I am a gigantic geek. Anyone who knows me at all, or has ever tried to call my house, can vouch for this, and honestly, I’m fine with it. I probably spend more time online in a single day than most people spend at work, and I’ll guarantee that I have a lot more fun! That’s the beauty of this business: I can pretty much take anything in the entire world that I might like to do and, claiming that it’s research, remove any tiny amount of guilt that I might have because of it. Spending a week at the beach? “Well, that was just research for the column I’m working on about, ummm, funny things that happen at the beach…” Tune in next week when I’ll be discussing the beauty of tax-deductible business expenses…

Anyways, in all my time online I’ve seen just about every hoax in the book, from the free trips to Disney World care of Bill Gates to the boy who woke up to find that his kidneys had been stolen, so it takes a lot to catch my attention with crap like this. I like to consider myself pretty hip with the times when it comes to happenings on the Internet, but when I was exposed to this for the first time, I truly began to realize what a sad, sad world we live in…

The original tip took place, believe it or not, offline. That’s right, I was not on the Internet when I got wind of this! The actual conversation went something like this, although the names have been changed and the dialogue has been converted to a chat-like style because I felt like it:

Acquaintance: Hi, Scott! How are you?
Me: I’m great! Yourself?
Acquaintance: Good.
-- Brief Pause –
Acquaintance: Hey Scott, do you use the computer much?
Me: Uh, a little, I guess…
Acquaintance: Hmmm. Are you ever on the Internet?
Me: Well, I suppose you could say that…
[sarcasm begins to build]
Acquaintance: Well, do you ever buy things over the Internet?
Me: Yeah, I’ve been known to do that from time to time.
(What is this, Twenty Questions?)
Acquaintance: Have you ever heard of a company paying you for buying something from them?
Me: No! Why, who’s scamming you???
[I still don’t get it yet…]
Acquaintance: Oh no, no, it’s not like that at all. I just buy anything I want from these guys, and then at the end of the month they cut me a check.
Me: Oh, neat.
[I’ve had enough – backing away]
Acquaintance: What are you doing Friday night?
Me: I beg your pardon?!?!
[Keep in mind, this is a guy I’m talking with]
Acquaintance: Well, I thought maybe I could come over and show you what this is all about…
Me: What is this, Amway on the Internet???
[Reality kicks in…]
SalesmanInDisguise: Yeah, I guess you could call it that, although it’s really a lot more than that…
Me: Bye!

This was a big deal for me because:

  1. I’d never really been approached by a salesman like this before
  2. the guy doing the selling was not (putting it lightly) the kind of person that should be allowed near expensive things
  3. I needed an idea for a column and it sounded really funny in my head.

I tried to get the actual Internet address from him after the conversation, but he insisted that “It would be best if he showed it to me in person!” Loosely translated, this means, “I won’t be able to collect any commissions from you if you go there on your own.” I hate to break it to ya, but you wouldn’t have made much off of my purchases, anyways… Fortunately, they have these things on the Internet called search engines, so I fired up good old Yahoo! and guess what I found!

10,000 hits for Amway, and a clean 71 hits for Amway sucks! It was hard to choose, but I’m sure you can all figure out which one I picked! Apparently Amway is much more than a home wrecking, financially devastating program; thanks to the Internet, Amway is now considered legally a cult! Neat, eh? I sorted through pages and pages of arguments, one for – two against, and so on, and after some careful consideration, I figured out how to be successful with Amway (or any other program that is Not-Amway). For your viewing pleasure, I’ve diagrammed my plan very briefly:

That’s all there is to it! I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, really: all you need to do is come up with a bogus marketing scheme that is Not-Amway, then persuade the population of the free world to join in your dream. We already know that the world is full of suckers, so now you can just sit back and watch as the dollars roll in…

Feel free to use the detailed plan I’ve laid out for you here to make it big and live out your wildest dreams! I’d carry out this plan myself, of course, except that I’ll be busy for the next two weeks down in Jamaica, doing research, that is. Just doing a little research for my next column about, uh, funny things that happen in Jamaica. Come to think of it, better make it three – I could be on to something here!