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You don’t know fear until two dozen children in oversized suits stare at you and start grinning…
Now that I got that image in your head, let’s Tarantino this bitch.
It all started with a random, awkward text from my dentist:
“Hi David, it’s Dr. Connor Tist…How are you doing? How are your teeth?”
[Fictitious names used because I don’t know how libel works.]
I figured it was just a nice little follow-up from when I had had some dental work done a few months back before graduating from college. The conversation led to what my degree was in, and if I was having any luck in the job market. That’s when he brought up a former business partner who was well connected and very successful. He asked if I’d be interested in being referred to said individual, which at my discretion, my (now former) dentist then did.
The next day I got a nice call and voicemail (because like most pussies, I hate answering random numbers). This guy, who we will actually call “Guy,” because that’s an apt name for someone that greets others with a Bluetooth in his ear, said he would love to meet with me because he heard from Dr. Connor Tist that I was “a really great young man.” So right off the bat, my dentist was a liar. We set up a time and place to meet the following week. Unfortunately, this ended up being more than enough time for me to boast about what seemed like a promising meeting to various people.
Anyway, Guy and I met at a hotel lobby in Bellevue. After leading me to his car, we headed out to this “meeting,” at which he could allegedly introduce me to some really powerful, networked individuals.
Cheers to Post-Grad Gullibility: This “meeting” was an hour away. At someone’s house. In the middle of nowhere.
“So we’re not going to, like, an office or anything?” I asked Guy while clutching the Swiss army knife in my pocket. I’m proud of the fact that my gut reaction was to bring a weapon along. I’m not so proud of the fact that I went with a multi-purpose pocket knife that would barely even puncture my boss’ tires last week be able to decapitate Petey the Parakeet.
As I’m asking why we’re conducting a business meeting at a goddamn house, I start to notice the once-small crowd in the shaded dirt driveway when we pulled up is a bit larger now, and every other person in that crowd is a (borderline deformed, or perhaps just really ugly) teenager in an ill-tailored Men’s Wearhouse suit. They’re all staring and grinning at me.
Back to Guy’s response:
“Are we meeting in an office? Now why would you want to be a slave to an office, David? We’re right at home, where we should be! You can’t disrobe and drink goat blood in an office!”*
*After seeking legal council, I’ve been advised to tell you that while the second to last paragraph was possibly slightly exaggerated, that last quote is, in fact, a blatant fabrication.
But to be honest, two things Guy did say after brushing off my inquiry were close to worse than any Satanic talk. The first of which came after he tapped his (Folex) watch against mine and said, I kid you not:
“Watch pound! We’ll need to do this every time we get together!”
I just now started crying out of hatred for having to recount that moment.
The second thing came a few minutes later, after Guy introduced me to various creepy middle-aged adults and toothy-grinned virgins. (Everyone was way too happy to see each other. I kept looking around for Tom Cruise to confirm the worst, but no, Amway is not a cult—just a pyramid scheme.) Meanwhile, Guy, who had the propensity to jump around from person to person acting like the fakest socialite you’ve ever seen, would occasionally come back around to me and excitedly introduce me to random people, all of whom I hope have since passed away.
So I casually try and find out how long this “meeting” we’re waiting for is going to be, because I’m stranded here. There’s no Starbucks down the street that I can wait and cry at while waiting for my mom to pick me up. I’m in the fucking boonies. At the same time, I don’t want Guy to catch wind of my skepticism, as I’m still not writing out the possibility that I’m a long piece of rope and four knots away from one of these middle-aged couples having their way with me:
“Hey so, just curious, about how long is this meeting going to run?”
Cue the second worst thing I heard that night:
“About four hours.”
I laughed. He didn’t.
“Well, let’s see…the talk’ll start a little before 8…we should be out of here by 11:30 tonight!”
Let me remind you again that I am in the middle of nowhere, no car, no friends. This is how Amway and this specific subsidiary, World Wide DreamBuilders—I shit you not, I later found out that really is their name—get you on their pyramid scheming team. Most people sit through the “eye-opening, life-changing” 4-hour talk about how one can build wealth without working and spend more time buying cars and hanging out with their family, and rationalize:
Well if I spent my entire evening listening to this literature then it must be legit, otherwise why would I have attended?
The sad thing, is after the bullshit finally ended past midnight, I could literally pick out who the confederates, the people in on the recruitment scheme, apart from the newly “enlightened” innocents. Someone the speaker had supposedly never met before would ask the most transparent set-up questions, to which the speaker would answer by addressing the newbies, in an excited manner. In one case it was me. Unlike before, the following quote is not a blatant fabrication:
“David, you need to have dreams! Who is going to try and stop you from having those dreams, by telling you that we’re just another pyramid scheme, by telling you that YOUR DREAMS aren’t possible? Your parents, your siblings, friends, coworkers! You almost have to put a protective shell around you, to shield yourself from their negativity! Where might you see bad stuff about us? The Internet, blogs. And who writes blogs? College kids, sitting in their dorm rooms! What do they know? They don’t have DREAMS!”
I don’t know how I refrained from punching him in his stupid fucking face. First off, I used to be a college kid sitting in my dorm room writing shit online. Second, who the fuck is a stranger to tell me to ignore my friends and family? I can do that on my own accord.
Alas, I still needed a goddamn ride back to my car. So on the ride back, when it finally came, I was planning my exit “Go fuck yourself, Guy” speech and dropping some cheesy “I’m a psych major” lines and citing all their abuses of Cialdini’s six principles of influence, but then I decided it’d be way more fun acting super interested and excited to join his program (which he ate up like break room donuts) then send him a link to this article when he texts me to try and meet again. (I’ll meet you in hell, Guy.)
So, I’ll admit it. I was duped into attending a meeting with some Amway pawns, the Pharaohs of pyramid schemes. Learn from my lesson, don’t trust dentists and never ride in the car with strangers—unless they’re Indian or Arab and you’re paying them. If nothing else, I at least discovered a great way to get pestering texters to go away:
Fuckin’ World Wide SchemeBuilders.