The Putrid Pyramid

I have noticed interesting phenomena on my blog. The most popular search that brings people to my blog is “I am so depressed I can’t function.” I have one post about being depressed. Of course being Cranky, I make a joke about the whole depression thing. I am sure that the depression post is disappointing to people actually looking for real help with the depression. As a matter of fact, one reader was so angered by the whole thing; he suggested that I should go kill myself. Nice. He didn’t get the joke I guess. But I think being depressed is more highly likely now because of the crappy economy. At least that is my excuse. And the crappy economy is causing another phenomena. Formerly totally sane people are now desperately getting involved with pyramid schemes and pushing them on me with a glazed look in their eyes. And they are not just people. They are friends. Real friends. Which makes it all the more embarrassing and AWKWARD.

Like the time I met a lovely couple I know for coffee at a Starbucks in the Village and before I even took a sip of my cappuccino they had whipped out an Arbonne bag full of products and started the schpiel. “We want you to take it home. We know you’ll love it. The products are all natural. They’re made in Switzerland!” What the hell could I do? It’s all so embarrassing. What a nuisance. If you take the kit home you then have to arrange to meet again soon to give it back. What a pain in my ass. But of course Saint Cranky of Avoid Confrontation took the fucking bag home, didn’t try anything, returned it, ordered something, and then threw it away when I got it, just to get them off my back.

This is bad.

Now every time I go to the hairdresser the front desk receptionist slips me his card while I am trying to pay and tells me about his great web page where I can buy lots of products and lots of brands and get lots of discounts.  “Everyone loves a bargain, right?”  He says it every single time.  Must  have been in the training brochure.

Then last week another formerly sane friend called me. “Could you look at my new website?” she asked. Well of course I can. I’m an actress and I have probably asked you to read my blog, look at my reel, check out my web page, blah blah blah, so I am all about quid pro quo. I go to her new website and my heart sinks when I realize it is a travel club pyramid scheme. OH NO. There is a membership fee, a monthly fee and the possibility of winning dream vacations when you get others to join. The video is complete with excerpts from the loser conventions they hold with the pyramid scheme inspirational speaker and the drank the Kool Aid audience enthusiastically applauding his every word and dreaming of quitting their jobs and making six figures DOING NOTHING.

Dear God please let her not call back. Please please! Pretty please? The phone rings. My friend has turned into an unrecognizable high on enthusiasm and hope sounding person. “What was more attractive to you? The travel or the money?” “Ah, I don’t know….”I answer. “See! I knew it! They are both so great you can’t decide!” (Not really I am thinking. Cranky is a bad traveler and an even worse salesperson.) But there is no opening for me to say ANYTHING. “Wait! Wait! There is someone I want you to talk to!” And the next thing I know she has called some guy in Arizona and he starts talking to me about how he makes six figures now and all his dreams have come true. “Wouldn’t you like more time?” he asks. Ah, right now all I want is a way to figure out how the hell to end this phone call. It goes on and on. I am pacing in my living room. “Its never gonna end,” I think. “They are never going to let me off the phone. Not until I sign up. This is torture.”

Ten torturous minutes later he is telling me about this fabulous place he got to stay in in Rome. I was in Rome. I missed my dog. Aha! Dog dog dog. Bring up the dog. “Um, ah, listen, I’m sorry, I need to take my dog out. I was supposed to take her out an hour ago. Bye.” And I hang up. I know that was lame. But I couldn’t help it. I was desperate. I was losing my mind.

I’ve gotten four messages from the friend since, and I am afraid to call back. In her last message she apologized and said she was depressed and joined it because it gave her something to be hopeful about. That’s more like it. I might be ready to call her back by next week now.

Then on Thursday I was walking home from Gristedes and ran into a lovely gal I know who has a dog who plays with my dog. Neither of us had our dogs, but she came running towards me anyway. “I HAVE A NEW BUSINESS! I HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT! I WAS THINKING ABOUT YOU!” A bit more intimate then our fellow dog owner relationship warranted I thought. And then she dropped he bomb. The new business? Arbonne. ARBONNE!!!

“Look at my skin! Doesn’t it look great? I can’t believe it! Right? They’re all natural. They’re made in Switzerland.”

The whole time I am listening to this I am thinking about my dog again. Saint Cranky of Avoid Confrontation is wondering where I am going to walk the dog now.

12 Responses to “The Putrid Pyramid”

  1. 1 January 11, 2013 at 6:17 am

    “The Putrid Pyramid Cranky Actress Blog” was a remarkable posting, can’t
    wait to read through even more of your blog posts. Time to spend a little time on the
    internet haha. I appreciate it -Matthias

  2. 3 Nez July 18, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I found this post by searching for “depressed by my friend in pyramid scheme”, and I have to say, your writing is dead on. And I am not feeling any better (except for the cynical bit that’s laughing at your cynical humor)… My friend is now in 3 of these companies at once. Sigh. She’s been a good friend, not just an acquaintance. I’ve tried to be supportive for the first two of these, but the third one is jumping the shark. I think an intervention would just piss her off, and not dissuade her a bit. Do I just wait for her to declare bankruptcy, or what? Argh.

    • 4 nycactress July 18, 2012 at 3:34 am

      Dear dear Nez – There is nothing you can do because in the beginning pyramid people are on a high. It’s so weird-like they will not shut up about it and are glassy eyed and nutso. Just be busy for a while and give it a few weeks for her to realize it is total crap and she will never say a word about it again

      • 5 Nez July 19, 2012 at 12:30 am

        Thanks, Cranky. You are right. There’s nothing I can do. I don’t like the way these orgs prey on people’s hope, but there is no rescuing someone from themselves. If she wants to hope to be the 1/2 of a % who profit, she can. And I’d be happy for her if she did. I’d cheer her on.

        I’ve thrown up a few red flags, asked a few tough questions, and told her the new stuff irritates my skin. Which it did. I even looked up the ingredients so I could tell her why I think that is. So my due diligence as a friend is done, she is armed when she gets those questions (or rashes) from the next person, and all I can do is tell her I don’t want any but I believe in her and I’m confident she can be successful at whatever she chooses to do. Then later she can say she just didn’t really have her heart in it, and she’s off the hook. No failure that way, just that she “moved on”.

        I wish I had some humor to offer here! But I do feel better. It’d be cool if I was way wrong on this and she gets a trip to Cancun.


        Thanks again.

  3. 6 Toronto Actress January 20, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Hello! New reader here. I hope it gives you some comfort that I happened upon your blog by Googling “Actress Blog! 🙂

  4. 7 Mel January 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Oh my, I stumbled here from another blog, and found this post riveting. I’ve had three friends come after me with the Arbonne glazed look in their eye. One went on an Acai berry in wine bottles bent for a while too. Another started selling those dehydrated fruit and vegetable pills. A different one decided to get her realtor’s license right before the economy tanked.

    I did not want to pretend to be glamorous or happy paying into the pyramid scheme for someone else to get rich, which is as likely as winning the lotto in my brain. But I tried to be nice about it. I tried to find a nice way to say the acai wine tastes like shit, the pills stuck in my throat and gave me indigestion, my kids hated them, I threw away my money. But the Arbonne mania made me nuttiest of all, because the first time they invited me to a wine dinner to meet new friends – thank my lucky stars I found out what it was before I went and had a psychotic episode. I tried to tell all of them the samples were nice, but not my thing. AND my husband is a formulation chemist, he can make any of that in the kitchen if he wanted to. I just couldn’t buy into the bullshit. But man, they were relentless. I don’t think they forgive me for not drinking the koolaid, but neither are they admitting they got ripped off by Arbonne themselves.

    AND, I have no intention of moving until my kids are finished school, so thanks for the real estate listings in my Christmas card.

    The economy is depressed, I understand. But I’m depressed knowing I cannot save it myself or pay into my “friends” dreams of making it big selling the next greatest thing since Tupperware. I have this rule about mixing business with friends or family, since it is a relationship killer. I should just get cards made up.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble so, I just have never read a blog that hit this sad nail so exactly on the head. I look forward to reading your older posts in my unemployed spare time. Nice to meet you.

  5. 10 Norman Rogers January 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    That is some seriously entertaining stuff. Thank you for putting all of that together.

  6. 12 Jess the Actress December 21, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Wonderful writing! 🙂 It doesn’t matter to them if you say so don’t want anything or say you’re not interested. Just tell them, I’ve already tried and it’s not for me. 😉

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