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I just finished this. I already knew most of this story so it wasn't new information for me. Anyone else watch this? Did you like it? 

The interviews with the founders were super cringe-y. Ugg...they talk about "female empowerment" while encouraging doing anything to please your husband. 

I've never been part of an MLM but having been part of a conservative church, I've been to plenty of parties. It always struck me as sad because I knew these women never made any money at this. I wanted to tell some of them to just get a job if they wanted to make actual money. I know that some people are trapped into this because they can't afford childcare so working outside of the home is impossible. 

It makes me angry that women are scammed like this. 

I've known women that go from one MLM to another hoping that the next one will be different. 

I've been guilted into buying things from friends/acquaintances. 

I remember the LulaRoe era. I think it was 2016/2017 when LulaRoe was everywhere. 

This is a substack from Jill Filipovic, a reporter who is interviewed for the documentary. 

Quote

The documentary is an impressive and sprawling look at LuLaRoe’s rise and fall — the false promise of female empowerment it sold, and the lives it destroyed. To me, though, the most interesting part of the LuLaRoe story, and the story of so many MLMs, is the place where American capitalist and consumerist aspiration crashes into our stubborn enforcement of traditional gender roles: how we still fetishize full-time motherhood and consider it the end-all be-all of female ambition, while also living in a nation obsessed with buying, selling, entrepreneurship, and the myth of the self-made (wo)man. 

Caught With Their Pants Down

Unfortunately the documentary did not discuss how these cheap leggings were made. Who made them and where and under what kind of working conditions. 

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This documentary triggered me on so many levels.  It is so very Mormon---there were very frequent quotes from teachings of the church scattered throughout that likely went over a lot of non-Mormon audience members.

Other things that jumped out at me:

1. The company was selling a sense of community and belonging to a lot of lonely women, in addition to hope (because of tightened single family income circumstances) more than it was selling leggings.  The structure of how $$$$$$$ flowed showed that with the pyramid up-line compensation structure. The true product off of which the 1% earned their money was a form of exploitation.

2. The relationship dynamic between the Stidhams was so bad.  I really hated all of the passive aggressive sniping DeAnne did while feeding her husband's ego through supposed submissiveness and fawning. The fact that her mother taught this actively through a book she wrote just makes me gag.  Add to that the patriarchal structures that carryover from the Mormon church and...ugh.  There's a strong flavor of learned dependency there (Husbands should provide is part of the Proclamation of the Family--here where a woman is providing, she should bring her husband in so that he is also providing.....but whereas the woman has no financial stability of her own in the church, here the couple in the MLM becomes dependent on LuLaRoe.)

3. At so many points along the way, if they had just let go of the nepotism, the company would have been better for it. Why in the world did they leave leggings in a parking lot rather than get additional warehouse space? Like, there are so many different flavors of bad corporate decision making that it's laughable.

4. In addition to the Little Marijuana Farm that Wasn't, the documentary never mentioned that it was DeAnne's sister that sewed the first rounds of miniskirts, and that when she was shut out, she went on to go form her own company.

5. They haven't talked about how prevalent this was primarily in Mormon communities and churches. At one point in 2015 or 2016 I probably knew 20 sellers of LuLaRoe. I know some of the grinding poverty that some of those women "invested" from and lots of them having legging stashes that they still have and are pulling from into their personal wardrobes. Many of those women married a year or two into college and had kids right away; they really had no understanding that all of the risk was on them (buying the inventory outright, no choice of print, no direct communication as to quality and inventory availability issues) and none of them would hear me out when I tried to warn them.  DoTerra, Young Living, Younique, Jamberry, Stampin' Up, Miche Bags.....there are SO many Utah based MLMs. Everyone had a side hustle, and it contributed to a lack of community at church because no one ever knew what relationships were genuine and who was just being friendly because they wanted to add to their network.

 

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I haven't seen it, but I've lived in two overlapping circles where MLM is everything.  Military spouses use it as a way to be "working" while moving around a lot and living with a small income in the early years (there's a lot of LLRoe being bought and sold).  Homeschool moms use it as a way to contribute while they're not working - but theirs are more in the vein of Usborne, oils, and CC.

After reading the Poonique story years ago I realized a lot of what I felt was wrong was summed up right there. 

Like @prairiewindmomma mentioned, it's hard on relationships.  There's never a real connection - people are friendly because they want something from you, not because they want to know you.  Everyone in their lives are now just potential customers.

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I would love to read a deep exploration of the relationship between MLMs and conservative Christianity. If you've been a member of a conservative Christian religion, you know there's a connection. 

This documentary touched on it, e.g. full time compensation for part time work. 

But I think there's more to it. There's the prosperity gospel thing that always seems to lurking underneath. Bad things don't happen to people who do religion the right way. You can't get COVID at church. You can't get COVID from the Eucharist. It's a variation of the same thing. 

I cringed at the Stidhams claiming that they only had a "social media problem." Who hasn't heard that in conservative religious circles? Everything is blamed on social media. Well, maybe if there wasn't something to discuss on social media then there wouldn't be a problem? 

There's a kind of enforced positivity. I thought of that during the talk at one of their conventions about the victim pyramid (or whatever they called it). I was never in an MLM but I recognize that mentality from my life in conservative religious circles. Be happy all of the time. If you're not happy then there's something wrong with you. 

Keep your mouth shut and God forbid you voice any negative opinions on social media. 

Then there's also the lies you hear about the dangers of working outside of the home. I remember some guy (whose family is always involved in different MLMs) telling me that women who sent their kids to public schools and daycare just wanted the government to raise their kids. And the women in his family aren't going to let the government raise their kids so they move from one MLM to another, never making any real money. 

 

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What I find interesting is of the women I know in mlm some of them are so hard working, so creative, they would be successful in any income generating pursuits they got involved in. I don’t understand why they get sucked into the mlm system. 

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From the blog post shared above:

Women, LuLaRoe said, can have it all. They can be Boss Babes who are mothers first, empowered women who still understand that their husband is the one in charge (that was made explicit in the company’s training materials and by its owners).

🤮

I will have to watch the documentary!  Reading that blog post I could totally hear Aubrey Gordon (Maintenance Phase podcast) in my head saying all kinds of colorful words.  

I find it amazing that MLM's are still alive and well these days.  I have a FB feed full of people who have been jumping from company to company for over 20 years, looking for the right fit that will make them into millionaires.  So sad.

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The woman who wears the flannel shirt at the table was blunt about how criticism was handled:

1. It isn't true.

2. If it is true, it's your fault.

I see this dynamic repeated over and over. Someone raises an issue.  People chime in, "That's not my experience."  "Well, even if what you say did happen, I think you're just saying that because you just want to tear things down/you're overly sensitive/you don't try hard enough.  You're ignoring all of the good things about xyz."

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10 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

The woman who wears the flannel shirt at the table was blunt about how criticism was handled:

1. It isn't true.

2. If it is true, it's your fault.

I see this dynamic repeated over and over. Someone raises an issue.  People chime in, "That's not my experience."  "Well, even if what you say did happen, I think you're just saying that because you just want to tear things down/you're overly sensitive/you don't try hard enough.  You're ignoring all of the good things about xyz."

Oh yeah, BTDT. 

I was going to type that this was my experience in every female dominated social circle but then realized that wasn't true. If it was actually run by women, it wasn't like this. This was my experience in female groups under men like church. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

 I've known women that go from one MLM to another hoping that the next one will be different. 

I've never understood this. I can see thinking that the first one was a bad company or a bad fit, let me try another one, but after you've done two or three?? 

My best guess is that the need for community, belonging, and a sense of work purpose overcomes all experience and evidence that it's not going to work out. 

54 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I would love to read a deep exploration of the relationship between MLMs and conservative Christianity. If you've been a member of a conservative Christian religion, you know there's a connection. 

 

Two theories spring to mind. One, some factions of conservative Christianity frown on 'outside' jobs but MLMs are fine. Two, every MLM I've observed has a very church-y vibe. The directors and owners are like the pastor; you have to have faith! Don't listen to the non-believers who are trying to tear you down. Lean not on your own understanding; we know how it works and we are telling you that the promised land is just ahead. They are accustomed to a certain level of cognitive dissonance, which makes them doubt their own observations and thoughts, and not accustomed to questioning leadership. 

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1 hour ago, katilac said:

I've never understood this. I can see thinking that the first one was a bad company or a bad fit, let me try another one, but after you've done two or three?? 

My best guess is that the need for community, belonging, and a sense of work purpose overcomes all experience and evidence that it's not going to work out. 

Two theories spring to mind. One, some factions of conservative Christianity frown on 'outside' jobs but MLMs are fine. Two, every MLM I've observed has a very church-y vibe. The directors and owners are like the pastor; you have to have faith! Don't listen to the non-believers who are trying to tear you down. Lean not on your own understanding; we know how it works and we are telling you that the promised land is just ahead. They are accustomed to a certain level of cognitive dissonance, which makes them doubt their own observations and thoughts, and not accustomed to questioning leadership. 

I agree. They can offer a type of female community that is appealing, and they do very much function church like. Actually, in a lot of ways, I think MLM's tend to be more cult like. There is an extreme level of emphasis on not questioning leadership, and judgmentalism towards those who leave.

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I have been watching Insta stories the past couple of days from a young mom who is super excited to be at a big Monat convention in Atlanta. She has struggled terribly financially this past couple of years (well, always really, but she is young, as is her husband). She has been on at least three Monat related trips this year, and clearly wants people to see travel as a reason to sell Monat. I keep thinking, "Wouldn't you rather have the cash than these trips?" They most recently had trouble finding an apartment because they could not come up with a significant deposit. I don't get it, but naivete seems to be part of the draw.

So much money that company poured into that convention and the attendees seem to be lapping it up.

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The weird thing to me about LLRoe was that people I know who usually are picky about their clothes were sort of into the leggings. And the one person I knew who sold it was very nonchalant about it. She was like, meh, I get bored, if I break even, that's fine. And I think she basically did. She also had another full time job. So when it was first getting big I was like, this sounds like an MLM, but maybe it's a less bad one, like Usborne books or something. 

And then the whole thing went belly up so fast and so many women got screwed and I was like, ooh, so, not a less bad one.

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2 minutes ago, GoodGrief3 said:

I have been watching Insta stories the past couple of days from a young mom who is super excited to be at a big Monat convention in Atlanta. She has struggled terribly financially this past couple of years (well, always really, but she is young, as is her husband). She has been on at least three Monat related trips this year, and clearly wants people to see travel as a reason to sell Monat. I keep thinking, "Wouldn't you rather have the cash than these trips?" They most recently had trouble finding an apartment because they could not come up with a significant deposit. I don't get it, but naivete seems to be part of the draw.

So much money that company poured into that convention and the attendees seem to be lapping it up.

Yes. I have seen this kind of thing too. I think the MLM deliberately seeks out and exploits those who have very very little financial savvy.

I know people who are food and shelter insecure trying to sell EO's and cure everything with them. Oy! It is so much money down the tube. I want to scream, "Take your kid with the ear infection to the free, hospital clinic and get a $5 antibiotic. Take the rest of the money and buy good food!" It really makes my head spin. Essential oils are the biggest cult/MLM around here, and the sheer number of people brainwashed by it is extraordinary to me.

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I know a woman who made a lot of money in an MLM. She and her husband do it together. I noticed that while her FB is full of posts about their business, I could never tell what they actually sold. I eventually was able to figure out that it was some kind of a juice. The fact that I couldn't discern what they actually sold shows that it's not actually about the product. Now they're with a different company because the people at the top of the pyramids move when a company starts to go belly up. 

Her FB is really gross. She'll post a picture of an expensive car and brag about they won it. Lots of God related posts too along with inspirational "Go girl!" posts. 

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I hadn't heard of this yet.  I'll watch it.  In skimming the article... I find one thing disingenuous about claims that the reason we don't have universal child care or preschool is that women wouldn't stay at home.  In countries in Europe (France, Scandinavian countries) I am given to believe (from people I know, not from official numbers) that the more opportunity there is for gender equality, the more women choose to stay home or only work part time, at least if their partner makes enough to support the family.  The childcare is a way to lift people out of poverty, not to trap women into working jobs they don't want.

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30 minutes ago, Katy said:

I hadn't heard of this yet.  I'll watch it.  In skimming the article... I find one thing disingenuous about claims that the reason we don't have universal child care or preschool is that women wouldn't stay at home.  In countries in Europe (France, Scandinavian countries) I am given to believe (from people I know, not from official numbers) that the more opportunity there is for gender equality, the more women choose to stay home or only work part time, at least if their partner makes enough to support the family.  The childcare is a way to lift people out of poverty, not to trap women into working jobs they don't want.

I don’t know that universal child care has ever been seriously proposed here EXCEPT tied to a job or in order to free up women to work (starting in WWII).  Ie it’s not really universal.  Rather, it’s universal for working women that is typically discussed, subsidized via tax advantaged salary deductions.  

Also, my understanding is that in France there are very specific norms of how to raise and treat children, and a cultural assumption that the daycares are an extension of home life.  Whereas here there is no agreed to norm, and the main thing I would hope for is that they don’t damage the parent/child relationship TOO much.  

Also, there is a different ethos in Europe in general, I think.  And that is, have a good, balanced life.  Work hard while you’re at work, and then leave in time for family dinner.  Go ahead and take those 5-6 weeks of vacation.  In that context, getting things done is difficult without a stay at home family member—stores and service shops close for lengthy lunches, for instance, making it almost impossible to get your car fixed without taking some days off from work to handle it, which is frowned upon.  Fresh cooking with fresh ingredients is prized, and that means shopping for food most days.  It’s a difficult place to be a two career family, because of the assumptions around leisure for everyone.

 

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Ugh. I don’t really understand how this stuff keeps going on and on. Different products but same old story. 
 

Now that kids we knew from homeschooling are aging into the young adult/newly married stage I have had several I have not had contact with in years reach out to me to try to sell stuff. So I guess there is always a new crop of naive young folks. My brother is 50 and I remember when he and his friends were all new college grads without jobs they started to get into Amway. They were all excited but realized very quickly that only one of them could do it because they all knew all the same people. So they didn’t get to the point of being invested in it. 

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18 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Also, there is a different ethos in Europe in general, I think.  And that is, have a good, balanced life.  Work hard while you’re at work, and then leave in time for family dinner.  Go ahead and take those 5-6 weeks of vacation.  In that context, getting things done is difficult without a stay at home family member—stores and service shops close for lengthy lunches, for instance, making it almost impossible to get your car fixed without taking some days off from work to handle it, which is frowned upon.  Fresh cooking with fresh ingredients is prized, and that means shopping for food most days.  It’s a difficult place to be a two career family, because of the assumptions around leisure for everyone.

It makes no sense to speak about "Europe" as if it were a homogenous place. There are many different countries and cultures.
In Germany, 76% of women age 20-64 are employed. 47% of them part time. On average, women work 30 hours/week. Lengthy lunch breaks of stores etc are long a thing of the past. Granted, there's no Sunday shopping which is seriously annoying.

I have never heard of someone having to take "days off from work" to get their car fixed. (As an aside, since there is good public transportation, you'd be much less screwed with a car in the shop than here in the Midwest of the US where you will have to miss work since there is no way to get anywhere without a car)

Edited by regentrude
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20 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I don’t know that universal child care has ever been seriously proposed here EXCEPT tied to a job or in order to free up women to work (starting in WWII).  Ie it’s not really universal.  Rather, it’s universal for working women that is typically discussed, subsidized via tax advantaged salary deductions.  

Also, my understanding is that in France there are very specific norms of how to raise and treat children, and a cultural assumption that the daycares are an extension of home life.  Whereas here there is no agreed to norm, and the main thing I would hope for is that they don’t damage the parent/child relationship TOO much.  

Also, there is a different ethos in Europe in general, I think.  And that is, have a good, balanced life.  Work hard while you’re at work, and then leave in time for family dinner.  Go ahead and take those 5-6 weeks of vacation.  In that context, getting things done is difficult without a stay at home family member—stores and service shops close for lengthy lunches, for instance, making it almost impossible to get your car fixed without taking some days off from work to handle it, which is frowned upon.  Fresh cooking with fresh ingredients is prized, and that means shopping for food most days.  It’s a difficult place to be a two career family, because of the assumptions around leisure for everyone.

 

My sister lives in France. Actually because business is pro family, most workplaces are very flexible so you can do some of your errands during the work day. When we were there, I was just bowled over by how family oriented the work culture was. Employees share scheduling, sub for one another, stagger start and leave times, etc. in order to make it work. Most homes are dual full time income due to the high cost of housing, but the entire system is extremely supportive from day care that functions very much as an extension of home life (it takes a village mentality) to school to community activities. Dad involvement was very high. I saw just way more dads out with little ones in strollers, and taking kids to soccer than I have ever seen here. Definitely more equal. We saw this in Iceland as well. 

In America, there really is no larger sense of giving a rip about anyone but self. We have seen that now for 18 months. And wealthy capitalists like Ford, Carnergie, Rockefellers etc..set out to create an anti-family, pro-workaholic culture. They were successful too.

Edited by Faith-manor
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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I don’t know that universal child care has ever been seriously proposed here EXCEPT tied to a job or in order to free up women to work (starting in WWII).  Ie it’s not really universal.  Rather, it’s universal for working women that is typically discussed, subsidized via tax advantaged salary deductions. 

 

I'm under the impression that under one of the proposed budget or infrastructure bills is permanent funding for universal 3 & 4PreK in elementary schools with federal funding for training so the pre-k teachers will receive the same good pay and state benefits as elementary teachers.  I didn't look it up, simply skimmed the headlines in WaPo, so I may have details wrong,  but it has most definitely been proposed. And most schools now have reduced cost before & after day care, so if you get to start preschool on the day you turn 3, that's a huge help for many families.

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

I'm under the impression that under one of the proposed budget or infrastructure bills is permanent funding for universal 3 & 4PreK in elementary schools with federal funding for training so the pre-k teachers will receive the same good pay and state benefits as elementary teachers.  I didn't look it up, simply skimmed the headlines in WaPo, so I may have details wrong,  but it has most definitely been proposed. And most schools now have reduced cost before & after day care, so if you get to start preschool on the day you turn 3, that's a huge help for many families.

See, and I think that this should not be tied to employment and the use of an inevitably quite varied in quality public education system.

I’d rather see that money go to families in the form of larger child tax credits that they could use as they saw fit.

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I spent 45 years in Evangelical Baptist churches in a big city in the southwest.  About 10ish years ago in my church of about 200-250 (including kids) there were 3, count them 3, women selling Pampered Chef at the same time inviting people to parties.  The most basic understanding of economics and a little common sense would tell you that's an over- saturated market in itself, not to mention it's in competition with many local and online retail options for kitchen gadgets.  There was also a Cookie Lee seller, a Usborn Books seller, a 31 purse seller, and a couple of others that I can't think of at the moment.

Part of it is wanting something for nothing.  My husband had been looking into starting his own business (software programmer/consultant) around that time and no matter what business you look into, the truth is, if you really are your own boss, you work more hours and take on significant risk.  You cannot play the Boss Babe card when you're an at home sales person for another company. Successful business ownership can't be done part time, at parties, with friends and family as clients/customers.

Part of it is a lack of critical thinking.  You aren't focusing on your children while working.  So if you're not going to be attending to the children, you aren't in any practical sense doing anything different than someone working outside the home is doing, other than eliminating commute time, which has it's benefits, but has to be weighed against the benefits of stable income and avoiding risk at a regular part time job.  In the end, you have to decide if trading off with dad's work schedule, a loving grandparent's schedule,  or working while kids sleep and sleeping while kids are at school is more beneficial if you truly want to avoid using non-parental childcare.  (I count loving grandparent care as a form of parental childcare because humanity had used multi-generational living as a form of childcare all over the world forever.) 

Part of it is conformity culture/personality.  You're not going to see a lot of questioning types and rugged individualists in those crowds. I'm not saying there aren't any people like that there, but it's not the norm. Conformity personality is very vulnerable to this kind of thing if they're in a more monolithic subculture. And I can attest to the negative reactions people get if you out yourself as a questioner, so you have to be very comfortable with some people responding with distance or worse. I got distance, but I'm not a joiner by nature, so it didn't bother me.

Part of it is a lack of biblical Christian community in many of those churches. People don't develop closer relationships based on shared faith that extends outside of church activities, and American culture is bad at community in general, so there's exploitation of women seeking that through MLM sales tactics. Needy people are less likely to have their guard up when told those tactics are appropriate.

And, as stated upthread, part of it is the prosperity gospel heresy that has plagued much of the American Evangelical (and probably other) churches. No, naming it and claiming it isn't biblical.  No, prosperity isn't a reward for God's special favor and poverty isn't a sign of His disfavor. The Good Life isn't a life of consumption. Rain falls on both the righteous and the wicked.

I was often tempted to hand people who sent me invitations and sales pitches that included sympathy for raising children a copy of Dave Ramsay's Total Money Makeover (I think his budgeting makes sense at a certain income-cost of living level before inflation and the housing crisis skyrocketed prices) because the demographic I was in was prone to a typical suburban debt lifestyle. I'd been there myself. I know overspending isn't always the problem, but it was a very common problem there.

Even the pastor mentioned needing to do some sermons on living within your means and not doing things like having huge expensive houses, taking expensive vacations, having designer wardrobes you paid retail for, buying brand new expensive cars, eating out multiple times a week, having expensive toys and hobbies, paying private school tuition, and such when your income doesn't support that because of all the couples coming in for counseling issues related to money. It was a common problem there.  Later many did Crown Financial or Dave Ramsay approaches and things got better for them. They didn't need more income, they needed a more humble lifestyle and more self-discipline.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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4 hours ago, regentrude said:

It makes no sense to speak about "Europe" as if it were a homogenous place. There are many different countries and cultures.
In Germany, 76% of women age 20-64 are employed. 47% of them part time. On average, women work 30 hours/week. Lengthy lunch breaks of stores etc are long a thing of the past. Granted, there's no Sunday shopping which is seriously annoying.

I have never heard of someone having to take "days off from work" to get their car fixed. (As an aside, since there is good public transportation, you'd be much less screwed with a car in the shop than here in the Midwest of the US where you will have to miss work since there is no way to get anywhere without a car)

Super funny how this bothers you in my post but not in the one it answered, LOL.

It’s quite possible that my knowledge of (formerly West) Germany is a bit dated.  But I definitely heard engineering colleagues there saying that if their wife had not been willing to bring the baby along to the auto repair shop, they would have had to take time off from work to get their cars repaired, and it was the case at that particular big company that onesie twosie days off were kind of unusual.  Most people planned vacation trips that were at least 1-2 weeks long.

One couple, both engineers, no kids, came to the US on assignment where I was working.  They could have both worked but they decided that it was really important to have fresh German bread every day, so the wife stayed home to make it.  It’s a different ethos for sure.  

Also, either the law or the union regs were different for men than for women at this particular place.  Generally manufacturing operators on the production line changed shift every week or two (I forget which), which I thought must have been quite grueling, but it did give everyone exposure to the engineering workforce that worked days.  However, while men could work any of the three shifts, women could not be made to work graveyard shift, so scheduling the rotations was tricky with men rotating among all three shifts and women only rotating between the day and swing shifts.  This rule was considered protective of women by those who told me about it.  It was fascinating.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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57 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

See, and I think that this should not be tied to employment and the use of an inevitably quite varied in quality public education system.

I’d rather see that money go to families in the form of larger child tax credits that they could use as they saw fit.

I'd rather see it go to schools because tax credits simply lead to inflation.

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21 minutes ago, Katy said:

I'd rather see it go to schools because tax credits simply lead to inflation.

A lot of school spending leads to waste.

I agree that tax credits can lead to inflation, but I also think that it is in the general best interest of society to financially support the raising of children, and that if the tax credits are tied to families with minor children it is a good move for society and far less likely to contribute heavily to inflation as, say, a GBI.

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Thank you for this. I knew LulaRoe was a MLM company and have bought their clothing (used!) in the past, but I had no idea about it beyond that. Will definitely be watching this. Didn't read other comments to avoid spoilers.

Again, thanks. Get my best info on almost every kind of topic here. 🙂 

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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

See, and I think that this should not be tied to employment and the use of an inevitably quite varied in quality public education system.

I’d rather see that money go to families in the form of larger child tax credits that they could use as they saw fit.

I don't think it's tied to employment? But I agree that it's frustrating that more and earlier school is seen as the only option. 

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17 minutes ago, katilac said:

I don't think it's tied to employment? But I agree that it's frustrating that more and earlier school is seen as the only option. 

Well, and what is REALLY frustrating is the incredibly spotty school quality in the public system.

Most teachers I know are very sincere about wanting to do a great job for their students but somehow that does not add up to consistently high quality educational offerings.  I’m not sure of all the reasons why this is so, but it does make me very leery of more and earlier school being seen as obviously helpful, as well as entrusting it to the same system that takes good people and turns out very inconsistent results, with them feeling like their hands are tied.

If families with children are who we are trying to help, let’s do that directly.  Or are more teaching jobs the real goal here?

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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3 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

 If families with children are who we are trying to help, let’s do that directly.  Or are more teaching jobs the real goal here?

Well, we already have a teaching shortage, so let's hope not. That would be a very short-sighted goal. 

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7 hours ago, GoodGrief3 said:

I have been watching Insta stories the past couple of days from a young mom who is super excited to be at a big Monat convention in Atlanta. She has struggled terribly financially this past couple of years (well, always really, but she is young, as is her husband). She has been on at least three Monat related trips this year, and clearly wants people to see travel as a reason to sell Monat. I keep thinking, "Wouldn't you rather have the cash than these trips?" They most recently had trouble finding an apartment because they could not come up with a significant deposit. I don't get it, but naivete seems to be part of the draw.

So much money that company poured into that convention and the attendees seem to be lapping it up.

I have a friend who is big into this too.  She is thrilled how her side business has turned profitable enough that she could quite her job as a nurse and stay home with her kids.  She's also shared how much she loves the company and how great they are because she earns so many "free" things.  She has had several trips paid for.  But in my head I keep thinking, those trips aren't "free", the customer is paying a significant markup to cover the costs of your "free" trips.  And I'm not willing to spend that kind of money no matter how great the product is so that you can "help" me order a product and have trips paid for because of the high markup.  I'm happy my friend is doing well but I don't have that kind of surplus money to support that business model. 

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27 minutes ago, katilac said:

Well, we already have a teaching shortage, so let's hope not. That would be a very short-sighted goal. 

I’m pretty sure that out here in CA the state teachers’ union is a major lobbyist for this kind of provision, at least a state one (as opposed to a federal one.)

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I have "supported" a few friends MLM lives a bit. But I always feel smarmy about it. 

I am currently wearing a necklace from one of the jewelry ones from a long time ago.  The only time I attempted to "host" a party and only ONE person showed up... sad for me (damn i have no friends!) and for the selling lady. 

I bought a couple pairs of LLR Disney leggings at a craft show once lol I think I have three or four in my drawers. 

I dont feel like my exposure to the scrapbook ones have been so bad. Most I know do have regular customers and do some kind of rotation crop thing/stamp club. I was involved in stamp.clubs for several years. My commitment was cheaper than a kit club and the products were good and it gave me a social event with other scrappers every month. All seemed okay. The SU and CTMH reps I know mostly.just do it for the product - not intending it to be a significant business. 

My stylist is a Monat lady. I dont really use hair product and their shampoo is too scented for my sensitivity so she has never really tried to sell me anything. She's  so sweet, I hope she hasn't done anything too wild for it. 

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I thought Monat was a fancy handbag company like Hermes, so I’ve been confused this whole time.  Not confused enough to Google until now, when I figured out the fancy one is Moynat.  And now I wonder why Moynat hasn’t sued for IP infringement, because I bet I’m not the only person who’s been confused. I think they’re pronounced the same. OTOH, the target demographics probably aren’t similar.

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Agree with so much posted above.

Quick caveat: I did buy some LLR leggings and clothes when I was a larger size. The dresses were quite comfy, flattering, and attractive. I always received compliments when I wore them. The leggings were great to wear to the gym. I think that some of the appeal to LLR was the size issue. They made clothes that larger women could feel comfortable and attractive in. We are talking 2016-2017. That was eons ago in terms of fashion and body positivity, especially for middle America, which also tends to run much larger than wealthy, elite America. 

Back to MLMs in general: I actually blame some of the anti-science bs we are facing today re the Covid vaccine on the cult of essential oil MLMs and how they've managed to get their tentacles into so many women across the country. They literally have women believing that they are better off dousing their homes with Thieves or Grapeseed Extract, and defusing some oils, vs getting their families vaccinated. Women make the purchasing decisions in homes; we also make the healthcare decisions. The anti-science, "crunchy" (aka granola) mom's movement gained a lot of steam because of these MLMs. (Another caveat: I was very crunchy with my first child because I got sucked in for awhile too. As a lawyer, I didn't have the best science background. https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/in-focus/2019/12/09/why-one-mother-was-hesitant-to-vaccinate-her-child Eventually, I came to understand more about vaccines and now am a vaccine advocate and member of the organization Vaccinate California, which is why I was contacted for this interview. Parenthetically, interviews like the one I gave here have pissed off many people in our local homeschooling community.)

Anyway, LLR is a cautionary tale, but not unlike any other MLM out there today. Sadly.  

Edited by SeaConquest
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8 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

Agree with so much posted above.

Quick caveat: I did buy some LLR leggings and clothes when I was a larger size. The dresses were quite comfy, flattering, and attractive. I always received compliments when I wore them. The leggings were great to wear to the gym. I think that some of the appeal to LLR was the size issue. They made clothes that larger women could feel comfortable and attractive in. We are talking 2016-2017. That was eons ago in terms of fashion and body positivity, especially for middle America, which also tends to run much larger than wealthy, elite America. 

Back to MLMs in general: I actually blame some of the anti-science bs we are facing today re the Covid vaccine on the cult of essential oil MLMs and how they've managed to get their tentacles into so many women across the country. They literally have women believing that they are better off dousing their homes with Thieves or Grapeseed Extract, and defusing some oils, vs getting their families vaccinated. Women make the purchasing decisions in homes; we also make the healthcare decisions. The anti-science, "crunchy" (aka granola) mom's movement gained a lot of steam because of these MLMs. (Another caveat: I was very crunchy with my first child because I got sucked in for awhile too. As a lawyer, I didn't have the best science background. https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/in-focus/2019/12/09/why-one-mother-was-hesitant-to-vaccinate-her-child Eventually, I came to understand more about vaccines and now am a vaccine advocate and member of the organization Vaccinate California, which is why I was contacted for this interview. Parenthetically, interviews like the one I gave here have pissed off many people in our local homeschooling community.)

Anyway, LLR is a cautionary tale, but not unlike any other MLM out there today. Sadly.  

I listened to the Dream podcast awhile ago. It's excellent and I definitely recommend. 

IIRC they talked a little bit about the history of some of the big essential oil MLM companies. The founder of Young Living's baby died under mysterious circumstances. Then he had a clinic in Mexico where he claimed to "cure" cancer. Not a good guy at all. 

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21 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I would love to read a deep exploration of the relationship between MLMs and conservative Christianity. If you've been a member of a conservative Christian religion, you know there's a connection. 

This documentary touched on it, e.g. full time compensation for part time work. 

But I think there's more to it. There's the prosperity gospel thing that always seems to lurking underneath. Bad things don't happen to people who do religion the right way. You can't get COVID at church. You can't get COVID from the Eucharist. It's a variation of the same thing. 

I cringed at the Stidhams claiming that they only had a "social media problem." Who hasn't heard that in conservative religious circles? Everything is blamed on social media. Well, maybe if there wasn't something to discuss on social media then there wouldn't be a problem? 

There's a kind of enforced positivity. I thought of that during the talk at one of their conventions about the victim pyramid (or whatever they called it). I was never in an MLM but I recognize that mentality from my life in conservative religious circles. Be happy all of the time. If you're not happy then there's something wrong with you. 

Keep your mouth shut and God forbid you voice any negative opinions on social media. 

Then there's also the lies you hear about the dangers of working outside of the home. I remember some guy (whose family is always involved in different MLMs) telling me that women who sent their kids to public schools and daycare just wanted the government to raise their kids. And the women in his family aren't going to let the government raise their kids so they move from one MLM to another, never making any real money. 

 

I attend a conservative church and none of this is my experience at all! The only church member I've known who did a MLM was a Creative Memories consultant and she was fairly wealthy and did it for fun. All other MLM people were non-religious women from my kid's extracurricular activities. Social media problems? I'm not even sure what you mean by that because I haven't "heard that in conservative religious circles". Enforced positivity? Nope. My church members have some lively debates on social media! Maybe it's because I live in a university community where most of the women are highly educated, but many of the women work outside the home at some point. I frequently see these sweeping generalizations about conservative Christians on this board and I'm always wondering where the posters live because it isn't my experience at all.  

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I'm totally anti-MLM and there are SOOOOO many that circulate within the military spouse community. It's yet another reason why I hated the spouse groups so much and now avoid them like the plague. You never knew who was genuinely interested in you as a person and who was interested in you for your connections or lack thereof. Being guilted into buying Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and LLR all happened to me. It just makes me sad. Watching the miniseries reminded me of everything one Mary Kay lady said to me years ago. Blech.

Edited by Sneezyone
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18 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I know a woman who made a lot of money in an MLM. She and her husband do it together. I noticed that while her FB is full of posts about their business, I could never tell what they actually sold. I eventually was able to figure out that it was some kind of a juice. The fact that I couldn't discern what they actually sold shows that it's not actually about the product. Now they're with a different company because the people at the top of the pyramids move when a company starts to go belly up. 

Her FB is really gross. She'll post a picture of an expensive car and brag about they won it. Lots of God related posts too along with inspirational "Go girl!" posts. 

Ugh! I hate the fact that these MLM's spend a lot of time trying to convince people that warnings from friends and family are people just trying to pull them down. Of course the MLM is going to help you fulfill all your dreams and you just need to stay positive. Blech!

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1 hour ago, mom2scouts said:

I attend a conservative church and none of this is my experience at all! The only church member I've known who did a MLM was a Creative Memories consultant and she was fairly wealthy and did it for fun. All other MLM people were non-religious women from my kid's extracurricular activities. Social media problems? I'm not even sure what you mean by that because I haven't "heard that in conservative religious circles". Enforced positivity? Nope. My church members have some lively debates on social media! Maybe it's because I live in a university community where most of the women are highly educated, but many of the women work outside the home at some point. I frequently see these sweeping generalizations about conservative Christians on this board and I'm always wondering where the posters live because it isn't my experience at all.  

It’s possible you mean something different by “conservative Christian” than what the previous poster was talking about.  I have a friend who belonged to a church like the earlier description.  When her husband was laid off she took a job to support the family while he looked for another one.  They were both called before the church board and stripped of their leadership positions for “living in unrepentant sin” because she was working outside the home.  They eventually left and joined another church that is still fairly conservative but not in the same way their previous church was.  

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5 minutes ago, Danae said:

It’s possible you mean something different by “conservative Christian” than what the previous poster was talking about.  I have a friend who belonged to a church like the earlier description.  When her husband was laid off she took a job to support the family while he looked for another one.  They were both called before the church board and stripped of their leadership positions for “living in unrepentant sin” because she was working outside the home.  They eventually left and joined another church that is still fairly conservative but not in the same way their previous church was.  

Wow, even the woman described in Proverbs 31 would be in trouble in that church!

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2 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

I attend a conservative church and none of this is my experience at all! The only church member I've known who did a MLM was a Creative Memories consultant and she was fairly wealthy and did it for fun. All other MLM people were non-religious women from my kid's extracurricular activities. Social media problems? I'm not even sure what you mean by that because I haven't "heard that in conservative religious circles". Enforced positivity? Nope. My church members have some lively debates on social media! Maybe it's because I live in a university community where most of the women are highly educated, but many of the women work outside the home at some point. I frequently see these sweeping generalizations about conservative Christians on this board and I'm always wondering where the posters live because it isn't my experience at all.  

I've had the exact same feelings! Conservative Christian women I know are university professors, doctors, stay-at-home moms, editors, counselors, engineers, in finance, etc. Different world...

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2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

I'm totally anti-MLM and there are SOOOOO many that circulate within the military spouse community. It's yet another reason why I hated the spouse groups so much and now avoid them like the plague. You never knew who was genuinely interested in you as a person and who was interested in you for your connections or lack thereof. Being guilted into buying Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and LLR all happened to me. It just makes me sad. Watching the miniseries reminded me of everything one Mary Kay lady said to me years ago. Blech.

Yep. Quickest way to ensure we *don’t* get to know each other better is to be part of the MLM insanity. [shudder] 

I don’t know many people in MLMs, but the ones I do have bounced company to company over the years. Both are in conservative churches (one evangelical non-denominational I guess, one Southern Baptist). Oh, and a few military spouses. These are extended family members, but easy to avoid, thankfully. (Though one sends product sample packages as holiday gifts, with instructions on how to re-order. Sigh.)

It’s terribly distasteful to use one’s friends and family that way. Blech.

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11 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Yep. Quickest way to ensure we *don’t* get to know each other better is to be part of the MLM insanity. [shudder] 

I don’t know many people in MLMs, but the ones I do have bounced company to company over the years. Both are in conservative churches (one evangelical non-denominational I guess, one Southern Baptist). Oh, and a few military spouses. These are extended family members, but easy to avoid, thankfully. (Though one sends product sample packages as holiday gifts, with instructions on how to re-order. Sigh.)

It’s terribly distasteful to use one’s friends and family that way. Blech.

Yes!  It corrupts everything.  
 

I have some friends and relations that never even post/send normal cute pictures of their kids anymore.  It’s all “Oh, Timmy just loves to help me open my New Products box!” and “The girls really love helping me put together mini-facial kits!” and “Here’s my baby in my cute new 31 gifts tote!”  It’s gross.

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3 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

 I frequently see these sweeping generalizations about conservative Christians on this board and I'm always wondering where the posters live because it isn't my experience at all.  

Me too, that's why my post specified branch of conservative Christianity, region of the country, and big city vs. rural/small town when I experienced the peak of MLMs . It's everywhere among the conservative Christians I know.  I see it here too among the more Charismatic/Penecostal types in the outskirts of the greater Raleigh, NC area where suburbs and rural bump up against each other.

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I don't have a particular axe to grind against MLMs--if they have a product I like, fine. If they don't, no big deal. I tend to like the craft ones because I would be buying those products anyway, and it's so much easier to buy coordinating products sometimes than to brave a disjointed scrapbook aisle. I also had friends that were into the same hobbies, and it was nice to hang out and work on a hobby together (with and without it being an official MLM event). 

48 minutes ago, Danae said:

Yes!  It corrupts everything.  

I have some friends and relations that never even post/send normal cute pictures of their kids anymore.  It’s all “Oh, Timmy just loves to help me open my New Products box!” and “The girls really love helping me put together mini-facial kits!” and “Here’s my baby in my cute new 31 gifts tote!”  It’s gross.

This part does bother me, but it's not universal.

Many people I know do an MLM to pay for their own products and a few special things for their family. They aren't beating people over the head. Only a few of the ones I know become the type that cannot have a conversation with you or a SM post that doesn't mention their MLM. 

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Years ago, dd was in an extracurricular activity where we needed some kind of large bag to carry to events. I used an old inexpensive rolling suitcase as did many of the other moms. When 31 bags became a thing, one of the moms was part of a 31 MLM. Many of the moms bought those bags to use instead. That's fine, but I didn't see any reason to change what I was using. The next year, when new moms asked what they needed, the so helpful consultant convinced them they *needed* to buy the 31 bags in the team colors and embroidered. I was angry that she was using it as a chance to get more sales from parents who were just trying to get information from a more experienced parent. Most of them probably already had a rolling bag at home that would've worked just fine.

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