Forced Optimism: MLMs Ride Against Christianity
Hello and welcome back! i just crossed this multilevel marketing (MLM) industry website today. And I have to laugh because it has one of the most powerful overlaps with Christianity that I have ever seen. I thought you would have fun too. So today, take advantage of the forced optimism of MLMs as their industry declines!
(Today is a short overflow post, so Disqus doesn’t cause any problems for commenters. Overflow posts are always Wonderland off topic.)
The Venn Diagram of MLM and Christianity gets a new entry.
Some time ago I created this venn diagram. It serves as a handy list of traits that MLMs share with Christianity. Here is the updated version:
As you can see in the right column, I had to add a lot to it. Seriously, there is hardly any light shining between MLMs and Christianity, they are so close to each other!
And now we have another entry for our list of overlapping traits:
Huge optimism in the midst of the decline.
MLMs are really hurting.
Over the past couple of years, I have come across many stories online about the declining popularity of MLMs.
In search of the alpha might be one of the best MLM decline tracking sites. Their post from last December offers a gold mine of information. There we see that “direct selling” has slowly declined as a percentage of all retail sales in the United States.
Direct selling is an umbrella term, while the MLM model fits into this category. This means selling directly to consumers rather than through a store. According to Fundera, 94.2% of Direct Sales Association (DSA) members were MLM participants (at least in 2009).
For its part, multi-level marketing In itself means that participants register new recruits under themselves, while all recruits search for their own recruits in the same way. Each participant earns a commission on the sales of their recruits, as well as commissions on the actual products they buy and sell. There are therefore several levels in the strangely pyramidal activity of MLMs. Lucky participants near the top of this structure benefit the most, as they usually have recruits and recruits that number in the thousands at least.
In 1992, MLM sales were languishing around 1% of all retail sales. In 2002, MLMs peaked at around 1.24% of all retail sales (not counting cars). But in 2019, they made up 0.84% of all sales.
In 2020, approximately 6.2 million Americans were involved in “direct selling.” But that number is decreasing with each new generation, especially as the anti-MLM community has made it known extremely predatory nature MLMs. One of these sites, the Talented Ladies Club, details MLM Decline Here. In this article, they note that over the past 3 years, MLM participants have experienced a 15% drop in sales – while even popular MLMs have declined even more.
MLMs Should See A “New Opportunity” Here!
So I really enjoyed seeing these messages from Social Selling News. “Social selling” is another understatement for MLMs, such as “network marketing” and “direct sales”. Put that euphemism on the same shelf as all those Christians claiming that they are now “disciples of Jesus” rather than “Christians”.
All their anti-MLM tag is fun to read, no matter how short. But the real gold of comedy comes from its “Editor’s Notes” section. This is where I found this opinion post of December 1, 2020:
PROLONGED ADVERSITY CREATES NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Hoboy. I showed the message to Mr. Captain: “Does this sound like someone we know?” “
Because he never has!
This is the usual blah we see from authoritarian Christians panicking over their continued decline in membership and cultural power. Swap a few words, and he might show up on Christianity today as is. For example, consider this first paragraph from the MLM site:
As is generally the case with adversity, especially prolonged adversity, new opportunities present themselves. Some of the situations we could not have foreseen [sic] around the same time last year have in fact created positive results for many channel businesses, including increased sales and listings. [. . .]
But we all learn to adapt and find our way. The sun always rises in the morning and sets in the evening, and will continue to do so. [Source]
Indeed, she points out some recent features that her site has covered. In particular, she praises how MLM AdvoCare has performed since its massive restructuring. See, in July 2019 AdvoCare stopped paying commissions for recruits and network purchases. (In October of that year, FTC fined AdvoCare hefty based on false tax returns from recruiters.) Instead, AdvoCare alone pay commissions for sales to external customers. Since almost all MLM sales consist of network purchases made by its own participants, this has drastically reduced the income of all of its participants.
But do not worry ! AdvoCare is doing very well, thank you! (The article is behind a paywall. Talented Ladies Club seen elsewhere the statements of its leaders and found them quite dishonest.)
Here is also Longaberger, the basket maker turned MLM! they do Great! Totally!
MLMs will Great in 2021 and 2022! For real!
Things Christians Love: To pretend there is massive opportunity amidst massive declines.
Christians speak the exact same way all the time. To consider this e-book 2019 by the Barna group, Revive evangelism:
While the statistics of a peaceful and declining Christian community are startling, the opportunity is now and the generation that can lead the charge is here with us. [p. 8]
Fertile Soil: Real opportunities remain for evangelism, but effective faith sharing today seems different from the past. [p. 17]
There is a unique opportunity for the American Church to return to its foundational identity during this time of transition. In the context of changing generations, we see signs of optimism. [. . .] Rightly seen, our unprecedented challenges can turn into untapped opportunities. [p. 19]
[T]here are important opportunities for sharing the gospel. . . [p. 42]
There are real opportunities for Christians who want to share the good news of Jesus. [p. 59]
In. 64, Barna even compares this “opportunity” to how a biome on Earth thrives after a natural disaster like a wildfire. Truly. It’s like Christianity, all of you!
This decline will turn into a huge success!
Someone earlier mentioned the sarcastic term for Slacktivist “the problem of the masses”, And that indeed sounds like what MLMs – and Christianity – are both facing right now.
Both groups depend on the marketing themselves with certain images and ideas. Their participants like to see themselves as part of Winner team. Guaranteed success. Work from home on your phone! You’re already on Facebook, why not get rich doing it? Don’t be like those morons with J (ust) -O (ver) -B (roke) s!
Get your money for nothing… and your chicks for free.
But now these two groups have a problem.
They don’t win.
People are leaving masses. CONDUCT, I tell you !
What we are seeing in both groups is simply the drastic desperation of buggy-whip makers as automobiles have become popular. Don’t leave now, success is just around the corner!
I always like to have new things to add to my diagrams, so I’m here for this party.
FOLLOWING : Another massive scandal of rape of Catholic children. See you tomorrow
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This is an overflow post. Spillover posts are still an OT wonderland. Enjoy!