Whenever I get a Facebook message from someone I haven’t talked to in years I know one of two things is happening:
- someone is asking for medical advice or
- I’m getting “Hey Girl’d” from an acquaintance selling multi-level marketing (MLM) products.
Please know that I have no problem with women trying to make a little money, but I can do without the generic copy and paste messages about more stuff I don’t need. Because nothing makes me want to buy a product less than a regurgitated “Hey girlie! Your kids are so ___! I know we haven’t seen each other in awhile but I have always admired ___ about you! I just wanted to share with you about ___ and how it has changed my life!”
I remember the first time I was introduced to the world of MLM. I was just a few weeks postpartum after having my twins when I received a facebook message from a friend. Instead of the “Congratulations! Your babies are so precious!” message that I expected, it was a “Hey girl, I know losing baby weight is so tough! You should buy weight loss shakes from me with all that money you don’t have since you are supplementing with formula for two babies and only have three weeks paid maternity leave! I mean, you don’t want to gross everybody out in that bathing suit next summer!” I’m quite sure she was not trying to offend me, and it wasn’t worded EXACTLY like that, but you get my drift! At the time, I was so tired that I was alternating which eye to keep open as I basically leaked from every orifice and my life revolved around an exhausting feed, burp, change, pump cycle that played on a continuous loop. I definitely did not have the time or the energy to think about losing my baby weight yet!
Over the years, I have learned that any stage in life opens you up to a MLM “hun” just waiting to pounce!
“Work stressing you out? Try our CBD gummies! Its like marijuana without all the fun stuff!”
“Struggling with infertility? Years of fertility treatments haven’t helped but I bet our Plexus shakes will!”
“Newly pregnant and trying to eat well? Why buy vitamins when you can spend 10 times more on Juice Plus!”
“Struggling to lose baby weight? Join our beach body team! Then you can become a coach in my downline!”
“Postpartum hair loss? Wash your hair with Monat! When even more hair falls out, its just the shampoo cleansing your body of toxins!”
“Starting to notice wrinkles? Rodan and Fields has a simple 12 step face washing regimen for you!”
As annoying and opportunistic as these suggestions can be, I have seen friends targeted because they have cancer, debilitating medical conditions, infertility, or children with developmental delays. Its one thing to solicit me with your wraps and green coffee because I somehow have not managed to shed the muffin top that I was gifted with three kids ago, but promising vulnerable populations that their medical or neurological conditions can be cured if they only try this oil, this cream, or this capsule is sickening.
And now the huns have become even craftier! Instead of continuously adding you to the Facebook groups you never wanted to join, they’ve started asking random crowd-sourcing questions to increase their Facebook visibility (Do you really care if I like my eggs scrambled or over-easy, Karen???). Or they want your curiosity to get the best of you by posting about this AH-MAZING product that they can’t possibly name unless you send them a facebook message to get all the deets! And the latest one: having their friends shill their mascara for them and only rewarding them with free mascara if their friends buy enough products. Is the possibility of a $30 tube of mascara really enticing enough to buy all your Facebook friends for an entire week?
Now, I know I am coming across as harsh, and I know several women who sell MLM products to supplement their income–although statistics show that the vast majority never become that #bossbabe they envisioned and most don’t even turn a profit. But my friends don’t blow up my newsfeed, use emotional manipulation, or give me $10 in “lip bucks” for my birthday! And as annoyed as I get with some MLM sellers, there are actually some great products to be had if you search around enough: Beauty Counter’s sunscreen is the absolute best sunscreen I’ve ever put on my eczema-prone kid, R&F’s Last Boost works surprisingly well, and Beachbody workouts did, in fact, help me shed the last of my baby weight. I’m always excited to find great products and I will continue to support my friends in their business ventures; just don’t ask me to drop my favorite emoji!