Pyramids of Thailand
It's admirable when Thai ladies try to be financially independent and entrepreneurial, but when I hear the words, “I’m going to a seminar today" my heart sinks. I just know there is a new pyramid scheme in town.
All advice lands on deaf ears, go by all means but whatever you do, don't part with any money or sign anything.
Thailand would appear to be a haven for these companies, who probably have outstayed their welcome in the west and left a trail of disappointing agents in financial strife, but on the plus side they will never run short on quality detergents, or hair restoring shampoo, rejuvenating moisturiser, slimming tea and now slimming coffee. How does that work, I wonder?
It must be a painful reminder every time they try to negotiate their way through the boxes piled high in their hallway or spare room.
So why hasn't the bad press spread about these pyramid outfits? Many have been operating in Thailand for some time.
Surely if every agent at the bottom of the pyramid were to be in possession of the promised Lamborghini then everyone would beat a path to their door if it were so easy?
I would imagine loss of face plays an important part, for to admit that you have been had over by the evangelic rhetoric and polished promotions conducted in 5-star hotel conference rooms or flashy glass office buildings in downtown Bangkok would make anyone feel foolish, but probably more so the Thais.
No doubt those at the top of the pyramid have had genuine success in selling the dream, the Ferraris and Lambos are conspicuously parked by the front door to the offices for all to aspire to.
I have no doubt that these introduction seminars are nothing short of brain washing sessions as people are locked in to a conference room for hours at a time, and as a friend confided in me they were held prisoner until dawn.
Speakers would take it in turns to bamboozle the audience about some miracle product and how could they even contemplate not living without it? The secret miracle ingredient of Korean snail shit that according to the spiel has been clinically proven and endorsed by the world’s leading research dermatologists, guaranteed to make every woman appear 20 years younger overnight…why wouldn't you buy into the dream? I for one would buy wholesale quantities if they promised to let me out, just to go home to bed. I'd sign up my senile old mum just to escape.
I was introduced to the Bangkok representative of one particular company, a very smart Thai-Chinese lady, by a friend who was beyond saving. She had been thoroughly indoctrinated. This lady was responsible for recruiting people to agents.
After a few pleasantries we retired to her office and she tried to give me the hard sell. I was curious. I half expected to be shackled under a bright light and subjected to water boarding until I signed up.
I was disappointed when she started out on that old well worn cliché about aspiring to having more leisure time and to retire early stinking rich etc. My reply was that I had all the leisure time I needed and yes, I also retired early (albeit not stinking rich), but I didn't tell her that.
And why would I want a Ferrari when I have a perfectly good, serviceable Ford Fiesta?
Proceedings quickly came to a close when she detected my cynicism, lest I should place any doubt in the mind of my companion sitting in, with a quick pep talk in Thai to my friend, probably advising her to sever all ties with me, we were ushered out in to the street.
My friend was furious. I'd caused her to lose face to her hi-so mentor. She was beyond all reasoning and could not see the scam at all. And now, after getting into debt and having a stockpile of beauty products that could be bought at a fraction of the price in Watsons or Boots, she is still in denial! Should Thai people be allowed to be fair game and exploited by these unscrupulous operators? Where are the regulators that should be scrutinizing the work practices and unethical methods employed by them to dupe the unsuspecting public into their scam. As far as being an agent for any of these companies, it’s a sure-fire way of being ostracized by family and friends as their modus operandi is not only to flog them stuff they don't really want but to recruit them as agents under their fledgling pyramid scheme, and that’s usually when it collapses in on itself.
If you have been brainwashed into believing that there is an un-tapped market in Thailand for mashed snail to rub on your face then you'll stop at nothing to be that number one diamond sales person. You will be paraded out in front of other deluded members to a rapturous applause to be awarded the golden snail for putting Isaan villagers into even more debt, and let there be no doubt about the importance of skin whitening…if you want to move up in the world.
I remember some years back when an Australian set himself up in the UK marketing a slimming tea, a tea that presumably makes you lose weight. How would that work, I wonder? Did he infuse it with amphetamines? Obviously not because it did not work as claimed and was just a mash of assorted herbs. Needless to say he was called in by the regulating body to explain but was unable to attend said meeting as he had done a runner back to Brisbane. I don't even know if Thailand has any consumer protection or regulatory body which would put all the snake oil merchants and their products under scrutiny, but then the public would have to make complaints to warrant such protection from a government body, and if they had lost face due to perceived failure of their lofty ambitions they may wish to remain silent and thereby allowing the unhindered scams to continue. So, gentlemen, if your wife, teerak or mia noi has any notion of attending any seminars be afraid, be very afraid! After all, it’s your money at risk. Chock dee!