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Fake It 'Til You Make It
by Phil Kerns, 1982

Dedicated to Victoria,
who has always been an inspiration in my life

Introduction
Distributor Levels in The World of Amway, 1982
Chapter 1 - The Dream
Chapter 2 - Getting Started
Chapter 3 - Ain't It Great?
Chapter 4 - Behind the Curtain
Chapter 5 - Enough Is Enough!
Chapter 6 - Free At Last
Chapter 7 - The Investigation
Chapter 8 - Genuine Treasures
Chapter 9 - The Complaint
Chapter 10 - The Truck Driver
Chapter 11 - The Odds for Success
Chapter 12 - The Broad Way, The Narrow Way and Now Amway

Note: This was originally on Scott Larsen's Business Analysis of the Quixtar Amway Opportunity, an active site. I mirrored this book because it was published either when or just before I was introduced to "the business."

The only changes made to this have been HTML- and CSS-based, with navigational aides, the occasional <em> and <strong> added in by myself, and expansion of the level listings below.


Introduction

This incredible story is true. These pages unfold well-guarded secrets of Amway Corporation's "Winner's Circle." It is an account of over one million distributors, many of whom are considered to be carbon copies of the corporation's curators, Jay VanAndel and Rich DeVos. The sheer numbers of this group draw politicians like Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Jesse Helms. This massive worldwide corporation has over the years become a haven for professional singers and motion picture stars. It has not been uncommon for pastors, evangelists and gospel singers to trade their humble flocks for sheep of a different kind.

Amway has been frequently called a "rags to riches" corporation, which was pulled up by its bootstraps in 1959 and now in 1982 proudly exceeds the $1.4 billion mark in retail sales. Although impressions of the mechanics of the company will be described from time to time, the focal point of the story is directed towards the distributors themselves and the Amway Distributors Association of America, a separate non-profit entity. The issue in this book is not the Corporation and not SOAP, but rather distributors who have a mission and a hope, a dream. Their mission is to sponsor others and their hope and dream is to build a financial empire. To many of the distributors, no price is too great to pay in order to achieve this mission and this dream. One will discover in reading through these pages that there is indeed, a price to be paid--to a "hidden" business carefully concealed behind the infrastructure of Amway's hierarchy. It is a multi-million dollar enterprise, cleverly designed and fueled by excitement and hero worship.

Some have said that this "ghost" system of "non-Amway" produced materials has created a massive surge of grabby avariciousness from many of the top leaders, much more today than ever before. Other distributors complain that this selfishness is destroying the credibility of their own businesses, and they feel that if this display of outlandish coveting continues, it may inevitably destroy their own personal enterprises.

The complaints I have heard are endless. They include everything from outright lying to prospective distributors to even exalting leaders as prophets of God. I have compiled reams of information and interviewed hundreds of distributors all across the nation and abroad concerning Amway's distributor organization.

Th is story would not have been possible without the courageous and outspoken contributions made by people in Amway, some of whom are mentioned within the pages of this book. Some of these individuals, today, are still Amway distributors operating successful businesses! They have vehemently protested the cult-like tactics used by certain leaders in Amway. In their official complaints, they have cited harassment, character assassination and religious fanaticism--all of these tactics used to peddle huge volumes of products not related to Amway.

This book also contains my own personal experiences in the Amway business. Included is my association and subsequent recruitment by two of Amway's most highly acclaimed distributors. The names of these distributors and others have been concealed.

Places and characteristics also have been changed. If you see names of famous persons you recognize, it is because they are peripheral and not key in nature. My full intention in writing this book is not to tear down but rather to help open the eyes of many persons who are being deceived.

Therefore, I believe it is justifiable to say that this is not a "classic mudraker." Instead it is two years of carefully documented affidavits, letters, notes and tape recordings uncovering this mysterious and very lucrative "ghost" system within Amway's legitimate enterprise.

In Amway's own Corporate Compendium an unusual question is asked in bold italics, "is Amway a Religious or Political Cult?" Never before have I seen such a question in any corporate literature. Could it be that they too, are beginning to feel the stress of a distributorship organization out of control, thereby possibly apologizing for the actions of those within its very own ranks?

This is mystery. It was designed to be a valuable spiritual handbook to assist you in making a more objective decision--whether you are already in the ranks or considering subscription to this organization.

Phil Kerns

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Distributor Levels in The World of Amway, 1982
(with notes of present day changes):

Distributor:

Any person (or couple) legally authorized by Amway to sell products found in the Amway catalogs. To gain authorization one simply buys the business kit; to renew one's distributorship one must sign and return the proper paperwork (known as an Intent To Continue).

The levels at which recognition (in the form of lapels) happens are at 1000, 2500, 4000 and 7500pv.

Direct Distributor:

A distributor who has developed enough sales below him to achieve 7500 Point Value (PV). At this level, the distributor is now able to order direct from Amway.

Until September 1999, there were four different Direct levels:

  • Silver (one month at or over 7500 PV),
  • Gold (three months straight at or over 7500 PV, I'm guessing),
  • Profit Sharing (PSD) (six months straight at or over 7500 PV) and
  • Founders (one year at or over 7500 PV, again a guess).

On September 1999, when Quixtar was "started," they consolidated the four Direct levels into the Platinum designation.

Ruby:

A Direct Distributor who has achieved 15,000 PV.

Pearl:

A Direct Distributor who has sponsored 3 Direct Distributors, with the proviso that at least one of the directs has not (yet) become a Profit Sharing Direct (PSD). This level was replaced (in September 1999, it appears) by the Sapphire level, which requires the creation of two Ruby directs.

Emerald:

A Direct Distributor with three PSDs under him.
It is interesting to note that today one can (seemingly) become an Emerald without becoming a Sapphire (One could even become a Crown Ambassador without becoming a Sapphire, although such an event would rightly be considered suspicious).

Diamond:

A Direct Distributor with six PSDs under him.
This is considered the ultimate goal for Amway distributors, as this is where the big money is supposed to come in.

Executive Diamond:

A Direct Distributor with nine PSDs under him.
This designation seems to be the orphan of distributor levels, as you almost never hear anyone designated as such. You hear all about Diamonds, Double Diamonds, the occasional Triple Diamond, Crown and Crown Ambassador; but never of Executive Diamonds. One has to wonder whether there's a mechanism at that level that either holds people down or immediately turns them into Double Diamonds.

Double Diamond:

A Direct Distributor with twelve PSDs under him.

Triple Diamond:

A Direct Distributor with fifteen PSDs under him.

Crown:

A Direct Distributor with eighteen PSDs under him.

Crown Ambassador:

A Direct Distributor with twenty PSDs under him.
Twenty seems to be the de facto upper limit of PSDs that one can break for two reasons:

  1. The designation requirement breaks the pattern of threes started with the Emerald level and held onto until "Crown."
  2. Crown Ambassador seems to has been the highest defined achievement level for 20+ years.

Of course, this may be an arbitrary upper limit of recognition created by DeVos and Van Andel. After all you can't just keep seeking new recruits; at some point you HAVE to learn to enjoy them beaches.

Go here for a fuller list of terms used in the world of Amway


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Chapter 1: THE DREAM

Return to the Amway/Quixtar Memory Hole
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