“Religiosity” is complex; Someone’s religion can be packed with many different components: some admirable, some banal, some sloppy, some slimy and some deplorable. Religious folks who sell their wares have a ‘slimy’ component. But religion does not have a monopoly on that slimy selling trait.
I have already confessed my slimy religious proselytizing days. Today I will confess my similar embarrassing sales activities on the secular level known variously as: multi-level marketing (MLM), pyramid schemes or network marketing.
I have tried multi-level marketing an unbelievable three times in my life: Twice in my 30’s, first with a ‘anti-aging’ skin product line (NuSkin) and later with a ‘tonifying/detoxing’ herbal-nutritional product (I forgot the name) and once in my 40s with a fiber product (BioLife).
Each time, I was introduced to the products by charismatic people who I trusted and liked. And each of my attempts at quick riches met with short-lived failure. Here are a few reasons why I may have failed:
- I just could not bring myself to convince others of the value of my product.
- I did not totally believe in the product myself
- I realized that I was selling for my own benefit, not for the customer, though that is how I presented the scheme
- I lacked a good sales personality
Perhaps all of these played a roll — who knows. But in each, I only lasted a few months before abandoning my big dreams and failed rationalizations. I hope all the friends and acquaintances I tried to sell have forgotten my foolishness or at least forgiven me! :-)
Fun questions for readers:
- Argh, this post has brought back nauseating, guilty memories. Please assuage my conscience: tell me your attempts at multi-level marketing.
- Are the religious parallels clear? Have I convinced you that proselytizing is deeper than just religion?
- Do you think that former religious folks are more prone to this trait than natural life-long atheists?
My related posts:
- Your Modular God: see how “God” gets packed with similar things that non-religious folks use too.
- My Confessions: other embarrassing adventures.