Multilevel marketing

Both L and Honolulu Mother sent in posts about mulitlevel marketing:

by L

MLMs: your thoughts? Does anyone have FB or real life friends selling these products? What about the church connection?

I have one friend on FB who sells LuLaRoe, but I have never been to an MLM party or been pressured to attend one.

Why your Facebook feed is filled with women selling essential oils and press-on nails

my boss wants to secretly recruit my coworkers and me into a money-making scheme



by Honolulu Mother

Let’s all gripe about our “friends” selling Jamberry on Facebook!

This Vox article tackles the important question of “Why your Facebook feed is filled with women selling essential oils and press-on nails.” Actually, mine really isn’t, but that’s because I know how to use the “hide” feature. In some circles, though, MLM’s parasitical profiting off the social and family connections of its victims / salespeople is hard to avoid.

Totebaggers, your thoughts on multilevel marketing?


100 thoughts on “Multilevel marketing

  1. All. Over. Facebook. I’ve hidden many of them, and I ignore all invitations to their so-called parties (or whatever they are). I know 5 women locally who are currently selling the Rodan + Fields stuff, and I cringe at their posts.

  2. My FB feed has been cluttered up with a friend from high school’s LuLaRoe selling for the past few months. And other friends from high school are buying this stuff and now selling it too. I showed the clothes to my husband and he had the same assessment as me – they look like toddler clothes for adults.

    I really don’t mind the LuLaRoe (other than I’m not a fan of the clothes) or the Rodan and Fields stuff because it’s such a soft sell. I had a former coworker who was doing Stella and Dot for a while and she contacted me out of the blue and asked me to host a party and I shut that down pretty quickly. The whole host a party and make people buy things just feels icky to me.

  3. Around me, it seems to go in cycles – a FB or RL friend will like a product and then learn that he/she can get it cheaper if they become a “seller” of the product. (They seem to have fancier titles though.) Then, that person will start on the quest to sell enough and/or get enough people in their network to at least get their products significantly reduced. It goes on for awhile in earnest, then drops off. I assume either because they reached that level or decided they didn’t have enough “friends” to make it worthwhile.

    The only real vs virtual party I have been to was a Thirty One party about two years ago. It wasn’t super high pressure and I did find one small thing I liked and still use every day. I will say, I miss my tuperware lady now that they are more online than anything else in my area. We have tupperware that smells, mainly oily, and likely due to our misuse, that I’d like to replace. But, its nice to see it and be able to bring my cooler (camping/day trips) to see how the containers fit in.

    With minimalism the new in thing, being able to say we are decluttering, etc. is a fairly easy way to deflect the in person stuff these days, and I can more easily ignore FB.

  4. I think here is also where being an introvert (and/or having multiple kids) comes in handy – you can say no to anything and no one thinks it’s about the MLM, it’s just that you never go to anything! :)

  5. I guess I/we’ve been pretty successful at avoiding the MLM hit-ons. Maybe because (by design) I have about <10 friends on facebook, my 3 kids + some guy friends and DW does not have a facebook account. DW gets invited to 1-2 'parties'/year and the default is to bag it, unless e.g the whole book club group is going, too, so it seems better.

    I'm sure I'm like most people…if I need a new kitchen thing, or clothes or whatever I know how to find it in a store, on Amazon, or elsewhere online.

  6. I’m on vacation but this is huge in my life right now so I had to come comment. So many friends selling so many things. I’m so over the it works posts. I bought something once to support my friend and I regret that and now I’m trying to get rid of it. I wouldn’t mind it if they had separate pages but the it works posts are non stop. #blessed.

    And if one more person adds me to w party, I’ll flip out. Most of the posts on this board don’t relate to me but this one does!

  7. I am really happy that the selling of this type of stuff seems to have moved to Facebook and other social media (e.g., Instagram). It’s easy to ignore, hide or tune out, rather than when people were inviting to physical parties where it was easy to feel guilted into attending and then purchasing at least a token.

    The thing I see the most in my feed is the essential oils that are supposed to cure everything. I have some people selling those ugly leggings and some makeup, but I have tried to hide most of it. The oils people that I know tend to use their personal pages to relentless talk about the oil blends that they are using and how they are life-changing and posting dubious “scientific” articles about them.

    I haven’t really ever bought anything from any of these companies. Some of the jewelry is okay, but it never seems to be a good value compared to buying from a store.

  8. “They seem to have fancier titles though.”

    Oh YES. CEO or #MomBoss or Executive Consultant.

  9. I can’t stand it on FB, but I don’t mind when someone invites me to a Stella & Dot, or Pampered chef party. It is usually in my neighborhood, and I can see some “faux” friends and I don’t feel the pressure to buy. If there is something I need or want, then I will buy it. I used to feel like I always have to buy something, but now I will just go if enough people are there that I want to spend time with for an hour.

    The FB stuff is annoying, but I’ve started to become smarter about how to hide stuff.

  10. I never though about this- in my socio-economic circles women do this for charities. It’s based on the same need to do something significant and social. They throw galas, pressure you to buy tables, sponsor their runs/walks, etc. It’s a never ending cycle of reciprocity for everyone’s pet causes, museums, ballets, etc. My FB feed is full of pitches for charity events. At least these charities are doing some good in the world?

  11. I know MLM has been around forever (think Amway, right?, and even Avon which started out as SINGLE level marketing, moved to MLM), and “everyone” hates being hit on to go to parties, buy (generally useless/overpriced) stuff. So why does it linger?

    It must be the ‘hope springs eternal’ mentality since 50% of thse who start up bail within a year.

  12. Omg groan! It’s really the worst with Moms groups. Every one has their own party or pop-up shop or online shopping every week. On my FB there is a spate of LulaRoe, thirty one bags, expensive kids books and so on. I usually just ignore all invites. I am sure I am paying social price for it but I don’t care. It’s all about ” helping me stay at home with my kids and be able to contribute to family”. #blessed. In between are How It work helped me go on this beautiful tropical vacation…yards yada

  13. Mafalda – I also hate friends’ pleas for charity, but I give $50 here and there to people’s rides to end cancer or AIDS. I give a lot more to ‘my’ charity.

  14. I fall slightly into the world Mafalda described and slightly into the LulaRoe crowd. I have learned to just say no thank you or sorry, I have other obligations that evening, if I’m not interested. I do support certain charities and attend 1-2 events, but that is it.

    Luckily, my FB feed is not inundated with this stuff (yet) so it is not that hard to tune it out.

  15. I’m in the intersection between the MLM moms and the charity fundraiser #32 moms, and sometimes I feel like it never ends.

    It makes it difficult to make friends because I am never sure if the other mom wants to be friends or if I am a potential customer/donor.

    When one of our babysitters started selling stuff for one of the MLM companies a few weeks ago and wouldn’t leave me alone until I gave her additional customer names, I just referred her to everyone else I know who sells MLM stuff *evil laugh*

  16. I don’t mind being invited to these parties by actual friends, if it is a fb friend I haven’t talked to in years and years, please don’t try to sell me stuff

  17. My old neighbor who is a SAHM is selling R&F now, but she hasn’t asked me to buy anything which I’m relieved about. They came for dinner a few weeks ago so I was preparing myself. She does not need the money but her husband teases her a lot about not bringing in any income (even though he makes plenty) so I can sort of see why she would want to do it.

    I also saw on FB this family that lives in my hometown planning to move to California “for an adventure” with their two kids. They were going to finance the move with renting out their house, some savings and the wife selling LuLaRoe. The husband was going to quit his job as a cop. I admire their moxie but was just floored that one would be able to sell that many pairs of leggings to support a family.

  18. Oh, I forgot about the fundraising/charity things. That is a smaller part of my feed, but one person is ALWAYS in fundraising mode for her daughter’s select sports team. It is usually a soft sell – The XYZ team is selling _________ raffle tickets for this, event tickets for that, some MLM that is giving the team a percentage of the profits, etc.

    And, yes, I wish some people would separate their FB business from their FB personal. It would be easier to filter out what you don’t want!

  19. I think I probably see less of this since I work full time and can’t stop by a house party usually scheduled during the day. I hide It Works- never saw so many body parts wrapped before that I can’t unsee. I have been to an India Hicks party and I liked her stuff enough to buy something. I am thankful that my Cub Scout Pack is anti-popcorn sales. We just upped the dues instead. I am sort of in the charity cycle due to organizations I am involved in. I really hate the black tie balls and the $300 per plate lunches with 30 minute valet lines so much that I have vowed to stop attending and up my cash donation instead. DH and I have a quiet dinner out instead of dancing to bad ball music. The last luncheon was very amusing. Very Dallas. Everyone had blowouts, fake eyelashes, and Christian Loboutin shoes on. It was like a sea of high end brand names. Beautiful people who truly do care about the charities. But so not my scene. I have seen the numbers behind many of these events and they often barely clear their expenses! You could probably raise more money with a silent auction online.

  20. I don’t see this because my FB is mostly for family and long time friends and a few past coworkers. I don’t have any parents from kid’s school or the neighborhood on FB.
    At one long ago workplace there was a guy selling Princess House products and he would throw parties or get women to throw parties for him. I ended up buying a crystal nativity set from his catalog which I use to this day. I didn’t go to any of his parties though. These days being parent in charge means I talk to other parents but at kid events.

  21. Mia – have you seen The Real Housewives of Dallas? It’s all about the charity scene there. Seems like a multi million dollar enterprise.

  22. I am feeling grateful that few of my friends do this – I think I had one friend briefly try something like that.

    I don’t mind contributing to friends who are raising money for cancer, diabetes, etc. research by doing a run or walk. I’ll usually contribute $30 – $50 (this happens only a couple times a year).

    I don’t contribute to other friends’ school fundraisers (and fortunately they rarely ask). I figure we’re all better off supporting our own schools then asking each other for contributions. DD’s soccer team tried to get us to send out a donation request to 15 people. We just gave directly (though we did briefly think of sending the request to our orthodontist – that was the only person/business we wouldn’t have felt bad soliciting).

  23. I don’t mind contributing to friends raising money through walks, etc. either but I get mildly annoyed about the constant ask for money at the grocery store. Sometimes I’ll pop into Publix two or three times in one week to grab one or two items and every time there is an ask for something and I always feel bad saying no or I already gave this week because I’m sure they won’t believe me. I particularly hate buying the processed food Thanksgiving meal. I’d much rather just give to the food bank and be done with it.

  24. On donations: I give to a coworker every year for ALS (her sister died from it) and a favorite HS teacher has it

  25. In my area, no one sells this stuff. But there is a ton of it on my Facebook feed. And they add me to their groups without my consent. Annoying! One person was trying to sell some essential oils for the Zika that is going to get is all, and I was like, “nope! Deet is safe and effective and works for me!” She wasn’t very happy with me.

  26. Kid’s school did silent auction online and it was fun being naughty and upping the price on items, I had no intention of purchasing. We could send the link to friends, families and coworkers who could bid if they were interested. It, was a low pressure way to fund raise – click here if you want to bid.

  27. I’m glad this seems to have mostly moved to Facebook, but OMG. If Facebook recommends one more Shakeology post to me, I am going to deactivate my account (says the new mom struggling with the last 5 pounds of baby weight).

  28. The only person I know in my area selling is my former neighbor with the R&F. I blame her move to the suburbs.:) Neighborhood and mom friends here do not participate. This conversation prompted me to figure out how to block the LuLaRoe stuff. My phone was buzzing any time this friend from high school posted and I could not figure out how I got signed up for all of these updates.

  29. I also hide MLM friends on Facebook. There is one in particular who had made a career of these things, currently selling R&F. Her husband quit his job to join her, and they have earned a Lexus. For years it was the #blessed that she was able to stay home with her kids, etc, but I found out their home was being foreclosed. I would just get a normal job before I’d lose my house.

    Pre-Internet, though,I went to a lot of these parties. I own a few Longaberger baskets, lots of southern Living at Home decor, some Pampered Chef (which I like), various jewelry lines, and lots of “gourmet” food prep. I decline almost all parties now. The big R&F seller on my FB feed has recruited several of our mutual friends, so I get the same posts coming through from multiple people. I despise selling to friends, or even asking for charity. We always foot the bill for the minimum donation to things we want to do ourselves.

  30. a bunch of HS classmates are selling nerium now, so I see all of the posts, irritating!

  31. Thus reaffirming the validity of my choice to stay off FB.

    I ran into a few of these over the years — bought some Tupperware that was totally worth it, some Mary Kay that was very nice — but largely say no because I hate the implicit pressure to buy. Last thing I remember locally was some “basket” bingo thingy that seemed to rotate houses monthly. I am hesitant enough on social interactions that I hate not knowing whether I am sought as a friend or as a target, the rules of whether/how much I have to buy, etc. So I just avoid it.

    I also totally don’t get the math — how are you “making money” selling wraps to your friends if you are then socially obligated to go to your friends’ parties and buy their oils or makeup or whatever? I am like SSM: “I figure we’re all better off supporting our own schools then asking each other for contributions.” If someone wants to start a business selling me something, I will treat them like any other solicitor and give a polite no; if someone wants to raise money for charity selling me something, I’d rather just make the donation directly.

  32. Off topic – This weekend, I stepped into a Barnes & Noble that had summer reading books. They had tied up my kid’s school – so the school would get dollars in return for purchasing there. Waste of time. I received some help but then I was told to go up to this counter, down to that desk, while both kids were lost in the aisles looking at more books toys. I was so irritated that I abandoned the place and bought from Amazon.

  33. also off topic – I was looking on the home depot site for a simple home tool kit for DS1 and I saw these. Too simple for my taste so I’m getting something else. How do you like the $4.25 (56%!!!) “pink” surcharge? (this is $7.49) (this is $11.74)

  34. I give to friends raising money for personally meaningful causes (cancer, ALS, suicide prevention). Some of those stay on my list of year end donations but I prefer to give through umbrella organizations that vet the charities and pass 100% of donations on. If someone sells awesome products that make my life easier I am all for it. Still waiting for a MLM product that ticks those boxes enough to make it worth the spam.

    Risley- don’t have cable so I haven’t watched it. Heard it was awful from a lot of friends who are in the charity scene. The conclusion was that no one in Dallas with real money and good taste would ever consider doing the show. Should be called Real Housewives of Dallas suburbs.

  35. Louise- same here with the scholastic book fair. Bought from Amazon at half price.

  36. This is totally not my world. Pampered Chef at least 20 years ago was my last foray into this stuff. That was before Amazon sold everything, so it’s a mystery that MLM is still a thing.
    Today’s Gospel reading — in which Jesus tells the rich young man seeking eternal life, “You lack one thing. Go and sell everything you have, give to the poor, and come follow me” — seems especially applicable.

  37. I had a friend recently whose daughter did a girl scout service project gathering books for a low-income school’s summer reading program. They sent out an amazon wishlist. I was able to buy a small handful at low prices and ship them to her free with my Prime. I much prefer that to $3 of cookie dough for $12, where the organization keeps $1.50.

  38. I’ve got to imagine it’s still a thing because there are still neighborhoods with significant numbers of SAHMs, and that’s who this stuff targets. Apparently many do want to either feel like they’re financially contributing to the family, or be able to say they run their own small business, without actually making the kind of time and schedule commitment that a regular job or a ‘real’ small business would require. And I’m sure there’s a cultural element to it too, where something like MLM fits in with the neighborhood culture / spousal expectations / frequent moves where a regular job wouldn’t.

  39. I have been only peripherally exposed to this type of marketing. Not inundated, and only occasionally see it among friends of friends, relatives, and charity events. I have no interest in attending a party to buy stuff because there’s very slight chance I’ll see anything I want to take home.

    I’m continuously trying to purge and declutter, and this past week I finally got rid of some lovely hand painted wine glasses that I had won as part of a wine-themed charity auction basket. They had been taking up cupboard space for years and we had probably used them only a couple of times. I will give you cash for your cause, but I don’t want a basket full of stuff that looks lovely but ends up collecting dust in my house.

  40. I know the fundraisers for schools can be annoying, but I had a chance to go to the meeting today to vote on the grant requests for the school year 2016-17. The requests come from the administrators, and the teachers. There are some awesome requests that range from
    $2000 – $15,000 that will enhance the classroom experience. The Cuomo tax cap makes it almost impossible to fund any “extras” so it is nice to see exactly where this money is going for next year.

  41. I had a type on my post; the grants range from $200 and up. A lot of teachers request a couple of hundred dollars for new books, blocks etc. I know the book fair is a pain, and the prices are higher than Amazon. The few thousand that your schools raise will hopefully go back into the classrooms. In our district, we are able to fund five literacy scholarships during the summer. These are kids that want to get extra help, and the money from the book swap pays their fees to a summer reading program because they can’t afford the tuition.

  42. I get the need for school fundraisers (well, kind of, but that’s a different post). What I have a problem with is inefficient fundraisers – a lot of the professionally organized ones seem to spend a lot on prizes for kids and flashy brochures. Sell 100 items and get an iPad!!

    One school we know does a book fair where the books are all $1 and parents are asked to donate books. I can send my child to school with $3 and know that she can bring home 3 books. Also, I know that $3 went to the school. Not everyone donates, but many people have a box of 20-30 books that they are willing to unload. I much prefer that to the $11.95 book I bought at a different book fair, that I likely could have bought on Amazon for $8, where the school may be getting 10% – and my children are begging for all the toys and pseudo books that fill up the “book fair”.

    Perhaps that is an interesting topic – what does an efficient school fundraiser look like?

  43. Ada – completely agree with you re: book fairs. The Scholastic book fairs we see a lot of here are terrible. They require a lot of volunteer hours, sell junk (book marks, posters, low quality books) and the school/PTA only gets a really low percentage.

    My kids’ school has a read-a-thon where relatives contribute per student based on pages read or time spent reading, the kids actually read a lot, and the all the funds go to the PTA. We’ve had local authors come in and read to the kids too. There’s a party (cake, ribbons) for the kids that participated but that’s the only outlay. So much better – raises significantly more than the traditional book fair.

  44. For the reasons you are listing, our school has moved away from cookie dough/magazine sale fundraisers to either a direct donation mode or to an experience (carnival, father-daughter dance) organized by the Parent Teacher Committee (PTC). We also have companies that match employee donations to non-profits and the PTC did the paperwork to become eligible, which is how our family mostly donates. Jog-a-thon ($ per lap) is another direct donation opportunity. Not all families can afford to donate, but enough can that field trips, etc. get funded. Our school is one of few in the district that gets field trips thanks to the PTC. The PTC also funds art supplies and some math software.

    I agree that the Scholastic book fair is suboptimal but I still let each of my kids spend $5 on cheap crap. We now own a chocolate scented calculator.

  45. We now own a chocolate scented calculator.

    We still have a playing school set purchased years ago from one of those and the pointer-with-pointing-finger has somehow gotten pulled out into circulation again. Youngest son was calling it his “hot poker” and using it to poke his sister the other day.

  46. For years the book fair counted as an “experience” for my kids. Instead of choosing reading books Lego minifigure encyclopedia was chosen. In the last three years we made it to the award winning book table. However, no amount of book fairs, reading logs, books on audible have converted kid # 1 into a reader. Required reading is done and that’s about it.

  47. DS’ elementary school uses my favorite approach – once a year, make a donation to the annual fund. No other fund raisers.

    When DD started high school, we were taken aback by the number of different requests that hit – all at the start of the school year: donations to the soccer team, band, high school, athletic boosters – plus lab fee for science, some sort of fee for Spanish, fee for band (can’t remember exactly what this was – uniform?),…. But WA State is something like 42nd in education funding so I guess it’s to be expected. And there is some amount of parent support at DD’s school so that’s good.

  48. Also, Ada, I think school fundraising is a great idea for a topic!

  49. “What I have a problem with is inefficient fundraisers – a lot of the professionally organized ones seem to spend a lot on prizes for kids and flashy brochures. Sell 100 items and get an iPad!!”

    Bingo. This has been going on since I was in school back in the 1970’s. I can still remember the hucksters coming to our middle school to fire us up about winning truly crap prizes for selling truly crap puka shell necklaces. Last winter I spent an afternoon helping a friend work at a low-income school’s book fundraiser. It broke my heart to see these little kids filling out their wish lists for truly crap licensed merchandise that their families could not possibly afford. Very few of them looked at the books, which was ok because the books were overpriced and not appropriate for struggling readers. I love that Girl Scout project that Ada mentioned! Perfect thing for Totebaggers because it combines classic children’s reading with thriftiness AND charity. I could totally get into that, and would love to find someone doing that kind of project around here.

  50. “Apparently many do want to either feel like they’re financially contributing to the family, or be able to say they run their own small business, without actually making the kind of time and schedule commitment that a regular job or a ‘real’ small business would require.”

    Well, there’s also being able to get a business membership to Sam’s Club and shop during business hours.

  51. I went to a neighbor’s Wine Shop at Home party, thinking it would at least be a fun party. Not so much. We tasted 5 or 6 wines (OK, but nothing special) but had a huge list (100+) that could be ordered. By the time I ordered 2 bottles and paid for shipping (wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize it wouldn’t be delivered by the party host like most of these products) I had spent $60. Considering that I normally buy $10/bottle wine, not an experience I want to repeat. I actually really like Pampered Chef and Thirty-One products, but no one seems to sell those anymore. Everyone has moved on to R+F, H2O at Home, Jamberry, etc. Ugh, I bought a bunch of Jamberry from a friend who was starting out and never did figure out how to apply them properly. I wonder if I could re-sell them on Craigslist…

  52. “These are kids that want to get extra help, and the money from the book swap pays their fees to a summer reading program because they can’t afford the tuition.”

    What’s a summer reading program?

  53. I don’t know if the school expressly prohibits it, but there are no fund raisers for trips, uniforms, etc. The orchestra had a trip, and we were just told how much it cost, and we could decide whether or not do send our kids.

  54. Our ES does a read-a-thon, plus expected annual gift to the foundation, annual fall fair, wrapping paper sale, book fair and bi-annual auction. It’s a lot but I’ve been really pleased with DD’s experience and it beats paying for private school. The preschool our two younger ones are slated to attend in the fall has a similar load of fundraisers plus tuition.

  55. The Facebook posts come in waves and I’m quick to ignore/hind them. Some of the names listed here I have not seen, such as lularoe. I really hate it when friends or acquaintances try to sell me this stuff. Last week I was at a school event and another mom worked into her conversation (we were talking about summer plans) that she sells Stella & Dot and would not stop. She definitely is drinking the kool-aid about that brand, and I would guess this is not the first MLM product that has been ‘life-changing.’ I managed to escape her, only to have her approach me on the way out and remind me that she hosts parties. Blah!

  56. Which is not to say the school doesn’t regularly hit us up for money. There’s always a fund drive of one sort or another. One drive raised money for construction of a new middle school. After that was done, there was a drive for a new elementary school.

    The one thing I don’t get is that the drives are always focusing on cash donations. I would think that for that kind of drives, they would also be going after donations of appreciated assets, or to benefit from charitable trusts. They’re after donations of hundreds or thousands or more; if I’m going to give away that much, I would use it as an opportunity to get rid of 24 shares of stock in X company that I own due to having bought 500 shares of Y company 20 years ago, and through multiple mergers, spinoffs, splits, etc., and do not want to have to figure out the cost basis.

  57. Finn, the Carnival isn’t a fund-raiser?

    Scarlett, I had no idea puka shell necklaces were a national fad, even in places where you couldn’t make your own. Puka is Hawaiian for hole, you know, so a puka shell is a shell fragment with a hole in the middle. You could find those on the beach, but it’s much easier to find shell fragments without a hole and just drill the hole.

  58. Finn – I did buy a much better one from Amazon, same price range. The HD website showed very few (and none in my price range) available in-store.

  59. Finn – I’ve gathered from conversations here your kids go to private school. In that case I’d expect there to be a development office(r) with whom you could easily discuss the idea of appreciated securities if you’re so inclined.

  60. Fundraisers are a big deal around here. From October to March there is at least one fundraiser opportunity per weekend, often two or three. Crab feeds, generic dinner dance, costume party, casino night, golf tournament, etc, all with a silent auction. Both DH and my organizations host them, and we attend others. There are times, especially as we have gotten older when we just buy the tickets and bail on the event. Sometimes, often times, they are fun when we end up going. I am surprised at the low profit margins at the big charity galas.

    The school fundraisers that are successful focus on food. The junior high hosts a take away taco dinner that generally fund the science camp. Maybe people around here just really want someone else to make dinner.

    I agree with the scholastic book fair, overpriced books and junk that required massive volunteer hours. Glad I’m not doing that anymore.

    My middle DD’s sports team is over the top with fundraisers and there are starting to be questions about why they need to work that hard and where the money is going.

  61. HM, yes, it’s a fund-raiser, but it’s different in a number of ways:

    -While calls do go out for donations, there’s not an expectation that we’ll have to buy anything. What we spend there is typically on stuff that we want (thus the long lines for malassadas).

    -It doesn’t raise money for trips or uniforms. If there’s a school trip, the expectation is that we’ll decide whether or not to pay for our kids’ expenses. We don’t have to go out and sell anything.

    -It’s just one big event per year. We don’t get nickel-and-dimed by all the different organizations connected to school trying to raise money for this or that.

  62. About Tupperware– I didn’t know this, but apparently they’ll replace any items that have gotten ruined over time. (They may charge you shipping, but they didn’t for my first return.) A friend told me about this and I was excited to replace a couple of things whose lids had busted. They sent me the newest version of their items at no charge. I believe I sent pictures of mis-shaped pieces and the whole thing was solved with a 5 min phone call. If that helps anyone.

    I hate the MLM stuff and hide it. And I agree, a good chunk of it seems to come from friends who stay home with their kids and then realize that it’s hard to afford that here. I’ve got a couple of friends who have enough people “downstream” to make some actual money at it. One is a school teacher who does this to supplement her income. But other than one very close friend, I ignore nearly all of these requests. And if I haven’t spoken to you since high school and the first bit I hear from you is that I’m “invited” to a FB party….? Nope.

  63. HM, the carnival is also as much a bonding event as a fund raiser, perhaps even more. It’s a huge deal for the kids, and most of them, at least the younger ones, are pretty oblivious about the fundraising aspect.

  64. Tulip– how’d you get the Tupperware replacements? Do you need to go to their website?

    DW sold Tupperware for a while, way before kids. She mainly got involved so she could buy stuff at a discount. But once she started, despite not doing any marketing, she’d get calls from friends and friends of friends who wanted this or that. She sold to her friends at her cost, but based on the volume of sales she got a bunch of freebies.

    Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that their containers are very sturdy, but their lids are much less so. I think they made a design tradeoff of seal over longevity. We have a bunch of containers that are still going strong after 20+ years, but many of their lids are broken or warped.

  65. @ Milo if you are reading – my DIN task for today was to call USAA re: a ? on our car insurance. While I have them on the phone I am taking the opportunity to complain about the changes to the car buying service. I am on hold now while they are “researching the matter.”

  66. puka shell necklaces

    OMG! I forgot all about those. They were popular in 7th grade.

  67. OMG HM, the paper shell necklace is what the cool guys wore with their Shawn Cassidy haircuts when I was in middle school! We called them Puka shell necklaces, because we didn’t know any better.
    A good friend recently went into Roden & Fields and took the “always be selling” advice to heart and it about killed our friendship. I finally told her I could only be a friend, not a client, and we’re ok now. But I wonder how many friendships have been ruined by the misguided idea these groups preach to their salesforce, that they are doing their friends a favor by hounding them.

  68. HfN, the paper shells are these tiny flat discs you can find on the beach, or at least you used to be able to, so they made for a more delicate necklace than puka shells, which would be shell fragments — the tops of beachwashed cone shells maybe? — that had a hole in the top. What we called a puka shell necklace looked more like this:

  69. I haven’t thought about puka shell necklaces in forever! Yes to HFN to the Shaun Cassidy feathered hair + ps necklace – those boys thought they were so cool (and I guess the girls thought so, too!).

  70. On topic, I don’t get invited to very many of those parties anymore. I have one friend who is always up to host a party for whatever, because she likes to invite her friends over and have snacks and wine. I go if I can, but don’t feel much pressure to buy, and she usually has pretty good merchandise. I went to her Stella and Dot party and was able to get a couple of Christmas presents out of the way.

  71. Yes, the worst part about the MLM stuff is getting all excited thinking someone from the past is wanting to rekindle a friendship and then you realize that they only want to sell you beach body or similar crappy product.

  72. Finn– I called. I did this sometime last year, but I went onto the website and found one of those customer support links and just made a call. A very nice person walked me through getting the various numbers off of the items I wanted to replace, explaining what they’d send, etc. I believe I had to hang onto the old ones for 30 days in case they wanted me to mail them to the company, but no one ever asked that & I ultimately tossed them into our recycling.

  73. Svwa – not sure if you use poshmark ( an app used to sell women’s clothes shoes accessories) but I’ve seen a ton of people put their jam berry on there. I bought some as well and might have to sell it. I’m still trying to sell those stupid it works wraps I bought

  74. The one thing I don’t get is that the drives are always focusing on cash donations. I would think that for that kind of drives, they would also be going after donations of appreciated assets, or to benefit from charitable trusts. They’re after donations of hundreds or thousands or more; if I’m going to give away that much, I would use it as an opportunity to get rid of 24 shares of stock in X company that I own due to having bought 500 shares of Y company 20 years ago, and through multiple mergers, spinoffs, splits, etc., and do not want to have to figure out the cost basis.

    What makes you think there’s anyone at the school wants to try to figure it out?

    And obviously your school has higher-income demographics than ours, because I can’t imagine a school where over a third of the students qualify for free/reduced price lunch would even have the idea of stock donations in their consciousness.

  75. But if you give it away you don’t have to figure out the cash basis. Finn, I have a donor-advised fund with Everence (used to be Mennonite Mutual Aid). I transfer the stock to them, get the tax deduction for the full appreciated price, and they sell the stock and give the cash to the charity I designate. Lots of financial institutions have donor-advised funds.

  76. Finn – I’m sure they’d take your charitable trust but not for a building that they want to build now.

  77. Thanks for the genius idea to gift random appreciated securities for which I don’t have costs basis. This is the literally the only blog where that comes up in casual conversation about MLM! Trying to simplify and cleanup old legacy investments. I can think of a couple organizations that I give to that would take securities.

  78. I’m pretty sure the school has a way of accepting appreciated securities. They’ve gotten some pretty big gifts (6 figures or more) that I’m pretty sure were in that form. I’m just surprised that none of the fundraising campaigns mentioned those options.

    DD, yes, some parents are quite wealthy.

  79. Finn –

    I don’t know which school your children attend, but the one that starts with P has a button for transfer appreciated securities on its main donation webpage. Most elite private schools have this down pat. And even smaller charities such as regional cat shelters can accept stock donations – they use a clearinghouse.

  80. We get solicitation letters a couple times a year or so, and they always come with a donation form that has a couple check boxes, one for check, one for credit card. Never a mention of any other way to give.

    As I said, I’m sure they can and do accept all kinds of donations, but my point was that I’m surprised that they don’t actively promote those options, most of which are tax advantaged and facilitate larger donations.

  81. Finn,

    Are you sure you’re not just in the parents of current students bucket? Maybe the alumni and parents of alumni are getting the appreciated securities pitch?

  82. But if you give it away you don’t have to figure out the cash basis.

    I assume this was directed at me. I understand that, but whoever you give it to has to figure it out.

  83. Every solicitation we get from DS’s (now former) school mentions appreciated securities.
    They have an annual fund, a capital campaign, and the annual auction.

  84. Denver Dad – No one ever has to figure it out. When you donate appreciated securities to a qualified charity, you get to deduct the Fair Market Value and they get a stepped up to FMV cost basis on the date of receipt. Just like the step up at death for inherited securities. If a living individual makes a personal gift to another individual of securities, the recipient inherit the giver’s basis, which can go back through previous gifts.

  85. DD– My understanding is that in the case of a donation of securities, there is no need for either the donor or recipient to determine the cost basis. The donor can take a deduction of the market value at the time of the transfer.

    Of course, if it’s depreciated, then you’d want to sell, then donate the proceeds, assuming you could determine the cost basis.

  86. Are you sure you’re not just in the parents of current students bucket? Maybe the alumni and parents of alumni are getting the appreciated securities pitch?

    I think this is it. And if you have donated through the years and the end is near, at least for the religious institutions they would like to be named in the will.

  87. On the Original Topic, I believe that MLM is very popular in the heartland, as cited above with the hashtag blessed, because the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is praised for having a thriving home based business. It sounds more like an Etsy business than MLM, but essentially it is done out of the home as an extension of natural domestic work – managing fields and feeding people and making garments for the family, to help the needy, and for commercial profit. MLM can be seen as an extension of normal socializing and providing of useful products, although not made by the hands of the wife and her servants/workers, for those who are not so entrepreneurial or talented.
    I get no solicitations in person or on my facebook feed. I think I went to a couple of tupperware parties as a young mother, not Mary Kay, but New England in its outlier quirkiness has never been a prime success area for MLM.

  88. “New England in its outlier quirkiness has never been a prime success area for MLM”

    Maybe this is the reason I don’t like them! I remember moving to D.C. when I was in my early 20s and being completely perplexed that I was now forced to go to Tupperware and Longaberger basket parties because of work friends.

  89. L. You and I are such outliers that we like the weather. Most of the country is Too. Darn. Hot.

  90. Meme – I like New England weather too. I never minded winter but I wonder if I’d feel the same now after 13 years down South.

  91. Longaberger — that’s it! I never figured out what a “Longaberger basket” was.

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