It’s one of the basic elements of juvenile taunts, and it continues well beyond our grade school years.
Take the occasion some years ago, when I was working on the pilot of a television series and talking to someone in the production office about their health issues and offering some suggestions of Nutrilite supplements.
The series producer turned around and scoffed loudly, for everyone to hear, “Oh, Amway Scamway.”
Keep in mind, I wasn’t even discussing the Amway business opportunity. I continued on with my conversation, more disappointed than shocked by the outburst. And although the producer had absolute power to dismiss me if he wanted, I was determined not to let the snide comment slide.
By this point, I had developed my people skills through, among other things, books on the World Wide DreamBuilders list of recommend reading. “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, is one of those books. And although I didn’t know if I’d win a friend here, I was determined to have an influence.
I knew that I shouldn’t confront him in front of others. So a few minutes later, when I approached him, it was privately in his office.
“I am aware that what you said is completely inaccurate,” I told him. “And I can handle that. But by using those two words–`Amway Scamway’—you have tainted everyone out there in the production office. You may have kept them from looking into the Number One—and best—supplement company in the world.”
To his credit, the producer responded respectfully. He acknowledged that his comment was based not on Amway as a company. Instead, he had been turned off years earlier by someone he knew who had been associated with it. Apparently, that individual had not been a sterling ambassador for the brand.
That back-story is hardly unique. When I’ve encountered others who express extreme negativity about the business—that Amway is supposedly a pyramid scheme, that Amway is some kind of cult or that Amway is a scam—almost every time there’s a story about some person who rubbed them the wrong way. And the other times, there’s no story at all! Just a random negative vibe that comes out of thin air.
Those occasions may be rare, (there have been tens of millions of people who have become Amway distributors/IBOs in its 50+ year history, so let’s keep things in perspective, people) but they have a disproportionately heavy weight in the minds of some people.
From those isolated experiences, gross generalizations are formed and propagated, and more widespread now with the invention of the Internet, clouding or tainting countless others’ views of Amway in its many facets.
It’s not just the harm it does for sharing the business opportunity; it’s a shame how much damage it does, as in my experience, to sharing the company as the manufacturer of world-class product lines like Nutrilite and Artistry.
But rather than meekly avoiding confrontation, those who know better have an obligation, as I did, to set the record straight, in a respectful manner that would make Dale Carnegie proud.
In retrospect, I realize that it took some gumption for me to stand up to someone who was an authority figure. But I have always been sensitive to the destructive power of words, particularly inaccurate words.
Far from getting fired, I was soon hired for the entire season that followed the pilot. And for the rest of the show, the producer was always kind to me. And never spoke negatively about Amway.