Culture & Manipulation

Happy Birthday! Enjoy your Mary Kay gift!

A submission from a reader of Pink Truth:

Last week I find out from a mutual friend of a co-workers that it is my co-worker’s birthday.  The mutual friend asked if I would make sure the office did something nice for her birthday since her husband had really blown it and she was pretty upset.  Knowing the husband this puzzled me.  He’s a pretty sharp guy.

What happened you ask?  So the well intentioned husband takes his wife out for a nice dinner for her 44th birthday and over dinner he gives her a present.  She excitedly opens the present to find….Mary Kay Eye Firming Cream.  Let’s be honest what woman wants to receive eye cream from her loving husband as a birthday present?  “Are you trying to tell me something?”

Turns out that the husband had received a call from his wife’s Mary Kay Consultant (a Director) to see if he needed any help with a birthday present.  Happy for suggestions he listened.  She suggested the Eye Firming Cream since his wife hadn’t re-ordered that in a while.  He obliged.  Thankfully he later explained how the purchase came about and his wife has since forgiven him.

How many times do I remember my Director saying, “Be sure to get your customers birth dates and husband’s names.” “Husbands need help!” “The husband will appreciate your help and the wife will thank you because she will get a gift she needs and wants.”

Every holiday we were told to contact the husbands – birthdays, Christmas, Valentines Day you name it!  Lets be honest here, perfume, a gift card, lotion, all lovely gifts.  Selling Timewise to a husband to give to his wife is a recipe for disaster!

But hey the Consultant/Director sold product, made profit, and met a goal, so it is alright.  Too bad it was the customer who had a lovely evening ruined, an argument with her husband, and a memorable 44th birthday- not in a good way!

Keep up the good work at Pink Truth.  I am happy to report when I told my husband the story, he said that while he can see how it happened he would have known better then to give eye cream as a gift!  Bonus points for him!

As of December I will be out.  The inventory I have is only for personal use.  It isn’t worth the headache come tax time, and I can’t continue buying products from this company with a clear conscience given how many women’s lives have been negatively impacted by Mary Kay.


  1. Wow, this one really struck a nerve for me. About a year ago my MK consultant called my husband and tried to talk him into buying all these MK sets for me for my birthday. She gave him this whole speech about how I really, really wanted it all but I was afraid to spend the money, and what a wonderful surprise it would be. My dear sweet husband declined this brilliant plan but said later “you know, if you want more of that Mary Kay stuff just go ahead and buy it.” I asked what he was talking about, and he told me the story. I had never said any such thing, and I called my consultant to call her out on it. She apologized over and over and said she had confused me with another customer. I let it go, but now reading this I realize it was probably not a mistake at all but a smarmy sales tactic. I’ve known this woman for years, long before she got into MK and I consider her a friend. It makes me sad and angry to think that she would try to manipulate us like this.

  2. I do remember these promotional aspects which my ancient SD advised were part of the way to a successful MK career. Maybe back in the 1960’s or early 70’s this sort of nonsense worked but once actual stores and malls became the norm…these door to door sales techniques were no longer viable. I once did put together a few baskets for a lawyer to give to his secretary and other office workers. I tried my best to make this appropriate for women I did not know. That meant lip balm, hand cream and hopefully mostly generic but decent. As to hounding husbands on birthdays etc. I could NOT get over the creep factor in that. Actually the creep, stalking factor of most of MK always unnerved me. That was well before the term stalking became part of our lexicon. Can’t believe this type of sales pitch is still in existence within MK.

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