The problem with the phrase “pyramid scheme”

By  | February 26, 2015 |  Comments | Filed under: DIY, Remodeling & Design, Feminism

I was joking that I once signed myself up for a pyramid scheme. I was embarrassed I had fallen prey to one of the many direct sales businesses my friends were doing. I kept it all a secret for an entire year, only “selling” the products to myself for the discount. I remember an episode of Married With Children centered around this concept and things ended badly for Peggy.

Then about a week ago I spilled Nyquil on the marble in my bathroom – the traffic cone orange colored kind of Nyquil my husband bought. I have to stop this story and blame him before I get a bunch of emails reminding me those chemicals will turn my family into zombies and we’re all going to granola hell.

Anyway, I panicked. I went through the five stages of grief as well as some peroxide and baking soda and that stain on the white marble still looked like the murder scene of a tangerine alien. I picked up my nifty “pyramid scheme” magic cloth and went to town. HOT DAMN. The magic cloth had worked again and what do we do with all our successes in life? I took to Facebook to brag. Sometimes cleaning feels like a victory.

I was suddenly embarrassed again as people asked me where they could get this magic towel. (Brief sales pitch: The fibers on the magic towel are so wee, they can pick up a protein. How big is a protein? Who knows. Is Nyquil made of protein? Maybe that’s why they say to feed a cold. You can buy the cloth for sixteen bucks from anyone selling Norwex. Search “EnviroCloth”).

Now, where were we?

I thought about my embarrassment and wondered why I had never felt that way when I sold advertising at a newspaper. I never felt ashamed to be part of a “pyramid” structure when I worked for a corporate real estate company when I first got out of college or when I was a recruiter at an agency that had a clear power dynamic of boss/managers/staff. Is that not also a pyramid? I sold cars for a living for several years and my manager made something off every sale I made and his boss made a cut off that.

Every company with a sales department is a pyramid and in their own way, schemes. So why do we think of direct sales businesses as over-priced “get rich quick schemes”? Is this just another way to belittle mothers who work? Work-at-home and direct sales opportunities are a way for women to be able to, pardon the buzzwords, have it all. With the obligations of childcare on our shoulders, having a part-time direct sales business is how women can “lean in” and make financial contributions to their families.

When men work from home we call that a job. It’s about time we start valuing the sweat and tears direct sales women offer the world as well. These are not “schemes”. This ain’t no Ponzi. These are sustainable business models with valuable products that cut out a few layers of marketing managers. There are real schemes out there, of course. Like, why does bleach cost like three cents to make and $4 to buy? Why are CEOs of American corporations paying themselves more than 296 times their lowest paid workers?

There’s something wrong in the world and it’s not moms working an honest job to put food on the table.

I’m not a direct sales lady myself, but I see ladies around me who have a lot to be proud of as they bust their ass to grow their businesses every day. Some of these women are making real careers. Let’s show some respect for people supporting their families through direct sales businesses.

The other thing I like about this type of work is sticking it to the man. (Not “men” – pipe down, mennists). Why should big corporations have all the middlemen and none of the grief? I joined a Facebook group of people with all different types of businesses whose purpose is to go to each other, buy from each other and keep our money in the pockets of our community as much as possible. Amen, dude.

So what are you selling? I want links in the comments where I can buy all the faboo stuff I need. LIKE CLOTHES. Is that a thing? Who can style me? I do not feel like going to a store when I have three kids on top of me. Just make me cute and send me the bill.

PSPSPSPPSSSS- If you want to be a part of this all-natural cleaning biz with me where we save money, save landfills and keep bleach off our kids’ skin, hit me up.


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