Introduction to Longaberger MLM compensation plan
All of you longtime readers of Notebook Crazy who have been keeping track of the details of my early life that I have mentioned on this blog probably have a big question on your minds. You know that I am that the oldest of three brothers, and that my father taught each of us, individually to play Risk: The Game of World Domination so that, once we had gained enough maturity, we could all play it as a family. (If I had tried to play Risk with my brother Brian when I was 10 and he was 8, it would have resulted in us going to such lengths to antagonize each other in ways totally unrelated to the task at hand that the entire world would have collapsed into an indomitable mess.) You know that I was such a fan of mythology that I named my dog after a wolf from a Norse myth. You know that, while I am not a musician by any stretch of the imagination, I did, for a time in the late 90s, have a blog (they were known as “e-zines” in the late 90s, but “blog” is the contemporary term) named Classic Rock Ragnarok. You know that, while I do enjoy a good game of Paintball, or a pleasantly tipsy Oktoberfest, I am just as happy to sit on my keister and play video games that rely heavily on strategy or research multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunities, sometimes with the actual intent of making money from them and sometimes just to laugh at how ridiculous they are. You know that I went to college and joined a fraternity, but that I dropped out when I decided that a more practical way to prioritize learning over large sums of money was to work low wage jobs while living with either with my parents or with roommates and spending a lot of my free time reading. If you remember these things (or even if you don’t, but you just landed on this page because it is where Google sent you when you typed in “don’t blame the fungus”, “Ebertfest nightshade”, or “cryptozoology beauty”, and you have stayed here long enough to read this paragraph), you are probably all wondering the same thing: How has this Brad guy gone so long without mentioning Weird Al Yankovic here on Notebook Crazy? He fits the profile of a Weird Al fan to a T.
I did, in fact, grow up listening to Weird Al, and I enjoy his music and ethos. I had to look up his Wikipedia page just now to make absolutely sure that he isn’t a Midwesterner, because, in so many ways, he has the personality of one. It turns out that, while Al himself was born in California, his father was from Kansas, which is not far from here, and his mother was from Kentucky, which narrowly misses being a Midwestern state. Weird Al’s dad lived by the philosophy that you should make a living doing things that make you happy, and that world view reminds me a lot of my own parents. I do not have a single close relative who takes himself or herself too seriously, and for that, I feel blessed every day. I don’t remember the first time I heard a Weird Al song; it seems like his tapes have always played in the garage when my dad was fixing his car or in the car on family road trips or when my dad took me on an errand to the gas station with him, just the two of us, because I was the only kid in the family who was old enough. Some of the classic rock songs I later wrote about on Classic Rock Ragnarok, including “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel and “My Generation” by The Who, I first heard when Weird Al played snippets of them in his now-famous polka medleys.
Everyone in my family still smiles when we hear Weird Al’s songs (and we do still occasionally listen to them), but we all kind of lost track of him after about 1988. His old stuff was still new to my brothers and me in the 90s, and that is what stuck in my mind. I somehow missed out on many of his songs from the later period until after I dropped out of college. I got to know Weird Al’s later songs through my friend Trevor, whom I met when we both worked at Wendy’s. Trevor was kind of a weird dude, but he definitely had me beat as far as being the most knowledgeable college dropout I have ever met. In conversation, he tended to come across as a fairly pessimistic person, some might say a grouch, but music was not his preferred method of tapping into negative emotions. Starting when I was a teenager, the aspects of rock music I liked the most were the parts that dealt with insanity and alienation. The way I find solace in the negative emotions in music is something I have in common with the other Brad, who runs this site with me, except we connect with completely different types of music, 70s (moderately progressive) rock for me, and various genres of hip hop for the other Brad. It’s really interesting to talk to him about music, even though our musical tastes hardly overlap. As for Trevor, Weird Al’s music seemed to be the only music he liked, and I can kind of see where he is coming from on that. I can understand how you can get your fix for many different musical styles just from listening to one of his albums. Trevor liked to tap into humanity’s darker emotions through reading fiction and philosophy; he liked Weird Al’s music because it was good clean fun, just Al and his buddies challenging themselves to respond to more and more musical and cultural trends. All of Al’s parodies and style parodies are affectionate; his humor is never mean-spirited. In that regard, I may even want to count him as a Midwestern stylistic role model for me in my quest to review every MLM business opportunity out there. Weird Al’s songs never deal with true alienation and despair, even if some of the original songs they parody do. Peter Gabriel is eerie weird, but Weird Al and goofy weird, and there are as many different types of weird as there are different college dropouts with encyclopedic knowledge.
Likewise, there are different types of MLM business opportunities for different folks, and I am here to review all of them. There are MLM companies for people who think they can get rich off the deregulated energy market. There are MLM companies for people who think they can get rich off of playing off of women’s fear of aging. There are people who think there in money to be made in overpriced nutraceuticals, but I will never understand such people, and I will never again be one of them. (Alas, fungus coffee that continues to take up space in my basement, even to this day!) And then, every so often, a completely different business opportunity comes along that stands out from all the others. The MLM company I am reviewing today represents such an opportunity. Today, to celebrate my third day in a row of writing about MLM companies that do not sell nutraceuticals as their flagship product, I present to you my Longaberger review.
Longaberger: The Company and Its Products
In case you are new to this whole MLM thing and the only reason you are reading this blog post is because you Googled “Is Weird Al from the Midwest”, and you were hooked once you got a load of my engaging writing style, different MLM companies sell different products. Flavon Max products are nutraceuticals featuring the color red. Ardyss products are body shaping undergarments. Forever Green products are nutraceuticals featuring plankton. Pampered Chef products are kitchen gadgets. Gano Excel products are nutraceuticals featuring a certain reasonably attractive fungus which shall remain nameless. Amega products are magic wands that make the cells in your body, as well as the cells in your food, dance the protoplasm polka. And Longaberger products are baskets.
The Longaberger company has been in the MLM business since the 1970s, but the Longaberger family has been making baskets in the Midwest since the early 20th century. Until recently, the Longaberger headquarters was a huge building in Dresden, Ohio; the Longaberger building looks like an enormous version of the “medium market basket” which is one of the core Longaberger products. The basket on which the Longaberger building is based, like the other Longaberger products, is made of maple wood.
And this is why I have chosen to spend so much of my Longaberger review discussing my friend Trevor and his admiration for Weird Al, because one of the many Weird Al songs to which Trevor introduced me was “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota”, a folk-influenced ballad about a family that takes a road trip to Darwin, Minnesota to see the enormous ball of twine, which was rolled by Francis Johnson. It is the largest ball of twine ever made by a single person. (If you read the Wikipedia page on twine balls of record breaking size, it leaves you with the feeling that there is a correlation between being named Francis and making huge balls of twine.) Any way, much like the Great Twine Ball of Darwin, the Longaberger building is a roadside tourist attraction in an otherwise unremarkable town. It is an example of the cultural phenomenon Weird Al sought to panegyrize in the song “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.”
The Longaberger Compensation Plan
Neither the Longaberger website nor any Longaberger review I could find specifically states the details of the Longaberger compensation plan. I did find out that the way to get started as a Longaberger distributor is to buy a business starter kit for either $79 or $264, depending on which business starter kit you buy. The company will also provide each a Longaberger distributor with his or her own Longaberger website through which to sell Longaberger products.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- If you are looking for a Midwestern MLM business opportunity, Longaberger is about as Midwestern as they come. Dresden, Ohio is only a short road trip from here.
- Baskets are not nutraceuticals. Baskets are a thing that people enjoy and a thing from which they derive use.
- While both the official Longaberger website and independent Longaberger reviews mention home sales parties (quadruple crown diamond barf), such sinkholes of wearing out your welcome with everyone you know are not your only option for distributing Longaberger products. Longaberger distributors also have the option of marketing the merchandise through their own personal Longaberger websites.
- Some signs indicate that Longaberger may be in a downward spiral. Whereas it once drove the economy of Dresden, Ohio, it has now moved out of the legendary Longaberger building. Not only that, but Tami Longaberger, daughter of Dave Longaberger, who founded the company, resigned from her leadership position at the company in 2015. She had held the position since her father’s death in 1999.
- Baskets are nice, but not when they are sold at home sales parties. I hate MLM home sales parties. Quadruple crown diamond barf.
Longaberger has a lot more personality than the vast majority of MLM companies I have reviewed on this site. It is hard to be cynical when selling baskets; the Longaberger company and its products seem to radiate old-fashioned Midwestern sincerity. Whether anyone will want to buy baskets when, these days, you also have the option of carrying your stuff in backpacks and storing it on online clouds accessible from devices that fit in your pocket is another matter. The great empty basket of Dresden, Ohio is a sad reminder that there is almost no such thing as a recession-proof MLM.
Want to reminisce about the great Midwestern road trips of your youth? Schedule a call with me, and while I have you on the line, I will also tell you my ideas about how to make your home business profitable.