Mary Kay Recruting With MRS. CAB

pink-taxi-mrs-cabWritten by The Scribbler

This article comes to us courtesy of Mary Kay’s popular MRS. CAB recruiting aid. For those that aren’t familiar with MRS. CAB, it is an acronym designed to show potential recruits the reasons why women join Mary Kay: Money, Recognition, Self-Confidence and Personal Growth, Cars, Advancement, and Be Your Own Boss. (Technically, the acronym should read “MRS. CAPGCABYOB” but recruiters were complaining that every time they tried to pronounce it at interviews, targets were hastily dialing their pastors and screaming, “For the love of all that is holy, get over to the Starbucks down on 18th St – the Mary Kay Lady’s resorted to invoking Ba’al!”)

Our featured line is typically said when covering the “M” in MRS. CAB: Money. “You only have to spend a few hours a week to be successful in Mary Kay!”

Is this an accurate claim? Let’s begin by looking at how Mary Kay defines two critical words: “success” and “few.” We need not look far for Mary Kay’s definition of “success;” it’s on the official website:

“Every Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant tells her own story of success in her own way. But no matter how they say it, all would agree that earning what you are worth and providing extra income for your family is a beautiful thing.”

This statement shows us that one IBC may define her success as having more flexibility, while another may define it as having made Queen of Sharing. No matter what the success involves, however, the common thread is the claim of how wonderful “earning what you are worth” is.

Unless one has a terrible sense of self-esteem, being paid what one believes they are worth generally involves a visual of themselves sporting an elegant chignon while watering their enchanted gold bullion bushes with Cristal. In Mary Kay, success is primarily defined by ridiculous wealth; otherwise there wouldn’t be director teachings out there that remind consultants, “When you have a down day, think about the big girl dreams, the suit, the big paychecks, the Cadillac, and the diamonds.”

Let’s talk about the word “few,” which is defined as “not many, but more than one.” Does the Mary Kay definition mirror that? Consider the following snippets from a commonly used recruiting tool, the MK “Something More” CD:

  • “…look for the one hour or five hours a week you could give your best to MK.”
  • “You can define if MK is part-time, full time, or a couple of hours a month.”

Were I a busy mother of 3 and heard these quotes in a recruiting interview, I would understand them to mean that I could spend minimal time on MK and still rake in some dough. Taking a post-interview peek at the recruiter’s website would only serve to hammer down my suspicions: “You can have a couple extra hundred in your pocket for just two hours each week!” So “few” in Mary Kay can be mean 2 hours a month, or it can mean 2-5 hours a week. And it can certainly mean more, but that’s not what’s implied in these examples.

There’s a terrific training document out in MK Land titled, “An Efficient MK Work Week,” by NSDs Robin Rowland and Pam Shaw. This document breaks down how many hours per day an IBC will need to spend on various activities associated with her business. Let’s use the two hours per week = $200 example given above. Going by the document’s guidelines, an eager IBC would need to invest time in the following activities in order to make that happen (and let’s assume that she will indeed score $200 in sales):

  • 30 minutes on the phone to confirm the booking, coach the hostess, and pre-profile guests
  • 2 hours for the Skin Care Class
  • 1 hour for paperwork
  • 2 hours for the weekly unit meeting (a given, because any IBC worth her pink salt will be there with enough bells on to make Notre Dame look like a music box)

Uh-oh! That’s not two hours, that’s five-and-a-half! Not only that, those five-and-a-half hours have not even begun to scratch the surface of tasks needing to be accomplished. Factor in the time spent on finding new victims, suiting up for classes, packing the car, time spent in-transit, post-class cleanup, replacing product sold, writing thank-you notes, delivering/mailing products and reorders, warm-chattering women, extra time spent on paperwork (delivery of hostess packets, ordering and filing sales receipts) phone time (the document recommends that if you’re not holding a class, to spend 1-2 hours on the phone) and any other activities associated with the business, and suddenly it hits you that you’re going to have to be doing this a lot more than “a few hours a week to be successful in Mary Kay!”

Friends, may this small (but realistic) look at Mary Kay’s time factors empower you to make wiser choices when dealing with the Lady in Pink!


  1. Iescaped

    The scripts and training documents in Mary Kay remind me of the Rorschach Test. Each person will see something different.

    If you want more money- Paid what you believe you are worth! Executive Income! No limits on bonuses, etc…!

    If you want more time- God First, Family Second and Career Third! Flexible schedule/hours, work when YOU want not when you are told! Part Time Work for Full Time Pay! Just a few hours a week!

    If you want recognition- Prizes for just Breathing!! Cars, Trips, Jewelry, etc….

    If you need more self-confidence- All the training and experience you will get getting up in front of strangers and teaching them about skin care! (I hear crickets chirping).

    If you want more friends- All the great new Sugar Sharp women you will meet and hang out with and do Life together!! And if you put on your Big Girl Panties, you can have Sister Directors!

    The sad thing is that it is all smoke and mirrors. Just an illusion, only a dream or fantasy. None of it is real.

  2. cindylu

    Before Mk I was happy. I was finishing up a career where I had earned enough to take family vacations, purchase a beautiful home, save and invest my earnings. A former supervisor sadly introduced me to this mlm cult. It began with the withholding of information so common in this company. This is done every step of the way to manipulate us and bend reality to suit their purposes. In my case I simply wanted a part time job while my young children were in school. I was promised that and more. MK’s definition of a few hours is laughable. The amount of wasted time warm stalking, phone calls, setting up, phoney costly indoctrinated training and lugging products around constitutes many many hours. When directors are paraded and lined up spewing their fake accomplishments, then earning what their worth is bogus. It soon becomes psychological manipulation. Who wouldn’t want to work part time and provide extra income? Most IBC’s define success as actually selling those products. There is no such thing as a couple of hours a week in MK. Also there is no such thing as a couple of hundred dollars in your pocket unless you are recruiting and exploiting other women with this pretend venture. All I heard were lies, fudging of information and bending reality to suit MK’s purposes.
    After MK I was in a daze. The love bombing, the many meetings, the girl time left me bewildered. Critical thinking and realizing the many half truths finally made me aware of the insidious nature of the group. There was betrayal, waste of time and financial debt. After I got sick there was shunning. No one cared about my well being. We were made to believe that we didn’t work hard enough, didn’t work the business correctly and in essence we weren’t good enough. (Not part of that elite 2% of directors who make it). We weren’t supposed to doubt or question the group ever. Even after I left, I was not sure I’d made the right decision. There was no internet or pink truth back then. I returned product but still had product to get rid of. Fortunately I didn’t stay long and so I didn’t have credit card debt. What I did have though was guilt and embarrassment that I had wasted so much time and effort on this scam. I soon realized this was an mlm cult. There was definite pain, loss and shame at having been exploited. I couldn’t believe how naive I had been. It seemed that the dream I had built to earn extra income, help other women and belong to a company that was ethical was ripped away. I had believed the MK stories and that this company was about empowering women. I could not believe that I had been cruelly used. What had I done to be taken advantage of by my SD, NSD and this company? I began to deny that it was so bad. I even tried to get back in. Fortunately I couldn’t rejoin. I finally moved forward and began to make up for the waste of time in MK. I now had real time with my family and eventually found a real part time job.

  3. Bj

    There is an old saying…

    You can please all of the people some of the time. You can please some of the people all of the time. You can’t please all of the people all the time.

    The fact the marykay pretends that it can be everything for everyone should prove that it is really nothing for anyone. A buisness with no defined boundary or structure like this is not deserving of being called a buisness.

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