Thursday, May 10, 2018

What are you fighting for…. Prepare to win

Photo created by P.Lynne Designs using
Photos from Disney's Mulan and The
Longaberger Company.  
This is going to sound corny to some but if you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you know I love anything, Disney.  Well, a few nights ago, I finally saw Inside Out, and I saw Mulan for the umpteenth time.  It is the second movie that I want to focus on for the moment.
Released on June 5, 1998 (I looked it up), Mulan was about a young girl who wanted to restore honor back to her family and to show her worth as a woman in ancient China.  Before I get into my reasoning behind why I choose this animated movie as a backdrop to my title, let me give you the backstory behind Mulan.  After all, you cannot have a story without a backstory.  In fact, the movie trailer read like this:
Fearful that her ailing father will be drafted into the Chinese military, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) takes his spot -- though, as a girl living under a patriarchal regime, she is technically unqualified to serve. She cleverly impersonates a man and goes off to train with fellow recruits. Accompanied by her dragon, Mushu (Eddie Murphy), she uses her smarts to help ward off a Hun invasion, falling in love with a dashing captain along the way.”
This time period was based on the story called “The Ballad of Mulan” (Yes, Mulan was a real person, unlike Cinderella, Snow White, and many others, except Pocahontas, who was also a real person.) The movie itself was in the Chinese time period of the Han Dynasty, but some accounts also say the this took place during the Qing Dynasty. 
The point (and the ending) of this story is a young girl, despite her upbringing to do what a woman in that time was supposed to do, which includes serve tea to her husband and be subservient to him, decides to do a noble thing, and to take her father’s place to fight in the Chinese Military.  

New Purpose for this post à A Different Direction

I had a different purpose for this title, which is a course of a couple of weeks I had forgotten.  Is old age setting in for me, or the subject really does not matter anymore?  I would have to say, the latter.  Here is the reason:
If you follow me on social media, I know that I posted on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, that The Longaberger Company temporary closed its doors as of May 4, 2018.  As an Independent Home Consultant, I cannot submit any orders until further notice.  Let me give you 3 views on that announcement.

I heard and read the following in an email from the company:

“Until further notice, please do not submit any orders until we can safely get back orders to those customers who are still waiting for their orders.  We will rise above this and come back stronger than ever.”
I also read that both Tami Longaberger and Rachel Longaberger Sturkey had settled with the new owners and the company for the amounts owed to them.  Another subject for another day.  In fact, I will not address it.
This does not sound like a company closing their doors for good.

This is what the news media heard over the weekend:

The Longaberger Company has officially closed its doors for good.  What has happened to this iconic company whose headquarters is shaped like a basket?
Nothing yet.  This is a temporary setback.
I remember when Columbus’s 10TV’s former anchor, Dave Kaylor, looked like he could not wait to report some bad news report on Longaberger. It would make my skin crawl.  It was as if it gave him joy.  Why did he hate Longaberger so?  I bet he is overjoyed now and probably wants to come out of retirement just to make the official, final announcement.
It makes people wonder if they should sell their baskets and pottery to the highest bidder on Ebay. The news industry is wondering if consultants are scrambling to return customers their money back.  I have to report, nope, the fat lady has not sung yet.

This is what the vultures are hearing:


I received a long message from a lawyer in New York City.  Yes, that New York City.  I guess he was on his weekly mission run of “ambulance chasing” because he found my profile on LinkedIn.  In case you are not familiar with the term, Wikipedia says that the term means, sometimes known as barratry, is a professional slur which refers to a lawyer soliciting for clients at a disaster site. The term "ambulance chasing" comes from the stereotype of lawyers that follow ambulances to the emergency room to find clients.” Now, I may not be a victim of a recent accident, but a company that has temporarily closed its doors is basically the same thing.  I bid him a “No Thank You” and issued this statement on my LinkedIn news feed page.
I want to address something in a short but brief message:  Just because Longaberger made an announcement about their current status, I am still an Independent Home Consultant with the company.  I am part of the sales force, which has a different weight than a person who was actually hired by the company.  Any consultant who is with a direct selling company knows this.  You do not receive benefits, such as health insurance, vacation pay, and the normal things an employee would receive from a company who is either active or in limbo, with is the case with The Longaberger Company.
So please, do not send me messages about suing the company.  I have nothing to sue for.  I volunteered to start selling their products in 2001.  I have not sold anything in a couple of months before they made the announcement.  Please do not ask me to be a part of "X" direct selling company.   To be honest, next year is going to be my last year at Longaberger regardless of the outcome of this company.  I had 16 long years with Longaberger, and I would not trade them for the world. I have started my own company, which is listed in my profile.  I will not be searching for a new direct selling company unless it benefits P. Lynne Designs, my Stationer/writing company.  Thank you for your understanding.”

I also wanted my Longaberger sales force family on what happened to me on our Facebook consultant page.  Hopefully, this is the first and the last time I will see a message from any “vultures”, but I know it is not.
I also read Karen Baker’s article about direct selling consultants becoming “predators” and “Vultures” in this industry called direct selling.  She says, “DON’T DO IT”. I can tell you why before finishing this article.
·        It makes you look desperate for new members of your team.  Wait a minute until you get all the details of a company’s closing.  It may be temporary, as such is the case of Longaberger. I will tell you right now, this very minute, I do not know whats going on.  I was given the same info my upline manager was given. I could be taking new orders next week.
·        We are in shock.  This goes for anyone who feels like they just lost a member of the family.  We are trying to make sense of all of this, and you come swooping in like a vulture getting his meal ticket.
·        This is temporary.  For the moment, legal terms are being worked out by the owners on the best course of action.  In Longaberger’s case, it works out the terms of back pay for the employees, commissions for the sales force, and even the insurance for the employees. Plus, shipping needs to be done for all the back orders.  Once that is ironed out and implemented, then they will have a clear idea of where to go from there.  It may take a week, 2-weeks, a month, or even 6-months.  I have no idea.
·        Some of us may not want to go to another direct selling company.  For those of you who are in direct selling, think back for a moment:  What drove you to the company you are selling for?  Was it the products, the sales technic? The perks of selling with the company?  How about the way a certain person made you feel when inquired about the company?  For me, it was one man.  Yes, a man and his name was Scott Beaver.  He made me feel that if he, a man, can sell baskets, pottery, and then wrought iron product, then a shy, insecure, African American Woman can too.  He made signing up a breeze.  Sadly, he left the company a few years later, but I did not quit because he left the company and the sales force.  I became part of a new team.  Susan Short was not that great, but that was when I learned to lean on others when your upline stops short of your expectations.  Once she quit, then I moved on to Marilyn Imhoff-Edman’s central team.  She has been wonderful, and she helped me when Susan would not do a thing.  She invited me to her team meetings, and when I did not understand the rules and practically cried on her shoulders (after making a one-hour drive from my house to hers), she calmed me down, and told me everything was going to be all right, and went over those rules, until they stuck.

So, as you see, I am not looking to joining another DS company and I am not letting you make me a pawn out of a would-be class action suit or the newest member of the trinket charm club sales team.  What I want to do for the moment is to process this information, make a reasonable decision, and listen to what JRJR Enterprises has to say, who is the parent company of The Longaberger Company.  In the meantime, I will play with my papers and make cards, stationery, write, make videos, and mini books for my company, P. Lynne Designs.

If you stuck around to the end of the post, you know that it was quite long, and for that, I do apologize.  I did not want to split up this post. I will keep my readers informed on my next steps with this company.  I had to get my anger and frustration I have for this company, whose products I do love. It saddens me the way that people are when something like this happens.  I have a backup system, while many consultants and employees do not.  It may be the only skill they have used in a while. My heart breaks for anyone who has ever lost a job.  As they told us, it is only a setback.  The company is not done with yet.

Last word on “What are you fighting for?”  Your fight may be different from mine.  It could be an illness, your child, your marriage, or a cause.  It could be your life.  You have things worth fighting for, just like Mulan.  This is my fight, and I am going to come back swinging.  Are you going to do the same?   

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