Funny · Israel


Is it just me or is Amway weird?

I keep having this ridiculing experiences with my best friends from Kazakhstan. We mostly laugh hysterically pretty much the entire time we spend together, but sometimes, it will become apparent that we are from two different planets.

The first time this happened, I was sitting with the entire former Soviet Block, three Kazakhs, an Uzbek, a girl from Kyrgyztan, a Turkmen, and two Russians, and the song Winds of Change came up.

This was after a fast-breaking dinner, and so people were just sitting and talking, after all the trays had been cleared away, and it became quite clear from my “what?” that I had no idea what they were talking about, making so many allusions to the lyrics of the song during the conversation, and I was very soon quite lost.

Anyway, this song is apparently a huge cultural turning point that all youth from the Soviet block countries can relate to because it came out in about 1991 and talks about the fall of Communism, and it was really a sign of the times.

I think I had vaguely heard of the Scorpions but they are nowhere near as BIG of a hit in the US and in Africa as they are in those countries, but being the only person at the table that hadn’t heard of Scorpions, they all ALL set out to prove to me that I was culturally ignorant, and so for the next twenty minutes they polled everyone in the lunchroom about prior knowledge of Scorpions, the song Winds of Change and the lyrics.

It was drawwwwwwwwwwn out! Then for the next few days I would get random emails from people saying they were told to write to me and tell me they had in fact heard of the band or the song, and I even got the MP3 a few days later.

I actually liked the song, and I even stuck it in my iTunes… :)

So tonight was a smaller scale and more discreet repeat of this situation but with Amway.

I got a spiel from everyone at the table, about the products, line, marketing technique and organization, name of the owners, etc. of Amway. I had never heard of this, but apparently it’s HUGE. I got the strangest pieces of information from these very passionate, totally sold friends of mine. How one drop of dish-washing liquid can be used for two liters of dishwater, you can bury the plastic bottles and they’ll disintegrate in two months, if you sell 10,000 dollars worth of products you become a “Diamond” and the next four generations of your children will be taken care of…

I just thought it sounded like Scientology weird, banking on greed to push products (which is the brilliant/insidious idea behind Mary Kay like self-propelled marketing, which I call Trojan horse marketing because it inserts itself in friend networks and before you know it your friends are only getting together for tupperware parties), but they were all adamant about how great it was. I had a strange feeling listening to the story being told that it sounded cult-like.

But the point is, in moments like this, I feel like an alien.


4 thoughts on “Amway

  1. Amway is weird. Amen. My parents used to do it for a while, and yes, I do like their dish detergent, but who cares. It’s still weird, and cult-like in a very Barbie way. That’s what’s scary. Cult-like in a Princess Bride way is very different from cult-like in a Barbie way, which is, in my mind, similar to cult-like in a “Handmaid’s Tale” way. If you haven’t read it, do… but it’s just a little scary. I can see how it could become reality.

  2. Hahahahaha! Amway!
    There are friends I haven’t seen in Barbados in the 2 months I’ve been here because they’ve been too busy with Amway stuff.
    Yesterday my mom was wishing we had Drifab to spray on her new talecloths. Drifab was a really cool Amway spray, you spray it on stuff and it makes it waterproof, kinda like Scotchgard, but about 15 years earlier. My mom attributed supernatural powers to Drifab, however, leaving me as a young child to walk home in the pouring rain in nothing but a nylon windbreaker sprayed with Drifab! Mom would probably still like to get her hands on some SA8 detergent. One box of that stuff lasts about 2 years, since you only need like 3 granules per wash!

    I’ve heard the song. I knew it was by the Scorpions, however, I couldn’t sing a complete line of it if my life depended on it, so I never knew what the lyrics were about, nor the associations. I’m with you, Vi :o)

  3. Hey V,

    Yep – I’ve heard Winds of Change, too. Kind of Europe’s version of Jesus Jones’ Right Here, Right Now.

    And I’m almost ashamed to admit (or I would be ashamed if I didn’t look so damned good) that I attended my first Mary Kay party recently. It is rather cultish though – as is Amway. Or more like a sorority – like Beth :)


  4. Believe me, from the inside, Amway is as weird as you think it is and more. And if you use only one drop to clean all those dishes, your dishes won’t be very clean. Most American use way too much product anyway, so just use less of anything and it will still work. I’m not saying their products weren’t any good, but they weren’t any better than what else is out there much cheaper. And there is definitely a cult aura about them.
    From a business model, it is based on inefficiency. Really poor and feeds off people’s dreams. I find that to be a base form of usery and really resent it.

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