If you too love indulging in a little anti-MLM fodder, you’re in the right place. I’ve been anti-MLM for a long time, and no, not because I was in one and failed. I’ve never joined one myself, but my Mum did when I was growing up. Single parent who worked in sales – she was the MLM recruitment jackpot. Luckily, she’s not into, y’know, alienating everyone she knows and engaging in predatory recruitment tactics, so she didn’t get sucked too far into the machine.
But it gave me enough of an insight into these things to establish a hatred for them from a young age. I’ve been approached in the weirdest of places to join MLMs, and it turns out, so have a lot of women.
Off the top of my head, I’ve been approached through bogus job ads, while working at my restaurant job (multiple times), and after attending a free community workout – yep, you guessed it, it was a Herbalife healthy living centre. The last one really irks me, because the workouts were advertised on the City of Melbourne website. But of course, if you know Herbalife, you’ll know that their number one tactic is heavy legitimisation through their advertising. Sponsoring LA Galaxy, affiliating with Christiano Ronaldo, and holding seemingly innocent community events like the one I attended, hoping to attract unassuming attendees. Once they convince you that the event is legit, they’ll pounce on you.
Turns out, I’m not the only one with an MLM predator story to tell. I asked you guys on Instagram and whoaaa mumma did we get some juicy responses. So, here’s fifteen ways the MLM huns will try and get ya. Oh, and turns out, it’s not all huns. There are some male huns out there, too. What do we call them? Hunks? Bruns (bro-huns?). Yeah. I like bruns. We’ll go with that.
1. Dating Websites
Ohhhh, this was a good one. Turns out the bruns are hanging out on Tinder and other dating sites looking to recruit a wifey AND a downline.
2. At Your Shared Place of Work
Oh, classic. You’re cornered in your cubicle with no escape, while a hun tries to sell you essential oils or a vile pair of leggings.
3. At Your Own Place of Work
An oldie but a goodie. It happened to me in restaurants, and it’s happened to you guys everywhere else too. Specsavers, supermarkets, you name it. The huns will swoop with hard compliments about your work ethic, rendering you weak at the knees at the fact a customer has done something other than hurl abuse at you. Then, when you’re at your most vulnerable, boom. They unleash the groundbreaking musing that ‘you’d be great at what they do’. Suddenly you’re putting your hand up to clean the men’s loo and take the bins out with your teeth because they all sound far more appealing than spending 3 day’s pay on a starter pack of essential oils and a coffin for your dignity.
4. At the Gym
They catch you while you’re squatting. Appropriate, really, as they approach you with an ‘opportunity’ to bend over and let a pyramid scheme abuse you for the affordable fee of $349. Good job you’ve been working your glutes, girlfriend.
5. Mum Networking Groups
Ooh they smart. They know Mums are tired, stressed and looking for a sense of community. Enter: the huns. Apparently they hang out on Peanut app looking for fresh meat, so be careful of that creeper taking a surprising interest in your breast-feeding technique.
6. At a Baby Shower
Another golden opportunity to corner someone with no escape. Apparently one woman complimented another’s eye shadow, and ended up copping a hard sell on essential oils. Classic.
7. In Shops
This one is particularly bold, but it seems to have happened A LOT. Priceline, The Source Bulk Foods, and even supermarkets. Apparently some uplines will tell their downline to hang out in the beauty aisle and hunt. If you spot a wild hun, grab your hand soap and get the heck outta there unless you’re looking to piss $199 up the wall.
8. Trick Events
One woman said a friend invited her to her place for an ‘announcement’. Oh, humans love a cliffhanger, don’t they? Naturally you flock round expecting her to be pregnant or engaged or be moving or have got a new job. But no. The announcement is that they’ve joined a hun cult and lucky you, you’re invited too. Basic entry requirements include a desire to piss off everyone you know, 18 spare rooms to store dead stock you’ll never sell, and an affinity with wasting cash and lying about it on social media. Any takers?
The community aspect of churches means it’s no surprise these places are a hot bed for MLM predators. Listen out for the huns who try to spin a tale of Jesus into a DoTerra sell. Jesus passed unleavened bread and wine around the table, not essential oil samples, Sandra.
10. On Public Transport
This is a smart one, I must say. Apparently they approach you with some spiel about not having to get public transport anymore if you take their ‘business opportunity’. Problem is, they seem to forget the laughable irony that they’re having this conversation with you while they too are on public transport. Try again, Karen.
11. In Vegas
Okay, this one was a good one. Apparently the huns moonlight as croupiers at the Blackjack tables in Vegas. So watch out. Remember to specify that you mean ‘hit me with another card’ not ‘hit me with your most pungent essential oil blend’.
12. At the School Playground
…or any other miscellaneous playgrounds, so I hear. They’ll trap you by the swings and invite you onto their merry-go-round of unsellable stock and a the unique opportunity to spend your days living your dream life. Never mind the irony that her example of living her dream life is hanging out in the corner of kids’ playgrounds sniffing out vulnerable Mums. Yikes.
13. At the Hairdresser
Yikes, these huns are real skilled in finding all the scenarios in life where you’ll struggle to escape from their ‘opportunity’ clutches. Turns out, not even your local salon is safe. These huns will stop at nothing, not even a blatant conflict of interest by recruiting their customers to another business and repelling them from the salon in the process.
Alright, when I read this I was a bit like ‘well duh’. But I do get it – they’ll lure you to a seemingly normal party, and then whip out a presentation and start barking on about that ‘opportunity’. Much like a bad date, you might need a code word to have a mate call you with an emergency to get you out of this rat trap.
15. Fake Job Listings
Now I think most of us are smart enough to know that ads that say ‘Work from home and earn $5000 a month’ are probably not exactly reliable. But hold up, the huns will play it fast and loose with terms like ‘sales and marketing’, ‘influencer’, ‘social media guru’ and ‘ambassador’ to hook in job hunters to that all-important opportunity.
How to Say No to MLM Recruiters
The more trapped you are, the harder it gets. But I think it’s important to remember that you actually do have a choice. It might be uncomfortable while you listen to the over-rehearsed spiel, but just let it play out. The more excuses you give, the more upline-provided material they’ll churn out in return. Just hear them out, and maybe even take their card to shut them up. Never give your own information out, unless you’re into moderate harassment, of course.
When it comes to MLM DMs, you’re in the power seat. Lots of people message me asking how they can politely say no for a second, third, or fifty-fifth time when they get these DMs, but to be honest, I really wouldn’t stress about responding. The way these systems work means these huns and bruns are messaging upward of 20 people a day – minimum. They might follow you up, but if you don’t respond, they’re really not going to lose sleep over it. They’ll be onto the next DM long before you’re over your essential oil-related nightmare.