If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. Natalie’s parents had been light-feuding with their neighbours for as long as she could remember. It was usually the typical things: lawn care, decorations at Christmas and Halloween, food and drink at parties, that sort of one-upmanship.
Mostly, she didn’t care about it. Seemed to her to be the sort of petty power plays she had to deal with every day in high school, only with adults who should have grown out of that by now. Every time she saw some documentary about pack animals that performed displays to ensure a higher place in the social hierarchy, she thought of her parents and then Millmans and thought people weren’t so different from animals when you really got down to it.
But this was taking things a step too far. Mrs. Millman had joined one of those multi-level marketing schemes. Selling cookware and healthy eating and whatnot. Natalie’s mother had dutifully bought some utensils and a few packets of the food, but then said she wouldn’t join because she didn’t care for the quality. Natalie, and Mrs. Millman, knew the quality was irrelevant. There was just absolutely no way her mother was going to be part of Mrs. Millman’s down-line, where even if she succeeded, her “rival” would benefit even more.
However, it meant her mother needed to find something else to compete with. There had to be something she was sharing with her friends that not only made her money, and more money than Mrs. Millman, but provided a service with quality no one could complain about. The problem with that plan, of course, was the fact that almost every multi-level marketing scheme on the planet was a scam selling over-priced junk while skirting anti-pyramid scheme laws with technicalities. None of them would do, and Mrs. Millman had clearly done her research to find the least objectionable of the lot.
Until Natalie’s mother discovered Transcendence. Everything about it was shrouded in mystery. The hunbots didn’t even spam everyone they knew, the way most MLMs required of their people. No, they just talked up the changes in themselves, their lives, and they did so both in person and on social media. They’d tag the posts #transcendence, but of course, that could just mean the concept, and it was clear from the feed that was exactly how many people were using it. No, the trick was to watch what they said when people asked them if they had a new exercise routine or a new diet, or something of the like.
They always, always told the person to contact them directly, rather than commenting publicly. Natalie’s mother did just that with a friend of hers from high school who had moved across the country. Apparently, this was perfect, because Transcendence was a coast thing so far, and they were excited about the opportunity to have someone in the Prairie provinces selling. Natalie’s mother would be their very first representative there. Everyone in the Prairies who came later would be in her down-line.
Mrs. Millman would never be able to compete with that.