Monday, April 27, 2020

Money Monday: Multi-Level Marketing is Not a Pyramid Scheme

Image copyright Robinraj Premchand on Pixabay

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links.

Over the past few days, I've seen several instances of people being accused of attempting to scam others when promoting products. I have not had anyone aggressively accuse me of attempting to scam my readers, but I have seen several bloggers accused of it. On my recent post promoting the Cryptotab Browser, the commenter wasn't aggressive towards me, but they erroneously referred to Cryptotab's multi-level affiliate marketing platform as a "Ponzi scheme," also known as a pyramid scheme.

Legitimate multi-level marketing is not a pyramid scheme. 

There is an excellent post at about the differences between a legitimate MLM platform and a pyramid scheme. I am going to share the main points from this post, but I recommend that readers take a look at the entire article.

Here are the key points from the post.

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a legitimate marketing strategy where an actual product is provided. This says nothing about the quality of the product. This is open to debate. The point is, there is a product provided. With a pyramid scheme, there is no real product sold.

Multi-level marketing is legal. Again, a customer may debate the quality of the product being offered, but there is a real product and it is legal to market products in this manner.

With multi-level marketing, prospects pay money upfront in order to enroll in a program. Participants in MLM can make money from enrollment fees AND by selling products. The time, money, and energy invested in the program may not be worthwhile to the prospect in the long run, but multi-level marketing is a legal strategy.

With a pyramid scheme, prospects pay money upfront in order to enroll in a program. Participants make money primarily from enrollment fees of prospects who sign up under them rather than by selling products.

A participant in legitimate multi-level marketing may opt to focus on recruitment rather than the sale of the product offered.  This is perfectly legal as long as there is an actual product offered.

In a previous post, I praised Cryptotab's in-browser cryptocurrency miner. You set the thing and forget it, letting it do its thing while you do yours. I am admissibly new to cryptocurrency, and the commenter may be correct that users don't get that much payout from the miner's efforts and most of their payout will come from promoting the Cryptotab browser. I've only had the browser for about two weeks and I just started promoting it, so I really can't say if this is the case. However, the commenter is incorrect about Cryptotab's affiliate program being a "Ponzi scheme." It is a legitimate multi-level marketing program.

There is an actual product being offered (the Cryptotab browser) and in this case, anyone choosing to become an affiliate puts no money into the program. You download the Cryptotab browser free of charge. You can simply use it as a browser without ever utilizing the miner, but I don't know what sense that makes when utilizing the miner costs you nothing. You don't have to be an affiliate to use the browser or the miner. The worst thing a user is risking by trying the Cryptotab browser is discovering that they don't like it, in which case they can remove it from their computer.

The other program that I promote is Watkins, which is a legitimate multi-level marketing program that requires a small investment to join: usually $29.95 per year, but the fee is reduced to $14.95 through April. This fee gives consultants access to the back-office area, which includes printable promotional materials and links to web pages that the consultant can share in order to recruit new prospects AND sell products. I use these products myself and initially signed up as a consultant simply so I could get discounts on them but decided that this was a product that I could see myself promoting.

Again, one can debate the quality of the products being sold, could say that participation in the program is more trouble than it's worth and that the investment is too costly. Whatever arguments might be made regarding those points, Watkins is not a scam or a Ponzi scheme. It is a legitimate multi-level marketing program which, in my opinion, is more transparent than many legitimate MLMs. The cost to join the program appears on the first page of the website. Further, there are no quotas to remain part of the program.

Avon, which is another legitimate MLM program that I have been a consultant for in the past and might consider being a consultant for again, requires consultants to put in an order once every six campaigns in order to maintain their consultant status. I don't like this particular requirement, but it doesn't mean that Avon is a scam or a pyramid scheme. They provide a legitimate product and it is possible for consultants to make money selling that product.

Another thing that impressed me about Watkins is the fact that no-one is going to hound me or give me a schpiel about why I should be a consultant. No-one will ever call me unless I request that they do so. I'm not even obligated to receive the monthly consultant email. I could use my annual membership fee the same way I use my annual Costco membership fee and accrue points to buy my own products at increasingly deep discounts and keep my pantry, cleaning closet, and medicine chest stocked. Just because I am part of a multi-level marketing plan where I will receive monetary compensation if a new consultant signs up through my link does not mean that Watkins is a pyramid scheme. It clearly is not.

In the future, I will direct anyone stating that the programs I am promoting are pyramid schemes or scams to this page. The promotion of products and services is permissible on most blogging platforms as long as the poster clearly states their intent. I am fine with legitimate concerns and politely worded constructive criticism. Shouting SCAM on every post containing affiliate links is unproductive and tiresome. I for one don't have time for that muckity-muck and will not entertain it.

I lost thousands of dollars to scams and unscrupulous schemes in the 1990s and early 2000s and pride myself on being transparent about my affiliate marketing efforts and only promoting products and programs which are free or reasonably priced. Ripping people off is not a win. Helping others prosper and lead fulfilling lives is.

Your ornery old Aunt Cie

This post is copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Cross-posted to:

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Naughty Netherworld PSA: Social Distancing Acrostic

is for sliding and side-stepping away
O is for only staying within your own circle
is for care of yourself and others
is for isolating
is for always taking precautions
is for spreading love, not contagion

D is for dancing at least six feet apart
is for insisting on doing what's right
is for soap and frequent hand-washing
is for taking time to be safe
is for asking others to maintain a safe distance
is for nicely considering needs
is for compassion and consideration
is for indoors in your own home
is for nature in a place that's uncrowded
is for growing and changing to find new ways to do things


I am aware that this reads like a motivational poster.

Content coyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Please do not repost

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

Sharing a link to the poem is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the poem for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

NaPoWriMo: Write a poem about the letters of the alphabet or perhaps a poem where the letters form a short word. I kind of took liberties with that idea.

April PAD Challenge: Write a poem about social distancing. There you have it!

If you enjoyed that poem, there's more in my first published poetry volume, Another Autumn. Available for 99 cents on Kindle.

Cross-Posted to:

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Mark's Train

I see the sun on your back, my steamy friend,
Mark said to the engine shiny and black
And this is why I will never go galloping
across Europe, or sleeping late on Saturday
for being with you is more fun than any game
I would rather ride the rails than sail the rivers

Some folks laughed at the way Mark talked to his engine
He certainly is a quirky old cuss, they said
He would spend all day and night with that train
And tell any human to go pick mushrooms
He thinks nobody else could ever do justice
To the work that he puts into that old engine

He looks at us like earthenware dogs when we
try to help him, the other crew members said
You can sharpen an axe on top of his head
The carrots are cooked, the controller said
Take yourself into your hands, it's a roll with butter
Mark gets the job done, so let him have his way


And now for the notes:
Poem copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley
Do not repost. Reblogging with proper credit is acceptable on sites that allow for reblogging.
A link to the poem may be shared with proper credit
Quoted text may be shared for educational or review purposes with proper credit

NaPoWriMo: Write a poem based on foreign idioms
April PAD Challenge: Write a Quirk poem
Words for Wednesday list
The photograph also comes from the Words for Wednesday prompt.
  1. Justice,
  2. Mark,
  3. Game,
  4. Sleeping,
  5. Rivers,
  6. Human.
The idioms I incorporated came from this page. I will list them for you here. All idioms and their explanations come from said page.

The idiom: Сенің арқаңда күн көріп жүрмін

Literal translation: “I see the sun on your back.”
What it means: “Thank you for being you. I am alive because of your help.”


The idiom: Галопом по Европам

Literal translation: “Galloping across Europe.”
What it means: “To do something hastily, haphazardly.”


The idiom: Ej bekot.

Literal translation: “‘Go pick mushrooms,’ or, more specifically, ‘Go pick boletes!'”
What it means: “Go away and/or leave me alone.”


The idiom: Se regarder en chiens de faïence.

Literal translation: “To look at each other like earthenware dogs.”
What it means: “Basically, to look at each other coldly, with distrust.” 


The idiom: Хоть кол на голове теши

Literal translation: “You can sharpen with an ax on top of this head.”
What it means: “He’s a very stubborn person.”


The idiom: Les carottes sont cuites!

Literal translation: “The carrots are cooked!”
What it means: “The situation can’t be changed.”
Other language connections: It’s a bit like the phrase, “It’s no use crying over spilt milk,” in English.


The idiom: брать/взять себя в руки

Literal translation: “To take oneself in one’s hands.”
What it means: “It means ‘to pull yourself together.’”
Other languages this idiom exists in: There is a German version of this idiom: “Sich zusammenreißen,” which translates literally as “to tear oneself together.” And in Polish, the same idea is expressed by the phrase, “we take ourselves into our fist (wziąć się w garść).” 


The idiom: Bułka z masłem.

Literal translation: “It’s a roll with butter.”
What it means: “It’s really easy.”


Cross-Posted to these sites:
Good Stuff from Grover (I'm pretty sure that Ghost Town Grover and Mark would get along just fine. They're both quirky old codgers.)

Ghost Town Grover sez:
"I git where Mark's comin' from. I wasn't never too comfortable with nobody borrowin' my pick-axe or my minin' cart or my mule neither."

Cactus Clem sez:
"Mark an' me have a lot in common. He's kinda prickly too."

Friday, April 17, 2020

Multiple Ways to Save with Watkins

Disclosure: I am an independent affiliate for Watkins.

As those who have been following me for a while are aware, I signed up with Watkins to get discounts on my own products but realized that these are products that will sell themselves. Which is a good thing, considering that I have all the charisma of that crust that forms on the edge of a fried egg. I am not a good salesperson and am a terrible liar. Thus, I am a bad fit for promoting any sort of scheme or being a representative for a line of products that requires a monthly quota of any kind.

Since I'm the sort of person whose tendency is to hide when I hear a knock on the door and hope that whoever is there will go away, why would I want to get with selling or promoting anything, no matter how good the product is or how honest the company is?

I've never liked working for other people. My tendency to insomnia ensures that I have no set sleep pattern. I hate punching time clocks. Most of the time, I hate it when I go out in public and the public be there. I am much more of a social spider than a social butterfly. When I was younger and went to parties, I would find a plant to hide behind with my beer until I got drunk enough that my natural tendency to camouflage myself by trying to be the wallpaper wore off. Yet I always seemed to end up in jobs that involved heavy public contact rather than the sort of job that I would have preferred, which involved hiding in a basement sorting books or something of that nature.

Fast forward to late 2019. I am disabled and living in a remote rural area, looking for ways to potentially make money online. I remembered Watkins products as something I had looked into some 15 years previously but never pursued. I found the website and decided that the annual membership fee was reasonable enough that I would sign up. At the time, I only intended to use the membership to purchase my own products at a discount. However, I soon realized that Watkins products were good enough that even I could sell them.

I had designs on getting together a selection of products to promote at my town's annual rodeo, which probably isn't going to happen this year. I was going to make and sell rock candy to showcase the amazing line of Watkins extracts. I was also going to have samples of Watkins lotions and air fresheners.

In trying to make the best of a bad situation, I'm continuing to stockpile Watkins products, both for myself and for when the world is able to emerge from its protective cocoon. I always shop from the monthly specials, and I earn points towards bigger and better discounts. This month, for instance, I purchased not only spices and extracts for my baking pleasure but liniments and remedies and also dish soap. Watkins dish soap is effective, gentle, and contains only natural ingredients. As I discussed previously, COVID-19 has a fatty shell. Soap is your best defense against this sucker because it destroys the virus' fatty shell. Hand sanitizer is antibacterial and, thus, ineffective against COVID-19. 

I ordered approximately $163 worth of products from Watkins this month and paid only $133. Included in this order were five bottles of dish soap.  This dish soap is normally $6.99 per bottle, but I got mine for $5.99 each. A little of this soap goes a long way, and I now have enough to last me the rest of the year and possibly into next year. Hopefully, by then, scientists will have created a vaccine for COVID. I'll still be a recluse, but it won't be compulsory.


Your ornery old Aunt Cie

Cross-posted to:

Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

It's Caramel Popcorn Day (With Recipe)

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links

Greetings and welcome to Aunt Cie's Attic. I hope you didn't come here looking for tips on how to become more organized, because if that was your goal, you can consider it a lost cause. Organization is not my strong suit, but sometimes I pull some inspiring ideas out of my hat or an old box that I'm going through.

caramel popcorn

Today is Caramel Popcorn Day. I love caramel popcorn, even though I hate the way the hard outside of the corn has a tendency to get stuck between my back teeth. Sadly, I have no popcorn, caramel or otherwise, at my house, but I've found a recipe for you in case you have popcorn and the ingredients to make a nice caramel honey topping. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Australia's Best Recipes.


  • 1/2 cup popcorn cooked
  • 60 g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp honey


  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil for 4 minutes or until the mixture is a caramel colour, stirring occasionally. Be careful as the caramel will be very hot.
I would think you could also use the topping for ice cream or fruit, cake, pancakes, all sorts of things.

You could also customize it by adding different flavorings. The Watkins Company has a full line-up of all-natural extracts which work beautifully in baking, candy, syrups, whatever you can imagine. These extracts are not sold in stores, but they are no more expensive than the ones you can purchase from the store, and they are of superior quality. You can buy them from my Watkins page, (the link to the catalog is in the upper right-hand corner) or you can sign up to become a consultant yourself. Through April, fee to become a Watkins consultant is just $14.95 (normally 29.95).

You can use your membership simply to get Watkins products at a discount for yourself, and no-one will ever pester you to meet sales quotas or participate in events or recruit other members. I initially signed up just to get discounts on my own products, but when I saw all the simple tools provided with the membership fee, I felt that I could easily promote Watkins to others. I am an extremely shy person, hardly the sort who could sell ice at the North Pole, so to speak. However, I think that Watkins sells itself, and if you are a bit of a bolder sort than I am, you might really be able to make this opportunity work for you. Plus, it's much more pleasant than selling ice at the North Pole. 

Click on this link to check out the Watkins opportunity.

win free vanilla

Every month, my team leaders have a giveaway featuring free Watkins baking vanilla plus approximately $100 worth of other great Watkins products. Click here to learn more.  

Entering the contest puts you under no obligation to buy anything or receive further promotions. 

The Watkins opportunity and Watkins products are available only to residents of Canada and the United States.

Although I sadly do not have any popcorn, I think I may try my hand at making this sauce and pour it over an apple crisp. I think I will add a bit of Watkins butter vanilla (my favorite extract) for a special twist!

Cheers from your ornery old Aunt Cie

Cross-posted to:
All content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

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Grammy's Grid

Spread the Kindness

Monday, April 6, 2020

Make a flowerpot cover

Make a flowerpot cover: Nowhere could I find a turquoise flowerpot. By chance in a building store they sold mosaics for just a penny and in the color I was looking for. So let's work An old plastic bucket, glue in a tube, some patience and a unique flowerpot.

Here is a nice method of adding some pizzazz to a flowerpot. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 2 + April PAD Challenge 2020 Day 2: Grover Doesn't Run Wild

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Grover doesn't run wild
It's a place most people mistake for dull
Sitting far from the highways and byways
Sprawled out lazy in the middle of the prairie
A relic from another time
Filled with broken souls driven out of elsewhere
Connected to nothing and nowhere
Grover whiles away the hours unnoticed
The trucks roll by on the road outside
Nothing moves quickly
Save for the wind
Which knocks over trash cans
And erodes buildings
Grover doesn't run wild
It just bides its time
Embracing its broken family
Without interfering in their lives
Another day begins and ends
In this nowhere land filled with nobody
Hidden in plain sight
On the lone prairie


I am behind already, and I don't apologize. I am extremely busy.

Here are the prompts. I incorporated all of them, in my way.

NaPoWriMo: Write a poem about a certain place

April PAD Challenge: Write a "space" poem

April PAD Challenge Countdown Catch-Up (Day 8): Write a persona poem

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Aunt Cie's Ornery Newsletter

Image by heidijergovsky from Pixabay

Hello, friends of Aunt Cie's Attic, Good Stuff from Grover, and Team Netherworld Creations/Naughty Netherworld Press! Today I am creating my first-ever newsletter, and I've got to admit, I'm in way over my head. So we are going to do this one step at a time.

The nifty little house designed by Heidi Jergovsky actually looks like a cartoon version of the ole Grover Hotel! It's absolutely perfect. So, we will start with this little graphic to create a logo.

I then took the picture to to make this logo. You can do quite a bit with the free Pixlr X.

I then went back to my MailChimp account to upload the logo.

I've sent myself a test email and now I will wait for subscribers!

I put off starting an email list for years because I was overwhelmed by the thought of maintaining such a thing. MailChimp can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. I don't have to maintain a list myself. MailChimp does that. A free account is more than enough for most bloggers. 

I have numerous sites and projects and it was becoming cumbersome to cross-post to multiple sites. Now if folks subscribe to my newsletter, they can stay up to date with what's what on all of my sites. Also, you can thank me for putting my subscription option in the sidebar and not in one of those wretched pop-ups. Those things fill me with liquid murder. I hate having that blasted pop-up fly in my face every time I visit a site, even if I've already subscribed!

That's about it for now. I hope to see some of you subscribe soon!

Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie

Ornery Owl
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

Don't miss your chance to win free Watkins vanilla plus about $100 in other amazing prizes! Click the banner above to learn more.

The fee to become an independent Watkins consultant is just $14.95 through April (regularly $29.95). Click the banner to learn more about this amazing opportunity. 
(Residents of Canada and the United States only)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 1 + April PAD Challenge 2020 Day 1: Escape on the Asphalt Sea

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

on an asphalt sea my son and I ride
as long as the weather is on our side
we make a journey to retrieve
items from a place that we must leave
on an asphalt sea

as the earth turned, so did the tide
fortune has not been on my side
I search for reasons to believe
on an asphalt sea

some days I do not mind the ride
other days I wish to escape inside
over the years there have been reasons to grieve
I examine the dreams that my mind may conceive
on an asphalt sea


I combined the NaPoWriMo prompt with the April PAD Chapbook Challenge prompt AND the April PAD Challenge Countdown prompt. Go me!

Watkins Wednesday: Weapons for your Arsenal

Image by ivabalk from Pixabay

Disclosure/disclaimer: I am an independent affiliate for Watkins products. While I am a licensed medical professional (LPN), the following post in no way intended to replace medical advice given to you by your doctor or by professional organizations such as the CDC. This post contains suggestions for cleaning and potentially helping combat the COVID-19 virus.

Howdy Readers! The Grover Hotel Gang hopes you and your family are well and not going stir-crazy during this quarantine. I never thought I'd be writing a post about a viral outbreak, but here we are. I wish COVID-19 was an April Fools joke, but it looks like we're going to be stuck with it for a while.

Hand sanitizer is a good go-to for general usage between tasks where your hands may have been exposed to pathogens but not soiled. However, it needs to be understood that hand sanitizer has strictly antibacterial properties. Hand sanitizer will not combat COVID-19 or any other virus.

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best defense against viruses.

Now, here is a glimmer of good news in the gloom.

You don't need surgical-grade soap to protect yourself from COVID-19 or any other virus. Some people believe that antibacterial soaps are best, but in fact, it is best not to use antibacterial soaps for everyday handwashing. Also, antibacterial soaps are no better in protecting against viral infections than regular soap.

When you go to the page above, there is a link to the Watkins catalog in the upper right-hand corner. You can order from me, or you can do yourself a solid and become a consultant yourself. You will get discounts on your own products, and if that is all you use your membership for, that is perfectly okay. However, you can also make money selling the products to other folks and/or letting them know about the Watkins business opportunity. 

Your low annual membership fee (normally $29.95, but Watkins runs specials throughout the year) gets you a website like mine, which is built and maintained by Watkins. So if like me, your site design skills are lacking and your homemade web pages look like they were built by a toddler, it isn't a problem. You never have to build a webpage yourself. Plus, you get access to Watkins' other promotional materials and great support from your upline.

Now, here are a few of the products I recommend, not only for fighting COVID-19 but for everyday use around the house.

I have bragged about Watkins degreaser before, and that is because it is so useful and effective. It can't be beat for cleaning greasy stovetops and grills. You need just one tablespoon to a gallon of water. I keep a spray bottle of prepared degreaser in the kitchen, and I discovered a great trick for extending the life of sponges and kitchen brushes. 

I drop my kitchen towel and my sponges and brushes into the washing machine (yes, the washing machine.) I choose the smallest load size. One of my brushes has a liquid soap chamber, so I don't add detergent other than what's in this chamber. I add a tablespoon of degreaser and wash the items in hot water on the delicate cycle. I air dry the items after they have finished washing. Other than cloth towels, I do not recommend putting the items in the dryer. This process greatly extends the life of kitchen sponges and brushes.

If you get grease on your clothes, wash them in warm or hot water with degreaser.

I like to occasionally fill the sink with hot water and a tablespoon of degreaser. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes, then drain and wipe down.

You can also add a tablespoon of degreaser to your dishwater. It is safe and non-corrosive. It is fine to use on non-stick pans, but do not use it on cast iron. Do NOT use the degreaser in the dishwasher. It foams. You don't want to end up with sudsy water all over your kitchen floor.

 I would not recommend drinking the degreaser for the same reasons I wouldn't recommend drinking liquid soap. However, it is just as safe as dish detergent for cleaning dishes and kitchen surfaces.

Watkins also has a full line of dish soap and surface cleansing wipes suitable for household use. The wipes may be hard to come by at this time. They have been out of stock the last two times I've tried to order them for myself. 

Even mild soaps and detergents can dry your hands, so be sure to check out Watkins's line of hand and body lotions. 

I also recommend Watkins' wonderful air fresheners. I have asthma, and chemical air fresheners tend to trigger asthma attacks. Watkins air fresheners contain only non-toxic ingredients, and I've never had to reach for my inhaler after using them.

That's about it for now. I'm grumpy because I ordered a full line of Watkins extracts to make rock candy to sell during Grover Days this summer. If things keep going as they are, this ole hootenanny probably won't be happening this year, and even if it does happen, people may still be paranoid about eating homemade goodies. I reckon I'll stock up on cleaning supplies to showcase instead in the event that Grover Days isn't canceled.

The Grover Gang hopes you and yours stay safe and healthy and that this mess is over soon.

Best Wishes from The Ornery Old Owl
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

Yer ole pal Ghost Town Grover

Yer ole pal Cactus Clem