Many years ago I worked in a downtown restaurant. Fresh out of college and armed with a degree I thought, “Yes. Let’s waitress.” I worked with many wonderful people whom I’m still rather fond of. There was really only one person who I didn’t particularly care for. It was fine because we had the same job cocktail waitressing and with a place that small there was never a need for more than one of us. She was never very nice to me and I can only assume it’s because I was better at the job and made so much more money. It fits a pattern. People who don’t like me are usually jealous. I covered her shift once and she asked me the next day how I did.

“Good!” I said.

“No. How did you do?”

I guess I didn’t quite understand. “Um….good?”

“How much did you make?”

I didn’t know the etiquette or how rude this was. So I answered. “$300.”

“WHAT?!” she barked before walking away in a huff. I told one of the bartenders later and he said, “If she ever asks what you made again, double it to piss her off.”

“She was pissed off enough without me doubling it,” I responded.

Anyway, fast forward nearly 15 years. I know what you’re thinking. Who would let me be a cocktail waitress at the ripe old age of 12? Well, I got a Facebook message from this woman.

“Hey Erin! It’s been a long time! Hope you are well! I hear you are doing amazing!”

It seemed odd. As I said, we never got along. We weren’t even friends on Facebook. Then I got to the point of her message.

“I hope you don’t mind me messaging you, but I wanted to see if you were interested in this product I have recently been introduced to…”

I read the rest of the message and will spare you from repeating it as I am sure you’ve all received many messages like this.

Bitch is tryna sell me some shit.

It’s not a NEW craze but it is becoming increasingly annoying. It’s called mid-level marketing. Or MLM if you’re fucking hip. Everyone has a different definition of what this is. But here’s mine: mid-level marketing is pyramid schemes for unimaginative people who may or may not be stay-at-home moms to sell crap to their friends so they feel less embarrassed about the fact that they were duped into buying this shit in the first place.

Here’s the thing. I appreciate your moxie. I’m constantly selling shit. (Myself. I’m selling myself.) So I get the grind. I get what it takes. And good on you for trying to make a buck without taking off your Ugg slippers.

But guess what? Your whole approach is so insulting. Your whole sales pitch borders on gaslighting. Think about it. You’re reaching to old friends (or even enemies) to tell them they could stand to benefit from eye creams and weight loss supplements.

“Hey, Amber! I know we haven’t spoken since high school, but girl, your face looks like shit. I mean aren’t we the same age? Because you look old AF. But don’t worry. I got this stuff for you to put on your eye bags and it’s like magic. Just look at my airbrushed Insta photo. Also, if you sell eight jars of this to your ugly friends then you get your jar for free! What?! I KNOW, RIGHT!?!? I’m sure you’re surprised I’m offering you such an incredible deal since we literally never spoke while in school together, but I am! Because this eye cream also makes me super generous. Anyway TTYS!”

In my standup, I tend to joke about my weight even though I am pretty self-confident. I don’t think of myself as fat. Naïve maybe, but not fat. Like most women, I have days where I poke at myself in the mirror and cringe. So it’s easy to make fun of. My weight also fluctuates a bit. I’m like the white, poor Oprah. Anyway, I was having one of my “skinny” phases and decided to try a joke about losing weight. I even turned to the side and pretended to hide behind the mic stand because I had lost four pounds. Hilarious.

After the show, a woman came up to me. She said, “You were so funny. Let me give you my card!” Normally when someone wants to give you a card it’s because they want to do business with you in some capacity. Usually in the show business capacity. Not this time! Her card said, “It Works!”

“It Works” is basically mentholated saran wrap that you put around your stomach or thighs and it’s supposed to magically shrink your trouble areas. No diet or exercise. Just smelly cellophane. Amazing, right? Here’s the thing: I knew it DIDN’T work. I also couldn’t imagine why the one time I use a skinny joke some woman gives me this card. Lastly, she was a large woman, which begs to question, “Who does IT work for?”

I’ve gotten messages from new acquaintances trying to sell shake powders or vitamins, or some beach body bullshit. Unless you HAVE a beach body, what makes you think you can sell this? I can SEE you. I could be your ‘after’ picture. Sell that shit somewhere else.

And don’t get my started on the body positivity train. I love that women are celebrating different body types and supporting one another in this way. But wait for a woman to ask for support. When you just try and include someone in your “big girl” campaign, you may think you’re being friendly and inclusive, but what you’re really doing is CALLING ME FAT!

Go ahead and defend any of this. Maybe I’m too sensitive. But what it all boils down to is if you think I could benefit from an anti-aging serum or a pink drink, you’re saying it’s because I don’t look alright.

Besides I’m already taking essential oils for all of these things so stay the fuck out of my inbox.

  1. Roger O Green says

    You are SO correct. Friends or associates, even family members, giving me an “opportunity” to make money. Except that it would involve me preying on MY friends, et al. as they preyed upon me. No, thanks anyway.
    BTW., as a business librarian, I learned MLM as multi-level marketing.

  2. John says

    So is this where I leave my agway link?

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