Amway is not a pyramid scheme. The idea is to recruit people to take part in the selling of Amway products so everyone makes money in a trickle-up effect. The products, as you can see on their website here, are normal, household things you use every day. They sell toilet paper, kitchen items, soap, beauty aids, perfume, containers—products that are part of our daily lives that we use without thinking. By that logic, we don’t care where we buy them from.
Amway isn’t a scam. It’s operating in a market niche and taking advantage of an opportunity. Unlike Bernie Madoff, there is an actual product exchanging hands and not phantom numbers pulled out of someone’s rear end with fake documentation to “prove” it’s real, dancing ahead of the authorities and regulators knowing that it will eventually come crashing down.
With Amway, because the individual selling the products is technically engaged in a business of his or her own, the money they make is contingent on how much they sell. In turn, the people they bring in also have to sell, and so on and so on. Rather than a pyramid scheme or a Ponzi scheme, it’s more to the tune of, “Hey, you’re buying soap anyway, so why don’t you buy it from me?” Those who are more successful at it are able to sell to a wider expanse of people through various networks of social media, websites, family, friends and people they meet on the street. If one is capable of walking up to strangers and talking them into joining with the lure of “we’ll all make money” through the exponential strength of acquaintances and family agreeing to buy these goods, the more money they’ll make with Amway.
It’s not a cult where you can’t leave; it’s not straddling the line of propriety. It’s more of an exchange and cajoling. If a person begins an Amway business, the concept is that he or she is going to buy the things from Amway that they would normally purchase at the supermarket or drug store and they’re going to encourage others to buy them as well.
The Mets have allowed Amway to put a storefront at Citi Field. It’s not illegal. It’s not even unethical. It’s a business deal that is being used as a cudgel to beat on the Mets because it’s a trendy thing to do and it draws a lot of attention when it happens. If you’d like to ridicule the Mets for trading R.A. Dickey; for teasing their fans with the possibility of getting a mid-level free agent like Michael Bourn and then, again, finishing second in the chase (to the Indians no less); for the litany of embarrassments that have happened to them over the years through their fault and through circumstance, go right ahead. But for entering into a deal with Amway? Is this any worse than MLB’s deals with beer companies or McDonald’s? For the extortion-like fees people have to pay to park their cars at the ballpark? For the endless marketing of overpriced, disposable junk directed at children and forcing parents to spend money they might not have? For making an afternoon at the ballpark an outing that will cost $400?
Those saying it “looks bad” don’t know anything about the way Amway runs its business. They’re hearing whispers from the media and eye-rolling of the “here we go again” variety because it’s the Mets. For that reason, it’s a story and a new foundation for laughter. Amway is a legitimate business and there’s nothing wrong with the Mets entering into a deal with them.