God, I hate Herbalife.
While visiting my parents for dinner, I noticed a rock in a little plastic baggy on their driveway. Inside was a little flier, promising a great "Work at Home!" business opportunity.
I knew who to blame for this bit of litter. Herbalife.
I hate Herbalife, and you should too.
If your neighborhood is increasingly covered with "Work at Home!" signs, you're seeing Herbalife's work. Every once in a while one of Madison's Herbalife distributors covers every possible surface with this crap in an effort to drum up business.
Technically this junk doesn't come from Herbalife, but from their "independent distributors". Herbalife uses this thin layer of idiots to protect itself from legal repercussions. But Herbalife damn well knows people do it. Herbalife officially is against this behavior, but unofficially they don't care what a individual distributors do.
It's easy to spot a Herbalife ad. It will promise the opportunity to make extra money, to work at home, to be your own boss. It will have a toll free number to call for more information. It might list a web site. If you call the toll free number you'll get a prerecorded message with a lot of vague information about working at home, some misleading statistics about home business profits, and absolutely no concrete information on what the business is. If you visit the web site you'll find similar information. If you're lucky it might hint that it involves weight loss, personal health, herbal supplements, or similar fuzzy terms popular with the unregulated herbal medicine industry. At the end you'll get a "If you're serious about making money and home, provide us with your phone number and we'll call you back." To hear a typical pre-recorded announcement, call 800-846-0322. To see a typical web site, check out these losers.
What does Herbalife sell? Primarily vitamin supplements and herbal weight loss pills. The herbal kind, the sort that has no real scientific testing and is mostly unregulated by the Food and Drug administration. This sort of crap doesn't have a terribly large market, only suckers. So Herbalife found an innovative business model: convince those same suckers to become work at home "distributors". Charge these suckers for training materials and set up costs. Charge these suckers for toll free phone numbers and web sites to contact for more information. Require them to buy product for sale up front.
Of course, once a sucker has bought in, they'll discover they can't actually move the crap Herbalife is pushing. To keep them involved Herbalife offers them a new technique that really does make money. The same technique Herbalife itself uses: fool suckers into becoming distributors. That's why you almost never see ads actually selling Herbalife, but you see millions of ads suggesting you "Work at Home!!!" (If you see this sort of cheap signage advertising "I lost 200 lbs, ask me how!!!" you're probably looking at one of the rare people actually trying to sell Herbalife's product.) This repeats itself, layer of suckers over layer of suckers, forming a classic pyramid scheme. (Amway sales-weasels prefer the term "Multi Level Marketing." Shit or feces, it still stinks.)
Just after high school a friend of mine fell for this scam, or at least one very similar to it. At the time I didn't know the details, but I knew he was trying to pull me into a scam. (I don't think he was trying to scam me, he was probably just an innocent dupe.) I now regret not taking the time to see the bogus presentation, it would have given me a chance to point out to my friend that he was being deceived.
So, there are two types of Herbalife distributors: suckers, and the truly evil. I expect most are just suckers, people who have been duped into believing in a false dream. If Herbalife deserves our hated, it's because it take innocent people with dreams and feeds them bullshit. Of course, some, the truly successful distributors, have become masters of bringing in new suckers. After a few years they can't possibly truly believe in their products. They know the real money is in convincing other people to buy in, then lose their investment. These professional "distributors" know they are harming innocent people trying to get a leg up in the world, and these distributors continue to do it. A special place in Hell is reserved for these scum.
One of the other benefits of having "independent distributors" is that Herbalife has a handy legal shield from being prosecuted for these shady sales tactics. If a single company was responsible for this littering and illegal sign posting it would be easy to prosecute them. But the guilty parties are just dozens of foolish individuals. Tracking down and prosecuting each one of the army isn't feasible. Herbalife is guilty of encouraging these crimes, but it's hard to prove it. They make a big show of kicking out distributors who are caught, but the unspoken message is, "Do what you much, just don't get caught."
To hell with Herbalife and their distributors.
|2003-07-14||Serious editing. Some tweaks, reorganization, de-awkwardification, and spelling corrections.|
|2003-09-04||Added link to the Herbalife Report|
|2006-11-06||Added note at start. Fixed link to Herbalife Report|