questioned my upline as to why there were so many people in the stands and not so many [sitting close to the stage], since it had been explained to me that these "major" functions were absolutely without a doubt the key to "making it". I was told that the majority of the people in attendance wouldn't make it because they were weak and would only be fired up for the weekend; or that they wouldn't make it because they weren't committed enough (What about the money and travel time, hotel, etc. that makes up a "major" function? If the ones at the great big, outa state functions aren't "committed", then I don't know who is!)
As for the tapes, my upline also "leaked" the money-making part to me in the first few months that I was in. I can't believe that I still bought tapes after I found out!! Books, too.
But, I have had my Amvox turned off, haven't been on SOT [for about a year], and have quit going to functions. I'm only still a "distributor" because I hate to go to Wal-Mart (hated it BEFORE "he business", too) . I like the products and like having them shipped to my house. So it's come full circle for me. I got in for the products (my Mom has been buying SA-8 since I was a kid), got suckered into spending [too much money] on "tools" and "functions", saw through the BS and am back to only being in for the products. It feels as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders (no one discouraging "negative" products; no one calling me on the phone and pressuring me to go "ten wide", none of that). I have no downline, (thank goodness I have intelligent friends) and FINALLY my credit cards are below their limits and are getting closer to being paid off....
I guess if there is an intelligent point to this e-mail, it's this: Until someone can see the corruption of the system and put that information into context for themselves, there's no talking anyone out of how "great and wonderful" the business is. I know how annoying it is to hear the regurgitations of distributors who only do so because of their lack of knowledge about the business. Not all distributors can be saved from the "system," but with the aid of yours and others websites, the odds get better every day.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to reply at [to me] if you wish. . .
June 28, 1998
As with most people, I have been "hit up" not once, but twice. Once was by some joker who came in off the street as I was working in a gas station in my late teens for some extra money!
I used to be a [travelling technician], and over several years I went to many different work places. After a while I developed a 'feel' for the work environment as soon as you walked in the door. In some places you felt welcome, people were happy to be there. Other places people were just filling in time until they die. Yet others are alive with an eagerness.
Another interesting thing is the [similarities] that can exist in [diverse] opertaions, and the differences that exist in similar organizations.
I was working up in Auckland [New Zealand] for a bit, and went to the Amway building to do a job. I walked in the front door, and to the security/ reception desk, and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Then I got [into] the back [of] the main office area. I was two feet in that door and one word came to me.
Never before had I encountered that, and never since. Even in places where it was announced that several hundred people were going to loose their jobs, [there] is anger, resignation, and hope.
Not at Amway, Auckland.
Thanks for your website. I am so ashamed of the fact that I finally fell for the Amway sales pitch, after having resisted it for [over 15] years. I knew I'd made a mistake when I saw the prices in the catalogs. I immediately called my sponsor and said, "How do expect me to sell this stuff? Even the wholesale prices are much higher than those of Sam's, Walmart, Costco, etc. You expect me to try to RETAIL these products?" He reminded me that our group's focus was on recruiting distributors, not on selling. I then pointed out to him that the Amway Business Compendium had a "Ten Customer Rule," which stated that if a distributor doesn't maintain at least 10 retail customers per month, he or she could kiss any bonuses goodbye. He passed this info along to HIS sponsor; apparently, my own sponsor was as surprised to find all of this out as I was. His sponsor responded by telling me that an Amway business was a good tax write- off. I do taxes professionally, so I got quite a laugh out of that line of reasoning. Everyone knows, (I hope), that tax deductions don't give you your money back dollar-for-dollar. If they save you [15% to 30%], you're still out the [85% to 70%] of each dollar that you initially shelled out for your Amway business. Now I'm being pressured to buy tapes and books. Who benefits from the sale of these tools? Not me! Frankly, I don't believe that all of the Diamonds have such opulent lifestyles. They can have their pictures taken anywhere, with any car or house that they can stand in front of. I think the [tools] "system" invents such people.
Thanks a MILLION for the wonderful truths about the secret world of Amway. The truth needs to be out for others not to be mentally raped by these awful people. After years of brainwashing and mind control, my life was in real bad shape. Now deprograming and in therapy because of this "business opportunity". I'm with you all the way. Will spend the rest of my life helping others letting them know their not alone and there is help. Thanks again for all you do. Amwayitis is real and scary.
Wonderful information about the truths hidden behind the guise of Christianity. Yeah, finally I feel vindicated!!!!! Thank-you so much for this site. It's so helpful. Pursued a lawsuit and found a lawfirm to take my case. The Glossary of People, Events, Terms, and Things Found in the Amway Business is a wealth of info. The attorneys will love the in-depth knowledge you have provided. My sincere thanks again. Would love to join the Anti-MLM and Amway Web site. Will do all I can to help put a stop to the abuses. [Over ten] years of the mind control and now deprogramming. Therapy and medication is really helping the depression. I'm ready now to face the wrongdoing head on, now. Please let me know what I can do to help.
August 22,1998, message #2 from the same author
Just read some responses to your site. You are so on target and so are the X-Amway Distributors. Finally, people are coming forward with the TRUTH. The pro-Amway Distributors haven't produced enough volume yet to find out what happens when you do reach Direct and above. If their pocketbooks can handle the AMO'S and all the "functions," soon they'll be so embarrassed, as I was, to admit the Mental Rape. So happy to have the support from the thousands if not millions of people through the years who have been lied to and deceived. Hopefully, more X-Amway Distributors will come forward if they can get help [with their cult] deprogramming. It is embarrassing to admit. Only when you finally can "see" the truth, will you begin recovering from the mind control. Grateful to this site and others.
A few comments about debt
First, a little background...I used to be an Amway distributor for [a number of] years. The only time I was profitable was when I sold MCI long distance (a technique known as Retailing). If distributors followed the "10 customer rule" (and stopped buying tapes), they would ALL be profitable. That's why the FTC created the rule in the first place.
Now, about debt. Let me defer to a book titled "How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously." The author defines debt as "borrowed money." In other words, if you get an electric bill, that is not debt. If you borrow money from your friend to pay the bill, NOW you have debt. If you do not pay your electric bill on time, that is considered debt too, because now the utility has become a "bank" for you. A payment to a credit card is not in itself debt (the balance is debt).
Let's say you had enough money to pay off your credit card balances, house mortgage, and all other debts. You still have living expenses (utilities, food) right? What if you had $1000 per month in living expenses? You could offset those expenses by saving money and earning interest. For example:
$240,000 x 5% = 12000 per year, or $1000 per month.
The problem with most Amway distributors is that they think the money is just going to come pouring in forever, and so they NEVER SAVE ANY MONEY!
If you started saving $166 per month in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at age 18, in a prudent investment earning 12% per year, and stopped saving after six years (at age 24), but let that money continue to grow in the IRA, you would have 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS at age 60! Most Amway distributors spend at least that on tools every month!
What an amazing amount of time you have put into this incredible website.
I am sorry that you have so many negative things to say about this business.
What would life be like if intelligent people like you used their analytical abilities to exaggerate the positive side of things instead of the downside?
Its a shame that you put so much energy into stealing peoples dreams instead of building them.
I hope that maybe you could invest yourself in discovering the way the news media deceives the public or how the Church misguides people with misinterpretations of the Bible.
Amway is cool.
My upline are fun to be with, intelligent and supportive.
I'm sure there are plenty of people who would not have the same opinion of them but I wouldn't let them argue me out of hanging with this group of highly motivated people.
Your opinion is not hurting anyone so I guess you are really harmless.
Too bad you have so many people with complaints who support this website.
I think you could do the public a much greater service if you looked for corruption in government or corporate advertising.
I hope you find something better to do with your time.
'another Amway goon!'
That's me!! At least up until this past Christmas.
I have read, with great interest, all of your site's text. I must say, it's easy to believe that you were a distributor, sir, and I also must sympathize with most of your views. Please allow me to elaborate (I'll try not to drone on too much because hearing the negative stories can get just as boring as hearing all the positive stories):
In [early 1997], I was with my [child] in a local kid's restaurant. I was easily prospected by a gentleman that was attending a child's birthday party. In fact the entire party was made up of Amwayites. Suffice it to say, I attended a couple of meetings. I knew of Amway, but I have an open mind and I decided to check it out. I opened my kit the following month and embarked on the road to "financial independance".
I think that the reason that I stuck with it as long as I did (I haven't officially quit) is that I saw the closeness of the families and their sincere effort to "do well". I was coming off a divorce and I was extremely lonely and feeling totally rejected. When I noticed that the spiritual side of life was being stressed (at least by my upline and crossline) as opposed to the total materialistic lifestyle that my [ex-spouse] was (and is) in pursuit of, I was impressed (even though the meetings were dripping with materialism). I felt like this was something I could do for myself: build my own business. I felt that it would help me stay busy and keep my mind off of my personal problems. In that goal, I succeeded.
I made some friends and I travelled to all of the major functions (there's that word) that year. I even went to Britt school. I went to all of the team meetings, even though they were approximately 200 miles away. I was travelling with my Amway family, so it didn't matter, right?? Well, the whole matter boils down to the fact that I was basically spending lots of money, but making none! I never complained, I just went on. I placed my orders every week, I never griped when my upline changed the delivery date of merchandise or changed the pick-up time (oddly enough, the tools always made it on time). I was encouraged to use my credit cards to purchase merchandise if I didn't have the cash, after all, I was "building the business" (I was actually getting close to bankruptcy). My prospecting jaunts were absolutley fruitless and although I received encouragement from my upline and crossline, it got no better.
As I said, I spent a ton of $$ during those months and made nothing. By November, I had decided to buy Christmas presents from the catalogs just to see if I could make one PV check. I purchased approximately $500.00 worth of merchandise, including a stereo system that my father purchased, and I finally recieved a check for $6.80. WOW! In December, I spent over $250.00 and got zilch. So much for PV. I made a decision then and there that the only thing Amway was interested in seeing me do, was to spend more money (with them). Since [late last year], I have sold no products or services and I have attended no local meetings. I have had no contact with my upline or crossline so I guess that for all intents and purposes.....it's over.
I hate to totally write off my experience as negative. Because of my immediate associates' attention and guidance I was able to get out from under my overwhelming self pity due to my divorce. Also, I actually came back to God and my faith because of several of my business friends' actions towards me (and others not associated with Amway). For that I owe the organization a lot (emotionally, at least). It was also a glimpse into the lives of people that have cahones the size of Texas!! I will never be any good at prospecting for the simple reason that I don't like embarassing people or insulting their intelligence. It probably does have something to do with my self esteem (or lack thereof), but I always have been able to make acquaintences easily. I have no problem whatsoever fitting in with unfamiliar surroundings or people, I just don't like taking people's space for granted. Therefore, I'll never attempt prospecting again.
I see Amway as just another giant conglomerate making untold billions of dollars off of the people of this country. With that in mind, I have no more against Amway than I have against GM, IBM or AT&T. I gave it a shot and didn't care for it.
For some people any and everything could be called a cult and I won't put Amway in that category. As for the lady that wrote the letter about her Amway obsessed (to the point of verbal and physical abuse) husband, ma'am your husband is ill and I suggest that you get out of that scenario asap!. If it weren't Amway, it would be something else. I don't know if it's the "best business opportunity in the world" or not, it obviously is for a few.......but not for me.
Thank you for letting me express my view.
I have been an Amway distributor for almost 11 years (Dec. 1987). I guess I'm just a little slower than most, since it took me 15 months to reach PSDD and then could just not get any further, although we (my wife and I) worked our butts off. What really upsets me is that it took me 10 1/2 years to finally realize that my upline was making money off us the way they were. We attended our first major function with [Jeff Probandt] (also his first) in Tan-Tar-A MO in 1988. I am so disgusted with the system and the upline who took complete advantage of us that it makes me ill, but I am more disgusted with myself for allowing it to happen. Someone earlier said if you had tapes that your upline wouldn't buy back to E-Mail him with a list and he would try to get you a fair price for them. Well I just burned over 1000 (yes THOUSAND) tapes and still have over 500 unwrapped tapes plus boxes of Lit-Packs, Quicksilver packs,etc.. that my upline diamond Marc Hellinghausen offered me Two Hundred (yes HUNDRED) dollars for. Amway Corp. is as far as I can tell a good company, but the system is a complete rip-off. anyone considering getting involved would be very smart to think twice before doing so.
I know that our upline is part of or started with Bill Britt. However I think our group is run differently although I can't comment on how Bill runs his group
I can assure you, at least I believe, our upline all the way to Ron Puryear, does care how our business are doing. If for no other reason, for their financial well being. After all their income from the Amway Corp. is based on volume. If our businesses were gone, no volume.
I do believe that they care about more than the money. Especially when I see the promotions (trips to Ron's house, all expenses paid, etc. for certain acheivements only within the WWDB system. Sure, he's doing it to build more volume, but my point is he doesn't have to do it at all. They could just let us take the rewards of building a business that Amway gives us and let it go at that but that's not how our group operates. From the Directs that have picnics at their houses on the lake to the Emeralds that have 50-75 people over for a pizza party to Ron Puryear that makes it possible for any distributor( within World Wide) to come to his home and play, people in our group do things for each other.
That's why we call it a people driven business not a product driven business. Sure, products must be moved but they are secondary in WWDB. How many Diamonds/EDC's have you heard of that put out their Amvox number or home phone and have call-in times several times per week, like our upline diamond Terry Felber, so any distributor in our group can call for counsel? That type of thing tells me he is interested in how we're doing. Sure, someone can construe(misconstrue) that into something if they want. I think it should be taken at face value. As far as call-in and product pickup being backwards,well obviously I disagree. We do order some catalog items direct. But when you have directs,and some of the smaller pins, that keep almost all core items and alot of the most popular catalog items, foods, paper products, etc.in stock in their product rooms, you don't need to do alot of direct ordering. I prefer to have my products in my hand within 18 hours(most of the time) rather than wait 3-4 days. Heck, in our group the directs pay the $1.95 service on catalog orders so their downline doesn't have too. I know, less than 2 bucks is no big deal but again my point is they don't have to do it. All this translates into good customer service.
Most customers, whether wholesale or retail, will rate good service very high on their list of factors that go into their decision to buy or not. Exceptional service will even "override" a little higher price. When you have a people oriented business these are the things make it just that. If being interested in our people and trying to provide good customer service is considered backwards, then we're backwards and proud of it. Maybe one reason some distributors, other than WW, still shop at Wal Mart or a grocery store,especially for core products, they know they can get better service there than from their upline sponsor. These are just a couple of reasons that I can tell someone that's considering this business that we (WWDB) are doing something very different from the other "systems". Especially when talking with someone that has seen the business or has been involved in another "system" and "knows all about it". They find out quick they don't "know all about it" if they keep an open mind and aren't afraid to admit it.
I'm sure we will still disagree on alot of this but at least,I hope, I've given you an interesting and different viewpoint. Thanks for the chance to explain my position and for the debate. If you think any of this has any merit, I'd like to see it on your site (if you post differing views). If for no other reason, just to offer those interested another viewpoint.
I am wondering with great admiration how the same situation described by your readers is the same here in South Africa about Amway.
I was a distributor for 3 weeks, until I came across this website.
I want to talk about how I was brought in and my experiences in Amway
I wanted to buy a printing franchise, and I made some enquiries with a well known Printing franchise company. An appoitment was set for an interview at their head office. I arrived there and was introduced to their franchise manager. I filled some questionaire with her she briefed me about the company.
After this she then stood up and close the door of her office and asked me whether I heared about a great giant American Company which is sweeping the country. I asked her what is this giant American company. She said it is Amway. She said Amway is a shorter version meaning American Way of Making money easily. And that this company has a track record of making ordinary people millionaires. She said that presently this giant American Company is producing 40 millionaires in America per day.We set an appointment for tomorrow's meeting of this company. She said that I will see for myself the joy and happiness of the people. I requested for the address to the meeting place, she said I should not worry she will pick me up-- confirming my address on the forms I just completed for the franchise. I was surprised how can this lady be willing to travel so many KM to come to my place (i.e 170 km), just to make sure I attend the meeting.
[To be continued]
I am a current distributor and have been for [7 years]. You may have already gotten messages on these but I thought I'd go ahead and send something since your site does not reflect this.
Your page on Direct Fulfillment and ARP does not make it clear that these are two different programs. Direct Fulfillment is simply the ability of each distributor to order directly from Amway and receive bonus checks directly from Amway (no more ordering through upline, no more paying out bonus checks to your downline, etc). Direct Fulfillment has nothing to do with ordering 6 months worth of products. Your first few paragraphs do not make this clear. I realize not all organizations may be doing this yet. I am in the [Kenny and Donna Stewart] organization and everyone in our organization has been on Direct Fulfillment for almost 2 years now. The [Tim Foley] organization started a year before the Stewart organization.
As far as Automatic Replenishment, you state on your site that "There are unconfirmed rumors that Amway itself has taken control of the service". I can confirm this rumor for you. We can now fill out our form for 6 months worth of shipments and mail it directly to Amway. We no longer have to go through our direct for this program. I can't tell you if this is an Amway wide program or just certain organizations, I just know our organization is doing this. We were told at functions that Amway was looking into taking this over, but even after Amway took it over, we were still told by our upline to send our forms to our directs. The forms changed though, greatly reducing the amount of paperwork we were initially having to fill out. Our directs went on a 4 month vacation and gave us and our group the address of where we could send our forms directly to Amway.
Everyone has their story and ours goes like this: We built the business for the first [few] years we were in and then slowly quit building the business due to life circumstances. My husband was already bringing work home every night and weekend (and [the] "if I can just work a little more this week, next week will be better" situation that never changed). After all this, my husband simply couldn't face going out and getting "no's" night after night. I was pregnant at this time and certainly didn't want to try to build the business by myself. We slowly started missing opens and rallies. We have continued to go to most of the major functions though just to keep in touch with what all is going on. After finding Jeff Probandt's site (we have the same upline diamond), we have quit buying tools (especially since we have two boxes of unopened tapes). If the book of the month is one we are interested in, I can always purchase it after it has come out and can possibly buy it cheaper from Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Anyway, we still feel like Amway is a good opportunity. We just hope Amway and the AMO's can get some stuff straightened out. We are still ordering products and some of our downline are still ordering the book of the month. We are upset about the tool situation and will not start building the business again until we decide how we want to handle it. We always want to be truthful with people and we hope that our upline will decide the same thing. My husband did change jobs, we moved to a new house and we now have [two] children. Even if we never go on to build our Amway business, we feel we have learned a lot.
Well, this message is getting longer than I meant for it to. If you ever have questions for someone who is still in the business, please feel free to email us. We'll be glad to help whenever we can.
September 30,1998, message #2 from the same author as the September 16 message
Thanks for the illumination. In answer to your question which you call it big, i.e., Have you quit? The big answer is Yes, I did [leave] Amway. Not only that; I went down with a chunk of my fellow [crossline] by [merely] faxing them some of the provocative information I printed from your website. My upline is so terrified about this exodus. In desperate measures to this, she gave me a book which she said I must read. I did not read that book. The title of the book is "The Magic of Dealling with Well-Meaning Negative (in red letters) People." I didn't read it for the simple reason that I don't think that you are wellmeaning negative. I wanted facts, Amway didn't give them to me and you gave them to me. In other words, you provided a service which I lacked. Should my upline had given me the facts, instead of referring me to Business Building Seminars which were like Sunday picnics, jam-packed with emotional delirium of the highest order, there wouldn't have been any neccessity on my part to look them by myself.
From: Shaun Clements
To: John Hoagland
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 13:05:35 -0600
I found your web site quite interesting. In fact, I have used several pages from it to further my Amway business. Your list of companies whose products we carry is incredible. [It's] a real time saver for me to show this list rather than try to remember them (or make that list myself). Your views on the home delivery service are slightly outdated, but still quite useful in helping me explain the service. And then there are some of your wild views on it being a cult! I have had a lot of prospects get a good laugh out of that.
It appears that you have had a bad experience with Amway and I understand that. I have wanted to quit a few times myself. What I don't understand, is why you have such a personal vendetta against us. You don't know me and I don't know you, but you have taken it on yourself to try and destroy my business. If somehow you were successful, would you feel good about my wife and kids going hungry because of your bad experience? I read where you say that "distributors are people" and that you should go after the company, not the people, but what would happen to the people without the company? What do you hope to gain from this? Hurting the over 3 million distributors who are trying to make it work? Saving the millions of prospects who will give it a try from having a chance? Or are you still mad that you couldn't make it work and think that this revenge will make you feel better?
Again, thanks for your help. I hope you find something that works for you.
Mr. Hougland, [spelling]
Many questions arise as I read though your site. Many of which I won't cover. I find it interesting that there is some obvious personal agression towards you personal failure in Amway. [grammar] Like how often did you show the plan? Why is it wrong in making profit on selling tools? Why blame Amway because an individual spends too much on tools and aids?
I belive, in my own personal opinion, that many people use Amway as a scam. Unfortunately, there are many people that use the structure of Amway and build their business on greed, not self help. With the many business that use Amway it is all about money. Unfortunately money rules our society. I am currently in a business that works with Amway (World Wide Group), that works to better all people equally. I can't help those that get excessive-compulsive and buy too much. It defeats the purpose of joining Amway. TO GET DET [spelling] FREE. Not to over spend. I'm broke just like the majority. (98% of America) If I follow the 8 steps of core. I won't be. 1) Never mess with anyone elses money. 2) Read literature. 3) listen to tapes. 4) Never mess with another's spouse (fooling around, I wish our president was in Amway). 5) Use the products (not over use). 6) Ask upline for support. 7) Never pass negitive [spelling] downline. Personal or business. 8) Show the plan.
I am truely [spelling] sorry about your negitive [spelling] experience with Amway. Or was it Amway? Maybe it was just your upline, one of those greedy fools messing with a good system and turning it around.
Thank you for your time. Best wishes to you in the future.
If this E-Mail reaches you I'd like to hear back from you on the following thoughts.
I can only hope that I guessed your E-Mail address correctly since the link on the web page would not respond. This may be by design and limit the responses received to only those from people with a reasonable level of common sense and avoid an excessive influx of "garbage". Or it could just be a configuration problem with my browser.
As I browsed your web page (which I have printed out major portions for future digestion and have not fully read yet) I found my mind racing as to why one would put together such an involved web page for the sole purpose of shooting down the Amway business.
I had many positive and negative thoughts which I would like to share with you. But, before doing so, I would like you to know that I am not an Amway distributor but I am seriously considering it. The reason is that my wife is in corporate middle management working about 50 hours a week and I too am in middle management, working closer to 65 hours a week including commute time. In addition I supplement my income with a part time [for a number of additional hours] and also own my own small business doing computer consulting. I have only a high school education which has never stopped me from excelling in my field or at any other en devour. However, at [over 40] years old and married for [over 20] years, I struggle with the fact that this is what it takes to provide for my wife and  children the life I wish for them to have (albeit true that we spend to the level of our earnings). On a side light I also have had life throw me a couple curve balls that make me look at things a little differently than most...Enough of my "story" and on with the jest of why I write you today.
Let's start with the positive side of things. Your web page did indeed include a great deal of information regarding the "Amway Opportunity" which is, for the most part, presented in a non-threatening manner. This tends to lend a bit of credibility to its content. In many cases you go so far as to defend or down play some of the typical Amway Bashing found on the Net. This Page had to take you a great deal of time to compose and structure. There are obvious signs of discontent which could only be from a negative personal experience.
Most of your information is available to anyone with an inquisitive mind directly from Amway. It is imperative that a person needs to keep an open mind and not allow themselves to be glazed over at the glory of the "freedom" and assess what the true commitment of time and money is necessary to build a distributorship. My basic approach is to only believe half of what I hear and have to trust me judgement that I am believing the right half.
Let's be honest about it. The percentage of those who make it to financial freedom is no worse than in the corporate world. At one time I [was in the insurance business] and we were bombarded with statistics relative to the number of people who end up financially fit in retirement. You can run the numbers any way you want but the reality is that unless a person consistently saves 10 to 15 percent of their income over their entire career they will take a substantial decline in lifestyle when they retire. Those who actually retire early either saved more than this or were in the right place at the right time. The percentage who retire early or with a continuing lifestyle is far less than the meager percentage who make money in Amway.
As far as the pyramid scheme argument, look at any corporations organizational chart and you'll see that the same holds true that only a few are at the top and a takes a lot of "little" people to make them rich. Most people are in the foundation of the corporation not sitting at the top collecting the rewards. More realistically, Amway is better called a bush or tree than a pyramid. Each branch leads back to the roots but has the ability to outgrow any other branch.
Let's face it, there is no easy way to get ahead in Amway or corporate America. No matter what you do or where you work there will be a struggle and always someone trying to replace you. At least in Amway the line of candidates trying to get your job is a lot shorter.
What I would appreciate from you is a little more information regarding your experience. IE: How long were you in? How well did you know your upline before joining? What were your original intentions (or "dreams" if you will) that made you originally consider the business? How aggressively did you approach it? What successes did you have if any? What was your field of expertise before or after Amway?
Your Web page repeatedly states that everyone is different and their personalities and traits differ. Isn't it true that a person with poor people skills would make a bad salesman and that an aggressive person would struggle to sit on an assembly line stuffing coupons in cereal boxes. Many of the tapes give the impression that anyone can be a diamond. I'm not naive enough to believe that. There are traits and experiences which drive people to that level much in the same manner that a similar drive propels some individuals to heights in the corporate world.
Please take the time to respond in whatever format best fits you.
P.S. I did spell check this message and apologize for any missed grammatical or usage violations.
November 2, 1998
I'm sorry to hear that your experience with the Amway business was such a traumatic one. It is unfortunate but true that some distributor organizations use dishonest or deceptive tactics but I have, fortunately, not experienced in my organization what you have experienced in your (former) line of sponsorship. I had a lot of the same misgivings that you apparently had (have). I, for one, do not use deceptive tactics which goes for the majority of the people in my organization. I don't brow beat anyone into getting into business with me and I will always try to help them in any way I can (inside or outside of the business, upline or downline). I know that some day I will be a Direct (or above) even though now I am only at the 6% level. I like the products so I USE them (and SHARE them with others) and I LOVE the people I am working (and building a future) with.
The biggest thing that I've gotten from my experience with Amway is HOPE. The people that I work with have re-opened my eyes to the possibilities. Not JUST the possibilities of an Amway business but the possibilities that surround us every day. Because of my experience with some of these incredible Amway distributors I have a new lease on life and I am now self employed (outside of Amway). And these things cannot be taken away from me, not by you or anyone else.
Again, I regret that your experience was not a positive one. I wish that more people had the type of positive experience I have had and they will if I have anything to do about it... and I do.
November 4, 1998
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998
From: Jennifer Johnson
To: John Hoagland
Subject: Please read!
First of all, I am a 22 year old senior in college. My time is spread so thin that I find it hard sometimes to think straight. This leads to my first question. How long did it take you to make this web site? It's unbeliveable long [grammar]. I personally think it is sad that someone like you would spend this much time out of your life to write negative, hatefull, [spelling] and sarcastic things Amway or whatever you would happen to hate at the moment [grammar].
Unfourtunately [spelling] the people whose [spelling, 'who'] may never reach their dreams because of your website will not have a way to say "Thanks a lot," for talking them out of fulfilling their dreams [grammar]. You wasted who knows how long writing about hate when you could have been doing something to make someones [spelling, someone's'] life a little better. I can't believe that I am wasting my time reading some of your "I-can't-succeed-so-I-will-make-sure-no-one-else-does" assumptions. Why bring others down with you?
The only reason that I am even giving 15 minutes of my time to write you is so that maybe I can help just one person realize that somewhere, sometime, you were hurt by someone in the Amway business and onstead [spelling, 'instead'] of taking it like a man, you have to spend hours and hours trying to hurt others by convincing them that since you can't succeed, they can't either. Please, people, if you have a dream, don't let anyone talk you out of it. Especially someone who for some reason or another is filled with hate [grammar]. Your dreams are your own and if they are really important to you, you will not let anyone stop you from getting them [grammar].
The Amway corporation is just one of many ways of fulfilling your dreams depending on what your dreams are and how big they are [grammar]. In all do [spelling, 'due'] respect, John, I have nothing against you. I do, however, feel sorry for you. I hope that you will someday find the happiness that you need to do helpful and good things for people and not try to pull them down to your level of hatefullness [spelling] at a low point in your life [grammar].
Best Wishes to All Of You Who Have Dreams
November 13, 1998
I am currently a distributor in the Amway business, but please read this before you throw it away. It is apparent that you have had some unfortunate occruences with the business, as I just got done reading your e-mail transcripts and your story. On behalf of all the distributors that are true to heart about this business, and are doing this to not only make a little money on the side, I would like to apologize. I believe that anyone that conducts their business in the manner that the e-mails were written has a lot to learn about success principles. This does not benefit my business at all to write you this e-mail, and I usually just disregard the "Anti-Amway" web sites. But I will be honest with you and tell you that there are a lot of things on your website that I agree with, but there are also a lot that I disagree with. But I do firmly believe that it is a business concept that works, and I am sorry to hear that you have had such a negative experience with it. Feel free to write me back.
November 15, 1998 I am in Amway and would like to comment on your page. For one, Amway's rules specifically state that whomever advertises Amways shall be asked to resign from the business. Why is this? Because Amway DOES NOT believe that advertising is the way to influence people. I would like to know your exact sources, because indeed some of your information can be considered "misprints". Amway can not work without Possitivity and Dreams. Amway thrusts motivation in our faces to let us become aware that we can't get anywhere without motivation...even out of the Amway business. You see, you are allowed to go to college, own another business, and you do all these things because you are motivated to do them. Many people have misconceptions of Amway. That is because not everyone knows the truth. Every business has it's enemies. You sir, are a enemy to Amway because someone fed you a piece of a lie that made your hunger for the "truth" grow even more. Then, you search for more information that would feed you hunger, and of course, people dished you some more helpings of lies. Please, don't take this email offensively. You see, sometimes people fall flat out hopeless so they quit Amway, that is because they didn't have enough motivation or drive to keep them going. You have to want your freedom bad enough in order for it to happen. Everything you do requires some sort of motivation. And I am not sure if you know this, but do you know that Amway is based on God..."THE GOD". You see, Amway even has a ministry group which I am associated with, and they help the homeless, and help disastered areas...they do everything! And it's hands on...not just their money goes into it, but their hearts and their souls. They go to these ravaged places at their own risks to carry out God's work. And true, their are some bad distributors, but not all of us are!
November 17, 1998
You have said it all. I am curious to know at what level you attained and how you came across all this information.
I was not only in Amway but also a retread. Geesh! And with the same upline! I was with the True North organization from Canada. My sponsor was Direct. I must admit I was extremely impressed with their obvious show of wealth. I remember the 2 new [cars] in their driveway that they said were paid for cash from money made in Amway. Unfortunately (for them) and thanks to them for introducing me to their car salesman, I was able to learn of their true financial situation. I was an active distributor for several years. And the perfect, obedient one too. I went to all the meetings, functions, bought both tapes and the book. When people in my downline quit or cancelled their tools, I was told to "eat [the expense]" as if I were to let my tool order drop it would reflect negatively on the growth of my business. And I did it but I could never do that to my downline as I have a good paying job and could afford to throw money away but most people one sees becoming involved in this business are living paycheck to paycheck (as they say in the plan).
I don't consider myself a stupid person and the business concept seemed sound to me but right away I questioned things that you have addressed such as items are more expensive than at retail stores. My upline "pushed" for you to "break that next level". It was only when they went away to some grand function that I wasn't entitled to attend and they left the responsibility of the weeks order with me did I find out that they were buying [their] way. I was left with the instructions to do 7500PV at whatever cost! Their personal order amounted to about $7000.00. Even after this I stayed in as I now believed that my upline was not following the plan as this certainly was not duplicatable. It was also then that I realized they were "kyting" [the often-illegal financial practice of depending on customer's checks to be cashed before your own checks are cashed, to create a 'float' of money]. Using their downlines order money to pay last weeks bills. This all off a sudden answered the question of why there were so many backorders. Items that were given back to be returned, I was never compensated for. One change I am glad to hear about is that now individual distributors order and deal direct with the Amway Corp. I think I'm out about [over $350.00] in returned goods and have never been paid my last [few] bonus cheques. (This was in 1994) As far as edifying your upline, I have no problem in treating people with common respect and courtesy but just because I am "downline" I am no less deserving. I didn't appreciate the night at a function when we had supper with our upline and they had to leave to another one of those "closed meetings" and stiffed me with the bill. They were the ones supposedly rolling in the dough. Near the end, my direct let it slip that they were receiving a profit from the tools and I was shocked! I was told this in confidence and told not to repeat it to anyone. I am equally shocked with your information about how much of a diamond's wealth comes from tools. I had no idea. After reading some of the responses you have received, I am baffled by the distributors who have written that this is not happening to them. Because you are right, if you are not Direct you would not know this little secret. And as far as all the love and friendship goes...well after receiving this last bit of info that only me and my sponsor were privy to, I quit. No show, no arguing, nothing. [Nobody] from [my group] of people that called themselves my friends called me to find out what happened. No surprise there. I guess I had just joined the "quitters". Unfortunately, I had managed to sign up my brother who lives [some distance] away. I didn't know if he would have any success but with all the positive material I thought he would maybe straighten out his life. He belonged to the long-haired dope-smoking class. And lucky for him, our upline Emerald lived in his city and personally took my brother under his wing. I was somewhat envious. Well 4 years later he hasn't built the business but he did cut his hair. His outlook on life is still rotten and to boot, I just learned that this Emerald couple has split as [the wife] can't take hubby's problem anymore...dope. So there's my brother and this Emerald probably out showing the plan stoned out of their heads. Geesh! Anyhow as another writer said, I don't have anything against the Amway Corporation as I have had no direct dealings with them. Their products are good albeit expensive. It's too bad the AMO has to be so greedy and hide behind a certain level before the knowledge is obtained. Your site is very informative and I commend you for all your research.
November 18, 1998
I have been a distributor [for the past 6 months]. Wish I had seen your web site before joining!
After [a few months] I noticed that things didn't appear as they seemed. Spend more money on books, tapes and functions. I wondered who was making money off of those things. You cleared up a lot of things for me. I thank you for that!
I was told not to read any of the negative sites. Wonder why now!!
I would like to tell you about my experiences with Amway. My [relative] introduced my husband and I to the business. He made it sound so easy and very profitable. Where he was living and what he drove should have clued me in. He's been in the business for about [five] years. And he's sitting there telling us we can be millionaires in 1-2 years!! Never thought of that at the time. But my eyes have been opened now!
Remember having him show the plan to one of our friends, she was not interested. She left and my [relative] then went on to tell me that we should not have anything more to do with her. This because she wasn't interested. I didn't agree with that. I started then to notice that [my relative's] friends from the past weren't friends any longer. I didn't have to ask why!
My husband has a mustache, he was told to shave it off. Why, because men with facial hair are not to be trusted! I wouldn't let my husband shave it off. My husband is a business man with alot of responsibilities, and yes people trust him.
I'm sorry if I'm going all over the place have so much to say to you.
Went to a big function in Buffalo earlier this year. All I got out of it was someone pushing God on me and you have to buy this and that to be successful. What a scheme!
They had another function in St. Louis, couldn't make it to that one because we were short of cash. Upline told me that if I want to succeed I HAD to go to function. Didn't go and haven't gone to any meetings since. Here in Canada, the open meetings are every week, product seminars are one a month. Don't have money to fork out all the time for meetings that say the same thing every week! Well to say the least my [relative] (upline) hasn't spoken to us since then.
Do you know about the Amvox Message System? In a nutshell...your upline sends down messages from Diamonds about buying this tape or book. About functions coming up, you need to get your tickets now!! And of course about spending time going to see your Diamonds, but only if you are a Silver!! I have gotten to the point where I just delete these messages before listening to them! Can't stand listening to their holier then thou voices.
Well thank you for listening to me! I needed someone I could vent off to. Really enjoyed your site. You can reprint this letter if you like, but leave [my] name and email off. Only because my [relative] is my upline (for now). Don't want to hurt [his] feelings.
Thank you again,
November 19, 1998
Just viewed your site. Great job on getting the word out. Hopefully more people will view your site and make an informed decision before joining the "business". In case you are wondering, I was in Amway from [Aug.1997] [until] getting smart and quitting in [Feb.1998]. A lot of the things you have pointed out happened to me.
Before [last year] I had never heard of Amway. [One of my wife's co-workers] convinced us to look at the "plan". Just looking at the basics of it (my mistake) I told them we would give it a shot. After we signed up, I got all the information and started looking at the rules and regulations about the Amway organization. When I asked my bumpkin upline directs about the 10 customer rule and other by-laws in the Amway code of rules and ethics, they told me not to worry about it. So I started showing the plan based on what they had told me and saw little success. I thought there must be some training or other information I could get to help me be successful in this business. The whole time I kept asking them how this was not a pyramid and how these people could make the money based on the figures in the [SA-4400], because the calculator didn't agree with what they were saying. They just kept getting us to [attend] more and more meetings and when we mentioned possibly not going to one, they would promote it as one of the better "functions" to learn how to do this business. As I am sure you know, little information was given on the mechnics of building the business and more emphasis was put on attending functions, buying books and tapes and acting like some goofy zealot about a business I just couldn't get excited about. Why? Because the information I received from our direct sponsors, our sapphires, rubys and diamonds was the exactly the same. They could not give me a step by step plan on what I needed to do to build this business. It was after we attended [Dream Weekend] in January that I tried even harder to build this thing called Amway. But, I would stay up after everyone went to bed with my calculator bending the figures every which way to try and see how these emerald's and diamonds were able to make this kind of money. When I would ask my up-lines how this kind of incomewas possible, they would just say "Believe me, it is there."
When I found the AMO sites on the Web it finally made sense. I told my wife and she was initially upset about it, but by the next morning she knew we needed to get out. I called my sponser the next day and told him we were quitting and why. His response's were typical. Hell, he [wouldn't] even comment on the Brig Hart lawsuit until he consulted his upline. To be honest, I was never more relieved to quit Amway. Neither one of us are very good at deception and knew we could not keep telling a lie to others and making money off them by presenting incorrect information and building false hopes. I keep hoping I will get approached by a distributor in the future so I can do something similar to what you did with Stencel. Hopefully I can either save them from a similar fate or make them realize people are much more informed than they used to be about the "business". Sorry this is such a rambling message, but everytime I have ever e-mailed anyone about this my mind and hands are still clouded by anger for being deceived the way we were. Good luck with your site and keep up the good work. And as one of my college professors was fond of saying, "Preparation and Hardwork are the only shortcuts you'll ever need to be successfull". By the way, how many directs does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but they MUST consult their upline first.
November 21, 1998
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998
To: John Hoagland
Subject: I'm sorry.
I live in Eagan, MN. Been in the Amway Business for 8 years. During that entire time, my wife (who died this last May) battled cancer. I now am a single dad with four children, 3 of them teenagers.
I used to be a salaried operations manager with a large computer company. When my wife became ill, I had a mental battle over what to do with my time. My boss wanted me at work, I wanted to be at home. Because he provided the "income", I had to do the best I could do to satisfy both of my desires. (I was really double minded then) Along came a guy (a complete stranger) who showed me the Amway business.
To make a long story short, it looked like a way to fix my problem. We went direct in 5 months....yes using tools....and performing like AMdroids. I used my 6 years of Navy training to "follow instructions." We broke 2 directs in the next 12 months. With the side groups, customers, and tool money, I replaced my job income within 17 months. 4 months later, I came home to be with my wife of 18 years.
What's the point. I raced motorcycles to win, not to race. I play chess to win, not to race. I worked hard to climb the ladder of success at the corporation.....to provide a better income for my family. What I found is that there are people who participate to "win" and people who participate to "participate". But in general, most American just like to grumble about their life. I love them all because God does, but I don't hang around grumblers. I hang around with winners.
For 5 years of my wife's illness, I was able to be with her, rather than at the company. We travelled, fell completely in love, developed a wonderful family life, and learned how to trust the Lord completely. Did the Amway business do this......NO. It was only the vehicle which provided the residual income so I could have the time. I could have done the same thing in real estate, or Avon, or Tupperware, or a computer manufacturing company, or any one of many vehicles.
The thing is this. There are some people who are "ready" to go when the Amway business comes their way....I was one of them. For others, the AMway training programs help them develop their confidence in themselves so that they can become ready to succeed in something. I have had many people in my group who have doubled and tripled their salaries where they work. They tell me it is because of what they have learned from the training program. I have to agree with them.
I honestly believe that anyone (with desire) can succeed at the Amway business. Is it the best business on earth....I can't answer that. Is it a "bad" business.....NO. But one thing is certain, 100% of the people who quit do not make any money.
The only thing I cannot understand is (and this is after reading ALL of the information in your website) why would a person spend so much time to accomplish nothing? You will never be able to stop a business which does so much good for people like me. Because I am strong enough to realize that much of what you say is true, even though is is obviously biased, but it will never overcome my own personal committments to this business based upon my own experience.
The sadness which enters my heart is when I realize that there will be some people who will read your stuff and decide not to try. That is sad. I have personally shown the plan over 1000 times to different people. John, I see how the average person lives in this country. I hope that you realize what you are doing.
I personally achieved an income level within 2 years which the average American will never (Never) see in their lifetime. I did it helping others. I now have tasted "FREEDOM" to choose my own lifesytle. I have committed my life to helping my children do the same thing. I hope that you are able to realize the same joy from what you do.
September 22,1998, message #2 from the same author
Thanks for responding so quickly. I guess that I really didn't expect you to respond at all. Thanks.
You are absolutely right in one sense.....many people do quit "building" the business when they achieve their own personal financial goals......for most it is at the Emerald level......that is why the percentage of Emeralds/ Diamonds is so high. But, even the majority of those who "quit building" remain committed to helping the friends/partners in their downline go on to reach their own personal levels, whatever they may be.
I don't know how old you are or what successes you enjoyed before you got into the Amway business, but I can speak about my 15 years in the corporate world. When our CEO got his $113M bonus as his share of cost cutting (taking a computer company from 122,000 employees to 34,000) he flew off into the sunset. The 90,000 families which were totally disrupted from the 5 years of layoffs did not even get an apology letter from him. As an operations manager, my job was to lay off a certain percentage of the group each month. I was "guided" to select the white males over 50 years of age. They had the biggest salaries and the company could achieve their "financial goals" sooner.
I can tell you from first hand experience that the pain of laying off people, none of whom deserved to be laid off, does not hurt as much as working with a new distributor who quits after 3 months. There is still a loss, but I understand that the distributor had a choice, the employee did not. I watched the fired employees start drinking....spend all of their retirement savings...leave their familes....two committed suicide. They had choices too.....but no one to help "mentor" them through the mental jungle of a layoff after 25 or more years working for the same company.
I will assume that you never broke a direct.....never got to be part of the celebration of helping a friend buy a new car (cash)....didn't ever help a family achieve their goal of having mom come home so the kids didn't have to go to daycare. Too bad, because many people miss the "ENTIRE MEANING AND CONCEPT" of the business.
For most of us it starts off with the desire to personally make more money....granted. But, when your heart gets in it....then your focus becomes the people. I hope that one day you will understand that Crown Ambassador is just a level like supervisor, project manager, Vice President, or CEO. Some people chase it for the money, some for the recognition, some just for the thrill. But, unlike any company I know of (Please give me some examples here) the only way to help yourself succeed more (once you are at the 25%) level is to help others achieve your current level or go beyond. In the company, only "1" person can sit in a position. And the first one who gets it makes all of the others who want it "wait" until that person is ready to move on. I lived that life for 15 years........fighting for the next position. It wasn't until I saw and heard what goes on in the boardrooms that I decided the corporate life had no heart, it's ALL about money and profit. Maybe you believe that public companies care about giving good service and taking care of their employees......that's OK. But I will never believe that again.
So what options do people have? Work at a job they can find in an area they have interest in, start their own business, or own their own company. Seems like the same options they had in 1700. So, you see John, things and people don't change. Only the activities they persue in their own quest to find a fulfilling life. And thank God, we all have our own defintion of that.
Enjoy your life John. But please remember, whether you believe it or not, one day you will be standing in front of the Creator and he will ask you "did you live a good life?" and you will have to prove it to him using His rules. And He only cares that we love one another. That's the rule.
November 28, 1998
Thank you for all you have done on your website! I was approached last week about "starting my own business, and making my dreams come true". He was calling the company ProNet, then finally admitted after lunch it was Amway (which I thought was unusual). He told me to check out all the facts on Amway, and I have checked out several web sites, both positive and negative. I really appreciate your time, as you have undoubtedly saved me $350 and the chance not to lose 1.5 hours Tuesday night at an "open".
December 6, 1998
Thanks for doing this site. At 11 this morning I had a meeting with a guy who wants to "sponsor" me. He went through the pitch exactly how you outlined it- he told me how "sharp" I am and how I could make 75-150k in 2 years. He was slick. I met him [for coffee]-- he wanted to come to my house! Whew! When I got home I started researching. I looked up "Amway" on [a search engine] and went through their whole site thinking "Hhuh, this looks pretty good." Silly me. They have an entire section on their site with the heading "Is Amway A Cult?". (Warning lights! Flash!) They then proceed to rationalize their "positive" outlook and structure. It got me thinking, so I looked up "anti-amway" on the search engine. Thank God I found you. He wanted me to attend a meeting tomorrow night. Of course I won't be attending. I feel sorry for people who fall for this. I won't tell this guy why I'm not going forward with it, I'll just return the propaganda and walk away. Thanks, but no thanks. Mr Hoagland, you're doing a noble service. They almost got me. Thank you.
December 8, 1998
Dear Mr. Hoagland,
Thanks very much for mounting and maintaining your extensive and very informative site. I received a call yesterday from a friend with whom my wife and I sometimes do business. He wanted us to talk over a "business opportunity" that evening. When we arrived at his home, there was an "associate" (maybe a Diamond, judging from his [Mercedes]?) who walked us through the "plan" in exactly the way you describe: dreams, profit scheme, and, oh, this is all made possible by Amway.
We took home a typical overnight kit and were supposed to attend an "open" this evening with our sponsor. The Diamond already had us pegged for an out-of-town seminar this weekend - fast mover! None of that for us, thanks to you and your linked sites. (To be fair, we looked at the Amway site and some other supportive pages, but they were easy to criticize with your helpful explanations.)
The saddest part to us is that these friends have closed a solid, legitimate service business in order to pursue an Amway dealership. I think they're a few months into it now and are truly zealous Amway believers. Well, to each his own.
Thanks again for sparing us a lot of time, trouble, and money.
December 12, 1998
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998
From: bill gardoski
To: John Hoagland
Subject: re amway
you would be the prime example of one reason to curtail freedom of speech. I have been associated with this company for 17 years as a distributor, and I have NEVER heard such CRAP, LIES, and FALSE statements as I have read on your site. This is the cleanest, most honest and above board business in the world. Your page is a loser, you are a loser, and anyone who can believe this garbage is a LOSER. I have raised myself up through being in AMWAY, and in the long run that's what life is about isn't it. Bettering ones station in life. Knowing this letter will do no good, I can only wonder what kind of jealousy on your part inspired your mind-numbing and stupid hate campain. The people you convince with this trash aren't worth knowing or having as partners. The amazing thing is, I used to feel a lot like you, untill I started listening to the people who ended up helping me for FREE. You are a really sick, disturbed person. I feel sorry for you.
December 18, 1998
I just finished going over your site after [my father] emailed me the address. While I have never been "in the business" my life is very much affected by the dream.
[My relative] and his wife have bought into Amway BIG TIME. Over the past four years I have watched most of what you described happen to my family and my [relative]. Our family has literally been destroyed from within by the cult of Amway. If we offer any resistance, we a) don't like money and b) aren't being supportive like good family members should. Every time we get together, we never know what to say as it seems that everything is misconstrued as an attack on Amway. I simply refuse to discuss the issue anymore and I try my best to avoid being around them as much as possible. I also refuse to introduce them to any of my friends as invariably, they will get a call in a few days about "a home shopping club that will saves lots of $$$"
I must admit I am very concerned for my [relative] and our family. I know he is in a cult and there is not a damn thing I can do about. I did want to thank you though. Through the time you have spend compiling the information at your web sight I have seen that some people do in fact escape. You have also given me answers should I ever be in the position to really talk to my brother about these serious issues. Keep it up. I have book-marked your page and I will check back to see any new info.
December 20, 1998
I came across your website in my desperate search for answers about Amway. My [brother] used to be my best friend. We are close in age and used to be inseparable. [He] got involved in Amway about 3 years ago, and ever since then, we've been completely estranged from each other. I just don't know what to do anymore. It's tearing me apart because I never thought we'd ever lose touch with each other, but Amway has totally changed him. I've never voiced how I really feel to [him], but I know [he] can sense it. I've asked [him] questions about [his] business, and I can instantly sense that [he] gets cold and defensive about it. Soon after [he] got involved, I was actually curious myself. So, I went to a few Amway meetings with another friend of mine. It was so "cult-like". The feeling of love and euphoria in the banquet room after the meeting was so eerie. I actually held a meeting at my house, and was willing to listen to the whole speech, keeping an open mind. I became completely turned off when, towards the end of the meeting, the distributor became anxious to sell us the start-up kit. When my husband and I said "no", it was obvious that he was mad. They left right away. That distributor was the "upline" from my [brother] and [his girlfriend]. We continued to get harassed by [the upline], as well another "upline" from [that distributor] for the next few weeks. I just couldn't believe it!!! I just want my "old" [brother] back. I'm not sure if [he'll] ever get out. It was [his girlfriend] that encouraged [him] to get involved in the first place, when [he] wasn't really interested. Now, I don't know if he'll ever turn back!!! I just want people to realize that any organization that encourages a person to distance themselves from friends and family is a "cult". I don't care what anyone says!!!
December 25, 1998
The main scam involved the required purchase of tools and tapes. The illegal part came when certain upline recieved commission from this practice.
Once I refused to puchase [the tools,] my upline basically cut me off. I was also required to purchase products to join in the first place. When I said no, they told me the [application] came in the kit and it was the kit that I was buying. (100PV) I was interested in pursuing this as a business. But you have [to] buy [or] move tools and seminar [tickets] first. A second lie was that my upline would help build my downline. This never happend either. When I woulld bring people to meetings they ended up in other peoples downline, never in my [own]. This is fraud, right?
December 28, 1998
Soon after signing up as Amway distributors my husband and I were asked to go to an Amway event being held approximately 2 hours away from our home. At the time, our [baby] was about 6 months old and we were unable to find a sitter for the day of the event. After explaining [our situation] to our upline, they made the ridiculous suggestion that we bring our baby to the event for the day and they along with the other people in our upline (who we barely knew) would take turns watching our baby outside the auditorium! This idea seemed so bizarre to me that I didn't know how to respond. I just thanked them for the offer but told them I was sure that the baby would probably fuss the whole 2 hour drive and that maybe it would be better if we just skipped this event since it was so far away.
*****My upline didn't know it at the time but the suggestion she was about to make to me totally changed the way my husband and I felt about Amway.
After going on about how important the functions were and how if we wanted to succeed we must do what ever it takes to get to the functions, she actually suggested that we give our baby medication that would make him drowsy so that he would sleep on the way and through most of the event!!!!! After this incident my husband and I told our sponsors (who were very good friends of ours) that we no longer wanted to be a part of the Amway organization. They too have now quit the business.
December 29, 1998
Just checked back at your site again after not having looked at it for a while. I've been an active distributor for 18 months and will continue to be so, so your thoughts about only reading negative sites meaning I'm ready to quit is not correct! :-) I just like to be informed and know what is going on. And I actually agree and am disgusted with much of what is written on your site - I have no doubt it occurs. Fortunately I haven't encountered this issues in my group or organisation (Network 21). One thing I would like to question is your following statement -
One fact is becoming clear, though: if a distributor starts to use the ARP service in his group, he will probably sign up customers. This will start to generate profits for himself. He will soon learn that the tools are NOT NECESSARY to build a profitable Amway business. He will also teach this to any distributors in his group: duplicating himself will lead to a group that generates high PV, high personal profits for the distributors, but NO tool sales. Needless to say, this development is NOT in the best interest of the upper-distributors tool business.
My personal experience is that when I don't use the tools I don't build the business, so for me I think without them I wouldn't be succeeding. The tools serve a number of purposes - 1) to motivate 2) to train. I'm not quite sure of the logic you use in the paragraph above. ARP (we call it ASP - automatic shopping program in Network 21 Australia) helps keep PV at a more consistent level and cuts down on work load by not having to either place orders or call customers (all N21 distributors are warehouse authorised). It also can make it easier to sponsor frontline, as it is definitely a useful product. How do you teach that frontline to do the same though? And how do they teach their new frontline and so on? I'd have to visit them all and teach them how to use it and show them ELVIS (our internet-based ordering system, Electronic Link Via Internet Services). After a while I suspect this would become a substantial time consumer. What to do? Perhaps I could make a video or powerpoint presentation showing how to use ELVIS. Maybe write a pamphlet on how ASP works? Perhaps explain it on an audio tape? As my group grows this would become a considerable expense. It would seem fair that I at least charge people the production cost for this information? And then there's postage, though I might be able to organise passing them through the group. And of course if all went well and people liked the video or powerpoint presentation or whatever, I'm sure that people in other groups may want access to it also. But why should I give it to them for nothing - their success doesn't generate any income for me. It's probably fair enough I make a small profit for my work and time creating something useful to help other people build profitable businesses. Now as my business grows and I have more and more distributors in my group who want to use these tools its going to become quite a job. I'll definitely need some employees to help with production. And of course an office. This has pretty much become a separate business itself, particular since I'm selling this stuff to other groups. Perhaps I should get together with their upline, since I believe they've made some good pamphlets and other info also. Maybe we could form a company together to provide this sort of training material to Amway distributors. Definitely a good idea I think!
To be perfectly honest I cannot see how one can build a succeful network without tools to train and motivate. I could buy them from other sources (and in fact do) such as Anthony Robbins, Steven Covey, Injoy (John Maxwell) etc etc, but all of my comparisons indicate it is cheaper to buy them from a company such as Network 21 that is dedicated to my business and industry. A tools business is *inevitable*. If you shut down all the AMOs others would arise at of necessity. They simply make sense.
Having said that, there's still a lot wrong with some of the distributors and groups out there. Some of the letters you receive are evidence enough. People who decide not to do our business are not losers, neither are people who quit. It may simply be the wrong time, wrong line of sponsorship, or just wrong sort of business for them. Many many people see this business and don't join then, but join later. Many people join and do nothing and quit, and join again later (I'm an example myself). Abusing people is (1) bad business - they'll never join you or anyone else if they have a bad experience and (2) not a good way to make the world a better place! By the way, apart from being personal beliefs these are also things we hear regularly from Network 21. We treat this as a business - I suspect some other groups may very well treat it as a cult. I'd like to thank you for pointing out on your frontpage that your site refers to AMOs rather than Amway itself. Mind you, many distributors don't seem to understand the distinction, so I'd say anyone investigating the business who comes across your site may also not understand.
Anyway, have a happy, healthy, and succesfull 1999!
December 30, 1998
I have been reading many anti-Amway sites due to the recent involvement of a long time friend [over 30 years] in this nonsense. I have been approached several times in the past by different people singing the praises of this organization, but current circumstances are heartbreaking for me.
My good friend is a senior executive in a midwestern bank and likely earns a 6 figure income from his job. Yet somehow he has fallen into the clutches of this cult and won't stop nagging me to join. He's driving me nuts and alienating his friends and family as well. With all the business opportunities that must cross his desk, why does he pick this garbage to invest his time and money? Unless he's had a giant size brain cramp they likely have suckered him in with all the cult type techniques they're so well known for..i.e. "love bombing", dream selling etc.
They've done a damn good job, too. I'm on a one man crusade to save him from himself. I wish you luck in helping to salvage others from this fate.