I’m an aisle person where seating is concerned. Never put me in the middle seat of an airplane. That’s only happened once and it’ll never happen again.
In church, I plop down on the outside of a pew; same thing in a restaurant booth. If it’s a meeting I’m attending, a chair at the back of the room is always taken for obvious reasons. No, it doesn’t have to do with OAB.
I view the rear of an auditorium as the perfect place to launch an escape. If a long-winded speaker rambles on and on I want to be able to bail. My aisle-seat-fetish if you can call it that began many years ago.
Jack was a fellow I worked with. He was a nice enough guy. We had a good working relationship and nothing more.
After a year of being my co-worker, Jack started asking me financial questions like,
“How’d you like to be financially independent, Mike?”
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have enough money to share with family and donate to those in need?”
“Have you ever dreamed about a different lifestyle and didn’t know how to achieve it?
In all reality, I hadn’t given much thought to any of his inquiries. I was quite happy where I was.
These type questions went on for some time, with Jack often trying to get me to attend what he called a ‘non-committal financial meeting’. I generally fabricated valid reasons to turn him down, until one day he popped this question on me,
“Wouldn’t you like to know that that your wife and kids would be financially taken care of should you suddenly die?”
What responsible husband could say no to that.
“Sure.”, was my reply.
Before I realized it he’d lassoed me in to attending a seminar.
I told Jack I’d meet him at the building where it was being held, yet he insisted on picking me up. I should’ve sensed something was up at that point but didn’t.
When we arrived at the Sydney Laurence Auditorium, there were hundreds of other people waiting in line.
It seemed everyone knew this guy. Many walked over and shook his hand. Jack then politely introduced them to me. Most of the folks were dressed for success.
I was led to a seat in the middle of a row, smack-dab center of the room. There were perhaps twenty chairs on each side. Why Jack chose this location I didn’t know at the time. Evidently he’d been taught early on where to place visitors. Once again my antennas should’ve went up yet they remained down.
The meeting started with an announcer thanking everyone for coming. After his short message, an infomercial began playing on a large screen.
A younger man in the video was seated at a table in the rear of a mansion next to a swimming pool. Palm trees dotted the property. This individual began telling his life history.
Paul (not sure of the real name) was a husband/father with several kids working two jobs. The struggling dad could barely make ends meet where income was concerned. He was in debt with no visible way out.
Someone at Paul’s place of employment introduced him to something called multi-level-marketing. That was the day his life changed for the better.
Throughout the video I kept hearing a sound akin to air escaping from a hose. I glanced around spotting people spraying something into their mouths. It seemed that everyone was doing it. Jack leaned over and told me it was breath freshener. He handed me a small aerosol can.
I wanted to get up and head for the restroom but couldn’t. That was evidently part of Jack’s overall plan. Had I been able to escape I would’ve intentionally stayed gone until the brainwashing was over.
The video ended with a menage of photographs. They showed Paul, his wife and kids, plus dog, in front of a private jet, vacationing at exotic places, along with plenty of shots of his spectacular oceanfront home. Paul’s final statement to the audience was,
“Amway changed my life and it can change yours as well!”
The attendees stood and clapped. I joined them not wanting to look out of place.
On the way home Jack asked if I’d like to be part of the Amway team. To get started all I needed to invest was $100.00 for a startup kit. I politely told him,
After several more months of badgering I finally gave him the money hoping that’d end the nightmare. Unfortunately, it only got worse. I was invited to various AMWAY product demonstration seminars. They seemed to take place every week. Jack called me every night at home including constantly hounding me at work.
One seminar featured the breath freshener that folks were huffing during that video. Jack said they’d only been on the market a short time. Closely examining a can, I noticed that the percent of alcohol was quite high. I chuckled to myself thinking that was the main reason Amway people used it.
As time went on I stopped going to the seminars. The sample products from my kit were almost gone and I was glad not to refill them. I was left with a lone bottle of LOC. It was supposedly a concentrated detergent. I could have cared less!
Jack claimed there was no better product for cleaning clothes than L.O.C. A small bottle cost as much as three boxes of powder detergent. Several weeks later Jack and I came to odds, when I informed him that Tide did a much better job on cleaning my clothes than L.O.C ever could. That deeply hurt his feelings.
My insult of an AMWAY product sealed the deal on him expecting me to be on his team. I was elated.
Jack moved on, using his energy to try and persuade a friend of mine, Dee, to join his pyramid scheme. Jack told Dee that a person reaching the level of platinum in AMWAY could make millions. Dee was much smarter than me in quickly getting Jack off his back. Dee told the fellow that he was already there. Jack could only laugh.
The next morning Dee walked in to the break-room carrying a crystal AMWAY Platinum trophy. Jack wanted to know where he got it? The award was evidently like a Holy Grail of Amway sales.
“I’m living the dream!”, was Dee’s reply.
Dee didn’t tell him that the award belonged to a friend and that the guy had loaned it to him.
My pal kept this bogus trophy on his desk just to rub it in. Jack thought it was totally uncouth what Dee did, and he didn’t hold back on expressing his feelings.
Jack left the state soon afterwards. The last I heard he was living in a huge house in Aspen, Colorado. Evidently, he’d obtained his dream without Dee’s help or mine.
On Jack’s journey to financial independence he discovered that not all of us share the same vision. Just how many people he drove away in the process is merely a guess.
I still have that bottle of L.O.C. Perhaps some day I’ll actually try it 🙂