They come in all shapes and sizes, from around the country and the globe. There are youngsters just out of high school to senior citizens trying to enjoy the twilight of their lives. Destination? Utah. Their business? Multi-level marketing.
Pyramid schemes and somehow they always make it to my club.
In the plus/negative list of Utah, the biggest negative is the locals supporting multi-level marketing and embracing the idiots who pursue this nefarious line of work. It’s work in the same sense of a mobster running a protection racquet or a tapeworm living in one’s lower intestine. It is the lure of easy money and a comfortable schedule. The promise is extra income in one’s spare time and this lazy, half-hearted approach to making a living unfortunately appeals to too many of our citizens.
Their products are absolute garbage. Vitamins, herbal oils, cleaning products or make-ups sold essentially door-to-door with the help of friends and family. They don’t sell anything you can’t get at a big box store or offer a service not provided in the community. The reason why Target works is because it has everything one might need for the household but these chuckleheads approach their products not just as vitamins et al. but a new way of life.
The people at the top are pimps selling dreams that no one could ever hope to obtain. The people at the bottom are sheep that don’t have the common sense of a drunken seagull to recognize what an enormous time suck multi-level marketing composes. Selfish, greedy and overwhelmingly stupid, all parts of that gluttonous pyramid are what the terrorist hate about us.
I see the cult of personality every time this travelling circus of idiots come to town. The captains of whatever crap they are selling rent out a big hall at the Salt Palace and host motivational talks to rally the troops. Goebbels-like, I can only imagine the crowd spread out on their folding chairs chanting along to the “Yes I can sell and yes I will make a change in my life and yes I will kick up a 35% vig to the next level because mien führer you are taking me out of my decent 2 bedroom townhouse to a split level in Sonoma Arizona.”
And for the record, Arizona sucks. I say we give it back to Mexico and take Baja California as the new 50th state. Think about it…you’re not initially against this idea. We’ll give them Phoenix and we’ll get Tijuana back on path as being a cool city. More fish tacos and beach front property and less of the a-holes that think living in a convection oven is a good idea.
Fed a steady diet of empty calories ranging from the price of the speaker’s wristwatch to the private school the speaker’s kids go to, the ravenousness audience is released into the SLC wilderness. Their heads filled with idealistic dreams about future boob jobs for wives and lift kits for their trucks, this buffoons take their excitement to the only place in Utah that can handle that kind of energy—Keys On Main.
Nothing says preying on your friends and family like having a big pep talk of a meeting and heading to a dueling piano bar for drinks and continued euphoria from egomaniacal blowhards. They come in with a self of entitlement reserved for professional NBA players or Justin Bieber.
SIDENOTE: Isn’t it time we pull Bieber’s work visa for this country? That guy is a train wreck. Not only is he beating guys up in bars and peeing in mop buckets, the dumbass is under 21! Since Reagan bumped the minimum drinking age to 21, I don’t know of a club or bar that can legally let that guy in. His antics have reached a fever pitch and somebody needs to stop this dillweed from bringing this country down. Let him be the toast of Canada and the king of Europe but keep that turkey out of this country. We talk about tighter borders with our friends to the South, maybe we should put a noose to that punk teenager and stop him from making money in this country. Worked for Al Capone. Once again, you’re not initially against this idea.
Multi-levelers creep into the bar and decided that the first person they should try their sales pitch out on is your beloved narrator. I am an affable and very handsome man behind the bar—some say too good looking not to do a little side work as a model or too charming not to have a drive time radio show—and I welcome meeting new people with my chiseled body and diamond cutting jawline with a head of hair that makes Robin Thicke weep. They tend to know what they want but are always hung up on prices. They drink what they think they should pay for not what they want. Fortunately, most of them drink the nectar of the ‘tard, Coors Light [see the first 160 blog posts regarding my thoughts on Coors Light and the kind of people that drink it].
Instead of ordering as if they have been in a bar, they want to give me a geography lesson and tell me what kind of liquor laws they have back in whatever Podunk town they are from. When I am abroad, I tell people I am from Nevada and living here in Salt Lake only as an aside. It is never the defining characteristic about me—some say my thick, luxurious beard and winning smile is my defining characteristic, others say it’s the fact that I care too much or that I am too vigorous of a lover—but where I grew up or where I live is never the end all be all of being Ben Raskin. In fact, I am more concerned about not stumping the bartender and monopolizing his time. If the thought ever crosses your mind that you might be wasting the bartender’s time, I guarantee you are.
But they don’t care because they are vicious narcissists and nary give a thought to others. In the end, this is the most telling part of people who participate in multi-level marketing: they care only about enriching themselves and rarely care about others. Selling crap that might have health benefits is secondary only to the scorched earth policy of making money for themselves.
And when they get that money, they hang on to it like a fat man with a bucket of chili-cheese fries. Tipping is a city in China because my club chooses not to have a 1:1 ratio of bartenders per customer. The best is when they think they can out maneuver me when I am behind the bar. Now, when I am in civilian clothes walking the street or hanging around my front porch, I am a born again sucker for anything. Put me behind a bar, I have almost 15-years of experience verbally joisting and have a black belt in bar babbling where they are merely the young grasshopper trying to figure out what hand the pebble is in.
Where I might buy a tube of oil that can give my supple skin even more natural glow when I am away from the bar, while I am slinging drinks I have no fear in telling you what to drink and what to pay me. Think I am wrong? Please, please, please come visit me on a Thursday. We are trying to pay off a kitchen remodel and I need the money.
I’m grateful that people come into the bar and every now and then, I come across a group or an individual that I like that participates in multi-level marketing. The problem is that I have such a low opinion of participants of that line of work that I can never respect even the folks that are not egregious to me. I think a little more early education and avoiding taking shortcuts later in life could end multi-level marketing in 30-years. It has to be extinguished through a generational shift. Essentially, we need to make sure these people don’t reproduce and raise sluffer kids because I don’t need my kids pouring drinks for the carnival of idiots that multi-level marketing brings under their tent.
Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Podcast as soon as this remodel is done. Ask him to tell the story about the knucklehead from California drinking Heinekens who didn’t have enough money to cover the bill.