Culture & Manipulation

 Written by Lazy Gardens

The bumblebee is the unofficial company mascot for Mary Kay. Along with the many bejewelled versions of the insect handed out for awards comes the uplifting glurge that is the “Legend of the Bumblebee”. But it’s all a myth.

You see, some time ago a group of aeronautical engineers decided to study the bumblebee. They measured its wingspan, computed body weight, examined its oversized fuselage and concluded that there was no rational reason why a bumblebee can take off or land safely. Of course, the bumblebee doesn’t know this, so it goes ahead and flies anyway!

This glurge is used to plant and reinforce the idea that analytical thinking is untrustworthy and that bee-lief is what really counts. When your tax man says you are losing money, and your husband says the budget can’t afford another retreat, they just have stinkin’ thinkin’ like the nasty old engineers in the legend. Like the bumblebee, you are going to go ahead and do it anyway!

I’m soooooo excited to pop the pink bubble on this bit of PinkThink. First of all, because bumblebees are known to take off, fly and even land safely, an engineer would not claim there was “no rational reason” for it. When what theoretically shouldn’t be happening is happening in front of their eyes, engineers have no problem dumping the theory and figuring out what is really happening.

So where did this bit of glurge come from? The idea goes back to a French entomologist, August Magnan, and a French mathememetician Andre Sainte-Lague, who in 1934 not only calculated that bumblebee flight was impossible, but published it in Magnan’s book, Le vol des insects (the Flight of Insects). What nearly everyone overlooks is that at the end of the paragraph Magnan also wrote, “One shouldn’t be surprised that the results of the calculations don’t square with reality.”

Where did they go wrong? Sainte-Lague used the simple equations for calculating wing lift for ordinary airplanes – with the usual rigid wings. When was the last time you saw a 747, or even a Piper Cub, flap its wings? Bumblees have two wings that not only flap (back and forth, not up and down), but pivot so they are upside down on the backstroke. If you analyse the flight of insects, they are more swimming through air than flying like a bird, using the turbulence to keep themselves aloft and move forward.

No one ever”proved” that a bumblebee can’t fly. The reality is that a simple mathematical model wasn’t adequate or appropriate for describing the complex flight of a bumblebee. Same with your Mary Kay business …¦ the simple “hold X parties a week and you will earn $$$$ from your 50% profit” calculations are probably not going to fly. If you want to treat it like a business, use business math, not Mary Kay math.


  1. The farther away I get from Mary Kay the more things start to make sense. Don’t get me wrong, I still beat myself up for ever falling for it, but these articles really do help show me I didn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell.

    I wanted to believe that Mary Kay could work and that was my first and biggest mistake. The part of me that would be skeptical and questioning everything got shut off. I started to Bee-lieve that if I just had 2-3 parties a week (selling maybe $300 average at each party) I could bring in an extra $600-$900 per week.

    All the indoctrination in Mary Kay has you turning off any sense of reality and pretty soon you are trying to gauge your success by your Bee-lief and your daydreams. “One bad week with nothing on your books and women running away from you like you have Ebola” No problem, there are 51 weeks left in the year!!!

    The worst part is that you are made to Bee-lieve that all the SDs and even your SD/NSD are just rolling in the cash from their Mary Kay businesses. It’s so easy for them, why they just wake up and “bam” there are $300 in customer orders on InTouch overnight!!!

    All lies plain and simple. Designed specifically to keep the uninformed in the dark!

    • Just rolling in cash…. So easy to “do” $300 parties 2-3 times a week… That’s how you’re supposed to see your Mary Kay “business.”

      By their own count, Mary Kay has somewhere between 500,000 and 700,000 consultants in the U.S. Even with a good portion of that number just selling on the side, there should still be… say… 5% or 10% who are serious enough about their “businesses” to be working them at the 2-3 $300 parties per week level. 5% of 700,000 is 35,000.

      Stay with me. The interesting part is coming up.

      In order to sell products you have to buy products. In order to sell $600 a week you have to buy at least $300 a week. That’s about $32,000 “retail” per year. It just so happens that Mary Kay has an award for that level of activity: Queen of Sales at seminar.

      It also happens that a professional photographer is at Seminar every year taking pictures of all the Queens of Sales. We have fun every year laughing at the dresses.

      Sooooo… Here’s the point: How many of those 500,000 to 700,000 consultants are actually “working their businesses” at the $600 per week level… assuming that they sell everything they buy? How many Queens Of Sales cross the stage each year?

      Is it 35,000? No.

      Is it 10,000? No.

      Is it even 1,000? No.

      Out of those 500,000+++ consultants in the U.S., less than 1,000 are generating enough POTENTIAL selling activity to be holding two $300 parties per week. That’s less than 2/10 of 1%.

      And you thought you had a chance. It sounded so easy.

  2. …Then again, some say that bumblebees don’t really fly: they’re so ugly the earth repels them. A joke, of course. But goes to show that clever-sounding sayings don’t amount to all that much.

  3. BRAVO LAZY! So happy to get the real story behind the pink myth. That’s what we do here…
    Truth over myth. Oh wait…does this mean that your fact finding is NEGATIVE??

  4. Wasnt this blog domain named Mary Kay sucks at one time? Mary Kay INC. owns it now.
    Anyhow, I would love for you guys to all do a post about the fake wholesale prices. The “wholesale quote prices are designed in mind for everyone and their mother to profit.

  5. Oh my. That is bad.

    I read the MK bumblebee parable to my husband who has an actual engineering degree (electrical engineering, to be precise) and he burst out laughing at how idiotic it was.

  6. As an engineer for an aerospace manufacturer, I find this the most comical thing ever said by MK people. The bee flies because it’s lift is greater than it’s drag (in very simple terms). Oh, and all wings flex during flight or they would just break off the plane body if too rigid.

  7. I can’t believe that idiot Mary Kay, And her minions are allowed to get away with such on outrageous lie. As a Christian myself God would not have given the bee wings if it wasn’t supposed to fly.

    Telling the Mary Kay minions this with a straight face mind you. You seriously have to wonder about these gals IQ level, below room temperature for sure. If she is going to lie about something as idiotic as this, then common sense should tell you she has lied about EVERYTHING just to sell the junk.

    She wasn’t offered the formula first to purchase, another cosmetic company was. Lies lies lies. I hope she is burning in hell taking advantage of not so bright women.

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