It is said that it is never a good idea to do business with friends. It can be very uncomfortable for both parties. Yet when it comes to multi-level marketing or what they now call direct sales, (since the original name for it, "multi level marketing" or "MLM" got such a bad rap due to their aggressive techniques) almost everyone has been put in that uncomfortable situation.

Most of us know at least one friend or relative that his been involved in one of these types of companies for a time — whether they are just trying to sell you a product or trying to convince you to be in their "downline" (a person who sells underneath them from whom they can receive commissions). The more people they have in their downline, the more money they can make. And then, that downline recruits people — and so on,and so on. and so on.

One of the originators of this business model was Amway. And that was a company who started off selling soap and then branched out into a zillion other products. But now, this model has become so ubiquitous that everyone is trying to sell stuff to everyone else, putting those of us who don't want to buy anything or sell anything in a very awkward position. And in order to be good, the sales people have to be a little aggressive. Which makes things even more than a little awkward. And with the advent of social media these companies are proliferating. I have been approached by friends over the years to buy many of these products and I've also been approached to sell the products. Because of this, when I think that somebody is making one of these pitches, whether it is in person or on social media, I quickly run the other way.

I don't mean to denigrate these people in any way. I know that most of these are just good honest people trying to make a buck in a kind of intrusive way. Nor do I attempt to disparage these companies or for that matter any of these products. Some may be the fountain of youth, the nectar of the gods, or the key to life itself. This is simply a list of the 15 products/companies that have most often been pitched to me over the years.

Again, I feel I need to give this disclaimer: some of these companies and products may be great...but when I hear their names, simply because of the nature of the programs associated with them, I immediately plug my ears.

  • Stella & Dot Jewelry
  • PartyLite Candles
  • Arbonne
  • Nerium skin care
  • Mary Kay cosmetics
  • Nu skin skin care
  • World Ventures Vacation membership
  • Herbalife health products and supplements
  • Beachbody exercise DVDs
  • Scentsy wickless scented candles
  • Pampered Chef kitchen gadgets
  • IsaGenix diet and health products
  • Ambit Energy
  • Young Living Essential Oils
  • Jeunesse skin care

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Dennis and Judi are on the air weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tweet them @DennisandJudi or @NJ1015.

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