Culture & Manipulation

The Way We Were

Written by SuzyQ

Memories.  Getting all misty-eyed with the “I Stories” at events. Sobbing at Seminar. Sigh. Want to take a trip down memory lane with me?

Remember The Secret?  The be-all end-all of Mary Kay.  Taught at retreats, events, advances.  It was truly effective and wonderful.  The furor seems to have died down.  One can only assume that super great things happened and those true believers and “manifesters” are all driving pink and have huge units and such.  Or, maybe, there was a bit of a mess when someone pointed out the “un- Christian” message, and it all sort of died down after that.

And a certain nsd offering CD’s of Creflo Dollar’s fantastic message as a reward for some contest or something. Remember that?  And then that all sort of faded away.  It may have had something to do with a congressional investigation of his ministry?   Not sure what happened.

Remember how Cellu-Shape was so absolutely wonderful?  Some hugely fantastic figure about women losing inches off their thighs?  Wow.  And this was after we had been taught that cellulite had to be surgically removed, creams and loofa things and whatever else wouldn’t do it… until… Cellu-Shape.  Inches or portions of inches aren’t mentioned so much anymore.

And that make-up is recession-proof.  I love that.  Apparently smoking and firearms sales or something else (alcohol?) never go down during recessions.  Mary Kay is recession-proof.  What a relief!  AND women will look to Mary Kay as a means to recession-proof their lives.  Except for the part that great make-up is available at Walgreen’s, Wal Mart and Target. And it’s cheaper.  And then there’s that thing about Mary Kay using Wal Mart’s stats to support their own position.

I’m getting misty here, how about you?

Incentive packages.  Remember when the last economic stimulus package came around?  What a recruiting opportunity!  Let’s suppose you are recruiting a single woman.  She is going to receive $600 in May.  That, and an additional $1200 to $1500, gets you a Star in your unit and car points and it is so exciting.  Way to stimulate the economy, girls!  I don’t know anybody who is not going to pay bills with their portion, but then, maybe I am not talking to “sharp” women.

Remember hearing every year, year after year, that we were in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time.  That was always a relief wasn’t it?

Embrace Life.  Was that what it was called?  The gifts we could offer our customers?  There was a formula to see the percentage of the sales these fabulous gift items would count for us for the courts.  Actually, I liked some of the stuff.  But, it didn’t work out.  No reason given, just one of those things. Here today, gone tomorrow.  Change is essential for a cutting edge industry.

Which leads me to the vitamins.  Remember those?  Now we have to go to Wal Mart to get the same formulation at half the cost.  Seems there were issues Mary Kay had with the FDA compliance thing.  Bummer.

And, do you remember when the Preferred Customer Program was optional?  I mean, when you could order the Look Books with or without the Hostess Gift option?  Well, darn it.  That’s history, now.  Everybody has to order the Hostess Gifts option for their Look Books. Which sort of implies you will also be ordering the advertised hostess gift.  And speaking of hostess gifts… the price of the wonder mirror went up.  That was a shocker, although, the women who ordered the mirrors at the original $10 are smiling.

And those chants of “We’re NUMBER ONE!!! We’re NUMBER ONE!!!”  Year after year.  Mary Kay couldn’t say that if it was a lie because the other cosmetic giants would SUE.  LITIGATION.  It WAS true.  And we were soooooooooooo proud.  Except that Mary Kay doesn’t track our actual sales.  They just track sales to consultants.  But, golly, we are buying a lot of stuff, hoping to sell it.  Really.  Inventories are so “mayjah!” (Thanks, Posh, for the word-o-the-day.)

And then there are the Limited Edition products.  Remember when they were actually available to order if you chose to?  Many of us remember never selling them, but we are talking about ordering availability here.  Remember, too, when you could order the products that were featured in the Look Book?  The days before there were “manufacturing issues,” “quality issues” and stuff like that?  The good old days, when there was product testing, maybe?

Remember in high school economics when they talked about “market branding?”  Something to the effect that people should be able to identify your brand?  Well, not in Mary Kay!  No need for that.  Heck, we can be pink, we can be platinum and now we can be black!  Here’s a company that does not fear change!  Who cares if we can spot a Clinique product or Maybelline Ultra lash mascara at 75 feet.  Like, what does that matter? Remember the applause Rhonda Shasteen received when she said that the pink to platinum switch meant NO shape change?  She talked about compatibility with the line we currently had?  Well, there’s no talk of that now, MK is all about cutting edge technical savvy mineral products that are SO on-trend.

And let’s not forget all the hoopla about the huge switch of Day/Night solution what with the lawsuit and all.  Patents/Schmatens.  The “new” stuff is just as good.  In a way.  In a manner of speaking.  (None of it works anyway, so who cares.)

And waiting for the unveiling of the new director suits at Leadership. I mean this was a HUGE event for directors.  Unified chants of “It looks better in person” ringing through the Expo.  So many memories.  Gosh, remember the “Salvation Army” suit? (Why can’t I remember the ones before that?  I am sure they were award winners)  Oh, the “Red One,” so special for the Class of 2000 who had just gotten out of a red jacket, only to go to a red suit?  But they got those lovely rings, too.  And then there is the “Barney I” suit, followed this year (2007-2008)  by “Barney II”  Plum, purple—they look the same but they are not.  And let’s not forget the “Smurf Suit!”  Wow ELECTRIC BLUE. Glow in the dark blue.  Very very blue.  And the matching shoes??? Ohh la la! Which was fine if you actually liked blue.

And the “Oriental Influence-Neru Jacket” ensemble for the anniversary year?  The only problem was that the jacket didn’t look really good on those a little bigger than size 4 or on those who had –how do we say this—cleavage?  OH!  And the “matching PINK, I AM TALKING SHOCKING PINK, with black sequins” nsd suit.  So classy.  But, alas, many of us weren’t able to “earn” that suit and had to go with the TWEED, caviar tweed, director suit the next year… and let me tell you, those elite execs had to shop a little, but they found matching lime green shoes for their special blouses.  Slammin’ I say.

Do you remember that we were told that the suits for the coming years would be designed to coordinate with the “Caviar Tweed” suit? (Whew… maybe we can save a little money) Oops.  Another snafu.  Corporate forgot, and we did the Texas cow girl trim instead, that really didn’t go with anything, but, you know these things happen.  I remember putting on my director sweater for the very first time and seeing all of the beads pop off.  The sting broke.  I called to report it, and was shipped another, but I had to pay for the cost of sending back the defective one.  There was something about using the wrong thread for the beads?  And, we were able to look at those wonderful directors in swirly skirts with their knee caps showing and OMG, doesn’t anyone love these women enough to tell them that short skirts (swirly or not) do not look good on women over a certain age, like 25??????

So, that brings us to the current “Barney II” So attractive with the red jackets, and brown nsd suits.  So strange, it just occurred to me that those are the colors I avoid mixing together because they make a really ugly brownish gray yucky color.  But this year is going to be good, Haute Chocolate and Coral, and good old Red.  I miss MK.

And, last but not least… remember the days when someone said “We have exceeded 450% in demand (or something like that)” and you would have laughed, as opposed to writing it down to share with others… Like, what sort of math are they using?  Geez.

Ah, the good old pink days.  The fog days.  The” OMG what could I have been thinking days?”

“The Secret” really means getting out while the getting out is good.


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