Written by Kristen
Here’s my story of how I won an “exclusive spa day” that haunted me for 3 years.
When I was planning my wedding, I was alone. I was in a new state, so none of my friends or family were around. I went to my first bridal event by myself, and entered all the contests. We didn’t have a lot of money and were paying for everything ourselves, so any free thing I could get, I was there trying for it.
I remember one table saying that you could win a free spa day! Woohoo! I gave them my information, and days later, I received the call. I won! I could bring a friend! Well my mom was due to visit, so I was ecstatic. I hadn’t seen her in over a year so I could treat her while she was here! We arrive to the venue and there’s the pink car. I never bought MK, but even I knew what it meant. I thought “No, they promised a spa day. I know it’s a hotel, but surely the hotel has a spa.”
Walk into the event and there are primly dressed business women, proudly displaying MK name badges, ushering in other poor women like me into a room. I’m immediately embarrassed. I apologized to my mom over and over and over again. Why did I think I “won” anything? Of course I didn’t win anything. I was alone in a new state with my new fiance, no female friends around, new on the path to a serious commitment…of course luck wouldn’t go my way. My self-esteem plummeted. I was already on the verge of depression. This started to kick me over. But my mom put on a brave smile and said, “Oh, I used to buy MK. Maybe they still make that eye make-up remover.” It didn’t make me feel any better, but I put on a brave face. We were already here. We drove 30 minutes for a “spa day,” so damn it, we were going to be pampered.
There was no pampering. They can’t actually touch you. They aren’t licensed. You have to do it all yourself. I didn’t wear makeup at the time, so most of the products didn’t appeal to me. I won’t forget how they ushered us in a line like school children towards the hotel bathroom to rinse off the hand scrub so we could “feel the difference!” I felt the difference alright. That water was cold, and we had to be very quick, because there were 30 other women behind us who needed to use this restroom.
At the end of the “spa treatment,” I was so desperate to salvage the day that I asked my mom to buy me the kit. “Are you sure,” she asked. “Yes. I want this. I want the kit.” I figured maybe I would make new friends. I was alone. I was suckered into this. Might as well go the full nine yards. Plus, I could receive a skin care kit for free, on the spot, from the director in the pink car! So I was signed up. The exchange was quick. The director acted really jittery, trying to hurry through me to the next woman behind me, but I figured she was just busy…it’d be nicer on our first home meeting.
She came to my house on a bad day. I had just received news from my bank that due to a decision I had made regarding my accounts and a clause they didn’t disclose to me beforehand, I had locked $600 of my money for 30 days away where I couldn’t touch it. It was my rent money. I was in tears. I was hysterical. My fiance was at work, and I didn’t want to panic him. I was in school working on an assistantship, and that pretty much paid the gas that I used to drive the 1.5 hours to get to and from school, 3 hours a day total just driving. The director (honestly I don’t even remember her name) arrived at my apartment way too chipper for me. I tried to hold it together for a total of 1 minute before I burst into tears. She immediately came to my side of the sofa and put a comforting arm around me. “It’s okay,” she said. “God doesn’t put us through situations we can’t handle.” Having grown up in a bible-thumping state and NOT being a bible-thumper myself, I just smiled uncomfortably and resolved to continue through the meeting. She drove all this way, and I’d rather not have an impromptu prayer session with a stranger. So of course she makes sure I’m no longer crying, pulls out all the pamphlets and catalogs, and tells me to get a credit card so I could afford at least $2000 in stock.
I was in shock. I just told this woman I couldn’t even get the $600 that I ALREADY HAD to pay my rent, and she wanted me to go in debt with a new credit card that I was 100% positive I wouldn’t be approved for anyway? What was wrong with this woman? Again, she was extremely jittery and acted like she was on cocaine. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen people on this drug, and she acted very much like an addict. I thought, maybe that’s just her personality? To this day, I have no idea. She was like that every time I talked to her, and it made me very uncomfortable. I thanked her nicely and got her the hell out of my living room as quickly as I could with promises to buy what I could. I already knew then I had made a terrible mistake. She never visited again, but she did call. For 2 years. I received my kit. I tried to sell the items. I already regretted buying into this, but I already had the product. It was also my mom’s money, so I felt I had to try my best to not waste her investment. But $32 for an eye cream? No one wanted that. At most I could sell a $14 lipstick to a neighbor. So I would place the order, with way more product than I had just sold just to meet the minimum and make the shipping worth it, to give my neighbor a product that didn’t even PAY for my shipping cost.
A year later, I moved back to be near my family with my fiance. Money was too tight. We postponed the wedding another year. I told people I sold MK, but I stopped answering my director’s phone calls. I did the social media thing, but there were no bites, and honestly my self-esteem was just eating it all. Every time I didn’t sell something, it took a hit. Every new product I purchased that sat in my cabinet, every time I had to lie to my fiance about how much money I wasted, I hated myself just that much more. Every month the director would send out mass text messages pleading with her downline to reach a goal so that she could reach HER goal. Promising that if we placed just $200 in orders, she would MATCH that amount in free product. I couldn’t sell even $50. No one wanted it. Everyone had a consultant already. Anyone who wasn’t suckered into it already knew that it was a scheme to be suckered into. I wanted out. Now. Before it got worse. Before my soon-to-be-husband started to notice that I wasn’t selling any of the product I bought every month. By the time the wedding was a month away, I decided I was done with it and blocked my director’s number.
How do I quit? I researched. I decided to let my contract die. Turns out it takes time to let it die on it’s own. It was 3 years ago and I don’t remember now, but I think I received e-mails from them for at least a year before they finally left me alone. I didn’t try to sell my product back to the company. I gave it away for Christmas gifts. I found a buyer on Craigslist who bought about $200 worth of items, including the MK bag the starter kit came with, for $40. She was also giving them away as Christmas gifts.
I will never buy MK again. I don’t want them to have my contact information.
Oh, and that original “spa day” that I won? That booth said NOTHING about Mary Kay at it. Not.a.damn.thing.