Introduction to Tiens MLM Compensation Plan
Maybe some time in the not too distant future, a writer somewhere on the Internet will reminisce about a time when the world was awash in multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunities. Maybe that person will conclude the post with a link to the website of the last remaining MLM company in the world and a call to action rather like the “unless” at the end of The Lorax. Until that day, I will press forward with my quest to review as many MLM companies as I can, and there truly are a dizzying number of them. I can tell you, though, that most of them are duds. All it would take, really, to make the MLM business model disappear from the face of the earth would be if people found a little common sense, but that does not seem like it is going to happen any time soon.
The reason I thought of this subject is that I was recently reading about the events surrounding the extinction of the passenger pigeon. I had known nothing about the passenger pigeon except that it was extinct, and I had never seen a picture of one before. I always imagined them looking like the “rats with wings” pigeons that are known for making themselves a nuisance in Times Square and other urban sites where humans would like to enjoy themselves, but passenger pigeons actually looked quite different. The males were bluish gray with reddish bellies, and the females were gray. In the late 19th century, it seemed inconceivable that there would be a day when someone who had lived his entire life in the Midwest would not know what a passenger pigeon looked like, not necessarily because their appearance was so striking, but rather because they were famous, more than anything else, for being so numerous, especially in the Midwest.
Passenger pigeons were a migratory species, and when they passed through your town, it was impossible to ignore them. A cloud of pigeons, miles across, would darken the sky, and they made a racket that you could hear from a great distance. One pigeon by itself is not very loud, but imagine millions of them. Some people estimate that a flock of passenger pigeons could even have had a billion individuals. When the passenger pigeons came to town, some people would run indoors and wait until the flock had passed, but others, realizing that the pigeons were edible and were, by far, the least expensive meat around, would shoot at the pigeons as they passed by. So densely concentrated were they that one bullet could kill six pigeons. Young boys with BB guns used to shoot the pigeons. The pigeons flew so low that you could catch them, literally, by shaking a stick at them.
Now is as good a time as any to mention that I am not the most adventuresome eater in the world, so I cannot say that I am nostalgic for a time when pigeon meat was a diet staple in the Midwest. I have only eaten pigeon meat twice in my life. The first time was at the country club wedding reception of the daughter of our neighbors, when I was in elementary school. I enjoyed playing on the golf course with me brothers, and I rather enjoyed the dinner rolls, but I did not care for the stuffed pigeon. It tasted like a disappointing version of Thanksgiving dinner. The second time was when my brother Bryce cooked pigeons, just for kicks and giggles. (If you read enough of my posts here on Notebook Crazy, you will get used to the fact that this is the kind of thing my brother Bryce does for fun.) I still maintain that pigeon tastes like chicken, except less tasty.
When the pigeons came to town, people would shoot as many of them as they could, but there were so many of them that the meat would go bad before anyone could eat most of it. People took to capturing pigeons alive, which was also not much of a challenge, but again, there were so many of them that it was almost impossible for city dwellers to find enough suitable pigeon feed. (Passenger pigeons ate acorns and similar things that you would find in the forest.) Thus, people took to preserving the meat in various ways. Smoked pigeon does not sound too terrible, but pickled pigeon sounds revolting.
It used to be that the passenger pigeons were able to recover their numbers by the time they got to another big human settlement, but once the railroads were built across the Midwest, people were able to follow the pigeons, and within a few decades, they had hunted them to extinction. By the end of the 19th century, there were only three flocks of passenger pigeons left; one was in Cincinnati, and the others were elsewhere in the Midwest. The conservation efforts were too few and too late. The last passenger pigeon, named Martha, died in 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo. Today, her taxidermied remains can be seen at the Smithsonian.
The extinction of the passenger pigeon served as a wakeup call about the conservation of endangered species. I have had many occasions on this blog to give shout outs to the American alligator, a species that came back from the brink of extinction and which now may be threatened by several invasive species, each more frightening than the last. Most of my occasions to mention the American alligator are when I review MLM companies based in Florida, of which there are so many, but not today. This is my Tiens review, and the Tiens business opportunity originated in China, far from both the American alligator and the passenger pigeon.
Tiens: The Company and Its Products
Tiens, also known as Tianshi, is a huge corporation. Its name means “heavenly lion” in Chinese. The company was founded in 1995 by Li Jinyuan. The Tiens website is available in Chinese and English. Although the Tiens business opportunity ceased operations in the United States in 2013, it is still available in many countries. According to Wikipedia, the Tiens business opportunity is going strong in Russia and Germany. My research for this Tiens review led me to results that made it seem that Tiens is still doing MLM operations in Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Pakistan. According to the Tiens website, the Tiens business opportunity operates in 110 countries.
I know that there is a whole subculture on the Internet dedicated to finding and disseminating examples of infelicitous writing style in English, and I have a feeling that such individuals would get a kick out of reading the Tiens website, as the English employed therein is not the most idiomatic. For example, one of the headlines listed on the News sidebar of the Tiens website is “Ukraine’s First President Leads Friendly Personages to Tiens Group”. (The only other time I have read the word “personages” in recent memory was when I was clicking links online after reading the article about passenger pigeons. The article was only a few degrees of separation from a critique by Mark Twain of the writings of James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote Last of the Mohicans. Twain used the word “personages” to refer to the characters in Cooper’s novels. According to Twain, Cooper’s personages were neither interesting nor believable. Thus, the Tiens website represents the only time in my life when I have seen the phrase “friendly personages”.)
What I was not able to find on the Tiens website, however, was a catalog of Tiens products. According to Wikipedia and to other Tiens reviews I found online, Tiens products are nutritional supplements based on traditional Chinese remedies and principles of preventive medicine, and there is also an instant coffee product line. To me, this means that, even though it has been three years since the last Tiens distributor memberships were active in the United States, there are probably quite a few former Tiens distributors right here in the Midwest who have many boxes of Tiens products still piled up in their basements. That almost always tends to be the outcome with MLMs that sell nutritional supplements. People just do not want to buy that many vitamins, especially not at the prices for which MLM representatives have to sell them.
According to one of the Tiens reviews I found, Tiens sells not only nutritional supplements but also essential oils, household cleaning products, hair care products, and even pet care products. This makes it sound to me more like an “everything MLM”, kind of like Amway, instead of like those nutraceutical MLMs that capitalize on one or another health fad.
The Tiens Compensation Plan
Most of the information I was able to find about the Tiens compensation plan comes from other Tiens reviews I found while researching this Tiens review. As is so common in the MLM world, it sounds as though the Tiens compensation plan is pretty complicated. Eligibility for commissions and bonuses is calculated by assessing “volume”, rather than strict dollar value of Tiens products or even number of units sold. The Tiens compensation plan also involve autoship, which is how I ended up with a basement full of fungus coffee and which is doubtless the reason behind the big piles of unsold MLM merchandise in your basement, too.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- The Tiens business opportunity is no longer available in the United States, so if you fly the Stars and Stripes, the chances are very low that someone will try to recruit you to become a Tiens distributor.
- If you live in any of 109 countries where the Tiens business opportunity is still available, someone still may try to recruit you to become a Tiens distributor.
- Many of the Tiens products are nutraceuticals, a category of MLM merchandise of which I have come to have a very low opinion.
- To make matters worse, some Tiens products are nutraceuticals for pets. If you have read any of my other reviews of MLM companies that sell nutraceuticals to pets, you know how mad it makes me when MLM companies stoop so low as to try to get people to involve their beloved pets in silly health fads. I will be the first to admit that, several times, I have been sucked into the mindset of trying to build an MLM business by any means necessary. I made myself a nuisance to friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and I made dubious claims on social media. I even considered trying to sell fungus coffee to a dude I had never met before. This guy had done nothing to become the target of my MLM pitch other than that he continues to send Christmas cards to my father, who was a classmate of his in high school. I started to realize that maybe the MLM madness had gone too far when that plan came to my mind; that was when I first started to come to my senses. Today, I consider it a cautionary tale about what happens to you when nutritional supplements get autoshipped to your house every month.
MLM companies go extinct at a fairly high rate, as the Tiens business opportunity has done in the United States. That does not mean, though, that we are completely free of the scourge of MLM. The only way to get rid of MLM home sales parties (quadruple crown diamond barf) and the monthly shipments of nutritional supplements is to come to your senses. There are plenty of ways to make money. The best ones don’t involve making statements that you know to be false in the presence of your friends and family and having monthly shipments of overpriced merchandise delivered to your house. It may be too late to bring back the passenger pigeon, but it is not too late to bring your finances back from the brink of ruin.
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