Bankrupt After Mary Kay

mary-kay-bankruptcyWritten by BankruptByTheChatter

I was a rep for Mary Kay for two years and it financially devastated our family. We literally declared bankruptcy and I humbly and ashamedly want to express that we NEVER, not in ten million years, thought we would ever be in that position. Although it is embarrassing and although I am ashamed to write this I feel that it needs to be written so please do not judge me when you read the next sentence because I fully take all responsibility for my own stupidity and my own recklessness in listening to and following the cult of Mary Kay.

So, when I stated that I never thought we would ever have to declare bankruptcy it is because my husband and I were 29 years old and had $172,382 in liquid savings; we were on our way to living that elusive American Dream and we were doing it well. To be honest, a lot, but certainly not all of that money went to Mary Kay.  When I was diagnosed with a very severe case of rheumatoid arthritis when I was 26  I found I was unable to continue working as a pharmacist due to the long hours on my feet and the sheer stress of the industry (being a pharmacist seems mundane and easy but in reality it is an incredibly stressful career that made me question my own ethics at times).

I had been purchasing Mary Kay from a friend for years and when she found out that I was unable to work as a pharmacist she recruited me. Looking back, I realize that she was probably quite delighted when she saw a nearly disabled and extremely depressed new prospective recruit and that thought alone makes me literally, I mean literally, dry heave. The Mary Kay tactics are at best unethical and at truth demonic.

However, at the time that I was recruited, I was simply in a state of severe depression and was open to anything that would allow me to feel that I was contributing to my household in some way. I needed a purpose and unfortunately my recruiter saw MY vulnerability as HER opportunity and I, in my stupor, was initially very excited about becoming a Mary Kay representative. I feel it is important to share that I did in fact ask all of the hard questions because it all seemed way too good to be true. My mistake was not that I didn’t ask the hard questions it was that I listened to the nonsense and flapdoodle that was provided to me as the “answers” (now I realize this was all scripted dialogue) to my questions, and, as idiotic as it sounds and as foolish as it may seem I believed her answers.

Skip to one year later and although I made a few sales, I ultimately fell for the “profit-level” scheme and routinely ordered way too much inventory in the sadly mistaken and foolish assumption that I would first be able to actually sell this crap and that I would secondly be handsomely rewarded for my sales. I was rewarded for my sales in the form of worthless merchandise and fake jewelry. Oh, gosh I forgot to mention the fabulous plastic “designer bag” and the 25 plus Mary Kay pins that I received and was simply far too embarrassed to ever wear. Finally something had to give and when I was informed that I was required to attend seminar the day after my mother passed to go home to her Redeemer, I finally broke. Please understand that by broke I mean that I almost broke my NSD’s legs. I am not an unintelligent female and I hold a doctorate so I know from my own personal experience that Mary Kay can bamboozle anyone. Wealthy, poor, attractive, intelligent, mediocre, average, fabulous, smart, dumb, ANYONE.

Finally although I take full responsibility for my own stupidity and my own reckless spending on these worthless products I cannot help but realize and understand that I did just as many people do. I was drawn into the pink haze as others are drawn into religious cults, unaware they are being manipulated despite their own intelligence and reason. It is no different than Jonestown or the Branch Davidians. I, as were many others, was promised friendship, wealth, camaraderie, and support but received only ruination of my finances, relationships, self-sufficiency, and, most tragically, my happiness.

If this company were to really think about their methodology and if the big wigs were to look into a “soul mirror” or maybe even just stop and breathe and decide to be honest about this catastrophe they purport to be a legitimate company I know in my soul that they would be ashamed and horrified by what they simply MUST know they are doing to ruin women’s lives and ruin entire families. If they are in fact actual human beings I cannot help but think that they must feel some shame and some hatred for their deeds. They must know that Mary Kay is a pyramid scheme FAR more dangerous than Mr. Madoff could ever have been. Maybe Mr. Madoff warm chatted a few times and he certainly did steal the security and the livelihoods of millions of people but he was at least brought to justice and is now paying his price for it even though this is no consolation to the millions who lost their live savings to his greed.

What is so tragic about the Bloody Mary scheme is that I fear it will continue to trump any other pyramid scheme in the history of this world by continuing on with their saccharin chatter and their “assurance” that there exists “no risk in just trying it out for awhile”.

I hope that anyone who may stumble across this post will take it as a cautionary tale and if I can prevent one other person from falling into the hell that is Mary Kay cosmetics then my life will not have been in vain. As intense and as dramatic as that sentence may seem it is my simple truth and I mean every word of it


  1. pinkinthered

    Beautifully written! I am so sorry for the pain you and your family have gone through but am so happy you saw through the fog quickly and can rebuild your life. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s important to verbalize that ANYONE can fall victim to this scheme.

  2. Freefrmpink

    Welcome to Pinktruth! Thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry for the hell that you went through. So true, anyone can fall victim to the “Bloody Mary” scheme. Glad you escaped. I also filed BR, but silly me kept going. I wasn’t as smart as you, I was in deep. When I finally came out of the fogged, I felt just, like you, embarrassed. I realized, that it wasn’t all my fault. MK is set up to brain wash you. I’ve forgiven myself and all involved in scamming me for my own sanity. Very well written and thanks for sharing.

  3. Cindylu

    We are all embarrassed. They try to market this as a small business for women to empower women. This make-believe company has exploited hundreds of women and their families for decades. What a slap in the face to women that this company founded by a woman exploits them, bankrupts women, uses women, deceives us and is filled with selfishness and greed.

  4. Big Sis

    My sister is a Mary Kay victim but doesn’t realize it. She bought $1,800.00 of products, and has barely sold any of it. And of course there is no profit yet because of all of the stuff she bought for parties. The stuff she sold was to our mother and a coworker. Nothing was sold at parties! People don’t even want to go to them (I don’t blame them). $1,800 is a lot, especially for someone who is a full-time college student and works as a waitress.

    My mom is trying to convince her to sell her inventory back to Mary Kay. Her sales director claims she will buy it back at 100% if my sister will just give it time. I don’t know why she believes the lies! Her director tried to get my mom and I to join. Why would we join? We are trying to help my sister! I’m very happy with the money I make. I don’t care about the prizes they win.

    There are more people selling than buying. Other sales consultants are selling their stuff so cheap! They are selling more, but I doubt they are making much money. So much time is involved but for little reward.

    I am trying to help her sell. I’ll be happy if she at least breaks even. But how low am I willing to go????

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Big Dis … Her sales director claims she will buy it back at 100% if my sister will just give it time.

      Her director is stalling for time. After 12 months from date of purchase, your sister can’t send it back for a refund. Which means the director won’t have to repay the commission.

      When did she make this purchase?

      1. MLM Radar

        Her Director is LYING. A verbal agreement is worth the paper it’s written on – in this case that “paper” is a bunch of hot air.

        Did you ever watch Judge Judy (or any other court TV show)? Remember what the judge says when there’s no written agreement: “… and you believed her? Do you have rocks in your head?”

        Nothing in writing = worthless promise. The day your sister asks her to make good on her 100% buy-back promise is the day that Director stops answering the phone.

        Your sister wants to believe. That’s why she’s resisting you. If I were you I’d keep the Mary Kay buy-back number handy, and keep tabs on how long it will be before that order is 12 months old, but you may have to let her get her fingers burned for a few months before she’ll listen to you.

    2. BestDecision

      I believed the lies because many of these women quote the Bible and claim to be Godly people. They also bully you into not asking questions about how much their average, not highest ever, monthly checks are by calling you “negative” for doing so.

      Tell your sister a former Cadillac Director has no regrets over resigning from that position and sending my inventory back.

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