Amway, Hamburgers and Freemasons

I am running out of space at the bottom of our garden next to the swimming pool filter-box. You see, that is where I bury the bodies of all friends and associates who have tried to con me into joining their Amway scams.

Many years ago, a former friend whose remains now fertilise a beautiful rose bush, lead me on a tale of cunning and deceit matched only by those Jason Bourne movies. All questions I posed about this mysterious meeting we were to have with an acquaintance of hers were met with the most carefully scripted replies. Had the CIA flown in under cover of darkness and zipped her off to Guantanamo Bay for endless weeks of interrogation, they would have been no wiser than I was and would have ended up at the only place worse than Guantanamo Bay – an Amway meeting.

I had asked my careful questions because the evasive answers about the nature and purpose of a meeting at a stranger’s house, at night, during the week, struck me as suspicious. I was a student at the time and could simply have been lured there with the promise of a free beer, but warnings sounded by my father immediately sprang to mind.

“Never trust Amway or hamburgers, son.”

“Why, what is wrong with them?” I had asked.

“Both are shrouded in secrecy. You’ll never meet a person that has actually been successful with Amway and you’ll never know what meat goes into a hamburger,” he replied. “And anyway, I don’t trust any organisation that doesn’t allow women to be members.”

“Isn’t that the masons, Dad?”

“Well then, them as well, son” he replied emphatically.

My father has still never eaten a hamburger in his entire life, something that those Guinness World Record people might want to take note of, because even starving Azerbaijani’s have eaten a hamburger discarded by a passing American at some point. I have resoundingly overcome any sage advice against fast-food, but recently bumped into soldiers of the Amway contingent again. I thought they had all but vanished, but it seems that much like smallpox, there are dark corners of the world where they go to hide for a few years before finding a foothold and popping up again.

Quite apart from the creative and mysterious approach that the Shamway disciples use to lure you into their cult, and the blind loyalty they show to over-priced products, their selling point seems to be largely based on quality of product. Their toothpaste / shampoo / tile cleaner is apparently so superior to any other product on the market that you need only to waft the fumes about your house and person to be perfectly clean and shinier than a Hollywood actor’s teeth.

The reality is that none of us is prepared to believe this. The entire concept is contradictory to our inherent human need to clean the floor only once. There is not a chance that I am using the tiniest capful of magic ointment to clean the entire house, only to find that I have essentially smeared the dirt around the house without cleaning a damn thing. Human nature requires that we rather use a sensible amount and get the job done properly first time around. And that reality blows the entire principle of superior products clean out the window.

So, all that you are left with, is the most expensive box of household products in the world, ostensibly created exclusively for the use of its disciples and inaccessible to mere mortals.  Surely, you ask yourself, if their toilet bowl-cleaner smelling of freshly cut Swiss meadows is vastly superior to the products available to the millions of non-disciples, the best way for Amway to make lots of money would be to sell it to the mass market in huge grocery chains around the world? Not out of a car-boot in the parking lot on the second Tuesday after every full moon?

Anyway, freshly cut grass makes me sneeze. Which is why I shall bury the latest body and plant a hydrangea on top of it, rather than grass.

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