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Reader Story: Tales From The Tool Room

February 19, 2012

MLM motivational organizations such as TEAM, R3Global, and WWDB, typically have “Tool Rooms” at their major conferences. These rooms are stocked full of books, CD’s, and other tools that are designed to grow your business. In my opinion and experience, the only thing an MLM motivational organization-created tool is useful for is padding the pocketbooks of the top leaders.

Fortunately for me, I never worked in the Tool Room, but I’ve long wondered what goes on there. For instance:

  1. Do people realize how much money is being spent on tools?
  2. Do people realize that these some of these tools will be replaced after six months, and that they will be “encouraged” to buy them again?
  3. Do people who work in the tool room ever get to attend the conference? Do they have to pay for a ticket or are they comp’ed one for their efforts?

Today’s post is a reader story from someone who worked in the TEAM Tool Room.

Having helped out in the tool room from the very beginning of being involved with team, I saw the changes over the years. When I first volunteered to work in the tool room in 2005 (still had to pay the $25 for the ticket but then missed half of the seminar to “serve” others) people were very polite. Most everyone that you helped smiled and was very courteous and thanked you for volunteering. It was amazing the amounts of money people would spend on tools. I have seen people spend anywhere from $25 to close to $1,000 at one function, usually the bigger amounts came during majors. People always wanted to get to the tool room fast on Friday nights of majors since all the new stuff would be sold out by Saturday. It was like a rush to get there and get all the new “goodies”. I remember being jealous of the people who would spend tons of money on tools, wishing that I had that money to spend to grow my business! Looking back, I feel ashamed that I helped these people go in debt, or at least a good portion of them I’m guessing. Hardly anyone paid with cash – it was all credit card.

As the years progressed, people became less friendly. No longer were people thanking me and smiling, but instead getting angry if their credit card wouldn’t work or something that was out of my control. It used to be fun to work the tool room, but the latter years were not fun. The team office workers also became unfriendly. There used to a husband and wife team who worked it who were very nice and if you ever had any problems or needed their help, they would be willing to help you. The last time I worked the tool room, so within the past 2 years, the team office workers were all new faces to me. I had issues with something, ie my computer or needed help with a price, and the team office worker sitting right behind me didn’t even get up out of his chair – he was very unfriendly. Granted, the team PC can’t control the actions of the team office workers or the people who go through the tool room, but it’s evident that this attitude is coming from somewhere – it’s being taught somewhere and I believe it to be a reflection of the top leaders, and it’s trickling down to their team. After volunteering in the tool room, you would get a gift. They would give you a book and a few CD’s but later they just changed it to CD’s. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any particular instances like what people got angry over or any specific details, but hopefully this sheds a little light on the tool room.

I also hated the fact that the team would come out with new stuff all the time and you would have to buy the new stuff to get the new logo basically. I remember very distinctly talking to a teammate about this, and we always got upset when they brought yet another new change to the “first night packs” or the “finances” pack, for example. They changed stuff so often, it was almost like I didn’t want to buy tools because I would know in another 3 months it would be replaced. And the Top 50 pack!! How often did they change that!?! A $300 investment and they would change it probably twice a year – added new CD’s and took some away. We just stopped buying the whole pack and only bought the new CD’s they added so then our top 50 would be up to date. Unfortunately, near the end of us being involved, they changed the top 50 again, and when we went to buy the individual CD, lo and behold, it wasn’t available to buy individually, so if we wanted an up to date top 50, we had to buy it for $300.

Ex-TEAM members. Have you worked in the tool room before? Does any of this sound familiar? If you have additional experiences to share, do so in the comments section below.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2012 12:23 pm

    The business is selling tools and selling tools is the business. In my opinion, the individual’s success is inconsequential to Woody & Co.

    The author’s description of the slowly eroding kindness shown towards the folks working the tool room (for free) is a direct correlation to the sense of entitlement Woody & his buddies have developed.

    Interesting how the round table seems to have become everything the initial business opposes. Entitled, passive aggressive, secretive, and closed to discussion or compromise.

    My job isn’t as bad as being a part of TEAM/LIFE sounds.

  2. February 20, 2012 12:29 pm

    Pays more too. Hell, minimum wage would pay more than getting involved with this train wreck of as business.

  3. I Need Truth permalink
    February 20, 2012 12:48 pm

    I helped once a loooong time ago. I was given a handful of very old CDs as a gift, like the reader noted.

  4. No Team For Me permalink
    February 20, 2012 1:01 pm

    I agree Rocket. Orrin & Crew have become everything they dispised about Dexter. History repeats itself.

  5. One time Fly that sat at the Team Conference Table permalink
    February 21, 2012 2:18 pm

    The “volunteer packs” was an idea from the home office. Even the employees there understood how bad it was to expect the customer to pay for a ticket, and then expect teams to provide people to man positioins from security, ticket collectors, tool room, etc. Initially the packs were Team Shirt, CDs, left over BOM. OW and CB found out that this was going on and I recall both not being to happy that we were giving away stuff to people who should be grateful to have the chance to sacrifice some time for the team. This was an example of OW and CB’s “selfless service”. Bob Dickie actually gave compelling reasons for showing some appreciation to the volunteers and the packs continued to be given out but the office was directed to “cut down” and what was in the packs. It didn’t take long for the packs to contain left over CD of the weeks.
    There were changes in 2004 when the home office started taking over operation of the tool rooms, this was because there was suspection that a team volunteer who transported tools to seminars was taking tools off the truck and reselling them. Once the office took over things greatly improved. Initially to encourage consistant help Bob Dickie convince OW that he should pay for a staff to man the tool room, and of course OW balked at first then relented. The Team Office employees who decided to work the seminars did so to make a little exta money. However, OW then decided that any of the employees who were on Salary had to do so for free. It didn’t take long for many of the employees do stop looking forward to working the tool rooms, long hours, little sleep and an expectation to do so to save your job. I personally know of one Team Employee who had family coming in to town on a seminar weekend and was told that the seminar took priority over anything. It doesn’t surprise me to hear that the office employees are not happy about working the tool rooms and if they are exhibiting poor emotional intelligence, (that one of OW’s favorites) it’s a direct reflection of the Current Leadership in the Home Office. The man who came to the rescue, the man OW wanted fired in the past.
    As for the packs, I’ve mentioned in the past comments the warning Randy Haugen gave several Team Employees at Fun In The Sun about “producing CD packs simply for the act of making money”, OW and CB scoffed at that one when it was brought up, cause what would RH know about building a business.

  6. Speak Your Truth permalink
    February 21, 2012 6:15 pm

    One Time Fly~

    “I recall both not being to happy that we were giving away stuff to people who should be grateful to have the chance to sacrifice some time for the team. This was an example of OW and CB’s “selfless service”.”

    I believe that is the point. This is really sad and disgustingly greedy and selfish,how they ‘expected’ others to ‘serve’ them! You reminded me and Looking back at how they took advantage, of all every volunteer’s and others time, efforts, money and loyalty and then betrayed so many. And they raked in multi-millions over the years, off everyone else’s time, money, and efforts!

    I am sure many people through the years and all the changes; they finally figured out they were burning people out and they were sick of giving their seminars up, that they paid for. But they still ‘expected’ people to ‘volunteer’ and too continually work for ‘free’! I remember every Platinum group would have to have at least 10 people every month volunteer and it was usually the same 10 or more from each group, sacrificing! I remember many people voicing and feeling like they were being taken advantage of and it is no wonder why the overall moral disintegrated!

    You cannot arrogantly control and make decisions for everyone else’s so called “owned business” and ‘expect’ people to slave and sacrifice endlessly! That is what I have learned that cults expect of their followers. How much would it have cost them, if they had to pay for the work that was done by those volunteers (for well over a decade)?

    I know of people for years that were loyal, including us; that ‘volunteered’ month after month, year after year, dug into our own pockets for the Team losses of opens and seminars and missed half of a the seminar. The PC could have at least given 50% off the tickets, since those volunteers gave up at least 50% of their time missing them! What is their time worth again?

    And for some that I know spent days in this process; extra hotel stays, longer hours and extra days for sitters, loading, hauling, inventorying, traveling earlier than would have to work their guts out from morning til wee hours of the night and back up early the next morning to repeat for 4 days! etc.. for an insulting pittance! I believe it is an insult and know others felt it was; to give them ‘old’ tools or measly hundred or 2 dollars for 4 days of slavery, and those that got paid in old cd’s and books probably already had numerous copies of them anyway, that obviously didn’t sell or became outdated and should have been thrown in the garbage anyway!

    Especially, how many times they expected thousands of people to throw out their paid for stock and re-stock and most weren’t even making a profit! And the grand finale of the slew of lawsuits; that made all those tools junk!

    I believe The PC knew way in advance that the tools in the warehouse would be obsolete but continued to ‘promote’ the ‘media war’, ‘top 50’s’ and all the other cd’s and tools that ended up being dumped in the garbage! Just like in our group when they had a strategic blast of meetings for ‘top media war’ a week or 2 before they sued Quixtar! People lost thousands of dollars and whole legs over that! Did they care? We know they didn’t!
    Let’s face it the field leaders and their teams always took the ‘hits’ on everything! I would love to see how many ‘tools’ each individual PC bought 2 weeks before the slew of lawsuits hit or even 12 months or longer before!!!

    Then there was the seminar and opens that they would supply the tools but that leader who ran certain opens and seminars would eat any costs or Lose money out of their own pockets when the seminars and opens would lose money, BUT had to send in the ‘profit’ to the office when they made money!!

    Wow, I can’t believe how sick they operated and they took total advantage of people the way they did! Thanks for reiterating why I am extremely grateful to be gone and never be a part of the greedy, users again!

  7. February 23, 2012 11:55 am

    This is another example of an experience completely foreign to the one I had with Amway. Did I ever work in a “tool room” with the organization I worked with? No. No IBOs did. The BSM shop was fully staffed by non-IBO employees of the BSM company, earning weekend and night penalty rates.

  8. TruthSeeker permalink
    February 23, 2012 3:07 pm

    @IBOFB, you are fortunate then. I spent years in Amway (not with Team) and never saw a tool room staffed by outside labor. The kingpins were to tight to pay anyone to work. They could impose on the minions and make them feel like it was their duty to work for free.

    [Editor’s note: Changed to IBOFB’s preferred handle]

  9. February 24, 2012 10:29 am

    @ Speak, thank you for exposing yet another truth I will call


    1- “…that leader who ran certain opens and seminars would eat any costs or Lose money out of their own pockets when the seminars and opens would lose money, BUT had to send in the ‘profit’ to the office when they made money!!”

    2-Purging and re-issuing so called top 50 cds over and over again.

    3-So called volunteers are free/cheap labor to kingpins, have to pay full tkt prices and still miss the seminars while, ahem, serving the team. I know, I did it.
    Etc, etc.

    Starting with those famous words, I am not a TEAM member (a Teammunist) and never was (seriously LOL) but having been around the mlm block I suppose I can figure out what no. 2 + 3 above were all about. MLM MOs are all about financial rape perpetrated on MLMbots by charlatan kingpins any which possible way, it’s on. No buts or ifs. It’s evidenced by crap like this what these pernicious MOs are all about – to milk MLMbots to the max! before they inevitably quit, as it’s always, always bound to happen.

    Number 1 + 3 are crystal clear (jeez I hope!) so that anybody researching any MLM companies you are better forewarned now and you know what’s in store ahead for you should you decide to do MLM! BTW if you don’t get financially raped as above MLMs have a myriad of other ways they accomplish the same.

    So called pretend MLM “industry” consists of two groups of people,
    1-those who perpetrate financial rapes, the less than 1% charlatans who make $ in MLM,
    2-those who get financially raped usually the masses, the 99%+ who never make $ in MLM.

    Further, the former usually fall into either
    A-they have full knowledge what they are doing is perpetrating financial rapes and do it anyway
    (akin to selling their souls to the devil) or
    B-they don’t know what they are doing is perpetrating these financial rapes but nevertheless, have developed significant groups that give them a measure of “leadership” if not kingpin status.

    The latter will be defended as “good people” and how can so and so be or do the evil we speak of here. “No way I know them and they are nothing like you critics say.”

    I say they can be nice people in their own right but just misled and they can’t see it, as yet or never will. That’s their mistake and it comes back to haunt many of their followers who inevitably are in the 99%+ who don’t make money in MLM. But ahoy, milk them before they quit!

    Watch out!

  10. Speak Your Truth permalink
    February 24, 2012 1:01 pm


    Yet another well said and excellent but painful post for me, to read. We were one of those people RT (group B) who made $ (we thought it was a lot more than reality shows) and wouldn’t consider it PC “kingpin” status, because it wasn’t, but more than most. We brought and helped get thousands in, which is what terrible regret, causes much anguish, and is very devastating when you snap out of it. I can also say your statement on it “haunting them,” is a fact! The realization of being duped, we lived a lie, perpetuated that lie, and have tried to face what we really did, it then causes so much regret, is so immensely painful and we would love nothing more to turn back time and reverse it all.

    Sadly, but thankfully, we were blinded but NOW we see (when the process begins and we can reflect, the fog lifts, the brainwashing cobwebs get cleared) then the ‘haunting’, regret and deep sadness is just the beginning of the healing process; this began for us when the truth could not longer be denied and believe me it feels like a mach truck hits you.

    We never stopped to figure out the comp plan (the system and complexity of the plan is designed to keep your focus off of that and is extremely effective) and most importantly the biggest and most regretful pitfall for us personally and believe for all is; there was a 100% blind “TRUST” (by someone) ours was put in Orrin, Laurie. This is not an excuse, just the facts.

    We followed and fell for the you can “trust” us bs;… hook, line, sinker, and ‘believed’ that was the truth, without even questioning. So, inevitably, in the end their were… (Breached and betrayed) “Trust” along with the (betrayed) of too numerous to count ‘friendships’, including ours and a whole slew of painful ‘wake-up’ calls of the damage that we helped cause. It took some very unethical things to occur, to finally hit us like a mach truck and began to snap us out of it.

    We trusted and believed they would never ‘hurt’ anyone, that their “pay plan” could make everyone at turbo 100, could make money;( and at one time; it was true and predictable, it was down to a science; by building those numbers and why we focused helping get people to turbo 100, and had numerous ones on our team) then something changed. Orrin changed the pay plan without a doubt. Then the full truth showed up in our lives, just what evil we were dealing with. We also fell for; they could be ‘trusted’, had integrity, and were “Godly”…everything they said they were doing and ‘changing’ for the good of all and would have to write a book to share the whole process of how this happens. The lens into this process is shared throughout Amthrax and I believe you understand and clearly communicate and have a great understanding of it.

    We accept our responsibility for our participation, have done what we can to right those wrongs with everyone possible, but live with much haunting and tremendous regret. Unfortunately, we can not turn back time… or without a doubt we would. So, if there are people who hate us, then I can only pray they forgive us but couldn’t blame them. 😦

    And to say we learned a lot would be an understatement, and although we learned it from our experience, it would NOT be a ‘look how great the ‘system’ is’ and what it has done for our lives in any positive sort of sense.

    The pain and suffering we caused to others; is one of the biggest reasons, among others, that I speak out.

  11. ExAmbot permalink
    February 25, 2012 1:34 pm


    Sorry to hear that. No one knows the pain and regret of having led people astray as when the scummy MLM blindfolds come off. The next best thing is expending whatever effort to keep and get others out as well.

  12. February 28, 2012 9:59 am

    My husband and I worked the tool room dozens of times during our tenure with the Team. At first we were happy to do it because everyone was so friendly and we enjoyed meeting new people. After years and years of this, it got a little old. We were asked to work almost every seminar and the caliber of people on the Team changed enough that it was no longer a fun experience. We also noticed that the office workers became more cynical and cranky. We never realized why things changed until now (thank you “One Time Fly”).

    When we first started with Team, I recall speakers from stage bragging about what a great group of people belonged to Team. They would tell us that you could leave your purse or wallet on your chair and when you came back, they would still be right where you left them. As the years wore on, the caliber of people degraded and thefts became more common. The last time I work the Tool Room, I recall one of the RT members complaining that she had had hundreds of dollars worth of tools stolen from her at the previous seminar.

    It makes my blood boil to think of the number of hours I volunteered for free so that the Higher Ups could reap the benefits. They tossed us by the wayside and moved on to prey on other targets. Don’t make the same mistake we made!

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