Sunday, July 24, 2005

Weekend encounter: MLM specialist

I was walking down the road in my usual nonchalant manner, like an unsuspecting rabbit in the urban jungle, when I thought I was being spied by a nearby greyhound. A few blocks later, the greyhound exposed himself to me with a handshake. Shivering, I accepted it.

"Pssst", he said, "Do you want to make money without doing anything?". The answer, minus the drooling tongue, popping eyes was a "I was taught that there are no free lunches".
"I will come to your house and explain it to you". Greyhounds can be very persuasive when it comes to visiting rabbits houses.

"I am very busy... I am out of town... I am on a vow of silence for the next 233 days...I am too rich already... I have a wife and a job and they are not the same...". But to no avail.

"I will meet you in a few days"

Despite dribbling appointments as best as I could, there are situations, like in the game of football, where the ball somehow manages to find its way into the goal post. The ball of his appointment found its way into the goalpost of my calendar. Score 1: 0. Soon he arrived at my home with photographs and stories of smiling people and supportive families who made it big and built an empire of just by selling toothpaste, detergents and household items to the minions (despite all the odds, he said).

With the finesse of an old car, he tried his best to show me the door. (Not exactly Matrix ishtyle," I can only show you the door". He was ready to show me the door and shove me through it. ) The door, he said, was the path to make my dreams come true. All by selling toothpaste. I never knew there was gold, diamonds and other precious gems in toothpaste. The mechanics of his scheme were as follows. Toothpaste which is brought in a few grams measure, is cheaper by the kilo. I was told "This one kilo of toothpaste is worth 2 kilos of ordinary toothpaste. I wondered what I would do with 2 kilos of toothpaste in my mouth. I am not even sure if my teeth will survive till then."
"Its not you. You have to encourage your friends to buy this toothpaste. You can encourage them to seek out alternative uses for toothpastes. Dont limit yourself to a mental block of using toothpaste for teeth. One such idea is to use toothpaste for cleaning cars."

Since I was not convinced that keeping a years supply of toothpaste in case of a nuclear attack was such a great idea, detergents were brought in. 1 spoon of this detergent is equal to a mug of the ordinary detergent. But to get the full benefit of it, I had to buy a room full of it. To use so much detergent, I would have to make my clothes dirty. My rough calculations showed that I would have to quit my job, roll in dirt for 8 hours (plus overtime) each day and change as many clothes as the heroine of a B grade bollywood movie caught in a tropical shower.

That was not all. I could chose many other things. There were dishwashers sold in enormous quantity that would clean up a whole city; another option was to clean the dishes till the polish came off. There were shampoos that I could use long after my hair bid me goodbye (it really is a USP, he said). Since I was not convinced, I was offered free motivational tapes on "How to sell more toothpaste to elephants". I was now trapped. Guns (of toothpaste and detergent) were pointed at me from all directions. There was a tank of dishwashing liquid on the other side where I sought to make my escape.

The primal instincts of my genes long laid dormant due to sitting on chairs and travelling in vehicles and not having killed to eat for a few hundred generations, collectively rose together as a sixth sense. They began to think. This was quicksand. My two bedroom hall kitchen seemed all set to be converted into an SMCG (not FMCG) godown.

Suddenly, in a moment of inspired brilliance, something that would pass off as one of the best con jobs of history ( or as a last ball winning six in cricket, golden goal in the last second in a world cup final), in a flash of light, I told him I use only Neem sticks for my teeth, areca nut for bathing and use only banana leaves for eating my food and earthern vessels for cooking. He was not convinced, even as he rummaged through his product brochure for toothpaste, detergent and dishwashing options for nature and eco friendly people as me, but he had to leave because his diamond merchant friend was waiting to give him gyan on "How to sell even more toothpaste to toothless people".

I escaped at that moment. Two missed calls which were never picked up and the power of my cell to turn into a paperweight without any signals made sure that I could escape. For good measure, I changed my cellphone number.

Thankfully, my office bag still does not have toothpaste hidden in its folds that I whip up, Matrix style and sell it to an unsuspecting fellow countryman.


Christopher Trottier said...

Those unsuspecting rabbits are the most vulnerable targets.

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