If you are a woman online over the age of 25, you've likely wondered how you should respond to your friend's multi-level marketing program (MLM) sales pitch. Because, undoubtably, a friend (or more likely an acquaintance) has messaged you out of the blue to tell you that the latest picture you posted of your baby was so cute... and oh, by the way, they've started a new business. Only it isn't really their business. You don't want to hurt their feelings, but you also want nothing to do with this and OMG why is this so awkward?!
Don't worry. I'm here to help. There's actually a very easy way to get out of this. If you ever find yourself face to face with an MLM sales or recruitment pitch, simply say the following:
"No, thank you. I'm not interested, but good luck!"
This right here is going to get you through a solid 95% of MLM pitches. Because the vast majority of folks who get involved with them are kind, reasonable people who understand that this just isn't for everyone. You can't blame them for trying! Or, hey, maybe you are interested in the product but not in joining a sales team, in which case: go for it! I'm not saying that all the products are, across the board, of poor quality.
But the data on MLMs as a business model, at least for those at the lower levels, is pretty grim. Most lower-level recruits will quit within a year, and 95% will quit within 10, according to a report from the Consumer Awareness Institute and the Federal Trade Commission. This is probably because the same study shows that 99% of all of them will lose money. So, honestly, in a lot of cases, even with the more peskier representatives who don't accept your polite "no thanks," you can probably just play the waiting game.
But for the 5% of people who refuse to take no for an answer — and usually these are the people you don't know that well whom you rarely talk to — those people give everyone else a bad name and they have relinquished their right to a snark-free response.
So if you're ever feeling stuck in a high pressure sales situation, feel free to go ahead and whip out some of these:
For Fitness & Weight Loss Pitches
"Can I just sign up to be the 'Before' picture and then you can photo shop my head on an Olsen twin's body?"
"How about, though, instead of weight loss shakes, I just drink several milkshakes a day? That would probably work, right?"
"Can I get down to my birth weight on this program? I'm not talking about my weight before I had a baby. I'm talking about my birth weight. I was 9 pounds 11 ounces. What plans do you have for that?"
Just stare, unblinking, while eating a cookie the size of your face.
For Nails Pitches
"Do you have any Wolverine claw ones? I really want to be able to fight mutant villains with my nails and none of the salons near me will do that for me."
*hold up chipped manicure, jagged nails, and chewed up cuticles*
"What are you saying...?"
For Essential Oils Pitches
"I'll take a lavender and a citrus medley and... do you have any snake oil in there?"
"Oooh! Perfect! Because I love both aromatherapy and specious medical claims! Like remember when everyone was terrified of Ebola and some companies said oils could prevent Ebola? Classic! The only thing more invigorating than the smell of peppermint is using misinformed fear to make money!"
For Skincare Pitches
"Which one of these masks will make me young forever?"
"Fantastic. I have a mirror on the wall who has been telling me some extremely distressing information about my step-daughter, so it's this or sending her into the woods to be murdered."
"Based on the price of this anti-wrinkle cream I'm going to go ahead and assume this was made with virgin's blood. Are the virgins ethically sourced? That's important to me."
For Makeup Pitches
*applying lipstick from nose to chin*
"Oooh yeah! This is great! I'm gorgeous."
"Do you have any fake lashes in there? Because I've always wanted lashes that look like tarantulas are attacking my eyeballs."
For Vitamin & Weight Loss Supplements Pitches
"Which one of these will give me the strength of 10 men? Because that's really all I've ever wanted."
"On a scale of the Dumb and Dumber bathroom scene to Bridesmaids dress shop scene, just how much will I sh*t myself if I take this?"
*take a sip*
"Mmmmm! You can really taste the lack of FDA regulation!"
For Kitchen Supply Pitches
*Crocodile Dundee voice*
"That's not a knife! *take out machete* "That's a knife!"
*hit someone over the head with it repeatedly*
"Not the mama! Not the mama!" ('90s kids will get this, cuz we're real and we know how good that show was.)
"I love this Dutch Oven! Let me just call my mortgage lender to see what refinancing options are available on my home and then maybe, in a few months, I'll have saved enough for a down payment."
For Clothing Pitches
"Yes! The only thing I love more than overpriced pants with no return policy is not being able to try them on first!"
"Sure! Oh, wait. Are you wearing their items now? Oh. No thank you, then."
For Sex Toy Pitches
"Do you have something that looks like Jason Momoa? It's... for a friend. As a joke. Yes, a funny, funny joke! Ha ha ha. But for real, do you? Also don't tell anyone."
"Oh cool! Buying intimate products from an acquaintance isn't weird at all! I love it so much."
Wear a monocle and let it drop when they pitch you so that you look extra super scandalized. Don't forget to sputter indignantly. If you can get out a, "Well I never!" then all the better.