My name is Brooke and I am a Quixtar widow. No, my husband is not dead, but he might as well be, because if it is not from, by, for or about Quixtar, he is not interested. I am not exagerating. Every event must revolve around Quixtar, or we simply do not attend. Frankly, I am bored, and tired, and ready for life again, the way it used to be before Quixtar moved in and became my husband's mistress. I have been married to an otherwise wonderful man for 24 years. However, Kevin has been addicted to the lure of MLM pitches for years.
You will note that I will use words and acronyms like "pyramid", "MLM", "cult", etc. This is my blog, and it feels quite good to say, in the words of Napoleon Dynamite, "whatever I want." I have been sub-controlled by Quixtar for so many months that my freedom of expression has been squelched beyond belief. In my household, unless it pertains to "the Big Q", I am discouraged to voice any opinions, concerns, or statements. Until now. If you are uncomfortable with what you read here, there of plenty of pro-Quixtar blogs, so "go get it!" See that little X box at top right of this window? Click on. Oh, and to set precedence now, I will not comment or respond to any Quixtar IBO’s insistence that Quixtar is not an MLM (multi-level marketing) organization. Are levels involved? Do these levels illustrate a pyramid? Enough said. Read on...
For those of you who have never heard of Quixtar, enjoy this blissful ignorance while you can, because sooner or later, you will be approached. Even though they themselves will say, "this plan is not for everyone," if you refuse to sit and listen to "The Plan", or worse yet (gasp!) insist that it is indeed not for you after you do listen to it, get ready. You may think your friend/presenter is truly possessed, according to the arrogant, defensive response this refusal to sign up will yield. "Well, okay, if you don't want to retire a millionaire in five years, that's your business. Hmphh!" Uh, yes, you may retire a millionaire; but the millionaire whose retirement you are padding is not you. It will be one of several cunningly talented, charismatic Big Q. Shots who travel the country with a slick gift of convincing John Q. that he really can become rich selling Amway (yes, Amway!), by spending every waking moment, every liquid penny, and every last friend he has. That's right, the motivators very effectively coach on how to lure virtually every unsuspecting Joe Blow into viewing The Plan. After all, it's a numbers game. The IBO (oh that's right, they are impressively called "Independent Business Owners"...oooooh!) learns early on that the more times they show the plan, the greater the entrapment, er...recruitment number of new IBOs under them.
When this plan is presented with charm and finesse, it actually appears to be scientifically and logistically sound. Trouble is, human imperfections and natural character traits are not factored in. For example, a more realistic plan would demonstrate that a real person will get tired of spending the hundreds of dollars each month on the same items he can purchase at Sam's or WalMart ("Man, I could really use $200 of this to keep my electricity on this month"), and/or he or she may get tired of the constant recruiting to replace the wandering who have abandoned their own financial commitments, and instead decide to spend time with loved ones or on the hobbies they miss. This is the irony. The big pay-day never comes for over 90%; yet they are working nearly every waking moment for months, or even years, so they do not have to work so hard. Then when it is time to retire, one of the aforementioned setbacks occur, and they never make it. In fact, they have even taken a step back, because many have depleted savings, compromised friendships and sacrificed "real" jobs, as they get caught up in the promise of the big payoff.
Kevin tried several MLMs, going full circle from Amway in the 80's, to the more contemporarily monikered "Quixtar", which I know is just "Internet Amway". Oh, and there were several in between, all sucking our family dry of resources, including exorbitant time and money. We have been late on mortgage payments, suffered NSF bank fees, been unable to take decent vacations or afford new clothes, and it was always in conjunction with his current MLM.
Two years ago, after a particularly miserable year-long period contolled by yet another pyramid org -- think "long distance services" and it may come to mind -- I was just about ready to jump ship when Kevin did an about-face. He had blown through a lot of money to recruit ("if I pay their way in, they'll eventually make us rich!") and we were sinking fast. He was gone every single night of the week; he spent no time coaching our teenage son in football anymore, even though he himself was a celebrated college jock who was certainly capable; and our sex life was down the tubes. He had virtually no interest in his real job and his commissions were just about non-existent. My salary alone was just not enough to get us by, because we depend on two to keep up the lifestyle which he insists is "nothing compared to what Quixtar will afford us!" Like so many others, when Kevin becomes a willing victim, under the control of one of these marketing cults, he shuts out everything else in his life, including an actual income-producing career! But just as I was about to crash, Kevin seemed to employ some good common sense and insisted that he was done with these ridiculous layered orgs that promise riches and glory. He said he then realized that, by calculating the money and time he had spent and formulating that along with what it had detracted from his previous income, that these MLM orgs were robbing us blind! Voila! All by his little self; he figures this out. Not to mention that everyone in our church and neighborhood clubhouse functions practically ran when they saw him coming; that finally got to him. He said he realized how ridiculous it all was, and said if I could forgive him and start fresh, that he vowed to never-ever embark on a pyramid journey again.
For two years, together we labored to catch up and get ahead. We even enjoyed a fabulous vacation in Hawaii last year. Our son started letting down his guard again and bonded with his dad, Kevin got promoted to Sales Manager at work, with a guarantee of $90,000 plus commission, so I was able to go part-time to spend more time at home. Life was good. Then it happened.
An old "friend" called and wanted to take Kevin out to lunch. Kevin said that when they sat down, "John" said, "Friend, while I was waiting for you I couldn't help but notice the stress in your office. I hate that you still have to work for 'the man', under that ol' thumb...putting someone else's kids through college. I really care about you, so I'd like to show you a plan that will enable you to enjoy the freedom that I have. I get up when I like, I go where I like, I do what I like. And after I continue to work hard at this for the next couple of years, I will be a millionaire. Sound good?"
And so it began. Kevin came home so excited I thought we'd won the lottery. He swung me around screaming "we're gonna be rich!" and "you can quit your job completely now!" Yada, yada, yada. Forget the promise he had made. Yes, I tried reason. Nothing worked then, and nothing works now...nearly a year later. As other widows and widowers can attest, if we even attempt to reason with them, our beloved obsessed mates become irrational and defensive. Kevin would scream at me, "YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW 'THE PLAN' WORKS SO YOU CANNOT COMMENT ON IT! DO YOU JUST NOT WANT TO BE RICH?"
So I patiently viewed "The Plan." Not impressed. First of all, why in the world was he getting so excited about a plan that at most, if he is very productive by working every waking moment, net him a couple of grand per month? He brought in (notice I use past tense here) well over a hundred grand at his real job. "But we will be millionaires with this plan, Honey, I promise! Trust me" I even tried calculating what it would require financing the people under him as he does, our money spent, etc., and even though it was on paper, he would still not budge.
But this is not the worst part. Quixtar is an outfit that strongly preaches spousal commitment and total submission, and surrounding oneself primarily with other Big Q members, unless of course, you are recruiting. Spouses are expected to commit and follow…no exceptions. I tried this, so that I could truly understand The Plan. My first meeting was a huge conference, filled to the rafters with overzealous IBOs. The first thing that struck me was that even though these were independent "business owners", the majority of them dressed in almost shabby clothing, like cheap fabric suits with low quality neckties for the men; dated hair and makeup and unstylish clothes for the women. And the parking lot was filled with very old cars. Not a good sign for a millionaires' conference.
They had come from all over the country. As we began, curiously, hundreds began to pull out the same staples from their bags; the nasty tasting energy drinks and protein bars that they push on everyone else. ("Mmmm; these are great...really!") When you are paying $300 a month for this crap, you'd better learn to like it! Then the real "fun" began. Every time a new speaker approached the podium, I thought either Brad Pitt or Jesus had arrived, according to the screams. One after another, they preached and preached how the plan had made them independent and wealthy; how everyone in the auditorium could do it if they just wanted it badly enough! Thunderous applause and screaming continued. Of course, the lobby was filled with marketing collateral for sale at a hefty price, and each speaker's address included plugs that suggested that no one would be successful without a stockpile of these items.
Of course, Kevin was shocked when I did not do a 180 degree turnaround after this. I tried; I really did. I finally said, "Show me the money." He said, "You just saw it! All those speakers are millionaires! You are unbelievable." I agreed that yes, those speakers are millionaires, thanks to tens of thousands of subservient little peons like us, but show me any normal recruit that is making even $30,000 a year, and I will eat my words. He has yet to do that. He insisted that I give it time and believe in her husband like all the little cult wives do, so we struck a bargain. We would give it one year. I would support him and "keep the home fires burning", while he works "his business." So far, after 11 months, the most he has made in one month is $37. Yep...$37. Oh, but also factor in the $300 a month we spend for the pathetic products, the three or four hundred a month on books, etc., the four or five hundred a month we spend on socializing to recruit, and get this...the over $2000 per month he loses in real job commissions while he is building this business. You can add it up, but basically, since we are losing over $36,000(!) per year, I am having to go back to work fulltime because of Quixtar. And he still thinks we will be millionaires.
My favorite meeting was a "church meeting", when the Big Guy (L.W.) "preached" and held an altar call to lead the lost to Christ. I am a born again Christian and honestly, he almost impressed me with this one. I love to see lost s0uls come to know Christ. But when he addressed the OVER 1000 newly "saved" members with something like, "Now that you are saved, first off, find a good Church, and more importantly, use this salvation for Quixtar." Huh?
Mind you, I have not expressed my despair, at least not in the depth I have shared here, with Kevin. I did agree to our deal, and it has not been quite one year. Just last night, he attended the meeting that gets him all fired up and high-fiving his Q-brothers and sisters. Afterwards, I asked him how it went, while I rubbed his back. Still losing much more than we are making, though. I have supported Kevin's Quixtar Quest. I have smiled, entertained, sat sweetly by as he showed The Plan to poor, defenseless friends. But I have also watched my back account dwindle, my friends leave me, and my happiness wane. They say the plan is not for everyone, right? Well, they are right about something; it is not for me. So in four weeks, Kevin will receive the anniversary present he obviously wants: a separation. Quixtar, you win.
I have mixed emotions. I am already aching for the love I will walk away from. But honestly, I have not felt that for a very long time. I admire the wives who seem to be ecstatic about this plan and I wish you well. On a positive note, I look forward to making a new life that does not involve the Big Q. After a long grieving period, perhaps someday I will find love, or at least "like alot" again. I am also looking forward to saving my money, and even having some to spend on my son and me...perhaps we'll splurge with what we were spending on Quixtar and go on a cruise. Imagine what kind of things Kevin and I could have done with that $36,000 we spent on Quixtar this past year? I would love to hear from any other QW's! Please have a blessed day!