If Desserts Were Sold Via Multilayer Marketing
WAITRESS: Can I get anything else for you folks this evening?
CUSTOMER: We’d like to order some dessert, please.
WAITRESS: Certainly. Your friend Bob said that you might be interested in some of our dessert offerings.
BOB: Hi, guys.
CUSTOMER: Hi, Bob... uh, what are you doing here?
BOB: I’m getting into the dessert business. This is my trainer, I’m just learning the ropes here. I’ve been with the company for fifteen minutes! I’m really excited about this great opportunity! We help people! I’m really excited!
CUSTOMER: The “dessert business?”
WAITRESS: Thanks for introducing me to these great friends of yours, Bob. Now go away.
BOB: I’ll just sit over here in the corner and learn. I’m really excited!
WAITRESS: Let me ask you folks a few questions. What matters to you most? Work? Family? Spiritual values? Do you hate your job? Would you like to work for a Christian company? Do you worry that your kids aren’t getting enough good Christian dessert from people who love their jobs helping people enjoy good Christian desserts?
CUSTOMER: We just want to order some dessert.
WAITRESS: I hear you, I hear you. You know, we like to help hungry people. They are everywhere, did you know that? 99% of the people you know are hungry. And we really like it when people who were hungry—and who have sampled our desserts and really liked them—like to come on board with our company to help us help other hungry people like our desserts and help even more other people like our desserts. Too.
WAITRESS: We’re owned by Beatrice, a major food conglomerate in the Fortune 500, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with stockholders from many prestigious mutual funds.
CUSTOMER: O....kay. Does this have anything to do with the dessert menu?
WAITRESS: Here’s what I want you to do. Give me a check for $199 so I can train you. Then come up with six friends who might also like to review our dessert menu. I’ll go to their tables with you and help you present the options to them. You can earn money by selling our desserts to your friends and family. It’s incredibly easy!
CUSTOMER: So is this, like, a commission deal?
WAITRESS: Well, yes. While you’re in training, I’ll get your commissions. But after that, you’ll be licensed to sell our desserts and recruit other dessert representatives to start building your own organization. And there will be plenty of helpful training materials you need to buy while you’re learning and training meetings to attend every Saturday.
CUSTOMER: So when I’m done with the training I’ll be, like, a pastry chef?
WAITRESS: No, no, no. Somebody else will do all of the work—creating the recipes, cooking the dessert, and delivering them to the client’s table. We have an extensive infrastructure that’ll take care of all the real work for you. All you have to do is introduce people to our dessert menu and pressure them to introduce you to other people you can show the dessert menu to, with every available moment of your spare time.
CUSTOMER: What if they screw it up?
WAITRESS: Don’t worry, they won’t. We’ve never had problems with health inspectors.
CUSTOMER: How do I know that?
WAITRESS: Because I say so, and so does everyone else who works for our company.
CUSTOMER: If they do screw up and the desserts turn out to be crappy and people get sick, can I buy my pastries somewhere else?
WAITRESS: No. If you join our company, you can only sell desserts from our affiliated bakeries. And if you leave our company, according to your contract you can’t recommend any desserts to your friends at all, even though the state would say that your license entitles you to sell any desserts anywhere to anyone you like. Only we can continue to offer dessert to your friends and family members. But that’s okay, because our menu has lots of great options on it.
CUSTOMER: Wow, these desserts are outrageously overpriced! And it looks like they’re all cheesecakes.
WAITRESS: Price is only an issue in the absence of value. Ours is better than anything else. Just look at that delicious cheesecake! With a color picture and everything!
CUSTOMER: There seems to be some nutritional information missing here.
WAITRESS: Many desserts are marketed on the basis of calories, carbohydrates, and fat content. But those numbers can be very misleading and lead uninformed consumers to make bad dessert decisions. We've translated everything into BTUs to keep it simple for your dessert planning.
CUSTOMER: That doesn’t make any sense.
WAITRESS: Sure it does! JUST LOOK AT THIS DELICIOUS CHEESECAKE!
CUSTOMER: What if somebody doesn’t like cheesecake?
WAITRESS: We don’t offer desserts for stupid people. We only sell cheesecake. It’s a waste of money to order anything else.
CUSTOMER: What if somebody is diabetic and can’t eat cheesecake?
WAITRESS: Boy, you sure ask a lot of questions. So let me ask you one—why would you waste your whole life eating something other than cheesecake? At the end, what have you got to show for it?
CUSTOMER: What have you got to show for a lifetime of eating overpriced cheesecake?
WAITRESS: See, this is the wrong attitude. I’m sorry, but I don’t think our desserts are right for you.
CUSTOMER: Good thing, too.
WAITRESS: Bob, your friends suck. You’d better start buying some cheesecake.
BOB: I’m really excited!