Multi-level marketing schemes are somewhat of a joke these days on the internet. Countless comedians spoof how someone you went to high school with ultimately ends up at the mercy of a pyramid scheme, and tries so hard to get you involved.
Sometimes your own parents try to rope you in, as Redditor 6425-766437 found out when his mom kept trying to bring him into one. He harshly rebuked her after it happened over and over and over again.
After his mom got upset, he turned to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback from objective strangers on if he completely crossed the line:
“AITA for telling my mother to stop trying to scam me?”
Our original poster, or OP, and his mom are in a contentious conflict about the scheme she is involved in.
“My mom (42) is in an MLM and has made that pretty much her whole life, second only to her religion.”
“She’s invested in a pyramid scheme company called ‘Asea’. Their main product is this ‘super-drink’ that’s supposed to help whatever ails you. Muscle pain? Gone. Heartburn? Extinguished. Cancer? Shrunk.”
“There’s actual testimonies on the cancer part. No alluding to any other chemo or anything. Didn’t say it sped it up, just that it was the sole healer. Just wtf.”
“There’s only three ingredients: Water, Chloride, and Salt. It tastes like literal pool water. I call it God-In-A-Bottle.”
“I know, don’t knock it until you try it, so at my mother’s request, I gave it a try, twice. For a month each, I took the instructions word by word daily and.. nothing. Not a single change.”
OP has been subject to this MLM for quite some time.
“So onto the conflict: My mother has fed into EVERYTHING they’ve told her. She’s obsessed, it’s f**king insane.”
“She buys their drinks, their lotions, their powders, attends classes, goes to conferences, local area groups, has bumper stickers, business cards, she even donated a large amount to put up a fucking billboard in our small country town.”
“I wouldn’t care if she kept me out of it, but it’s every other day with her. If I say I’m a bit sore from the gym, she hands me a bottle of cream. Headache? Drink. Tired? Drink. Rash? Cream.”
“I once broke out into hives all over my body due to an allergy. Her solution? *Just slap some cream on it!* It’s like she’s completely forgotten conventional medicine exists! She’s basically one of those ~essential oils only~ moms.”
And then when his mom tried to get him involved as a seller, it really backfired.
“My breaking point: Today, I came home to an ASEA labeled package with my name on it. Whatever, she does this all the time, buys me drinks but ends up drinking them herself. Not today.”
“No no no, it was a lot heavier than normal. I came in with the box (because I knew she would’ve yelled at me if I didn’t) and she made me open it. She was excited, like I was a 5 year old opening the Christmas gift she got me. Well, guess what was inside.”
“A f**king starter kit for new sellers. I flipped my lid as soon as I saw it. I slid it towards her and started shouting about how I don’t want to sell her miracle juice and how she needs to stop trying to push her scam onto me.”
“I want nothing to do with that company and I’ve made it clear many times before. I just don’t care. I don’t care what she does with it. If she wants to waste her money and time, go ahead.”
His mom got very upset.
“She started crying as I left, taking a drive. It was understandable, I had never shouted at her like that, but I just snapped.”
“I had clearly expressed my complete disinterest in ASEA many many times and she’s blatantly ignored that many times.”
“I understand she wants to include me in her hobbies/’job,’ but the way she’s going on about it is, in my eyes, toxic.”
“As I said, I had never snapped like that and, in turn, I’d never seen her cry like that, not because of me.”
“As a result, I feel terrible, but I’m still upset and need some outside perspective.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
People understood, easily, why OP snapped at his mom.
“NTA. Please make sure she didn’t order you the starter kit with your bank details. Check to make sure she didn’t sign you up for any auto shipping and as a consultant whatsoever.”
“Also. If you have any screenshots of the health claims. You can send them to the FTC and Florida AG Its super illegal to make unsubstantiated health claims and MLMs LOVE to do it.”-slubbin_trashcat
“NTA. You can also report them to the FDA for false health claims. Especially if they have it in their labelling, but even if the post it ANYWHERE it’s illegal as f**k to make claims like that.”
“With claims that it cure cancer the FDA will be on that like smoke on a fire. And there’s nothing like an FDA audit with auditors digging for things to write them up for.”
“Source: work in the pharmaceutical industry and have had to assist in some rough FDA audits.”-ladyphedre
“I would normally say that E.S.H. because you really didn’t need to shout and make Mom cry, BUT…”
“You really DID need to shout because Mom clearly wasn’t listening to anything you had previously said on the matter.”
“Let everything cool down and tell Mom you’re sorry that you had to yell, and that you didn’t mean to make her cry, but that you meant what you said.”
“I wish you both well. Good luck. NTA”-TammyinOh
“NTA. This is like a double dog dare of deceit. It’s an MLM and it’s a bullshit product like essential oils.”
“The product does nothing. It’s garbage marketed in pretty colors and letters. Yeah, they have testimonials.”
“Frank, the janitor who knows all of 6 words of English took a sip and said ‘good sh*t’ in broken English and the marketers said ‘print it!!'”
“These companies are evil. Pure f**king evil. They act like a cult and really reel people in. I’m sorry your mom is caught up in them.”-TheManDownTheHall
MLMs prey on the weak willed and the lost in order to make money:
“F**king NTA my dude. As someone whose family members shoved MLM stuff on me instead of actual medical care to try to treat my autism and other disorders…”
“These companies are the absolute scum of the earth and shame on your mom for trying to push that stuff on you after you’ve said no SEVERAL times.”
“MLMs function very much like cults according to Steven Hassan’s BITE model and I am so very sorry your mom got caught up in one. I’d recommend a restraining or no contact order if she doesn’t stop.”-passerine_crypt
“NTA. Honestly unless your leeching off her as an adult with no other prospects for jobs I see absolutely no reason her actions aren’t inappropriate.”
“Without your consent she’s given this company your information and probably signed consent forms on your behalf saying you’ll sell their products.”
“That’s completely inappropriate to do to anyone else. You’ve made it clear multiple times you don’t want to drink the cool-aid here.”
“She can keep tossing you weak pool water after the gym if she wants but this is way too far. Yeah, you feel bad for making her cry.”
“It’s a bad feeling, but so it having your information sold to a pyramid scheme and having your feelings on it blatantly ignored.”-xeyexofxautumnx
“NTA – You need to continue to draw a boundary and to defend it, even when it’s difficult, even when she uses tears to manipulate you.”
“I hate to say it, but I could imagine her getting you financially involved thinking it was for your own good.”
“Does she have access to your bank account? Your credit cards? Beyond that, you don’t say your age, but I’d think about how to get out off the house and get your own place. None of this means you love her any less, just that you won’t let yourself be drawn into her cult.”-bklynpeter
“NTA my neighbor also sells from an MLM (Mary Kay) and is really freaking pushy, would NOT take no for an answer.”
“I finally had to just get really rude (which I hate doing) to make her leave me the hell alone.”
“She acts like I’m the bad guy in that situation but frankly I don’t care anymore. I’m so done with her trying to force me into being a seller for her.”
“MLM’s should be banned imo.”-FarmerTex
And OP has to save himself.
“NTA. While some will probably say you didn’t need to shout at her, everyone also has a breaking point & it seems you reached yours.”
“You can only take so much of feeling ignored before it finally comes to a head & comes out somehow, & this unfortunately happened in your frustration boiling over.”
“It really sucks that she’s trying to rope you into that scam & won’t respect boundaries. Also have you tried the r/antimlm sub?”
“They have a lot of good resources on how to talk with people involved in MLM scams & resources on how to try & help them. Good luck, I hope she wises it up to it before it bleeds her dry financially.”-randythecompman
“NTA. Watch your bank and CC accounts like a HAWK. Also, freeze your credit.”
“I hate to say it but I’ve seen MLMs absolutely destroy families, the one in the MLM gets sucked in hardcore and amasses tons of debt, will sign up and order things under friends’ and family members’ names without their knowledge, etc.”-angrygnomes58
“NTA, I think you earned the right to blow up. You can still apologise for yelling but be firm that you meant what you said, you are NOT getting involved in this and she was 100% wrong to sign you up. Her dependency is not yours.”
“I would check to make sure she hasn’t signed you up for other stuff, or used your SSN, bank details etc.”
“Also contact these people and ensure they don’t retain, use or sell your details as per data protection regulations, however that works where you are.”-RepresentativeOwl518
“NTA OP, you have to protect yourself from pyramid schemes and if that means to be harsh, so be it! I had a roommate who tried to include me in the pyramid scheme business she was into and I even attended one of their events.”
“Dear God people there seemed to be possessed! This girl was making like 150-200 euros a month and was deeply convinced if she worked hard enough she could make real money and be financially secure.”
“She was obsessed with ‘natural supplements.’ Supplements were the solution to everything according to her, just to give an example she was eating at McDonalds like 3-4 times per week, then she gobbled a bunch of pills and oh magic!”
“Everything’s perfect now! It was her mother who introduced her in the scheme and they tried to get me on board too, but after that event my gut told me RUN.”
“Luckily we were just roommates so at the end of the year I blocked her and her mum.”
“She’s a nice person this story aside and I wasn’t happy about this blunt decision but the situation was toxic and dangerous.”
“Also as other Redditors have pointed out make sure your mum didn’t give out your bank details!!”-ResolveDisastrous256
Hopefully OP and his mom can actually come to terms, and mom can escape the clutches of this scheme.
Only then can the relationship truly heal.