Written by The Scribbler
The heat is on, firebrands! As we shoot down the pipes towards Mary Kay’s annual “Festival of Fakery,” you might want to duck and cover, as the scripted “sincere” compliments of IBCs and directors everywhere will be barreling toward you faster than a crazed Christmas shopper in 1983… and you’re a chubby-cheeked Cabbage Patch doll. You can always tell your peers that you got the gash wounds in a gang war with Rainbow Brite. Do not underestimate those sprites, bro – they got claws like box cutters.
Yes, friends, it’s the Final Countdown to Seminar, the Plight at the End of the Tunnel, and Bluster’s Last Stand as regiments of purple-skirted directors rally their troops to their Visas. “Stretch!” they cry. “Throw your pancreas over the line! I see you all soaring on silver wings to your local Check Into Cash branch! Just imagine how great that star prize is going to look on your kitchen counter eBay page!”
Obligatory Fine Print: All prizes not covered here. If I was unable to find an exact match for any given prize, quotes will be given based on items found with Google searches that used the item’s brand and/or description. Have your tickets ready, adventurers – the Museum of the Mediocre is open for business!
1800 Sapphire: First up is a Dooney & Bourke wristlet (Macys.com, $32). It’s safe to say that owning one doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re hip with the trends or have next month’s copy of Vogue on your coffee table, because I got my “Gooney & Jerk” one for six Riyals in Saudi Arabia. The Pakistani shopkeep even threw in a free “Bolex” watch! Now that is some go-give spirit.
2400 Ruby: The description for the Igloo Icy Tunes Cooler (Target.com – $49.99) encourages you to “chill out to [your] inner rhythm”. My inner rhythm has been aptly described as “What’s that crap?” because it’s pretty much all European techno music. I heard through the grapevine that next month’s Ruby incentive is a ½ hour in the car with me and my “200 Pirated Hits” CD. I’ll provide the glow sticks and the fountain sodas, all you need to add is your outrageous flair! And if you’re going to hang that outrageous flair out of the moon roof, have the common courtesy to lay down a couple of Wendy’s napkins first – I know all about your little penchant for warm-chatting petting zoo residents.
Not up for a mobile rave? Go with the Stoneware Custom Chips and Dip bowl! (Or just head over to Macy.com for an upgrade – they offer a lovely bone china chip and dip ensemble for $160). I like how the brochure explains what “custom-made” means: “It means made just for you!” Yep, you and every other woman in Mary Kay carrying a 2400 balance on her Visa, which reminds me, this box from 1-800-Flowers came for you. What’s the card say? “You are the Wind Beneath Our Wings. All Our Love, Citibank.” Oh, isn’t that just precious?
3000 Diamond: This quarter’s Diamond level offers a Brother labeling system (officedepot.com, $49.99). The system’s simulated screen says “Seeing stars,” which is what you’ll be doing once you realize that you paid 3k for a label maker. Also of interest is the product’s model number, PT-1880, which is nowhere to be found in the product description. I attribute that to the legend of Penny Tillman, a former maid at Mary Kay HQ. According to the legend, every time Penny initialed the cleaning checklists posted in the bathrooms, the toilets would let loose with the Black Speech. Corporate decreed that never again were the letters “P” and “T” to appear in any form on company documents, and Penny Tillman died a week later when she didn’t forward some NSD’s animated-angel-and-kitty-studded e-mail to seventy of her friends within seven minutes. Look, if you don’t believe me, I saw that story on a director’s MySpace page, so the credibility’s pretty much on par with Nostradamus, o ye of little faith.
3600 Emerald: This level offers the practical Hamilton Beach dual-wave blender (Hamiltonbeach.com, $79.99), which pairs nicely with last quarter’s Beverage Bucket (although it fails to specify what sort of beverages the bucket’s meant to hold.) Now I’m not implying anything, but judging by the prize’s illustration, I think there’s a lot more going on here besides demure scripture-quoting interspersed with sips of Diet Tab. Picture four hand-drawn young American Eagle catalog models, one cradling what looks like a Bud longneck, one going blasphemous with her pants-wearing defiance, and a third being warm-chatted by his blonde seatmate, who’s not even looking him in the eye, but instead imagining the torrid things she’d do to his upper torso. The brouhaha would be lauded in future director e-mails as “The Mary Kay event…with the HIGHEST(!!!) atendence of ANY event…in ALLLL of MK history, woowwww!!!!!!” Those who witnessed the debauchery firsthand, however, simply refer to it as having had “Popov and Possibilities.”
4800 Pearl: If the chips and dip set offered at the 2400 level didn’t satisfy your taste for Walgreen’s quality stoneware, the 4800 level kicks things up a notch by offering the Chip/Dip combo plus Three Sets of Matching Dinnerware. (Target.com – 16pc set – $59.99.)
Ye Olde Curiosity Stop: Did you notice that for 4800 clams, you only get three place settings? Yes, that will surely serve your family of four nicely! On second thought, you’ll be out most evenings, so hubby and the kids are good to go. Isn’t it great that Corporate always has your best interests in mind? Hand me a tissue, I’ve got something in my eye…
Not up for dinner with your family? How about a peek at the ol’ idiot box using your Universal remote? (Amazon.com – $89.88) The feel-good phrase from the brochure breathlessly affirms, “I’ll push my own buttons.” If you do, I don’t want to hear about it, because my neurologist says that if I have one more mental picture of some Executive Senior spicing up her sagging marriage by slinking into the bedroom in a slave Leia outfit purring, “Use the force on me, Jabba,” the little brain tissue I have is going to resemble taco meat.
6000 Pearl: The Nikon Coolpix camera (Amazon.com: $149.30) comes complete with a lesson on the perils of blindly trusting all things Mary Kay. The brochure features a nimble-fingered model delicately holding the camera up to her eye with both hands, which wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t such a blatantly false representation of the actual camera:
My 3-year old’s comment upon seeing this camera pretty much says it all: “Mom, it’s a kid’s camera for kids!” And how!
Now while this is a picture of an 8-megapixel camera (so readers won’t mutter, “That’s not the same camera, Scrib!”) the dimension given for the 10-megapixel version is 3-5/8″W x 2-5/16″H x 13/16″D. Get it? This is a camera that a smurf would have trouble operating due to its size. Not only that, it has a feature called “Smart Portrait System” in which the camera automatically takes the photo when the subject smiles. The Nikon Coolpix S220: the only approved camera for Mary Kay’s “Fake It Until you Make It” culture!
7800 Pearl: Ready to gas-save while you go-give? Then you’ll love the pair of Mongoose mountain bikes (Amazon.com: $340 for both). Now you’ll be able to warm-chat and hold interviews even in backwoods Appalachia! Never mind that the woman with six kids in the one-room clapboard shack hasn’t had a square meal in over a week, it’s important never to prejudge when presenting the Mary Kay opportunity! Remember, maybe she needs you…to go buy groceries, clothes and shoes for her children, and three months’ supply of personal hygiene products, that is.
9800 Pearl: Our last offering for this quarter is the zebra-esque Bailey Street chair and table set. (Amazon.com: chair: $343.62/table: $107.64) I’m more interested in the attached affirmation, though: “I’ll stay wild about my awesome business!”
I believe that if you are operating in your God-given calling, you won’t have to force yourself to “stay wild about your awesome business,” because even on the challenging days when the creative muse decides to leave you and go crack a cold one with your subdivision’s resident macramé wizard, you’ll have a prevailing peace in your spirit and a natural enthusiasm in your heart no catchphrase, motivational CD, or $3,000 label maker can fabricate or duplicate.
Speaking of which, can I borrow that thing for Seminar? I’m going to make a PT label and stick it on Mary Kay Ash’s desk. You don’t happen to have the number for a good exorcist or the Most Haunted team in your speed dial, do you?