Culture & ManipulationRecruiting

Warm Chatter: A Mary Kay Victim’s Story of Attempted Manipulation (Part 2)

mary kay warm chatterRead Part 1 here.

Written by Jersey McGoody

So before I go to the meeting, I’m googling away and find Pink Truth. Again, THANK YOU!! I’ve had my suspicions about Mary Kay Cosmetics being a sneaky MLM, but wanted to “stay positive” and after all, Marily had nonregrettably quit her job to do Mary Kay, and she also had an apartment and was able to attend weekly yoga and zumba classes.

But wow…I read, and read, and read…and made mental notes of all the ways the beauty consultants and especially sales directors have an answer for every “no” you give. My only regret was not signing up for the discussion board right away, as I would’ve found some REALLY good questions to ask them at the meeting… hehehe..

Marily tells me that they all wear skirts to the meeting, but that I “don’t have to.” Yeah, that ain’t happening… since I had the baby, I went from a size 6 to a 12… so none of my skirts were going to fit, and I wasn’t about to buy one just for this. Especially not when there’s remnants of snow on the ground. (Looking back, if I had stayed a size 6, I would’ve purposely raised some eyebrows by wearing one of my old Hot Topic-style schoolgirl miniskirts, with fishnet stockings… ha!)

So at first she offers to pick me up (from work, or my house, or anywhere!!), but I tell her I can just meet her at the place, which is a community venue in the same town as my office. She tells me to meet her at a convenience store literally 500 yards from the place, and then offers me a ride from there. I tell her that I’d really prefer to have my car with me, and follow her there, in case of an emergency with the baby or something. But she was really determined to get me into her car!! Made me kinda leery..

We go in, and Marily has another girl tagging along with us… she’s a brand-new recruit in her mid-twenties. She tells me that her fiance’s sister talked her into joining. (But why is she with Marily?) She seemed like a really sweet girl though, just taking everything in. So we’re in the back and Marily has me repeat the Satin Hands thing, and she starts drilling me with questions about what I learned from the other night at her mom’s house. Yes, like a pop quiz. About the five steps to healthy skin, the three things of importance in the company, the company motto, what did I learn about Mary Kay Ash, etc etc…

She would lean in with anticipation of my answer, with her eyes wide and mouth gaping open, (again with the whole kindergarten teacher thing) and say “YES!” nearly jumping when I got an answer correct. So then I’m putting on makeup… not in front of everyone there, just the 3 of us in a back kitchen-type room with the worst yellow-tinged artificial lighting ever. New girl is scribbling notes on everything. The meeting is called “Monday Night Makeovers” so I figured everyone would be practicing and trying out new looks on each other… yeah, not quite.

{And honestly I’m kinda surprised Marily never took any “before/after” photos of me for her portfolio. Don’t they normally do this? Maybe she thought I looked worse… I know I felt 10 years older afterwards. Normally I do a warm smoky eye, with contour and sometimes bronzer/highlighter, and a bare lip… Marily had me do a very “natural” look, with pinky-peach blush and lipstick.}

So after the makeup — mind you this was 3 days after I bluntly admitted I was broke to the bone — she launches into the same spiel with the skincare, about “now which of these products is your favorite, which would you like to take home with you..” etc… I remember her saying before we ever met up that she “had a gift” for me, and she had repeated it the day before… so does this mean one of these products is my “gift”? Would that be rude to ask?

I stammer, shaking my head, and say “well the money fairy didn’t visit me over the weekend, so my situation is kinda the same here.”

“Did you know there’s $400 of makeup in this bag?” (As she told me before…) “I’ll tell you what, if you can sell 7 of these Miracle Sets, you could have either the mascara or the foundation. How’s that sound? I’d help you!”

Wha..? So by her logic, I could either scrape for spare change to spend another $15, or I could spend an imaginary $Lordknowswhat and bug people… hmm… tough pick.

I said something along the lines of “I’ll think about it,” and Marily brought me out to present my new face to the crowd.

Everybody cheers loudly, almost to the point of a standing ovation… I’m just standing there, smiling nervously. Marily introduces me, rattling off how we met and all these generic positive qualities while looking at me the whole time. The moment I knew it was all phony BS was when she said I was “always very punctual.” Friday night I had trouble finding parking by her mom’s house and therefore 2 minutes late… and this night when we met at the convenience store, I was actually 7 minutes late because as I was leaving and kissing the baby goodbye, she had umm made a spontaneous explosive mess on me, and I was so frazzled from cleaning up that I forgot my keys were in my pocket as I’m tearing apart the house for them. (Unless that’s just a form of reverse psychology they use to “better” their team members?)

Anyway, they go into their awards thing, where the highest earners get their name on a board and stand up front and all that jazz, then New Girl’s future-sister-in-law brings her up to welcome her to the pink pyramid and present her a ring. As she’s telling her in a sugary-sweet voice to “just promise that you’ll give it a year, just a year because a lot can happen in a year and don’t let yourself get discouraged until it’s been a year..” and everyone’s nodding, I’m biting my lip because I want to stand up and scream, “Because once it’s been a year you can’t return your inventory!! Don’t fall for this crap!!” Ugh, I wish I did…and I hope she’s doing alright…poor thing.

So after we’re done, a director lurks over to me and Marily and asks if there’s any reason why I wouldn’t be able to sign up tonight. I tell her that I don’t even have the $100 for the starter kit.

“Well, I don’t want to pressure you into putting it on a credit card, but…”

“Yeah, all my cards are maxed out, and my credit is probably shot to heck if I applied for a new one.” I explain that right now probably isn’t the best time, because we’re all working with one car and I’m trying to catch up and my schedule and my husband’s situation and the baby and yadda yadda…

She says that there’s $700 worth of makeup and skincare in the starter kit (oh, so it’s $700 now? not $400? alrighty then..) and that even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll at least have a ton of nice things for a great price. She asks if I have any questions.

“Do I have to buy inventory?”
“Well, no, but it’s good to have.”
“Is it true that I have to maintain a certain purchasing quota in order to stay active and keep the discount?”

She waves a hand dismissively. “Oh, it’s not much. Just about what you would use in cosmetics anyway.” (Riiiiight… she really doesn’t know me and my dollar-store thrift very well.)

Marily’s nodding, with a semi-pouty expression, and says “Yeah, I know how that is. Believe me, I do. It’s hard, and I feel for you. Trust me, I do.”

The director tells me “You’re asking some really good questions! I’ll tell you what, even if right now isn’t the best time, I’ll have our NSD(?) give you a call sometime this week, and she can explain more to you.”


She pats my shoulder and says “Oh, you’re so cute!” like a grandmother, then moves on.

At first, I felt bad in a way, as if I’m “leading them on” to believe I’ll be a part of their team… but then I remember the “do unto others” thing… evidently they have no problem leading me on to believe that I can turn pennies into big bucks.

Part 3 tomorrow!


  1. “…wearing one of my old Hot Topic-style schoolgirl miniskirts, with fishnet stockings…”

    Skirt? Check.
    Stockings? Check.
    Closed-toe shoes? Patent platform mary janes or doc martens would work.

    “Did you know there’s $400 of makeup in this bag? I’ll tell you what, if you can sell 7 of these Miracle Sets, you could have either the mascara or the foundation. How’s that sound?”

    You want me to sell $2,800 retail crap for you and you’ll thank me by giving me a 3-year old stale product that became outdated 2 months after you purchased it?

    “At first, I felt bad in a way, as if I’m leading them on…”

    Why? That’s exactly what they’re doing to you. And they could care less about you. But if they do sign you up, they’ll be rewarded with one of the 12 for $2.99 plastic tiaras from the discount store.

    I am so looking forward to tomorrow’s installment.

  2. It hurts my heart that you had to go through this. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. Your approach to it is funny as hell, but I know it must have hurt a lot all the same.

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