The Seven Dwarfs of the Apocalypse!


A Collection in Progress



As previously revealed, the Seven Dwarfs of the Apocalypse are:

  1. 1.Telemarketers

  2. 2.Insurance Agents

3&4: The Twin Dwarfs of Public Broadcasting Membership Drives (Radio & Television)

5: Infomercials

6: The Polycephalic of Preferential Promotional Pricing

Please welcome to the lineup the Seventh:

7. Network Marketers

This dwarf was revealed to our Editrix herself during a bout of insomnia on the Vernal Equinox. Its staying power was confirmed by rational contemplation after sunrise (and a cup of coffee.)

Over the years I have received the occasional unsolicited delivery of a cassette tape extolling the virtues, but above all the profitability, of some personal care product-based scheme. I have endured the tenacity of follow-up phone calls from individuals undeterred by firm announcements that I have no time to listen to the tape. I have even checked the impulse to dump the nearest beverage on the head of a client's accountant when his invitation to discuss an international investment devolved into filling out a chart to prove how much he intends to earn off friends' purchases of household goods. But these irritations occurred only once every few years until now.

Friends, there is a dangerous rise in attempts to suck all of us into vast interlocking pyramids of consumerism. In a four-month span, five volleys have assaulted my inner circle. Consider this menacing sequence of events:

Since the fall, each visit to my general practitioner has culminated in the suggestion that I enroll with her supplier to purchase soy-based nutritional supplements at wholesale cost or maybe I could see if a couple of my friends really like them, too, and maybe they would sign up as well, and then I could buy at distributor cost.

During the Christmas holidays an acquaintance (who is, apropos nothing, or maybe apropos quite a bit, a professional mime) tracked me down through several outdated addresses to deliver a package whose contents he would not specify beyond that it contained something he wanted me to look over. The only surprise about the contents was the obvious expense of the production values; the only surprise about the encounter was how easily my solicitor abandoned pursuit and retrieved his parcel.

In February, someone in my office building was sent a cassette tape by one of his oldest and dearest friends. He popped it into the player one afternoon and challenged me to guess the tape's purpose and the senders identity. As a friendly doctor with a New York accent chatted about food, something clicked in my subconscious. I got the product right: super blue-green algae. The perpetrator took two guesses. The same person had tried to hook me on the same capsules more than five years ago.

In March, the Rexmobile was rear-ended by a person who believed that, in such a situation, the fault lies with the person who is struck. Once she grasped the existence and extent of her liability, she offered to take care of the damage outside of the channels of insurance. She did follow through on the promise to call Rex. She voiced yet another novel interpretation of the event: Seeing as how the universe had thrown them together, she was meant to tell Rex about a marvelous business opportunity that she was pursuing. His take was just a little different. He perceived a sign that they should file an accident report.

In the same week, a stranger called my home number well into a Saturday evening to inquire whether I'd received a tape she'd mailed. I hadn't. She'd bought the Utne Reader mailing list and was starting her own business selling super blue-green algae. Once again, last year's move prompted a welcome sputter in the machinery of multilevel marketing. This purveyor, at least, wasn't obnoxious; she actually sounded like a pleasant enough person. Instead of offering my current address, I told her not only that I wasn't interested, but why I wasn't interested. I'd taken her product for a month (see two paragraphs above) and had noticed absolutely no changes. But had I been coached? Had I been called every few weeks and asked probing questions that would have unearthed the changes that had to have been taking place? Her life had been so transformed by this substance that she'd left her job to focus on distributing it to others. "Turnabout is fair play," I said, and told her about seminars I teach on the psychological and legal aspects of self-employment. She gave me her fax number to send her a registration form.

Friends don't make friends buy from friends. This dwarf is on the rise, and how. Be forewarned!

Please do not reproduce, copy or distribute this without the copyright notice intact, which is: Copyright Kathy Biehl 1995. All Rights Reserved.

Back to the cafe menu