How to lose your sense and friends – MLM

I have this friend of more than 10 years together with her twin sister. They were the famous “Boonlay twin towers” during the great old volleyball days.

Many years ago, Peiyun asked me out to catch up. She suddenly told me she had a talk to attend and requested me to accompany her. We reached the place near Hong Lim Park very soon (that was the reason for her to pick our original meeting place) and to my disgust, it was a MLM talk. She then told me her brother had joined and she was still considering. I was very traumatised by the speaker and the devoted (like a cult) audience that I left the room. Peiyun’s friends who were outside had a conversation with me and I was told that she had already joined the MLM company. Then, I realised it was a trick to lead me there, in the hope of persuading me to join. I pretended nothing had happened (she had conned me) after that.

Recently, Peiyun started contacting me again to offer to give me “free software” for my company because she wanted to “help a friend”. I knew it was not so simple and managed to dig out the fact that she was working in a company that was tapping into free government grants like PIC and ICV. I finally agreed to catch up with her to meet her and another entrepreneur whom Peiyun claimed might help me in my photography. I did not take up her offer for the “free software”. The meeting wasn’t bad.

Not long later, she contacted me to meet up urgently but refused to tell me what it was. I turned her down. Days later, she contacted me again and told me she had quit her job to start a new company with a friend. Then she told me she needed a photographer to cover an important event for her new company. She then tempted me with a second event and told me to meet up for discussion for future photography services. Eventually, she changed the appointments with me many times at the very last minute.

It was only until one busy day for me, she contacted me in the late afternoon and proposed to come over to my place instead. Late at night, she came over to Bugis to meet me after I parted with my friend. She led me to a table at the McDonald’s where a man was sitting at and I initially thought she was just sharing table with a man who was trying to be friendly. It took me minutes of her meaningless introduction for me to finally realise that guy was her partner and that was a little creepy. At that time, she was passing me over to him and that was how I could confirm his status. He started doing a presentation to me on his laptop and I thought he was just trying to explain about their business so that I could judge whether if I wanted to collaborate with them for my photography services, which she had claimed. That guy was weird and soon, I realised he was trying to sell me something instead of getting my photography services. When I took a glance at Peiyun, she was nodding like she was doped and that was very scary. On one of the Powerpoint slides, I could see “World Ventures” at the top right corner and then I confirmed it was totally a scam by Peiyun to trick me down for sales talk. It was the second time I was conned by her and this time was a more terrible one-on-one hard selling and not a “mass lecture” that I could escape immediately.

I didn’t expose her immediately until she suddenly asked me how did I feel (about the MLM scheme) and none of them would have expected me to say “I’m feeling very uncomfortable”. Of course, none of them was intelligent to know I was more uncomfortable about being conned to meet up with them. The guy (I didn’t know his name) closed his laptop immediately and said that was no point carrying on, and I thanked him (for stopping his bullshit) which he likely didn’t know why. We stood up and I was clapping inside my heart. However, I realised it was just his tactic and he didn’t plan to end his hard selling. He started to lecture me for giving up the opportunity. He talked about me being selfish for not wanting to bring my parents overseas for holidays and give them good life. He talked about me not able to start a family. In his harsh tone that he was trying to scare me into giving in, he claimed he wasn’t angry but was simply feeling sad for me. As he continued to lecture me, he also tapped my trolley, which made me even more comfortable. We probably stood there for around 10 minutes or longer for him to end his miserable night of failing to con another guy into joining them. It was a relief for me finally that I didn’t have to smell his bad breath (he was likely a smoker).

Peiyun has taught me well not to trust any friend too much, especially someone with a bad track record and only approaches me when she has a selfish agenda, which she twists the fact that it would benefit me. Well, I could have started a $10,000 photography course that would benefit all the participants and does it mean she has to sign up? Eventually, I’ve learned to lose such “friend”. Hopefully she would not ever try to contact me again even though I have already blocked her.

One scary thing that I have noticed is the evolution of MLM tactics. In the past, they would use freebies to trick people down to listen to their sales talk. Then, they learned to get friends to “accompany them” down for talks/seminars. Eventually, more people are being tricked and aware of their tactics and thus refusing to waste their time for “meet-up”. They start resorting to con businessmen to meet-up to discuss about the businessmen’s products/services but the meet-up is only about their MLM scheme.

Not all MLM schemes are scams but many MLM “players” are scammers. Of course, they would claim they aren’t MLM because of some internal structures. _|_