The man’s business comprised almost half of my dad’s income. You’d think my dad would be immune to Amway, given his familiarity with advertising’s insidious ways. If you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished so far in your life, don’t be. Helmstetter credits the practice of ‘dreambuilding’ as a central reason why Amway is so successful.
Dreambuilding is more than wishful thinking, Cross explains.
We were ‘Directs’ going ‘Diamond.’ We ‘showed The Plan’ to anyone who listened. We drove to the yacht dealer and toured the Princesses and the Prestiges, lying on cabin beds and ascending the wooden stairs to stand on pulpits, gazing toward imagined horizons. It is the biggest direct-selling company in the world. When a child goes outside, he brings other kids out.
We drove our teal ’88 Oldsmobile Delta to the Bayou Club Estates for our requisite ‘dreambuilding’ and toured the brand-new houses: big mansions with tall, echoing ceilings and screened-in pools, shiny state-of-the-art kitchens, garages big enough for three Mercedes, a golf course in the back, vanity mirrors and crystal fixtures in every bathroom. In 2015, its parent company, Alticor, claimed transglobal sales of $9.5 billion.
We visualized, yes – but then we went one step further and . The Plan and The Business were our brick and our mortar. It has a wrap-around granite countertop, stainless steel appliances, beige tile and smoke-colored grout.
I do a spin to peer into the breakfast nook, decorated with gauzy floral curtains and a chandelier.
* Four years after joining Amway, my parents came to their senses. Once considered the highest Pin Level – above Silver, Gold, Platinum, Ruby, Pearl, Sapphire and Emerald – Diamond status was what I had craved. After all, less than 1 percent of Amway distributors go Diamond. This house has two stories, an office and a loft, bamboo floors, a three-car garage, a pool. She has French-tipped nails, diamond rings on all fingers, and a gold-and-diamond necklace. ‘And unless you don’t love your children, you don’t let them play on the golf course because they’ll be golf ball magnets.’ My husband chuckles. ‘It’s not a hundred percent safe because if somebody wanted to come through Bardmoor, hop that fence in the middle of the night, and intrude on your house, nothing’s going to stop them.
‘You can see we’re getting the screens fixed,’ the Realtor says, pointing to the men working beyond the glass. She wears a white semi sheer shirt, black-and-white-printed leisure pants, black eyeliner and heavy mascara. That gate out front is not going to stop them.’ ‘It’s hardly even a gate,’ I say. ‘They might steal your jewelry, but they’re not stealing any big items.’ ‘It has the illusion of security,’ says my husband. If you’re happy with what you have, you haven’t dreamed, says Amway. Nothing was wrong with our life before Amway – we didn’t join it to fill a void.
The rest is as saccharine as you would expect: good American boys working hard to make their dreams come true – an adventure full of family values and sturdy bootstraps with which one can pull himself up.
It begins with the heartwarming story of their first joint business venture, running a pilot school, then segues into a comedy-of-errors trip on a sailboat – a typical masculine coming-of-age experience rooted in good old-fashioned American values like cooperation, perseverance, and leadership.