Wednesday, November 29, 2006

CALL ME!!!!!

There’s a friend of mine who has just started a Mary Kay business. And she has asked me about putting together a party. She’s asked me more than once. I’ve done the verbal tap dance around the subject. I believe I may have faked a heart attack once to avoid discussing the whole thing.

Because, see, the last time I tried to throw a ‘try-n-buy’ party it was a Pampered Chef a few years ago. I invited eight other women, all of whom said they’d just love to, oh shriek, oh giggle, what fun! And when I called to remind them a couple days before, only one said, “Oh, drat, I won’t be making it.” The rest were still shrieking and giggling and saying they couldn’t wait.

Guess how many of them actually showed up.

That’s right! Zero! None! It was me, and Lyla the Pampered Chef Rep (and an awful lot of snack foods), and that was it.

I still have nightmares. Lyla, sitting there, looking at me with big, mournful eyes, like, “Uuuuuh…so. Here we are.” And asking me, twice, if I had remembered to remind people.

So I’m a little nervy about having parties. I am, apparently, still that dork people like to ditch. I envision those other eight women sitting around the coffee shop having a good laugh about me and my pathetic attempts to have a Pampered Chef party.

Of course, I was able to at least make it worth her drive, because Me + Groovy Cooking Utensils = SALE!

But I don’t do makeup, really. I have odd, randomly-sensitive skin – sometimes, I can wear a rot gut product (Try new Blurb! Now, with REAL LYE!!) without any harm done, other times I’ll put something specifically designed to be ‘safe for sensitive skin’ and end up with blisters all over my face.

So. I try new skincare very cautiously. One new product at a time, and give it a few solid hours to start itching / burning / peeling the skin off my face in large sheets.

I figured I could try to put together a party anyway. I could buy things for other people. I could…I dunno…maybe Mary Kay makes pajamas, nice safe pajamas, I could buy a pair of pajamas or something. Or if I were in a herd of other women, maybe my friend wouldn’t notice that I didn’t buy anything OR allow her to put anything on my face. I’d go hide in the kitchen and pretend it took four hours to make coffee, making the occasional wise-crack through the open door so they’d remember that I was there.

I’m resourceful. I’d think of something.

My friend had said I should ask other moms at the school. OK, I said bravely, to myself. I can do this. Surely they won’t all flake on me. I’ll just invite, like, six hundred of them. Then I might get one or two who actually show up.

Like the great Indian tracker that I am (ahem), I stalked my prey. I had The Perfect Person© in my crosshairs: Her son is in the same class as mine, so there’s a bond there, right? And she’s one of those ‘put together’ types, who wears makeup and wears it well, and I thought gee. Maybe she’d be the type who would like a girly-girl party thing with makeup. Gee! Maybe she’d even know a few other gals who would like to attend! Because she’s pretty! And does the makeup ‘thing’! And she’s very social and stuff!! Maybe she’s got other pretty, made-up friends who could bring a couple friends…

So I snuck up behind her and, before she could get away, fired off my cosmetic-party question. WOULD she be interested in coming to my place for a Mary Kay party, my friend, yadda yadda blah blah long story here.

And then I waited for her to wince and stutter and then tell me that she’d love to, naturally, only GEE, she JUST REMEMBERED…she was moving to Podunk next week.

But instead, she says, enthusiastically, “Oh, the parties are SO MUCH FUN! You will love-love-love it!”

Anybody else already going, “uh-oh”? Cause I wasn’t, I was just kind of jazzed that she didn’t scream in horror and flee.

So I’m standing there feeling great because hot dog – maybe I was right! Maybe she can help me actually put together an actual party with actual warm, living human bodies and it could be fun and stuff!

She starts quizzing me. Where is my friend based? Is she local? Is she, you know, here in town? How long has she been at it, blah blah blah…chat chat chat…and dummy over here is just going right along with it all…

…and then…
…she said…

“You know, it’s sometimes better if you have a local representative...”

My stomach took a sudden jump towards my toenails. I saw it coming. I realized, in a flash of !TOO LATE! insight, what was about to come out of her mouth.

“Here’s my card! And a sample! Wait! I have more in my car!! Sensitive skin! No problem! CALL ME! Guaranteed not to burn, char or mangle your face in any way! You’ll love this! And that! Here! Let me give you this one CALL ME! And that, it’s PINK! CALL ME!! And this! And that! You WILL see the difference in three days I GUARANTEE IT and here’s one with a ribbon on it CALL ME!! ANYTIME!!!!!!!”

I feel as though I stumbled into a cult meeting and made the mistake of leaving my driver’s license behind as I fled…they know where I live.

I’m being stalked. Stalked, I tell you! The hunter has become the hunted. I think I am the only woman in all the town who is not selling something out of my car. The only woman in the whole county who doesn’t have a Suburban’s worth of cheerfully-beribboned white bags in my trunk. Guaranteed to cure your ugly in three days – CALL ME!!!!

I had no idea how many bizarre things women sell all over this town, door to door, word of mouth, tell your friends, have a party, CALL ME!!! And I have no idea how I was managing to stay under their radar all these years…but I’ve blown that.

Big time.

Madame Mary Kay accepted my ‘look, I’m sorry, but IF I were to start buying Mary Kay stuff, I really would buy it from my friend, bonds of loyalty and all that’ with a fair amount of grace. And the reminder that, in an emergency, she was right there for me.

(Excuse me, ‘emergency’? Um, OK, I’m purdy ig’ner’int on such matters [see ‘don’t really do the makeup thing’ comment above], but I’m sitting here trying to think how the words ‘makeup’ and ‘emergency’ can go together. Unless, in my case, it is ‘Quick! Get me soap and water! This stuff is blistering my eyelids!’, in which case, more makeup is not what I need.) (I’m serious – I once had eye shadow blister my eyelids. Wee little white blisters, all over them. And YES!!! It hurt!!!!!!)

But guess what.

There are four other mothers at this center who are likewise consultants for assorted cosmetics and whatnot. Avon, Amway, some ‘shadow plus’ thing that I can’t really tell you anything about. I think it had to do with eye shadow, a monthly club or something. I didn’t really catch the particulars, because I was backpedaling toward the door during the spiel, joggling Captain Adventure up and down in the hopes that he’d puke and give me an easy way out of the conversation.

Which he refused to do. He just laughed charmingly, waved at her, and sang out, “Bye bye! Bye bye!”, thus giving Shadow Mom the ability to chase me into the street cooing, “Oh, isn’t he the cutest thing ever? Itsy-oopsie-cutsie-wootsie…Here’s my card! And a sample! Take two! CALL ME!!!”

Dratted kids, they’ll never puke when you really need them to.

Plus Also, there is an Army of Self Employed Consultants over at Eldest’s school, all of whom have now heard through the grapevine that I am a potential victim client.

“Oh, I heard that {Eldest, Danger Mouse, Boo Bug, Captain Adventure}’s mom is going to have a Mary Kay party”, they say, casually in passing (or with malice aforethought, thinking to get the Army off their own behinds by handing them mine).

And they’re OFF. Hounds after the fox! Ta-ROO! Ta-ROO!

They know my kids, my van, and DAMN IT, I think one of them followed me home and took note of my address to share around the Army water cooler, because one of them just sort of turned up on my porch one afternoon.

“Hi, I’m Such-n-So’s mom, he goes to School with your Eldest? Ha ha, yes, small talk about playdates and OH BY THE WAY, here’s a sample of my AMAZING LAUNDRY DETERGENT! He3, He4, front load, top load, SIDE LOAD whatever you’ve got I can handle it CALL ME!!!!!”

Laundry soap, people. She sells laundry soap. In a variety of scents, hypo-allergenic, guaranteed to make me sneeze violently! CALL HER!!!!

I may suffocate beneath the weight of the free sample bags. All brightly wrapped with festive bows. Manicures! Parties! We sell the purest manure in Hicksville, GUARANTEED! Invite your friends! Invite your enemies! From Creative Memories to Amway, everybody who sells anything out of their garage is all over me like a flock of ducks swarming a single June bug.

Resistance is futile…you will be assimilated…

I am done for, friends. The Army of the Self-Employed have found me out, and are mobilizing to destroy me.

However, if you’d like to purchase any of the product lines mentioned above, or shoot, any other product line sold by ‘independent consultants’, hey. I’ll hook you up. I know people who know people.

CALL ME!!!!!


Anonymous said...

You know, two weeks ago my mother and I hosted a Tupperware Party, and had at least 3 people promise to come, except for the family (SIL, Grandma, Mother and I).

Who turned up?


My grandma came! A bit later, my SIL showed up, too.

We have the same instinct as you, though, the "Cool Kitchen Utensils? GIMME!"

We managed to buy for over 400$ tupperware, which gave my mother lots of free stuff. Not bad.

Sorry to hear that you are hunted now - arranging parties wont help that, but maybe, if you started to bite?

Anonymous said...

Years ago, a friend invited me to a 'party' which turned out to be for bedroom wear and sex toys. This was actually hosted by her mom, who was my boss. We had to take a purity test as part of the fun, and the mom/boss was not amused that I had the highest(lowest-you know what I mean)score. But there were lots of people there and they passed out some interesting freebies, including pencil erasers in the shape of, well, a man's package, shall we say.

I got two and made them into earrings.

Very Herodotus said...

I got targeted by a Mary Kay chick in the toy section of Target a couple of months ago. She was even wearing a pin with the Mary Kay logo on it, which I failed to notice until she had struck up a conversation wih me about Bionicles or some such. If I had seen that pin first, I would never have allowed eye contact! I am usually pretty quick with the fabrications in those moments, like maybe my sister sells Avon or something, but my lies failed me that day. I gave her my name and number to get rid of her - I have caller ID so who cares? She called about five times before she gave up. Tenacious, that one.

RM Kahn said...

I had 3 people show up at my MK party and that was only because I guilted them into it since 8 others had either not responded (insert ran away in horror) or pled "doing their hair' excuse. Our mutual MK Rep was a champ and I have finally found a product that doesn't make me look I am back in high school again. Now if I could just figure out how to use eye liner without putting my eye out.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Thanks for sharing your story. I had no idea people hated the Mary Kay lady and got sucked into it a few months ago. It was HORRIBLE. Worst thing I've ever done. I had one person show up at my party.

Anonymous said...

Your story is very amusingly told, but I can imagine how annoying it has been for you! As a reformed, former Mary Kay consultant and director, my best advice would be for you to just say "I'm not interested" and run like crazy!

Peggy Archer said...

Hahaha! That's great! I too run like hell from the Mary Kay Lady - they scare me and I don't want to buy any of the crappy cosmetics.

Anonymous said...

enjoy the exposure from Pinktruth blog. found your story there.

just be more careful, the hordes of MLM sales rep wannabees are lurking behind every fixed object in some towns.

The pathetic thing is for all the work and being away from their families at night, they can hardly cover their expenses, but it gives the family a write off against hubby's income right?

Anonymous said...

love it - and i wish I'd read more of these stories before I signed up to sell MK!
Trust me, it only gets more horrible once you JOIN one of these pyramid scams!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you have had such a CRAZY experience. I know the stress of getting people to a party. I made my mom and sister drive 3 hours, and I guilted my grandmother and aunts who live locally into a jewelry party this weekend. I loved the stuff and bought a lot, but it was stressful.
I actually am a MK Independent Consultant, but not to worry, I won't stalk you in Target. I do basically live in Target, but I run as far from "warm chatter" as you! I "sell" for the tax benefits and for 50% off of a product that I really do love. I only sell to close friends and family who already used it, and I give them a discount most of the time.
Just tell these people they can put you on their personal "DO NOT CALL" list.

Anonymous said...

Well, what can i say?? I have just become a MK consultant for the hope of getting to know people & to feel better about myself. I am a migrant from South Africa, & could do with meeting some people, as my friends & family are millions of miles away. Your story has left me with dread concerning my new found career, i do not want to ANNOY PEOPLE. i just want to share the goodness & support i have felt through this company so far. its not that easy you know.

Anonymous said...

To the above post: please pay attention to the dread. I wish I had listened earlier. I lost thousands of dollars through MK because I bought into the whole 90% buyback. They aren't real clear about the fact that they ONLY buy back section 1. Whatever you do, do NOT buy the website, Propay, or anything section 2 until you decide. Check out for more info. Hope you find the light.

meg said...

"Code Pink"?!?! That is the best thing I have read all day!

I was an RA when I lived on campus and had to have 3... count them THREE meetings with all my little MK reps about not soliciting on campus... and all that time my beloved mom was still involved. (TG she is out now!!)

Oy vay -- good luck getting rid of them. The lady that sucked herself on to me finally had to give up when I moved... OUT OF STATE.


Anonymous said...

LOL this blog is funny!

Same as some of the people posting above, I am also a MK consultant, but I also have a good paying job and I sell MK as extra money not as a income (and I love the products). My mentality is if you want a certian product I will do everything I can to get you the product. But all I need is a "no thank you". But there are so many consultants out there that don't know when to quit. I found by using my method (no "warm chatter" AKA despration techinique) I have dedicated customers, and that is all I really want