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Wednesday,September 23,2020 02:59 AM

The promised millions, the hustle

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th July 2012 02:14 PM

It has probably happened to you before. You are in a taxi seated next to a guy in an overironed shirt and a somewhat classy necktie, who seems to be clutching at a lot of luggage.

It has probably happened to you before. You are in a taxi seated next to a guy in an overironed shirt and a somewhat classy necktie, who seems to be clutching at a lot of luggage.

BY GEORGE WABWEYO

It has probably happened to you before. You are in a taxi seated next to a guy in an overironed shirt and a somewhat classy necktie, who seems to be clutching at a lot of luggage.

He seems really tired, but is doing a good job keeping up appearances with an occasional forced smile. Out of the blue, he shoves a brochure and a magazine under your nose and amiably asks you to read. He smiles.

No, this is no insurance broker! The brochure and magazine have eye-catching photos of people on boat cruises in the Caribbean, happy Asian couples in front of mansions, smiling Mexicans in sombreros and, of course, the African smiling out of a Mercedes Benz window! “You can also be like those people, my sister,” he says.

He then launches into a series of rags-toriches stories about someone he knows, a woman in Jinja or points at another in the magazine he has given you; she has the world’s biggest smile. Big names are dropped; millionaires like Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin brand, and Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of the immensely successful book Rich Dad Poor Dad etc. Statistics on wealth-acquisition and prosperity books are also referred to.

The presentation is not only convincing, it is awardwinning. You are impressed! He has just done  this business for three months and he has  made a lot of money…well, according to him  or her. He or she is going to be rich and so can  you if you join him.

Now, like you already know, things are tight — the other day finance minister Maria Kiwanuka read the budget and it looks like we might go back to the village. But we don’t want to.

We are all looking for a break-though, trying to make it work, but, man, these times are hard. We are looking for something that works. And here this chap in the taxi has brought it. Don’t you want it? Apparently, all you have to do is buy some exotically-named supplement, drug, oil, bling bling, bio disc, or cosmetic from him, then interest others into buying the same, while building what he calls a downline.

In a nutshell, he/she has it all figured out on what you need to be a millionaire and solve your problems. You are in. Friend, welcome to the hustle world of network marketing or multi-level marketing!

Network marketing is like a pyramid system that allows a company that produces a certain product to sign up people as distributors for the said good.

Every distributor is supposed to sign up other people below him or her so that they can get percentages off the products the new recruits buy. The beat goes on to the people underneath them. So every individual who is signed up as a distributor is trying to create what is called a downline by recruiting other distributors to be under them.

The more people you have under you in your network, the more percentages you earn. The system looks amazing on paper. It is built to work. In fact, it should work. Indeed, it works in certain spheres, including some rare cases in Uganda.

It can be alluring to the corporates, who jump in so fast because they are looking for supplementary and alternative sources of income, especially when the landlords keep demanding for obscene wads of cash every month.

Network marketing provides an opportunity to make a break for it and eschew the deadend jobs. So people jump in, borrowing or using up their small savings to buy the products, some of which they cannot sell. Open sesame and you are stuck with a store full of awkward products that can’t get sold.

In a mean circle, it is suddenly you in the over-ironed shirt in a taxi, trying to give your best pitch to a totally disinterested stranger next to you! Boy, oh boy, it’s hard to even imagine some people make it in this trade.

The promised millions, the hustle

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