6/24/14

Amway's Olive Branch: How One Amway Lady Made My Day

I despise open letters. I have made fun of the "open letter" style blog post, mostly in reference to Matt Walsh who bugs the everlovin' crap out of me. I think they are lame, kinda lazy, and rife with potential to be several shades of passive aggressive and self-serving.

And yet, I wrote one. I wrote an open letter to an Amway saleswoman who made a rude comment to my son while he was working. It was lame, kinda lazy, and yes, there was some passive aggressiveness in there along with a healthy dose of self-service. The only excuse I have is that I wanted to complain about what had happened, and that seemed like the most effective way to do it. There were also emails exchanged, which I'll get to momentarily, but truth be told, I was pissed and wanted Amway to hear about it. 

Oh, they heard. 

The woman who insulted my son, now immortalized as "Amway Jennifer", received an email from me. I wrote it the day after the incident, shortly after I had published my post. The email was civil, probably a little too wordy since it came from me, and laid it all out to Jennifer. I explained to her that what she'd said to my kid was wrong, approaching someone to sell products while they are at work is wrong. I also told her I was proud of my son for being polite in the face of such crassness. I may have also mentioned something about how if I'd been the one who received her "advice" and her business card, she'd be picking pieces of said card out of her hair for several days. 

Now, if Amway Jennifer had responded to me with anything even remotely resembling an apology, or admitted even just a little bit that what she did was out of line, the "Dear Amway Lady" post might have been deleted. I might have fumed about it a little, but my level of pissed-offness would have been down in the safe zone.

She didn't do either of those things. Her reply to me started off with "Hi Jenny, I'm sorry you feel offended" and ended with "Be blessed". In between those two statements were a bunch of sentences about how she teaches people to deal with acne and how dermatologists don't get to the root of the problem. She stated that she has "a heart that wants to help" and "I only wanted to help if he needed it or wanted it". 

I let the post stay, and there you have it.

It first gained attention on Twitter, and several people retweeted a link to the story directly to Amway. Amway, the company, responded to me in a public tweet and also in a private message. THEY APOLOGIZED. I thanked them, on behalf of my son, for the apology. They also asked me to give them Amway Jennifer's contact information. I declined to do so, saying that I'd been in touch with her and the matter was settled. I had said my peace, she (hopefully) would think twice before approaching a kid at work, my son was 100% over it. All was right in the world of teens and mama bears and Amway.

The post, however, kept right on going. It was published on a few different sites, and received lots of feedback. 

Almost all of the feedback was positive. Heartbreaking comments from people who had been approached the same way when they were younger. One woman, who said she was in her 60's, recalled how a man had made her feel over 40 years ago when he said something about her skin while she waited on him at a restaurant. So many men replied, telling me that "that could have been me" and "tell your son it gets better!". Countless remedies and suggestions of medications and diet advice (some of which we've implemented...). 

A wonderful woman contacted me via Twitter and sent my son a box full of skin care from the line she represents. (it is fabulous, by the way)

My inbox was full of sweet emails. The cutest one was from a woman who wrote to tell me she was pretty sure my son had waited on her at the grocery store that evening. "He was so polite, and so handsome" she wrote, "I wanted to tell him that no matter what, he's a good kid". My heart fluttered and then she mentioned she was in Texas. We're in Minnesota, but you know what? Some Texan kid with zits was treated nicely while he was at work. And that's a win.

The biggest surprise came via facebook. A woman named Stephanie messaged me. She apologized on behalf of Amway Jennifer, and Amway in general. She was kind and positive and obviously passionate about her company and her product. We wrote back and forth a few times, and when she asked me if she could send me something from Amway, I said yes. Why? Three reasons:

#1: Because I'm a broke ass, hard working single mom and I've learned to never turn down an offer like that.
#2: I had a less-than-stellar opinion of Amway based solely on what had happened to my kid. Stephanie (and several other Amway people who contacted me) seemed like a really decent person, so I wanted to give her products a try. 
#3: I thought this would be a great way to show my son the good side of big companies and the human beings who work for them. We didn't get that with Amway Jennifer.

Stephanie asked what I'd be interested in. I mentioned to her that we had a graduation party coming up and I'd be in cuckoo cleaning mode until then. She got back to me and said that she, along with Jose from Amway Customer Service, had handpicked a bunch of products to send out. 

This was on my front steps just a few days later:



Now, if you know me, you know I loathe cleaning. I only do it under great duress, the threat of company or when I cut my hand on one of the hardened clumps of toothpaste on the bathroom counter. But this box? It enticed me. I opened the products, smelled them (because it's all about the smell), and slowly, deliberately...began cleaning. 

And it's good stuff. All of it. I especially like the kitchen cleaner, the bathroom cleaner and the laundry detergent. 

What I liked the most, though? The kindness shown to my family by Amway Stephanie. Now, am I going to be an Amway customer after this? I don't know for sure. I don't make a lot of money and I'm the kind of person who, when I need laundry detergent, I need it NOW because there is a pile of laundry in front of the washer and nobody has any clean underwear left so I run, commando, to the store. Amway products seem to cost more than the stuff I usually buy, and it's something you have to order (which means one needs to plan ahead...so obviously not my specialty). 

The thing is, I might buy Amway products in the future. And that wouldn't have happened if Stephanie hadn't reached out. She let me try the product, and she also presented stellar customer service. If I do decide to purchase the products in the future, guess who I'll buy them from? Yep. Stephanie.

The moral of the story is, if you sell for a living, sell the right way. Don't prey on people's "flaws" and for the love of all things holy and decent, don't approach ANYONE, especially teens, if they're on the clock. Look, I get it. I think everyone gets it...this economy is scary, and we are all doing what we can to keep roofs over our heads and food in our kid's bellies (and martinis in our shakers, or is that just me?). You gotta do what you gotta do. But there are lines that shouldn't be crossed.

Side note: someone asked me this question: "So, what if Amway Jennifer had been a dermatologist, and your son had a suspicious mole. Would you have freaked out if she'd mentioned something to him then?"

Short answer: no. Medium-length answer? No, because a dermatologist is a doctor who has gone through years of schooling to get where they are today. And because a dermatologist who is knowledgeable about skin cancer is working, every day, to save lives. There's a huge difference between a skin-care saleswoman telling a kid "Wow, you have a lot of acne" and a doctor telling someone, "I have a medical license and have treated skin cancer before. I would strongly advise you to have that mole checked out." My guess is, the dermatologist wouldn't be out trolling for business while grabbing milk and bread at the grocery store. The situations might be similar, but the motives are as different as night and day. (that was the long answer, I guess)

I can't end this without a shout out to my new friend, Stephanie. I'd write an open letter to her but I feel like that's kind of been done to death. Instead, here's a link to her site. She's good people. 

Oh! I almost forgot. I also wanted to pass on my favorite mean comment from the whole Amway thing. It is on the About Me page here on my blog, and of course, it's anonymous (because, aren't they all?). It's like a big rancid onion of a comment, layer upon layer of ignorance. For your reading pleasure:

Jenny, Im heartbroken that you've taught your son to be such an emotional kid. He would never last in the real world. I can see that your divorce has made a negative impact on your sons life because he is clearly a mamas boy. That's NOT a good thing. He is 16 not 6. He needs to grow a pair and frankly so do you. I'm so sad that the draft no longer exists in out country. Your son will be nothing but a pussy if you continue to raise him alone. He needs the military or another form of discipline to step in and undermine your soft liberal attitude. People say things they shouldn't all the time. We're only human. But the reaction your son had, and the way you coddled him... Pathetic. My husband and I read this to our 15 year old son. He was dumbfounded that your child is so sensitive. If your son has acne perhaps you should be helping him. Washing his face, taking him it the dermatologist etc... Sounds like you were just upset that Jennifer called out your poor parenting skills. You already also divorced... Not a very good example for your children. I'm sure you have a solid reason to why you are no longer married, yadda yadda yadda. You should have chosen a better husband to have children with so your children could grow up in a two parent home. P.S. Calling your son Cartman? Now that's hurtful. Why is it your children even know about South Park? Just because it's animated doesn't mean it's for children. But I'm sure as a single parent you just park your kids in front of the tv.

I know, I know. Don't feed the trolls and all that. But I thought maybe my fellow divorced/single moms might get a kick out of this one. You know, yadda yadda yadda and all that.

So now, the Amway saga is over. Unless, of course, Amway Jennifer makes another sales pitch to one of my children.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go park my pussy kids in front of the tv while I try to grow a pair. Because that's what we single parents do. 






29 comments:

  1. HAHAHA I like how the troll accuses you of coddling your son and then instructs you to wash his face for him. :)

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    Replies
    1. Ha!! I know. My favorite part was how they, Mr and Mrs Family Values, read the article to their 15 year old son.

      Thanks for reading, Marcie!

      Delete
  2. I'm married so we of course don't have a TV. What is this show with a cart and a man?

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    1. Oh Christine! It's a show that only bad single moms allow their kids to watch. Ha :) Thanks for reading, and for the giggle!

      Delete
  3. I love you. Whether you have grown a pair or not.

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    1. Love you too, lady :) Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  4. I wanna know what the acne product you're using that is helping is? My daughter suffers with this too but we haven't found anything that helps. You can email it to me at smokyblu99@gmail.com

    Thanks!

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    1. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare...

      https://www.dgskincare.com/index.cfm (you'll have to copy and paste, blogger doesn't allow links in the comments). He had really good results with this!

      Thanks for reading, sorry it took me so long to reply!!

      Delete
  5. I'm a single mother--- of 3 and I have no words other than...um hold on, wait, I have to watch some more SOUTH PARK to find some... or I have to ask my 3 (22, 19, 16) which words would be most appropriate, perhaps I can ask their Dad---wait nope, he's in Uruguay with his new wife. Or perhaps I can ask my co-workers who support me and laugh with me as I navigate this journey. Family Values, divorce, South Park, acne, kids as pussies (?), and rudeness accckk... it's all about PERCEPTION PEOPLE. Not nice people annoy me. Why is it so hard to say something positive or say nothing at all, there's a family value.

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    1. Ha!! Ann, I am appalled at your awful parenting! How do you even know what SOUTH PARK is??

      You must have chosen the wrong husband, just like me. And now we've raised weak children who are going to bring the country down.

      We'll have to get together, park them in front of the t.v. and have a cocktail sometime.

      Thank you so much for reading! And more power to you, sister.

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  6. OMG! is all I can say while I feel my BP rise over this complete IDIOT!! From one single mom to another, keep up the good work Jenny, you're an awesome mom!

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    1. Right back at you, friend. Thank you so much for reading!

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  7. You've already got big cajones girl. Too bad tweedle-dee in Tennessee is too stupid to know that. Thanks for the great post! I love reading regular HHF posts!

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    1. Thanks, friend. I am seriously lacking in the ball department, but I think I might be growing some. Late bloomer and all that jazz.

      Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  8. I was a divorced, single parent for a long time. How dare we set such a bad example... She is sad...

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    1. Yes! We are so not getting the Parent of the Year award from Family Values. We should get together and cry into our cocktails about it ;)

      Thank you so much for reading!

      Delete
  9. You know, I'm really glad that it worked out the way it did in the end. I think it's great that you were able to find not only a way of demonstrating how even when you think you're just talking to the metaphorical wall, people can and will hear you (both good and bad haha), but that you were also able to help spread the fact that sometimes people will choose to do the right thing to make up for someone else's wrong. It's a good lesson of how to treat others for everyone involved, from your teen son to the grown sales woman who approached him. Really, this probably couldn't have turned out better since Stephanie was in this case a role model of how to act when you've seen someone else do something bad, rather than only the life lesson of how to apologize when you've done/said something you shouldn't have. I think we all need that reminder sometimes that we aren't just powerless onlookers when we witness negativity.

    PS--The writer of that comment...wow! I'm caught between laughing at the absurdity and really unhappily shocked that there is a real person behind those words somewhere. Given how the vast majority of women folk prefer their men with "sensitivity" as she describes it (is this a roundabout way of saying we prefer our men with pussies, because that's hilarious), I'm not sure we can really say who is setting whose son up for more success and happiness in life, but I can say that someone needs to maybe rethink her own parenting style choices if she believes that the options in life are either two parents living in a single home or a structured society based on rote memorization and humiliation as core components... Then again, she can't seem to figure out how emotional guidance is preferable to forcibly washing your son's face for him (because SOMETIMES he's 6 and OTHER TIMES he's 16, like how when he's 6 he shouldn't be watching South Park, but at 16 he should be exposed to weaponry and violence leading to PTSD)?? Goodness gracious.

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  10. What you've reminded me is that not everyone associated with a Big Company is a rude person (I wanted to use stronger language but I am trying to be better at that). Amway Stephanie managed to blow Amway jennifer out of the water with her kindness.

    I had a friend who sold Amway (we called them the Amdroids) and while he was a nice guy, he was always "on" and selling. Like you said, roof over his kids' heads and food, etc. It got to be old real fast.

    I think sticking up for your son is THE thing to do. I don't really care what people say to/about me but don't mess with my kids. He will grow up knowing that he is not alone and he always has someone at his back-not a bad thing to know.

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  11. Next time someone advises you to grow a pair, do what I do. Inform them you have a pair, thank you. Of the purchased, strap-on variety. Meaning you can choose the size and color. Then ask if they would like to borrow your extra-large pink ones. Then smile and flutter your eyelashes. A Southern accent doesn't hurt. ;-)

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  12. I'm married and we watch South Park together, is this bizzaro world or what? My kid watches tv too, but not South Park. Yet. Good Grief. I'd say something more about the white trash person who sent you that comment, but I don't want to insult white people (me too) or trash.

    Amway has good stuff, for sure. Shaklee too.

    Love You

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  13. Bless that troll's heart. Karma is going to bite him in the ass SO hard one day. Too bad we can't all be there to point and laugh. The smug, self-righteous ones are always the most fun to watch.

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  14. Bless you for your patience with the Troll. I don't know if I would have been able to let it go, and not shoot back a scathing response....It is rather obvious they don't actually read your blog. Crazy-makers. That's what the trolls are.

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  15. Amway's reputation has been ruined by the behavior of their distributors. Sure not all of them act rudely or inappropriately, but there are countless stories of people being lied to, or tricked by Amway people. I'm glad there were some nice Amway people who tried to rectify a bad situation though.

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  16. To Your Troll:

    Grow up. You might be holier-than-thou, but everyone else thinks you're a soulless jerk and would never want to be like you. I am also astounded that you think referencing "South Park" equates to poor parenting but telling another parent that her son will be a "pussy" and that they both need to "grow a pair" is acceptable. Clearly, somebody here has some issues. It's you.

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  17. He needs to go and get killed in a war to "undermine your soft liberal attitude," Jenny.

    Tsk tsk.

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  18. Outstanding post! You're always a good read. You know, you might be on to something here. You could maybe come up with some kind of negative experience you had at the liquor store & see if you could get Grey Goose to pony up...

    Nah, better preserve the kharma.

    Speaking of--I'll never understand how people decide to invest the little time we have in being rude. What can possibly be gained by it? I guess keyboard courage can be empowering; but still I don't get it.

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  19. I worked retail in high school and a customer referred to me as the "girl with the pizza face". I wonder if these people remember being an insecure teenager when they say these things.

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  20. Oh, wow...as a single mom I don't know if I should laugh or growl at the troll. So many things wrong with that post. Like you said, an onion. But I'll just hold my tongue because I can get a bit wordy too...

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  21. As a single mom, I love your blog. It's almost as if you're writing about my life.

    Just gotta say, as far as not having balls... Women have more balls than men, That's why we proudly wear them on our chest and not hide them away in our pants.

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