There must be very few of us who are not quite familiar with Hamway and its antics. The h in Hamway is silent – just like the h in honest. Ha! Hamway and honest in one sentence, how about that? But I digress. Enough has been blogged about the Hamway dogs and their devious approach, about how they will skillfully sneak up to an unsuspecting you in a grocery aisle and ask the most imbecile question, bearing the most innocent countenance. Ironically, the more imbecile their question, more seasoned is the player in the game. Because if they ask something even a degree more intelligent, your possible response of “I have no idea” will stop the conversation right there and defeat their purpose.

One typical question that should set off the Hamway-alarm is, “Could you recommend one to me?” One here refers to whatever it is that you’re looking up, be it a fascinating Swiss-knife or the usual gallon-jug of 2% milk. But the shrewd imbecile will say something like “Oh that’s a wonderful car-seat! Where did you find one like that?” or “Wow, you’ve strapped your baby so beautifully in that seat! How did you do it?” The “wonderful” car seat is a standard navy infant seat almost every baby-owner blindly picks from the most obvious store first-time parents shop in. And anyone who has strapped a baby in a seat knows that she’s either strapped, or she isn’t. There’s nothing even remotely beautiful about the process, other than perhaps the baby itself. But no, let me still praise the very mundane things to make the cretin in you feel like Superman.

The rest is just a matter of steps in the Hamway manual – Mrs. Hamway joins in, praises the gooey bib or your plain grey sweatshirt, pleasantries are exchanged, camaraderie established, an e-business sneakily mentioned, phone numbers given with promises to ‘catch up’. Hamway and the missus walk away with the casual triumph of having totally taken in a clueless retard. Little do they know that you were just indulging them with some basic face-saving courtesy.

So my point is – why let them have all the fun? You’re humoring them anyway, go ahead and humor yourself while at it. This, I think calls for a Part II. Long alert – come back later, and/or read it in bits and pieces, if you suffer from ADD. Skip it altogether if you suffer from laziness.


So there was a time the husband and I were hounded by Hamwayites. We must have a default Hamway-suckers look on our face. Either that, or we likely lived in Hamwayville back then. In the beginning, we’d hurriedly head in another direction as soon as we smelt an Hamway rat a few meters away. Or, we’d keep conversing nonsense with each other so there was no scope for any interruption. But the more we observed their cookie-cutter technique, the devil in us begged to be unleashed. (Who would put a Devil on leash anyway? Maybe Phantom, but I digress again).

If Mr. and Mrs. Hamway do RTFM, they split before they approach you. We decided we’d follow suit. So as soon as we get the whiff of Mr. Hamway, I walk to another aisle – with an eye out for Mrs. Hamway. The husband would look up some gadget or a relatively complicated product; I’d look up – and scrutinize, mind you – a no-brainer like disposable plastic spoons. Sure enough, she will come with a candied sweet smile and ask, “which ones are good?” (Eh? There’s only one kind here, no options). But I’ll still glance at the brand and say I prefered these. “Thank God the store has them!” Artificial conversation continues, and we establish a “connection” as we’re both from India. (Seriously – how many Indians do you come across in the US? Isn’t it nice to finally see someone from your motherland?) We become best pals in just a few seconds, and walk together to the husbands. The only thing we don’t do is hold hands.

Back in the aisle, H1 is going ga-ga over H2’s choice of gadget, while W1 still can’t stop praising W2’s choice of picnic spoons. Introductions happen. Everyone shows surprise at the coincidence of how the spouses met separately. Everybody goes “Yeah, right – idiots!” in their respective minds. We decide to meet for coffee sometime. Surely you see that if we like the same gadgets and picnic spoons, there is no way our political views and ideologies could differ? Mr. Hamway decides this is the right time to casually mention his e-commerce business he’d like to tell us about.

Scenario 1: We’re simply delighted that he brought the topic up, and the husband mentions he’d like to talk about our business himelf. Gropes in his pocket for a card, realizes he’s out of them. “Oh, but you could look us up on” The key word here, my friends, is –  a probable domain of any BWW “business-owner”, and Hamway’s retarded cousin. The look on their face – priceless!

Scenario 2: We go home, he calls as expected, on a Sunday evening. That’s when they always call. It can’t be a coincidence – perhaps some marketing psychology juju. I take the call, keep rambling and giving useless input when the conversation is about the weather or something half-witted. Every time the poor thing tries to mention his e-business, I either pick another word from that sentence and go totally off topic, or pretend to be interrupted, mutter a sorry, pick up a different thread and continue rambling.

But I must admit it was disheartening to realize that the person who was so excited about my baby’s gooey bib did not have much patience for my views on Masala films, or the French Onion soup in the local bistro. What did make up for it, however, was the amusement of detecting a steady increase in his impatience. He made no effort to hide it either. Finally, of course, I had to hang up, since “the baby was crying”, but I didn’t forget to tell him how wonderful it was to chat with him nevertheless. Nice of him to call and say hello, really. I can bet I’ve been the object of Ampletives (ample Hamway expletives).

Scenraio 3: This is a rarer scenario, in case the Mr. Hamway in question seemed to have just landed from India and was brainwashed before he could say “Quixtar!” We almost felt bad for him. So – the husband agrees to meet Mr. Hamway for coffee. Mr. Hamway, who was quite looking forward to being the Speaker of the Day ends up being the Speakee instead. Husband transmogrifies himself into a Math. lecturer, complete with a pencil, the Scarbucks paper napkin, a ready formula to rattle out. With super-confident schemas and annotations – well, the coffee-shop equivalent of those – tells Mr. Hamway how they are all being taken in by a few holding the strings. It would take eons for any riches to reach his level in the pyramid.  Even if the pyramid scheme did really work, they would soon run out of people in the world within just a couple levels. In other words, you’re duped yourself, what’s the point in duping others? Checkmate.

It’s been a long time since we did any of this, though. We’re getting old, and there are other useless things demanding our time and attention. These days, if we smell an Hamway rat a few meters away, we hurriedly head in another direction. Or, we keep conversing nonsense with each other so there is no scope for any interruption.

35 responses to “AM WAY-TING TO AMBUSH YA (Part I of II)

  1. Write more, thats all I have to say. You clearly know what youre talking about,
    why throw away your intelligence away when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  2. Ack, I am not a very patient person.. so if any smiling-desi starts to approach the husband or me at Kohl’s or such, I just start chanting “Hamway Hamway” as loudly as I can (much to the embarrassment of my husband)..
    This strategy seems to have worked well so far..

  3. Good on ya! Farcebook … hahaha!!!

    What about a post on the complete obscurity and relentlessness of “status messages” on farcebook? :)

  4. Good one :)

    Don’t even get me started on the e-com-mers who strike up conversations at Landmark or Crossword!

    • Lol, in a place that crowded, it’s going to take skill – I’d love to see that, for the sake of experiment ;) -g

  5. Why do you take so long to update? I keep thinking you’ll post now and finally I got impatient and started from the first post all over again. And I’m laughing just as hard as before. Readers comments and your replies are no less entertaining! This post is especially my favourite. Please write more often. I hate delurking, yours is the first blog I’m ever commenting on. And I’ve been reading many blogs for a while.

    Ha!! You delurked! Another story that you really made my day with that :) Yes, I’ve been meaning to write, and I will soon. Just been swamped with a bunch of things. Thanks for those nice words; it does mean a lot! -g

  6. hilarious!
    i studied up for scenario #3 after encoutering a couple of hamways a year back..noones taken up my offer of a math lecture in a coffee shop since then :(

    Haha, hard to resist, isn’t it? :) Well since you don’t seem to be happy about being left alone, maybe you should just throw them a “business proposition” ;) They might show up, out of curiosity if not anything else :D Thanks for stopping by, Aditya! -g

  7. Very funny –
    I have accidentally called them parasites in the society, on their face, and later told them, I wasn’t sorry about saying so.

    Hehe, *ouch*! You know, for all the Amway-bashing that we do, we have to admit we’re happy they exist. It’s entertainment in a class of its own :D Thanks for stopping by, Sidhu :) -g

  8. Hilarious!!
    We’ve being victims once quite some time back though….but there was only the Mr!
    Just a few weeks back caught sight of the same Mr.H at the same bookstore, pretending to read but actually waiting for the next prey…..

    lol@”waiting for the next prey”! They’re just all over the place, aren’t they?! -g

  9. Waaaaaahhhhhh. After being “requested” almost 20 years ago nobody seems to be interested in Hamming us :-( I think it is more of a big city(Buffalo included) problem than small towns?

    But there also used to be Tupperware parties. Atleast the Hammies are people you don’t know. The tupperware people are my friends!! I used to wonder why people bought 10 dollar dabbas when Rubbermaid was available for a couple and did the same job. Anyway, I hear that Tupperware and Hammies are out in full swing in MYSORE!!

    I think it’s more of the perfect-sucker look on your face problem rather than city/town :-| LOL@Tupperware parties – do they really happen?! The only one I’ve witnessed is Debra’s on Everybody Loves Raymond :D Thanks for your comment, My3! :) -g

  10. and pray tell me how to smell those Hamway rats! My nose seems to have a permanent block :-(

    Noticed any lone lurkers in a near-empty grocery aisle trying too hard to look casual? Or those that smile, nod, step forward and exercise every form of acknowledgment all at once at the very first eye contact? Once you make a game out of this, you won’t even need the guidelines anymore ;) Welcome here :) -g
    PS: Who was it that said “what’s in a name?” ? Darn, I really need to know! :-|

  11. I almost chased one such bastard out the store in Buffalo… He used to prey on poor, unsuspecting university students… Actually, had quite an interesting experience in India too… Check this out! :D

    They don’t spare anyone, do they?! Well, the good news is they don’t discriminate :-| Will check the link out soon. Welcome to 42, Nikhil. -g

  12. Am wailing.
    I lost a big opportunity to make it big in the world of cult toothpastes and vitamins. Had I listened to the altruistic and brotherly advices of the Hamway Stars (lets call them Hamsters) five years ago, I’d have at least become a stiff-bronze-middle-finger (if not a Gold-Member) by now!

    Great stuff.


    Thanks! lol@am wailing. You really should have taken it up – you’d probably be an elite member of the most blogged about cult class. -g

  13. they have a nice phrase or shall we say word for it in these parts of the world. called networking. So much behind that word, I tell you..

    Networking it is. A net to catch unsuspecting grocery shoppers. But it ain’t working any more, I tell ya! -g

  14. Hmm !! There goes one more story ! I just loved the narration !

    Where goes one more story? :s But thanks, Kavi! -g

  15. Hee :D You are evil!
    But you probably knew that :D

    :D The point is, you know it too – all I can say is takes one to know one ;) -g

  16. Talking about telemarketers, check out this link

    ROFL. Insane!! :D Thanks for a good laugh :) -g

  17. Very, VERYnice. These kind of keedhas rock. I do it regularly with telemarketers.

    Thanks Cyn. LOL, yes Telemarketers get their earful share too :D Ok, I think that translates as we are two jobless people :-| -g

  18. Pingback: Topics about Humoristic and Funny stuff » Archive » AM WAY-TING TO AMBUSH YA (Part I of II)

  19. I had been in scenario 3 once over the phone though not over coffee. I gave a nice earful of Philosophy and how everything is an illusion. He must have been pretty darn confused! Hamway rats are real pests! You won’t believe one of them tried for a second time with me after a year, I just told him to catch a new guy and that I already drove him away a year back. Everyone wants a new challenge you see!

    I hope he didn’t say “let’s create the illusion of you buying from me – it won’t be real anyway!” :-| But seriously, I’d like to take a peek in the conscience of these guys – if there is one. Who knows, there might be some dukhi side to it – they could be the victims caught between the bigger Amway fish and people warding them off perpetually. Stupid, greedy victims, but victims nevertheless. I wonder if there’s anything written by a contrite ex-ham from their perspective. Would love to read it. -g

  20. Sorry, I ‘tagged’ you
    Please ignore, if you wish to.

    I’m sorry too. Oh, you meant because you forgot to mention it in the previous comment? Aah, sorry. Danglers danglers everywhere…! You know, even I wouldn’t want to know more than 3 things about myself; imagine subjecting the rest to even more than one, let alone 25! Will surely take it up if I’m in the mood for some torture – and I mean as the subject. And the grammatical subject at that, not the experimental one. (I think you’re getting a taste of what I’m like when I’m in the mood for some torture :P). If you haven’t aaaarghed yet, darn I’m out of practice! ;)
    I know you’ll excuse me if I decide to spare all you guys instead (that’s not to say I will :P). But will definitely ping you if I do take it up. -g

  21. Hamway sounded like Hemingway at first, but I had to read the entire post to find out what it is all about. Quite Earnest, though. Though I consider myself lazy, I did read the post at one go. I don’t regret I did. Amwayzingly interesting narration.

    The post reminded me my share of bitter experiences.
    About 9 years back we were hounded by these Hamsters in New Delhi. One of my bachelor neighbour ( lets call him Ganja) introduced a smartass Mr. Hamway, who stared with “what would you like to do if you earn more money than you ever wanted to without having to work?” Well, as I had no clue about his background (though I was aware about the Damnway networking business) hence I seriously answered ” I would like to visit Egypt, Switzerland and Ibiza. I would taste the weed from Amsterdam. I would buy a penthouse and have my own home theatre etc etc”. He said it’s all possible within legal means. After 45 minutes of his lecture I discovered its Damnway. As you said it was Sunday morning and I got pissed to waste my quality time. I kinda politely asked them to leave without wasting much time .They left me a cassette for me to listen. Next Sunday they called again, this time on the bang middle of the afternoon. I open the door, breaking the continuity of my treasured Sunday afternoon nap with a disgruntled ‘who-disturbs–my-slumber” face. They wanted to know if I had listened to the cassette. That was the last I saw the cassette and the damned duo.
    Pity, I considered ganja a good friend till this incident happened.
    Damnway breaks friendship- that’s what I learnt.

    PS: Thanks for the links. Educative & hilarious entries.

    Wow! I wonder if they feel even half a pang of guilt or remorse as they leech around?! Or perhaps they do by the time they have no choice but to leech around – and by then it’s probably too late. Hey how come you guys get to have juice for dinner and free cassettes and stuff while I have to do all the dirty work?! :P ROFL@Damnway…seriously! But you know fe, jokes apart, from what I hear they are known to break close relations and even the best of friends. Even calling it sad would be an understatement.
    I’m glad you enjoyed it, thanks! -g

  22. Hehehe… it was an Haanest mistake I say..
    read the whole post but the Part 2 headline kinda evaded my eyes :)
    Know what.. I’m now disappointed that this is all there is!

    lol, wokay, I am believing you – I mean having read the whole post bit. You do cover up well, though :) -g

  23. Just for that mild knock you come up with something so long? :D just kidding.
    Oh! Tell me about these Hamways. We have encountered them in the past. Not anymore because somehow we can sense the types. There was a time when someone actually invited us for dinner when we were new to that city and then offered us just Orange juice they bought courtesy Quickstar (?). I was wondering why they had a blackboard in the family room and later understood when he took the “class” about being rich. Most torturing hours of my life. We were poor victims for not knowing anyone in the city.
    Later encountered many like them but avoided them like Plague.
    Because of such leeches one can’t even enjoy compliments anymore. Sigh!

    Hehehe. Imagine your plight if you had knocked harder! rofl@just orange juice. You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m surprised they even invited you over – that’s like saying “here’s where you show up if you want to bash me beyond recognition”. Now I really know what they mean by ‘the rich class’. No different from the geography class. BTW, that’s no reason not to enjoy compliments – they’re all are complimentary anyway, these would be at their expense ;) -g

  24. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    If you had a URL, I would be sure you’re one of those spammers. Now I’m just unsure you aren’t one. But to give you the benefit of doubt, thanks Mike! :) -g

  25. @G : I think friends and family are first line “bakras” after that (when they have no friends and the relatives have disowned them) comes the grocery stores…I dont think they’ve started there yet !!!

    lol@”after that”. Yeah, that makes sense. I’m anguished I’m so far below on the bakra priority list :-\ -g

  26. Happening here as well…

    Worse is when relatives become “Hamway – Merchants of C**p”…many a times I have bought soap powder just to get them off my back…

    You don’t say! How do they accost strangers, then? Because lurking in a grocery aisle there (if there is one) will have other connotations :-| No wonder the relatives come in handy, then! -g

  27. Hahaha.. Hilarious!
    Can’t wait for part 2.

    And.. thanks for the free advertisement :)

    Thanks! Part 2 is already a part of this post. ROFL, you commented without reading, didntcha?! Caught ya!! :D
    Aren’t you glad this isn’t the comment that would have been on your post? ;) And yeah, you’re very welcome! -g

  28. This is going to sound bizarre, and am quite sure I mentioned it at some other amway post somewhere, but we’ve never had to face any of these Hams. :|

    Now am beginning to feel cheated. I mean, they seem o much fun and I don’t get to have any!

    You’re right. It does sound bizarre. What, you don’t do groceries? :P -g

  29. Very wicked!

    Actually, I find these things very touching, compelled as I am to crush them beneath my heel. (I prefer the sharp knock out blow – “No, thanks. Don’t need that extra cash”)

    There oughtta be a law.

    Wait. You find slow-poisoning more touching than putting them out of their misery with one shot? Yes, there should be a law. Not much fun breaking non-laws, is there? ;) -g

  30. Gauri,

    You wicked lady! :-)

    :DD Try it sometime, I promise you wont regret it ;) So one has to be wicked to get you to talk, eh?! :) Thanks for stopping by, Rada :) -g

  31. LOL! What a splendidly engaging post! You and H1 are truly pros at this! ;)
    Funnily enough, whenever I have been approached, its been with a compliment on my face…a lady saying asking me if I am from the North and feigning surprise that I am not. Another complimenting the eyes..! With opening lines like these it is very easy to fish out the rat!
    What is sad about all this however is that we naturally remain suspicious of people, and they remain guilty until proven innocent.
    Has the Hamway movement died down tho? We don’t come across anyone anymore..

    Thanks, T :) Aah, now I know why they praise my baby or sweatshirt or the carseat! Complimenting my face would be too much lies even for the Hamway conscience :-| Yes it is sad, isn’t it – suspecting a casual hello to be a BWW thing. I still often acknowledge and smile at people, though. It’s another story that I sometimes do it as an experiment :-| Haven’t seen much of them lately either…and here I was thinking we finally chased them away :-/ Thanks for stopping by, girl! -g

  32. Fascinating post!

    I met this guy at a party recently who sounds much like the person you met – all nice and friendly and calling up and emailing. Later it turned out that he wanted to talk about a business ‘opportunity’ with me. Phew!

    Hehehe, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all! Thanks, AD :) -g

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