Mama Jong: 7 signs you’re in a MLM

Mahjong—innocent pastime or sinister scam? Mama Jong, investigative journalist, takes a deeper look.

We all think we’re way too smart to be caught up by a MLM or multi-level marketing scam, often also known as a ‘pyramid scheme.’ I’d name a few for you, but I’m too scared I’ll get sued by the Big BS Industry.

I’ve been in mahjong for a long time and as I was idling a lazy weekend evening at tournament formats. You know, your typical leisure activity. I noticed something that made my blood run cold.

Looks familiar, huh?! Alarm bells are ringing in Mama Jong’s head. Few returns for the majority of participants with only a handful receiving any benefits?! Suspicious…

Let’s take a look at the other warning signs I have diagnosed.

1. Outrageous and unfounded product claims

Mahjong will make you smarter — Have you seen mahjong player’s attempts at fairly basic mental arithmetic? Fairly pathetic.

You will get a chance to win against a pro! — Those people play for a JOB! You’re not going to beat them with the couple of hours you snatch in an evening.

You’ll make friends — AHAHAHAHAHHA! Friends don’t take all your points with a self-drawn yakuman. You need to review the definition of ‘friendship.’

2. Poor training

There is basically zero training for any part of this hobby. We’re all stumbling around in the dark whether it be playing, reffing or teaching. The instructions almost literally come in a foreign language. We’re all just making it up as we go along exactly as if we were flogging some herbal tea that is ‘definitely’ going to make you skinny.

3. Big initial outlays

Not only do you have to pay for your registration fee for tournaments, but if you want to qualify for an international event, you need to attend multiple events — some requiring long-distance travel. When you do qualify for WRC, for example, you need to pay even more to attend. Basically, you have to pay to rise though the levels, just like a ‘religion’ I won’t mention.

4. No or low-quality product or service

There is NO service in riichi mahjong. We’re lucky if we get a sign to the tournament hall.

5. Poor communication

When was the last time you heard from your EMA rep?

Thought so.

6. Recruitment over selling product is priority

Does riichi even have a product? You can’t even play without recruiting three other people near you. It’s like one of those awful chain letters you used to get in school demanding you send it to three other people and somehow your life will be better… Maybe that’s why we’re cursed, we didn’t forward that Facebook post!

7. Seems too good to be true

Mahjong in the Olympics? Need I say more.

Mama Jong’s conclusion is that we are almost definitely in a pyramid scheme. Uncontrolled recruitment may mean that the riichi mahjong ‘scam’ could exceed the population of the planet in just a few more tournaments.

See you at Black Platinum VIP, suckers!

Mama Jong

Mama Jong has been playing mahjong since there were only three winds.