Only in Citi Field

by Jason Epstein

Howard Megdal of Capital New York has more “You can’t make this stuff up” news from the tragically funny spectacle known as the Mets:

Amid fresh non-news that the Mets are still in debt, Amway, a business known for false promises of riches, has moved into a storefront at Citi Field.

The imagery isn’t great for the Mets, to say the least. Amway was busy settling a class action lawsuit alleging the company is a pyramid scheme at the same time Mets’ ownership group was fighting a lawsuit by the trustee for the Bernie Madoff victims over its role in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

But the cash-strapped Mets, who only recently contemplated putting a casino next to their stadium, seem to have made the calculation that whatever money they’re getting from the deal trumps any cosmetic problems that might stem from the association.

The Citi Field outpost is Amway’s first storefront in America.

On Saturday, Amway staged a grand opening (or “grand opening”: it got no coverage, as far as I can tell) with the Amway sign just a few feet away from a Mets ticket booth.

Amway is a multilevel marketing opportunity, to use the euphemism, or a pyramid scheme, to use the terminology of its critics. Individuals sign up as “Independent Business Owners”, or I.B.O.s, to sell an array of Amway products, buying them up front while simultaneously recruiting others to join Amway as well. . . .

When a class-action lawsuit against Amway’s now-defunct North American distribution arm, Quixtar, asserted that products were almost always sold to the next level of distributors, that Amway participants were asked to pay exorbitant up-front costs, that well over 99 percent of Amway participants lost money and that any effort to recoup losses were only possible in an expensive arbitration process, a judge allowed the lawsuit to go forward, calling the Amway contract stipluations ”a weapon to harass … and ultimately bankrupt their opponents.”

More here.

Right Field

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