I’ve been a lurker on this blog for about six months and this is my first time writing

I love this board! It got me out of my first and only MLM within a week of finding it(the board, not the MLM!).

I had no experience with MLMs until April 22, 2015, when I got suckered into XanGo. One of the requirements to be allowed into this spectacular opportunity was to go to one of the major events within your first few months of signing up; another was to be on a two-case per month autoship ($335 a month per person – my boyfriend signed up too, but only for me. He thought it was ridiculous but indulged me sweetly anyway.) So we were getting 16 bottles of XanGo every month – there’s over $600 a month spent right there.

I won’t even mention all the CDs, DVDs, brochures I bought for the required weekly “trainings”. Of course since I’d signed up with my credit card everything was just automatically debited, so if one didn’t keep track, I can see how so many things get hidden in the bill, for example, our shipping and handling fees. We thought it would be $250 a month each, but add taxes, shipping and handling, and it was $335 each per month.

Surprise! When I signed up, XanGo only had the “specially patented for twenty years” mangosteen juice, but soon they tried to get me to pre-sign up for their mens’ and womens’vitamin line (they looked pretty much like Centrum to me, ingredient-wise)and their skin care line (only available to ME, if I sign up for autoship NOW -because I’m one of the chosen!) At least I didn’t do that. In Orlando they had professional models putting little drops of this cream called Glimpse on your fingertips. It was all very controlled and secretive. You had to wear a badge to go anywhere. The models were not allowed to say anything but their scripts. And everywhere you turned there were well-dressed men in black business suits and micro-walkie-talkies, all very important and hush-hush.

The Orlando “regional” was the only MLM major event I’ve ever been to. I still wanted to give it my best shot, but we live in the wine country in California, so Orlando, Florida is as far away from here as you can get, without leaving the States. I did ask that since they have these events all the time, why I couldn’t wait for the next one coming up in Utah, since that’s a lot closer to California.

They looked at me like my hair had just caught fire. “No”, they explained patiently to the dummy, you have to go to the NEXT ONE, and it doesn’t matter where it is. Are you in, or are you out? We are experts at this, all millionaires, so don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
Trust us, this is how everyone does it. You ALWAYS go to the next upcoming event, always, and you will be going to Utah in the fall, too. It’s not an either/or. You go to every single one! So are you coming with the winners, or going to sit at home with the losers, the wage-slaves and the dream-stealers? The losers who are on the infamous Journey of Broke? You’ve been especially chosen because you show all these rare, unique qualities. I was special!

It was a long, cramped flight; I had to spend five days away from home, and I had to share a room with three other people. I’d booked a room for myself, but then people from XanGo groups contacted me and said they’d all like to share this nice room (it was on the convention site, so easier logistically)and couldn’t afford it on their own. I felt it would be selfish of me to keep my room for myself, so I said yes (to which my husband reacted with both amazement and great glee, because he knows what a private person – okay, prima donna – I am). So now I’m sharing a room with two queen beds and one bathroom, with two complete strangers, and one guy I’d said hi to once at a local XanGo meeting.

Orlando was from May 29 – June 1, 2015. The two guys traded off sleeping on the floor, but I had to share a bed with this girl I’d never met and didn’t connect with. Then of course in the morning everyone has to be at the same XanGo rally at the same time, so four people, all new acquaintances at best, sharing one bathroom. Even in COLLEGE I had my own bathroom!

I was shocked at the whole scene. Everyone was dressed up like they were going to the opera. There was constant cheering and applause – actually I felt like I was in one of those Pentecostal rallies, like the Elmer Gantry film or what I imagine a Jimmy Swaggart show must have been like. They introduced someone named Estella Salinas, who lives in Mexico and is one of XanGo’s elite. She got the loudest cheers and gave the longest talk. She went on and on about how she’s signed up practically everyone in Mexico.

Well, we’ve had the same wonderful Mexican gardeners for years. They send what little extra they make back to their families in Mexico. If you give them a ten dollar tip they practically cry with gratitude.
They are poor! Their families are poor! So how can these people living in Mexico afford to pay XanGo $300 or more every month? I realized these bloodsuckers are selling a literally impossible dream, and preying on the weak and hopeless, giving them false hope and taking every peso they had. They won’t even have their tin shack left once Estella is through with them.

All around me people were screaming and cheering and even crying. She had a huge neon yellow powerpoint page behind her that said one word in ten foot high letters. It said NEXT! She was so proud of herself as she said that if they can’t understand what a fabulous opportunity this was for these poor starving people, they are too stupid to deserve to be rich, therefore – NEXT! It made me sick. I got up and walked out. This was around midnight. They left most of the daytime hours open for “shopping”, where I watched thousands of people stand in long lines to pay $80 for cheap sweatshirts and backpacks that said XANGO all over them.

I could go on but I’ve never posted on this board before and don’t want to be rude. Is this too long? I hope I can join in the conversation here. I love to read it – oh, that reminds me – when I got home from Orlando my husband said “How was it?” And I said, “Whoa, this isn’t what I thought it was at all.”

One of my nicknames is “the internet queen” because I spend so much time writing and researching on the internet. So I googled “Xango scam” and “MLM scam”. First I found scam.com, and then I found mlmsurvivors, and that’s the place for me! I spent a couple of days glued to my screen reading the mlmsurvivor posts, and then I called my upline guy and said I have decided I don’t want to be involved in this business after all. Thank God! And thanks to everyone who took the time to post on here and help educate people who are so disgustingly, deliberately misled by these liars. Cindy Samuelson, anyone? Maybe she’s only XanGo. But I saw her in person at a local event, and that was actually unnerving, like a Twilight Zone episode.

I love the articulate writing, that people on this board will so honestly talk about the real pain they went through, both emotionally and financially. Oh, and I admit I always look for Hal’s great posts.
I am a writer and really want to write a book about this, possibly in the style of Stud Terkel’s old book “Working”. This whole MLM scam fascinates and horrifies me and it really is my favorite subject to talk about. I saw one post where Mike Dillinger said he’s also interested in possibly writing a book or expose, so I contacted him and am hoping that maybe more people would like to get together and get this information out in the real world. I’d like there to be no MLM survivors because there would be no more MLMs! Then we could still enjoy the board and be triply satisfied because we actually put a stop to it, or at least got enough information and truth out there that it will eventually shrivel up and die. I feel this board helping everyone feel okay about themselves again after being so duped, and that’s great. I also have a desire to tell people who aren’t YET mlm survivors. Maybe a great book would have an impact on people before they get hurt, and prevent some of this from ever happening in the first place. Or is that just wishful thinking?

Thanks for reading and I hope I didn’t break any rules. PW, I did read them first, so if I did, it was an accident! I just really feel inspired to put the truth out there – what MLMs really are. I saw just a few days ago that XanGo had proudly announced they’d signed up their one millionth “business builder” (gag). So yeah, I guess there is a sucker born every minute, but I want to do my part to show the MLM’s dirty underside. How can this continue? Why are they on Oprah?

I went on Amazon Books and searched “MLM”. There are hundreds and hundreds of books on how to make money with instant approval payday loans in the fabulous world of MLM.
Maybe thousands. The Yarnells (XanGo made me buy that one, so I already had it), Randy Gage, Rich De Vos, John Kalench … all the names I’m sure everyone on these boards is familiar with.

Then I searched “MLM scam” books, and guess who the top author was? Rod Cook! Wow, does he ever have some interesting web pages. This book’s title: MLM Compensation Plans” – and its description says: “It contains secrets to understanding MLM pay plans, tricks to maximize your income, avoiding MLM pay plan traps, and how to dodge illegal pyramid schemes. It includes all MLM compensation pay plans, Network Marketing compensation pay plans, Party Plans, Internet Affiliate and Multi-Affiliate pay plans, Mortgage MLM plans and Real Estate MLM base plans. A chapter includes MLM or Network Marketing compensation pay plans to avoid that fail or pay poorly.” And he’s the guy behind the so-called MLM Watchdog site! Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice…

Oh, I’m just so interested in all this. Please forgive me if there was a word limit. Until I spent my four short months in XanGo, I knew nothing about MLM. But because I interview people and write about them for a living, I’m endlessly fascinated to hear everyone’s stories, and thank you all so much for including me in your group. I’m looking forward to any responses or comments. I hope I haven’t overstepped any boundaries.