Written by The Scribbler
What’s your pleasure, sailor? “Gold-tone” jewelry that looks like it was pilfered from a game of “Pretty Pretty Princess?” A volleyball that you can’t use? What about a Chinese grill – can you get excited about that? If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’, friends; all these treats and so much more await you in Mary Kay’s fourth quarter offerings – as Jack Palance would say, “Believe It…Or Not!”
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. Now reach for the skies and your MK Visas, lassies, because it’s time to stre-e-etch!
$1800 Sapphire: Are you looking for that chic, must-have accessory of the moment? Best go elsewhere, then, because these aren’t the droids you’re looking for. The paisley silk poncho ($49 at Ullapopken.com) reminds me of something that Prince would use as a stage prop. Now there’s an idea, Corporate. You want to get some butts out of the seats? Axe the Friends of Paprika or whatever you call them and get the Purple One in there with a set that includes “Little Red Corvette,” “Darling Nikki,” and “Money Don’t Matter 2 Nite.” Throw in an encore performance of “Batdance” and once Seminar’s over, the ordering force will loaded for bear and ready to ask sharp women everywhere, “So, you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
The Pink Princess telephone “makes follow-up calls more fun.” It’s even more fun to pay $38.22 for the same phone at Amazon.com. I saw this thing in the movie Toy Story, right around the part where Buzz Lightyear asks Woody if he’d consider sampling the new MK fragrance for men, Rough Rider. And then the story pretty much degenerates into a Brokeback Mountain sort of thing. That was Toy Story, right? (reads DVD label) Oh, Boy Story…sheesh, is my face red! That’s what I get for purchasing previously viewed movies from Family Dollar. I better call my director friend and tell her that it might be a bad PR move to use those dirt-cheap copies of “Willy Wonka and His Fabulous Fudge Factory” as hostess gifts.
$2400 Ruby: At this level Mary Kay offers its rhodium-plated version of the One Ring: the Mary Kay 45th Anniversary Ring. Try casting it into open flame to reveal the words engraved within: “Live, Share, Celebrate the Dream.” Graced with a synthetic pink sapphire, it’s a puzzling paradox to own a ring that’s plated with the most expensive precious metal on the planet and set with a gemstone that’s a step above Moon Sand. If you’re pining for the real deal, Overstock.com offers a 14k white gold ring containing 1.25 ct of real sapphires and diamonds for $329.00, minus the whole “bring them all and in the darkness bind them” thing.
The pink tool kit (vat19.com: $79.95) is another blow to husbands everywhere. I mean, why not just toss in a volume of The Great Big Book of Amazon Warrior Man-Hate Chants while you’re at it? Since consultants are advised to delegate every household tasking to their husbands so they themselves can engage exclusively in income-producing activities, the kit’s pink color will complement your husband’s inevitable emasculation! Not sure if he’s there yet? Examine his goal poster: if it includes pictures of Vanity Smurf, Richard Simmons, and the moose from the Get-Along Gang, you must have drifted south of the border because baby, you’re wearing los pantalones now!
$3000 Diamond: Consultants nursing tender and bruised Visas at the Diamond level receive charm necklace and earrings sets for their trouble. Note the disappointing descriptors used: “gold-toned,” “cubic zirconia,” “glass pearls.” There’s more letdown here than The Matrix Revolutions. Annabellagio.com has a similar necklace/earring combo going for $92. You can take the remaining $2908 and buy yourself three pairs of Jimmy Choo slingbacks, with enough left over to indulge in a Happy Meal. Be sure to save the Speed Racer toy to give to whoever in your unit recruits 10 people this week!
The Wilson Badminton and Volleyball Sports Set ($36.99 at paragonsports.com – ball sold separately on amazon.com for $12.63.) is meant to get you to interact with your family, but why stop there? Instead of schlepping over to Starbucks for another round of “Is There Any Reason Why/Overcome the Objection/Rinse/Repeat,” invite a few potential recruits over to the lake for a rousing game of IBCs vs Potential Recruits. If the Recruits lose, they have to sign an Agreement. If they win, reward them by granting them the privilege of attending your unit meeting, after which they must sign an Agreement. Women love choices!
Don’t rush to take your prize to the beach just yet, though. The Pro Tour volleyball being offered is actually an indoor volleyball. What’s the difference? Outdoor volleyballs are specially treated to repel moisture, indoor volleyballs are not. Get an indoor volleyball wet and it turns into a rock. Outdoor balls are heavier, too, which means that your chances of having your indoor ball blown into the lake on a windy day (and subsequently turn into a rock) are significantly greater. Summary: You just paid 3k for a volleyball you can’t use outdoors. What to do? Scrawl pinktruth.com all over it, serve it up in a packed Seminar arena, and have a bottle of Journey handy for when the NSDs collectively soil their Gunne Sax gowns.
$3600 Emerald: The Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker ($99.95 @ amazon.com) is too luxurious for my simple tastes. I grew up in an era where if you had a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine and a Rubik’s Cube keychain, chances were good that you were doing a little weekend drug-running on your Green Machine. And by “drug-running” I mean peddling wax syrup bottles to your cousins because your aunt believed that Circus Peanuts came straight off of the Tree of Life. You were the mighty Prometheus to your cousins, but instead of fire, you bore Lik-m-Aid Fun Dips. And instead of enraging Zeus for your actions, you enraged your aunt, which was pretty much the same thing. Cor blimey, that woman knew how to hurl a thunderbolt.
$4800 Pearl: Again with the ridiculous concept of getting a $100 gift card for $4800. The brochure offers the suggestion that women could “Earn a card each quarter and save up to really splurge at the end of the year,” although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some of the women who receive this card are turning around and using it to “really splurge” on business-related expenses.
When I was in grade-school, I remember ogling the classic carnival game known as the “Bulldozer.” (You’ve seen it: a toy bulldozer creeps forward and back again, threatening to push teetering coins off a tray’s edge and hopefully, into your hot little hands.) Seeing my interest, the smoky carnie learned over the counter and handed me two dollars in quarters.
My eyes grew wide. “You can’t do that!” I protested. “You’re gonna get in trouble!”
The carnie gave me a crooked smile and drawled, “I can do anything I want.” He knew what would happen. Did I walk away with those quarters and go buy a soda? Nope. They went right back into that bulldozer game, which yielded me a hefty sack of Jack Squat.
Tell me, friend: How many of your quarters have disappeared into Mary Kay’s bulldozer game?
$6000 Pearl: Take a shot! This level offers up the Fujifilm Digital Camera (amazon.com for $169.95). I’m not sure who the women in the simulated camera screen picture are, but the whole scene’s laughable. The middle woman’s got her hands splayed across her face in a gesture that yowls, “Lawdy, who cut one?” She is flanked by two members of the Imperial Director Guard, both doing their darndest to cement their gazes on anything other than their companion. “Just smile – keep smiling…it’ll all be over in six hours, then it’s Bare Escentuals, jeans, and sneakers on Southwest. Sure, my director’ll be mad and I’ll end up having to do 20 “Hail Mary Kay Ashs” on the unit rosary, but as my NSD always says, “Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission!”
Maybe a camera isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re more like Naomi Campbell (i.e. you regularly pummel your underlings with your Nokia), in which case the European Leather Handbag, Tote, and Wallet Set is for you. Never mind that the set’s crafted from Italian leather but not called an “Italian Leather Set;” the brochure probably calls it European to give it jet-setter appeal. The concept works for other items, too: “Turkish prison,” “Sicilian necktie,” “Polish Riviera” (i.e. Wisconsin Dells and siostra, I wish I were kidding). The set is “inspired by designs straight off the runways,” although Corporate fails to mention if they mean Milan or O’Hare.
Since you’ve got $6k to fritter away, head over to Neiman-Marcus.com for the gold Gucci Indy handbag ($2980), the gold Versace tote ($2875), and the Juicy Couture wallet ($88). Bonus: You’ve got $57 left over to buy yourself a 1/8 tank of gas for your Escalade!
$7800 Pearl: Overall, the Amazon reviews for the Samsung MiniDV camcorder ($259.99) said it was a decent camera. There was, however, a strong agreement among reviewers regarding the camera’s battery life; even the most “positive” review cited a mere 20-25 minutes of life on a fully-charged battery. That’s enough to capture the introduction of most I-stories; if you’d rather wait and capture the weepy close four hours later, I recommend a bit of fun to pass the time: “I-Story” Bingo!
All you have to do is divide a sheet of paper into sections, write classic “I-story” buzzwords in the boxes, and cross them off as the teller lets each one drop. Need some ideas? Try these: shy, personal growth, teacher, nurse, squalor, divorce, unsupportive husband, Mad Dog 20/20, adopted, adopted by Angelina Jolie, government cheese. The winner receives a darling “Seat at the Feet” cushion to facilitate proper communion with NSDs! (Warning: Winner must complete the week-long Acolyte Purification Rituals before using cushion. Do not touch NSDs without having completed said rituals.) Remember what happened to the poor saps who looked at the freshly-opened Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Yeah, it’ll pretty much happen like that.
$9800 Pearl: MK touts the Ducane Affinity Stainless Steel Gas Grill as “The Cadillac of backyard grills!” I came across the following review regarding the Ducane Affinity 3200 by Mr. Derrik Riches; you’ll find it a mixed bag of information, eliciting both happy and murderous feelings:
In order to stay competitive in a quickly changing industry, Weber has moved production of its entire Ducane line of grills to China (and some of the Weber line too). These grills are at the bottom end of the line, but still include an impressive list of features for a good price. While a little thin on materials, this is a good grill for around $350USD.
To summarize: It’s the Cadillac of backyard grills, but it’s made in China, bottom end of the line, it skimps on materials but has an array of features for $350. And glory be, you just paid $9600 for it! Bypass this Fisher Price novelty and go to Frontgate.com if you want a big girl grill – they offer a Barbeque Grill Island, complete with a marble countertop, a motorized rotisserie, and 50,000 BTU of kielbasa-charring goodness, all for $6,667.00. Take your remaining 3k and go nab a few tasty selections off of the Endangered Species List – I’m told that grilled Galapagos penguins are dee-vine. What? I’m evil? Oh come on, you told a potential recruit last week that “We never find anyone who likes Clinique better than Mary Kay.” Here’s a fork.
That’ll do it for this round, friends – take care, be excellent to each other, and the last one over to eBay to bid on Prince’s $1800 poncho is a Negative Nellie!