Saturday, 28 July 2012


What was your first exposure to multi-level marketing? Mine happened when Wayne, a blind friend from Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind phoned me one afternoon in July of 1975.

After catching up on our post-Jericho experiences, Wayne piqued my interest with a question. "Would you like to make extra money?" When I said yes, he explained, "I represent a cosmetic company called Holiday Magic. We help people start their own businesses with products that customers need all the time."

After Wayne described how I could earn money from home and make as much as I wanted, he invited me to the Edmonton office of Holiday Magic where trained professionals would demonstrate their merchandise for free. Since Wayne was a friend and he assured me that the company sold products for men as well as women, I decided to accept his offer.

Outside the store front office, the Holiday Magic staff set up a few lawn chairs and outdoor tables. "Is Wayne here?" I addressed the woman who was applying a creamy lotion to another person's face.

"No, but you're welcome to sit down and try a free facial," she invited. Since I came all that way, taking two city busses and an hour of my time, I figured I had nothing to lose.

When my turn came, the sales representative tilted my head back and applied a cool refreshing cream on my face. "That smells like cucumbers," I remarked.

"It does have cucumbers in it since it's all organic. It's designed to open your pores and clean out dirt. That should help clear up this acne you have."

After the woman wiped my face with a damp cloth, she gave me a brochure. I started reading it at home but it failed to interest me.

While I listened to the news one day, a reporter exposed Holiday Magic as a pyramid scheme. I threw out the pamphlet, not wanting to have any connection with shady business deals.

I wrote about Wayne and other students in my Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School memoir. Though the institution we were kept in wasn't very kind to us, we did entertain ourselves and get into mischief like sighted children. Please visit the link on the left hand side of this page for details about this paperback.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bruce, I remember reading this in Deliverance from Jericho. I've never been involved in such marketing schemes, but when I was in college, my mother hosted a party for a friend who was selling Jaffra skin care products. This was like a Tupperwear party where she demonstrated the products, and people could order them. Several weeks later, people who came to the party complained that the products were causing rashes and other reactions. Needless to say, my mother's friend got out of the Jaffra business.


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