Family: Customers or Faceless Idiots.

If this is the first blog post you have ever read from me, get ready princess.  I believe all people are stupid. You will need that fact to follow along.

I don’t think that they are all stupid in all regards, but if I can find out where someone is smart, and where they are stupid, it helps me to relate to them.  I know their strengths and weaknesses. If I don’t know, I may end up taking advice from them someday about something they know nothing about. Most people would rather give advice with no knowledge than admit they were stupid or going out to search for knowledge about the topic.

Do I know about electrical wiring? Yes, I wired a basement and a garage and love the stuff but if you want advice I am not your man.

  • I have Ryan and Nathan that know more about electricity.
  • Nathan knows more than me about wood.
  • Tina knows more about accounting.
  • Vince knows more about heavy equipment.
  • Annette knows more about medicine.
  • Tamara and Barb know more about public schools.
  • Noel knows more about police services.
  • Justyne knows more about typing 200 words a minute.
  • Sheldon knows more about sales.

You see I could go on for a few hours but I want to make a point.  These people are all family members of mine (I have not changed their names to protect them, mostly because I am an ass and don’t have time… and what difference would it make with Facebook now). I suppose if this is the first post of mine you have read, you didn’t know I was an ass. You do now.

So a family member posted a complaint on Facebook about family members not supporting her home-based business… and here is the response.

Actually, here is the picture that started it all on Facebook…

support-family

There were a couple posts and I wasn’t really going to get into the meat of the issue because I have lived it.  I know what she is talking about and I agreed with the picture above wholeheartedly but I did give her this piece of advice…

went through it with Amway forever ago but I only used family to practice on… I didn’t actually want any of them to get involved… family make horrible business partners and friends. We would never treat strangers as bad as we treat family because we have this misguided notion that they will always be there no matter how we act. People are stupid.

If you don’t believe that family treat one another like crap, think about a dispute you have recently had with a spouse, sibling, child, parent, cousin; and would you treat a co-worker like that? Would you respond in kind to someone you met at the park, or someone you volunteered with? Hell no. Because they might get offended. Family has to put up with us so we treat them differently.  Ask my wife. She knows what kind of an ass I can be even though I know it and try to be less so.

So then this family member, let’s call her Barb (because her mother and friends do), posts this to Facebook…

…when people choose to go to Costco or Superstore to buy a lesser quality product for the same money that they could be buying through a direct seller or network marketer, it could be hurtful, especially if they have never even given the local seller a chance. In my 10 years in the industry, I’ve seen it with the 1000’s of members on my team…. as well as…dare I say it…with my own family. It is a fact and although “the family” may think it’s “not against them” (the seller) the seller often feels as though it is. For example, if anyone in my world drinks juice, soda or Gatorade, eats protein bars or shakes, eat vitamins or chocolate, uses energy drinks or sports gels or performance improvement aids or even uses hand cream or skin care and has NEVER asked me if there was something I had for them…then yes my dear, it IS them not supporting us. And that is just wrong. These sellers are friends and family members who are supporting their family with their business. My point is they should ASK and at least make an attempt to support the local seller. People often choose to buy from retail stores rather than supporting a local business. Family and friends who own their own direct sales or network marketing business DO own their own business. And that is just a fact. And it is sad. In 10 years that I have been doing this, I can count on one hand how many of my family members have ASKED ME if I can help them. And heck, not even a referral from them. Really? How can that not be offensive.

Now the reason I hate twitter is because I talk lots.  It is hard for me to say hello in 144 characters.  Facebook posts that look like the one above hurt my brain and I rarely read them, but this is family and I was actually interested in her thoughts… and in 8 minutes she is going to wish that I wasn’t. So here is my response in a blog post (or short story it seems).
My ADHD is going to go down another side path and get this out of the way… I love Barb.  I have all my life. She was one of my best friends growing up and I still respect her decisions and her as a person. She found a wonderful husband and had beautiful children who are seemingly growing up great.  Seemingly because I haven’t seen her twice in the past decade. Have I told her that I love her lately? No. If you are surprised you must have skipped over the part above where I said family treat family like crap… and the one about me being an ass.

This was what I wanted to reply on Facebook…

Here comes the ass in me… not as family or friend but as someone who knows absolutely nothing about your business… here are three quick observations… and these are mine even though I know that your Facebook post wasn’t probably aimed at me, we are family, so here is a response…

1. Posting stuff about Isagenix on Facebook is not informing me about your product line.

I am family, which is a mark against me in the first place, but to say that I have “NEVER asked me if there was something I had for them” is a little over the top, even for family. You need to treat your business like a business and a big business if you see it as a big business.
There is a store by my house called Uniway Computers. I am a computer geek.  There is probably stuff on their shelves that I buy other places, often online or from big box faceless corporations. If Uniway Computers could get me in their store I would probably be a customer for life, at $20 a month even, that would be $4000 or more. But have I ever walked in there just to see what they have, even though I have thought about it 20 times? No.  And I could say that about 1000 businesses that I looked at while sitting at a red light.
This is why businesses advertise and market themselves. You are your business’s top sales person. It is your primary job to show me what you have to offer, not mine to come chase you down for information.
As for your comment, “And it is sad. In 10 years that I have been doing this, I can count on one hand how many of my family members have ASKED ME if I can help them”, I have to ask, how many small local businesses have you stopped in and said, “hey, what do you guys sell here and how can I support you”? I am guessing none because that is not how businesses or people work.  If that was how your’s worked you wouldn’t be upset like this.

2. Do you want me to be a customer, a partner, or start my own business? I am confused.

You asked me for a referral, or hinted that I should have given you one but I have no idea what you do. I am a confused customer which is dangerous.
That is not entirely true because two other people have asked me about Isagenix in the past and I am truly not interested at this point in my life but at least they tried to turn me into an educated customer.  You haven’t and I accept that as partly due to our perceptions of family (see above).
You say your prices are the same, which I find hard to believe but since you have never asked me to look at the prices how would I know?
I am not bitter that you never asked me to start my own Isagenix business, or send you referrals, or even become a customer.  I am not upset that you never offered me any deals on your products or tried to help me get in shape (kind of a lost cause at this point). I am not even upset that you didn’t practice showing your business to me when you started.
But I am a little upset that you blame me. Whose business is this anyway? Does the guy at Uniway Computers hate me for not stopping in?
Now I don’t believe that Barb hates me, but I would like to put her offense in perspective.

3. What’s good for the goose…

Now I am going to tick you off… or tick you off more.
Let’s talk Amway. I love Amway as a company, an opportunity and an educational system. In the direct selling and network marketing realm I can’t think of another opportunity that touches them. The sell everything from health and wellness (how they actually started over half a century ago) to energy drinks (they claim are healthier than they crap at the corner store).
I signed up with Amway as an independent business owner back in 1991 (actually my wife forged my signature when I was working in the Yukon) and have basically never quit.  I don’t build the business as a source of income but I still use detergent, dish soap, insect repellent, etc. So it only makes sense that I buy from my own business.
I didn’t actually want any of them to get involved… family make horrible business partners and friends
I stand by that even though some family are pleasant, but I recall offering Barb the opportunity to get involved with Amway with me. It wasn’t the right fit for her at the time and I respected that decision. She didn’t choose to send me any referrals even though I asked politely and I am family and according to her quote, “that is just wrong”.
In the past 10 years, you started your own business that apparently takes care of anyone who needs “juice, soda or Gatorade, eats protein bars or shakes, eat vitamins or chocolate, uses energy drinks or sports gels or performance improvement aids or even uses hand cream or skin care”. Amway business owners can sell every single one of those products. I will be the first to tell you that they are not as cheap as the crap you get at Walmart but you get what you pay for and in the decade before she got involved with Isagenix, do you recall how many products you ordered from me?
You guessed it. I may be wrong, but I don’t recall you ever ordering a single product from “my” home-based business. There is a chance that you didn’t use detergent, dish soap, makeup, shampoo, energy bars, vitamins, toothpaste, etc. but I suspect it has more to do with human nature to treat family like shit.
Was I ever offended? Not really, but I do not get offended easily.
But before you get offended at me for reciprocating the exact same response to you, remember that I treated my business like a business… I went out of my way to inform you about my business and my products. You have not done the same.
If you think you are offended now, imagine how much you would have been had I gotten involved with one of those other people simply because they educated me about Isagenix first.
I want to leave you with a quote that I got from a very successful businessman I met many years ago (nothing to do with Amway but it sure fits)…
Take care of your business and it will take care of you. Don’t take care of your business and you will spend a lot of money on a hobby.
~Robert Kiyosaki
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2 responses to “Family: Customers or Faceless Idiots.

  1. Your points are valid. I honour your opinion and I am happy to read it. I am excited that I sparked such creativity in you that you went over your normal word count. And I do love you, too. PS: I go by Barbilee now and have for about 15 years 🙂

    • I wanted to give you the option of a little anonymity… as crappy as Facebook’s search is, it will probably find you in a search for Barbilee. *smile*

      I know that your post wasn’t aimed at me but being “family” I felt it was prudent to respond. And it felt great to talk to you again, even if it was a very one-sided conversation.

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