Friday, December 14, 2012

Infected at the store

So I'm standing in line at Marshalls buying a pillow and a fake plant when the woman in front of me accosts me. "That is soooo pretty! OMG! Where did you find it?"

"In the back," I point.

"Oh haha! You are SO bubbly! I love your personality! You know, I love this store. And HomeGoods too. I spent $1,000 there on house stuff. It's fantastic!"

"Yeah, I like that place too," I offered.

"YES! My husband and I were buying this teak wooden outdoor table and I thought $250 omg that's too much but we loved it and bought it anyway. THEN I called my friends from North Carolina, that's where we get ALL our furniture, and they priced it out down there, it would have been $1400! So see. That place is addictive."

me (smiling weakly): "mmm hmm." (thinking WHY won't the cashier hurry the FUCK UP!)

her: "OH you are such a people person! Would you be interested in a makeover? I LOVE your skin. You would just love these products, they are amazing. I mean, look at MY skin. A few years ago it looked much MUCH older. Mary Kay cosmetics. They are the BEST."

me: "That's nice but I'm not really into makeovers, I like doing my own routine."

her: "OH it's not like that! I promise! We don't touch anyone, we're not licensed to touch anybody. So we just offer you any makeup you want and you get to pick out what you want to try for your makeover. Call me for an appointment! There's NO obligation and you don't have to buy anything, it's free to try all the stuff."

She presses a business card in my hand, the obnoxious kind that needs to scream "SALES!" so loudly that it tents out into a miniature pamphlet.

me: "uh, you know I basically work two jobs and just do not have time for anything else but thanks anyway."

her: "TWO jobs? You should come work for me. I make 6 figures a year, then you wouldn't have to work so much. Don't you want to make six figures? I couldn't believe it the first year I made that. And they gave me a pink cadillac and everything. I've had 6 cars since I've been working for them. I miss the pink cadillac though, that was a good car." She stares wistfully out the window and I finally pay for my stuff and walk out. She's beside me the whole way.

"See, there's my car now! Here, I'll press the keychain -- look, there are the lights! It's a Saturn."

me: "That's very nice. I heard Mary Kay treats their salespeople well and I remember hearing that the best ones can sometimes get cars."

her: "What? Salesperson? No, I'm not a salesperson. I don't sell anything. Everyone thinks I sell stuff, I don't. Mary Kay just gives this to me. You could have the same exact thing too you know. It's not just me, they treat EVERYONE this way. There are women making as much as me only two months into it."

me: "No thanks, I love what I do and am not interested in anything else." (Thinking inside "yeah right! Mary Kay throws money at people for NO reason! Sure. Great business model, one sure to keep a company going for decades.")

I can smell an MLM scheme a mile away. MLM = multi-level marketing and desperate followers have the intensity of religious zealots, except they worship get-rich-quick schemes instead of gods. NuSkin, A&L Williams Insurance, Herbalife, Amway... those are all flake companies that infect the weak-minded and turn them into hysterical humanoids that, like the cast of zombies in 28 Days Later, chase down every living soul left in the desperate attempt to suck out their lifeblood and turn them into one of their own.

her: "OH what do you do? You love it that much! That's really great but you know who wouldn't want to make as much as me."

me: "Um, I work with computers. Anyway I gotta go."

her: "Well look at my website or call me if you change your mind. You wouldn't believe the stuff we have, the same lotion that J. Lo has for $600, we have and it's only $30. Vitamins A, C, & E. Antioxidants, very good for the skin. One time of trying it and you would be amazed. And you get all your money back if you don't like it. No matter what. Mary Kay just reimburses me, how's that? I mean, I have women all the time who try stuff and send it back saying 'I didn't really like this lipstick color' and that's fine. I could send it back to Mary Kay. Of course most of the time I just eat the cost because I make so much it's not worth the time to fill out the paperwork but still. You should try it!"

The whole time I am walking towards my car, an ever-widening chasm between us. And she's STILL talking! "OH be careful of that oncoming car! It was so nice to meet you. I hope to hear from you. I love people! I'm going into HomeGoods now, take care!"

Sheesh! So my advice to you, dear reader, who I've just made suffer as much as I did a few hours ago, don't make eye contact with overly-friendly women talking too loudly in checkout lines. If you grunt their way, they might fall for your "bubbly" personality and try to recruit (infect) you. You are forewarned...!


  1. Wait, are you saying I'm not going to make a million dollars on AmWay?

    D'Oh... Time for business plan B.

  2. Very funny story! I have one for you - just in case you're thinking of getting right on the phone with Mary Kay... ;-)

    One of my friend's wives met someone similar about a decade ago. She fell for it, however, and gave Mary Kay a call and bought into the whole 6-figure thing, hook, line & sinker.

    She thought she would be getting a new pink car, just like everyone else in the company got. She invested $12,000 of her money (credit card's money) and in return got a whole room in her house LOADED with every kind of cosmetic you could possibly think of! She was in business.

    She had a Mary Kay party where she sold a few hundred bucks worth. She had a few other parties at her friend's houses, where she sold about the same amount, but had to split the profits. After she hit up all her friends a couple times, they started to leave her like rats leaving a sinking ship!

    She even tried to sell me and some other guys her wares. Afterall, she had hand lotion and chapstick and some other crap that I could use for whatever I wanted. It got to the point where I'd avoid her because EVERY conversation revolved around how good Mary Kay products are and how well she's doing with her sales and how we all need to get ours before it's all gone.

    Each time I was at her house (not too often), I'd peer into the room and her initial supply didn't appear to be getting that much smaller. Sometimes I'd toy with her and say things like, "How much do you have left in your storage room", or "Did you recently get a new supply", or "When are you getting the car"?

    When my friend married her a few years later (they were dating at the time), she still had over $9000 worth of unsold makeup taking up valuable space in the house.

    They updated their house 3 years after they got married and then came the time to clean out that room and have another party. NOBODY showed up, except for family and close friends.

    My friend asked us to buy from her out of mercy. I bought a bottle of lotion that I threw out and something else... I cannot even remember what it was???

    Most of the stuff made its way onto her curb and the curb-hawks didn't even grab it. Days later it was picked up by the garbage men.

    So, off her initial investment of $12,000, she only sold about $2500 bucks worth of makeup. Mind you - because profit has to be added into the sales figures, she probably only sold about 1/20th of what she originally purchased - which is why the pile never seemed to be getting that much smaller.

    Actually, since she put it on her credit card, and my friend helped her pay it off after they got married, her original $12,000 + interest + split earnings, she probably invested more like $20,000, which she never got back.

    Oh - and NEVER did she see any pink cars, nor did anyone at Mary Kay "help" her out of her bind. She tried in vane to sell back her products to Mary Kay, even for a partial credit. She even tried to sell the stuff to the "successful" lady who got her to make the initial investment. They wanted nothing to do with her. They were concentrating on finding other people, like the one that was talking to you - who probably has a whole room filled with crap she
    can't get rid of either!

    After the crap was gone my friend asked us NEVER to mention Mary Kay in her presence again. It's a sore subject with her - and for good reason. She got totally screwed.

    I think Mary Kay's business model is so successful because there are enough asses out there like that woman and the lady you spoke with, which will make that pricey initial investment. You did the right thing - you kept walking.

  3. Found this post on a forum, re: Mary Kay:

    "you can absolutely not make any money selling this makeup because: for one thing, they require you to stock the makeup ahead of time in your own home, before you sell to customers, and you have to pay for it up front. (as opposed to taking their orders and then sending away for the products. You have to deliver the makeup immediately! No waiting for orders to come in!) Consider all the products, all the shades of foundation--they encourage you to buy $3000 of it as a starting order! If something sounds too good to be true then it is. If you hear their sickly pink sales pitch, RUN!!! And don't look back!"