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No, I will not get sucked into the cult of Arbonne!

(The first part of this piece is edited from a much-longer piece I wrote for my old Angelfire site in 2010. Any comments from Arbonne shills will be treated as spam.)

I went to the fifth annual Jewish Women’s Spa for the Body and Soul this past January (2010), and entered a free raffle run by a woman I’d met through a now-disgraced local rabbi. (All I’ll say is that child molestation was involved.) I won a gold purse, which I picked up at an alleged “free lunch.” This woman is an independent sales consultant for Arbonne.

At this time, my eczema was at its worst in years, even worse than when I was a child. She thought I had rosacea (since when?!), and said those hideous red patches on my arms and hands “are always gonna be a part of who you are.” Um, no, they’d only appeared about three months prior. The free samples were for a week-long facial care regimen, and the full-sized versions cost over $200!

Of course, this wasn’t really a free lunch or getting some free samples and a prize. She fully expected me to contact her with a testimonial and to place my order, even to become an independent sales consultant myself to get up to 80% off. She left several messages on my phone in the weeks after, and put me on her e-mail list. I’m told that that when you place an order, Arbonne asks for your social security number and birthdate because they’re expecting you to become an independent sales consultant.

She also tried to push Arbonne’s makeup on me, though I haven’t regularly worn makeup since I was 22 and never wore it daily even when I was younger. These days, I only wear it for a special occasion like a wedding. Can some people just not understand that there are women out there who don’t care for makeup?

The expectation after a “free skin consultation” is that you’re going to be placing an order, and buying lots of stuff. I wasn’t that impressed by these products. Their ingredients are pretty much the same as in other natural products, which don’t cost an arm and a leg. She claimed that if your skin turns red after using Arbonne following Dove or Oil of Olay, it’s all the garbage coming to the surface as your body detoxifies. Arbonne itself contains artificial products!

The further she got into her “free skin consultation,” the more and more it sounded like a sales pitch. Even some of her lines sounded like they were straight from a commercial. “Why am I so passionate about Arbonne’s products? Because I’ve used them all.” She said her skin is so soft because she uses Arbonne. She also claimed she’s never had an averse reaction to any of the hundreds of Arbonne products she’s used, as though it’s unheard of to have any type of allergic reaction or experience a product which just doesn’t do anything for you.

She also talked about how she was earning so much money, is “goin’ to the top,” and how there’s one local woman who makes $30,000 a month, $2 million a year. She said she’d helped people to afford weddings, houses, and cars, and that she was wearing Tiffany’s jewelry and driving a black Mercedes Benz courtesy of Arbonne, which is “gonna turn white” soon. Arbonne doesn’t actually give you a car, but rather gives you the $400 a month to lease it.

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I ran into the local Arbot at a house party this past summer. A local rebbetzin had won a free facial, and decided to give it to the counselors as a reward for the hard work we did all summer. I had a sick feeling in my stomach when I came to her house that evening and saw the Arbot, but I tried to relax and enjoy the evening.

The facial and hand cream were pretty good, though again, completely out of budget. And when my skin has finally been back to normal, mostly, for so long now, I don’t want to ruin it by suddenly switching to new products. One of the so-called “party games” involved writing down the names of people in certain categories, people you could sell Arbonne to or rope into being consultants. WTF?!

She had the decency to not try to sell anything to the two 17-year-old counselors, though I heard from the other two adult counselors later that she was pretty aggressive over e-mail, in spite of claiming at the party that she didn’t want to sell anything. Oh, and she claimed that everyone but Arbonne uses roadkill in their products.

The only businesses I’m interested in starting are my own small publishing company and selling embroidery designs, NOT multi-level marketing cults.