Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Questionable Business Practices at Alticor/Amway/Quixtar™


MLMs (Multi-Level Marketing companies)--I knew a neighborhood family some 30-years-ago who were very odd. The parents had been in the Air Force and raised their son to be a military-drone (he thankfully escaped this fate of being an officer as far as I can tell and has a family now), indoctrinating him in some extremely wacky right-wing, militaristic and over-the-top marketplace ideologies.

That's right, I'm talking about that bizarre triangulation of Amway, the Air Force, and the "prosperity gospel" (and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fans for good measure). And yet, it's worse than that...

The father was a forensic-pathologist who did blood-analysis (and could've been Jeffrey Dahmer's pa'), and had the personality of a cod. He and "the wife" had met each other while serving in the U.S. Air Force, that domain of religious, fanatical theocratic Christians, patriotic kookdom, and Moonies. What attracts these kind of sick people to that particular branch of the military deserves extensive studies by social scientists everywhere, though there are some statistics out there.

But, these people never made any money on Amway,™ they just bought the stupid--and by-all-appearances--overpriced and lousy products, and they were stuck with them. That was alright, but I was concerned for their son, and he was a friend whom I cared about.

One time, the Air Force mother came to our door and attempted to sell my mother some of the lousy products, and used the standard sell that Amway's™ known so well for (known so well for that they changed their name to "Quixtar,™" then back to Amway™:
they try to make you feel inferior if you don't buy their products.

Yes, it's that sick, and as far as I can tell, nothing has changed since that now-distant time, but my mother's a smart cookie and she didn't respond well to it. There would be no sell, not ever.

Why do I bring this particular subject up? For a variety of reasons: I'm uncertain, but I believe my co-researcher on the Palfrey "defense team" (for want of a better term), Monique Rawlings, might work for Alticor.™ It might mean nothing-at-all, but it's strange someone working for them would be involved in such endeavors. Make of it what-you-will, because I don't know what to.

So, I was doing a lot of searching on Alticor™ today, and found some very interesting articles that partly-corroborated my childhood experiences with Amway and whatnot. According to a growing number of CPAs, institutions, and watchdogs, Amway™ is little more than a "pyramid scheme." This has been my own impression since childhood, yet somehow they continue to exist and do whatever it is they're doing these days, which appears to be the same as it was around 1978. Great.

One site really was spot-on in what I've learned from experience: Forensic CPA Tracy Coenen's http://www.sequence-inc.com/, which covers a range of similar subjects, an impressive site by an impressive woman. She does a pretty good job of expressing why these kind of firms are a "scam" that preys on the desperate and the troubled, a contention I tend to agree with. These links are to articles that aren't that new, but strike me as still being relevant, like my anecdotes on the subject.

I'm unsurprised, frankly, that Palfrey would surround herself with people from the corporate world. She was a small-business (depending on what you would call "small," though she decidedly petit-bourgeois in her attitudes) employer in her own way, and shared many of the same attitudes.

Palfrey's courting of the "legitimate press" speaks-volumes to such attitudes, as well as a cursory examination of what we know about how she ran her escort service (check Intelwire.com for more). It was all about the money, sad, and it probably brought about her death by her own hand. She wanted the "big time," the big money. Maybe that's why it's easier for those like her to claim she was murdered, and that she was "innocent." Neither case appears to be true at all, further revelations notwithstanding.