On Tuesday the Grand Rapids Press reported that Quixtar had its first decline in annual sales – about 3% from $1.1 billion to $1.06 billion.* The company is, of course, nothing but a rebranding of the old Amway multi-level marketing scam, and it’s still owned by the DeVos and Van Andel clans, and it’s still locked like Amway was in a Mexican stand-off with the kingpins – those top-level distributors who exploit Quixtar’s bottom-level distributors as a captive market for the sale of motivational books, tapes, seminars, and other hype. Because these bottom-of-the-pyramid distributors of Quixtar products are in fact the company’s customers – few of them actually make any money selling the stuff to others, most end up buying Quixtar’s overpriced crap for themselves – a rollback in sales means fewer people willing to be the chumps at the bottom of the Quixtar pyramid.
Well, folks, that’s bad news for Quixtar. Suckering people into becoming new distributors is how Quixtar vacuums up the cash it needs to keep going. Like a Ponzi scheme, without a constant supply of fresh suckers, the pyramid begins to crumble. Soon it goes bust and all that’s left are the scraps. With the recent lawsuit against Quixtar going forward in U.S. district court in Missouri, the infighting has already begun between the kingpins and middle-level distributors over what’s left. Yet Steve Van Andel, chairman of Alticor Inc., the parent company of Quixtar, says the company is only taking “a little breather”.
Fortunately for Van Andel, the local rag isn’t going to challenge him on that. Once again the Grand Rapids Press is in the tank for Amway/Quixtar. Even though the news of the reversal in sales was the headline article in the Press’s business section on Tuesday, the headline was literally half the story. Next to nothing was actually reported about the decline. Most of the story simply parroted the fluff of Quixtar’s P.R. machine. The Press’s intrepid reporter on the story, Rob Kirkbride, didn’t even bother to mention the Missouri lawsuit that Quixtar fought against so desperately and in the end failed to quash. The fact that there’s a civil war taking down one the kingpin pyramids within Quixtar might explain the decline in sales, but the Press never raised the question.
To do so would have violated the prime directive of the River City players: Gotta go along to get along.
* It should be kept in mind that none of the financial information that Quixtar reports can be trusted. Like its prior incarnation as Amway, it is a closely-held corporation with no outside directors. No outsiders know the truth, which is why Amway founders Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel got away with inflating Amway’s revenues by as much as 25% over the years. Only when their financial problems caught up with Amway in the early ‘90s were they forced to put an outside director on the board of Amway to keep the books honest. That position was promptly eliminated once they successfully restructured Amway, with the assistance of the Fixer’s firm, into Alticor and Quixtar – and the outsiders were kept at bay once again.