Writing smack

First of all the ad says "Make $1200 This Week" not every week (re: "Unlimited upside!" 1/6/00). So it is my understanding that

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"I am on MY WAY to becoming a millionaire, and I am taking others with me!!"

Writing smack

First of all the ad says "Make $1200 This Week" not every week (re: "Unlimited upside!" 1/6/00). So it is my understanding that you obviously read into this wrong. Second of all, it costs $245 to get started, not $275. Third of all, all the people you heard on the recording are REAL and because you didn't care for Margaret's presentation doesn't mean you should make a final decision about Excel or write smack about this company.

I'm proudly an Excel Independent Representative and have been for four and a half years. No, I am not a millionaire nor do I make enough to [supplant] my income from my current job. But, this has freed my wife from her job so she can stay home with our children, which was a dream for both of us. Now, a lot of people think I'm crazy for doing this for over four years and you may be one of them but the neat thing is, is that I don't care any more. For, Excel keeps on paying me now month after month no matter what I do, and that puts diapers on my baby's butt. So, no matter what any one says or does to me towards rejection of this awesome company, I will NEVER QUIT because my focus is fixed and my belief is unshakable. Where's your focus: Margaret or THE GREATEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD—EXCEL COMMUNICATIONS? Be wise in your decisions and always get the facts.

JOEL THOMAS

INDEPENDENT REP. FOR EXCEL

You're out!

I received a link to "Unlimited upside!" (1/6/00) through my "upline" in Excel—a company I am currently trying to get out of. I am so impressed by Ms. Guilfoyle's representation of the company and their underhanded means of doing business that I had to send in praise. I was not as wise as Ms. Guilfoyle and I fell prey to the prospective earnings that Excel promises and the "NO SELLING" motto by which they live. My total investment was $500 and I have made all of $.67, a turnaround that I can hardly afford as a current college student.

The perspective that an Excel rep gives a prospective client/underling is merely an exercise in semantics designed to dupe the listener (most likely saddled with debt) into believing that Excel and network marketing is based on loyalty, quality, and sharing, when in reality, a new rep is peer-pressured into selling the whole package to absolutely everyone that they know (as I was—I was dead-set against selling to my friends and family). When the loved ones' loyalty is questioned because of their reluctance to join up, Excel becomes the dividing line in relationships—an "are you with me or not" situation—and ties are often broken.

And the "NO SELLING" mantra is merely a rationalization, because that's all it is—selling. In fact it's an entire organization of people driven solely by money, and all of the niceties that they train you to share with people are designed to make the reps themselves feel better about losing their souls to the pursuit of monetary gain. It is not a business for the honest, and I'm grateful to you and Ms. Guilfoyle for publishing this article. Perhaps more discussion of this business will make readers think twice about joining up with network marketing schemes. Thank you for being the first.

SAMANTHA BULLOCK

BLOOMINGTON, IN

How sad

Gentlemen: In reference to "Unlimited upside!" (1/6/00), I can see that your reporter Orianda Guilfoyle has never been involved in network marketing. Mainly by the fact that she still has to work for a living, has a cap on her salary, and is most likely living paycheck to paycheck. She probably believes that the only way she can be successful is to work for someone else the rest of her life. How sad. She should have investigated the Excel opportunity a little more thoroughly, and found out just how much more she could earn over her current salary, working just 8 to 10 hours a week! Now that we know just how ignorant Orianda is concerning network marketing, I don't believe that this article, that implies network marketing is a scam, should have been published, and could be quite libelous. I'm sure you will print a retraction.

CLAY STEPHENS

EXCEL INDEPENDENT REP.

Excel—BIGTIME!

By the way, exactly what are the guarantees in any profession (re: "Unlimited upside!" 1/6/00)? And the brochures to the college you attended, what kind of proclamations about former students and subsequent careers were included? Life is very uncertain for the majority. One thing for sure is the longer you work for any one employer the more uncertain your future can become. Downsizing is everywhere. It sounds like your evaluation was tainted by your disbelief. An unsubstantiated disbelief at that! When I research anything at all I contact more than one source for my information, I suggest you contact the school teacher who wanted to quit painting houses during the summer and wound up earning more than the CEOs of AT&T, Sprint, and MCI COMBINED. In only 11 years! The exact same opportunity was before you. But you were stricken by disbelief....too bad for you. The industry is not only legitamate, it is ingenously coming up with ways to get peoples student loans paid off before they conclude college in some instances. Even big business is recognizing the merits of network marketing. Some 100 Fortune 500 companies are employing the network marketing concept to increase their market share and even expand into other countries. I suggest that a little more research on your part might pay off BIGTIME, I am on MY WAY to becoming a millionaire, and I am taking others with me!!

JAMES THOMAS

EXCEL INDEPENDENT REP.

Get off your...butt

Orianda Guilfoyle's "Unlimited upside!" (1/6/00) is a fine example of the totally irresponsible and uninformed journalism for which this paper is notorious. In fact, the majority of your cover story entitled "Free Money" was entirely misguided and misleading. I absolutely agree that there are scams and schemes out there with no other purpose than to rip people off but, you chose to focus on some very legitimate, successful, and above all, legal, companies upon which to direct your ire for network marketing. I believe you were extremely irresponsible in your portrayal of Excel Communications and other legitimate network marketing companies. You obviously set out to slander an entire industry which you and your writers obviously know very little about.

So there is no confusion, yes, I am a representative for Excel Communications. I am also a professional vessel captain with my own yacht delivery business. I have been a rep. with Excel for almost 10 months now and am well on my way to replacing my current income with the income I make working my Excel business. I hope next time [Ms. Guilfoyle] "researches" for a story, she will actually listen to the information she is being given and report it accurately in her piece.

Although I do not know Ms. Guilfoyle personally, I assume that she is a late twenty-something that is still angry because she was duped, as was I, into believing that a liberal arts degree was going to be a valuable commodity some day. Yes, most liberal arts graduates are bitterly jealous of the MBAs and computer geeks that have become filthy rich in the last 10 years. The majority of us have been hopping from one unsatisfying job to the next with plenty of temp. work thrown into the mix, or we have become professional students, sinking farther into debt than we ever thought possible. I believe that for many of us that are not smart enough to start our own .com and make a mint off of the IPO, a legitimate network marketing opportunity might be worth considering.

I absolutely realize that network marketing is not for everybody. It takes a lot of ambition and a tremendous desire to succeed to get past all of the negative misconceptions that most people have about the industry. Even more important though, it requires an open mind and a stifled ego to at least take an unbiased and informed look at the industry in the first place.

Network marketing is not "get rich quick", and if somebody tells you it is, run the other way. It can be "get rich smart" though and tens of thousands of ordinary people in this country have proven that to be true. So, when you are ready to get off your latte laden butt, stop sniping at other's attempts to achieve their dreams, and get started realizing your own, I would suggest reading Richard Poe's book, "Wave 3: The New Era in Network Marketing." Because, if you have a desire to be financially free, the only thing that can stop you from achieving that through a legitimate and reputable network marketing company is your own self doubt and lack of ambition.

MATTHEW STEIN

VIA E-MAIL

Fefer, victim of odds

Mark Fefer's odyssey to find the source of his unsolicited ad for an arthritis cure ("Quack in my box," 1/6/00)had the simplest explanation in the last few sentences. The company sends out millions of ads every week. Given the commonness of arthritis, hundreds to thousands of arthritis patients who were recently prescribed a real, ethical arthritis drug are likely to receive an unsolicited ad purely by chance within a week or month of the prescription. Each ad recipient will likely suspect a link between the two events—a common "error of causality."

That fact does not excuse the sorry state of uncontrolled false promises being made by unscrupulous distributors. Promoters have invaded magazines and Internet discussion groups, and have duped naive reporters and editors into reporting on them as "alternatives." Reporters rarely report the real story. Seattle being a hotbed of gullibility for "alternative health," Mr. Fefer deserves credit for teaching readers to be suspicious, skeptical, and not to be taken in by health hucksters.

WALLACE SAMPSON, MD

LOS ALTOS, CA

Fefer, our hero

Thank you and much appreciation to Mark Fefer for the article "Quack in my box" (1/6/00).

I have had several offers and advertisements in the mail from GeroVita Labs. Now I really know what they are all about.

Grateful for the work Mark Fefer went through to set us straight,

IRIS DECKER

BOTHELL

Yay Amway!

I am a relatively new member of the Amway organization. I think it's a phenomenal opportunity for people to get involved in a business that can help them lead more successful lives. Your writer, BRIAN MILLER ("Inside the wonder of Amway," 1/6/00), has obviously had a begrudging experience involving the Amway opportunity. I feel it is unfortunate that some people don't see all the good it brings into people's lives. In my opinion, it's not fair to undermine the efforts of fellow citizens, who are striving to provide for their families. By publishing this article, thinking he was targeting Amway, he really hurt the people who are trying to put together their own Private Franchise. Our neighbors, friends, and family. If someone endeavors to achieve greater things in life, they should be congratulated for making an effort. This article is a real attention getter. I admire Brian for his courage and the creativeness to stir up such a controversy. But as neighbors, in this city of Seattle, we should be promoting any kind of economic venture, regardless of its nature.

I have had wonderful experiences in the Amway business. I met new friends that were ambitious and driven. I am learning many new success principles that have not only helped my business succeed, but helped my full-time career progress rapidly. I know how to make new friends and how to influence my peers. I have fun, and I have a dream. My heart is full of love for a special someone I met at one of the Amway functions. I couldn't ask to be in a better position.

Please send Brian my regards and best wishes for a successful future.

TROY CENTER

MERCER ISLAND

Boo Amway!

Kudos for your excellent portrayal of the fringe-Christian propaganda shrine called Amway ("Inside the wonder of Amway," 1/6/00). Having been in Amway from November 1990 to May of 1995, I reached the simply conclusion that MLM is a business that I do not like, do not want to do, and do not believe in. This experience is capsulized in my personal definition of multilevel marketing:

"Touted as the people's franchise, it panders to anti-intellectual believers and desperate wage slaves with its trademark fringe-conservative tribalism, low entry fees, and promises of unlimited wealth for part-time effort. Its true and actual cost, however, extends well beyond the funds invested, leading to the foreclosure of the opportunity for genuine friendships, financial growth, and the evolution of character. One is not likely to encounter another business so lacking in substance, so critically dependent upon the constant influx of unwitting new recruits, so mired in the task of constantly remotivating and reorienting those already involved, of whom only a fractional percentage will ever realize a meaningful profit."

Please withhold my signature. I do not want to end up hearing from any of these MLM wankers.

NAME WITHHELD

VIA E-MAIL

Sick individuals

Nina Shapiro's "Sick system" (1/6/00) fails to mention that not only are health care costs skyrocketing for employers, but individuals are being hard hit as well. All of the major insurance carriers stopped offering individual coverage several months ago, citing million-dollar losses on the business. Nina mentions possible solutions to the problem only in a short closing paragraph at the end of the article—a people's initiative for a "Canada-style" mandatory system called Healthcare 2000 that will presumably be filed for the 2000 election. However, she didn't mention Initiative 227, a Legislative initiative that has been refiled and is now titled I-716. This initiative would guarantee affordable health care coverage to all residents of Washington state, using our existing insurance company infrastructure. I-716 would restructure our existing system making it more efficient and cost-effective. More information is available at www.I227.com, soon to be retitled www.I617.com.

RALEIGH STITT

VIA E-MAIL

Neo-fascist system

While I agree with Nina Shapiro ("Sick system," 1/6/00) that the provision of health care in Washington is in crisis, it was wrong of her to refer to the current system as "a free market."

Health care insurance here is rarely bought by individuals. It is either provided by federal or state government directly (Medicare, Basic Health, Medicaid, et al.) or by larger employers mandated to do so. Such a co-operative arrangement between big government and big business is usually referred to as corporatism.

The diagnosis and treatment of patients is restricted by law to doctors regardless of how well or affordably physician's assistants, nurses, or other medical workers could perform those same duties. Moreover, the government restricts the number of physicians in practice by limiting the total number of MDs who are allowed to immigrate, forbidding for-profit medical education, and recently, by paying medical schools to decrease their class sizes. Such economic restrictions are usually referred to as a cartel.

Currently, a medical free market exists only in the reform proposals of the Libertarian Party, which is where Ms. Shapiro should be looking if she wants to find the antidote to the state's failing neo-fascist health care policies.

MATT MCCALLY

FORMER CHAIRMAN

LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF WASH.

SEATTLE

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