Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Warm Chatter: A Mary Kay Victim’s Story of Attempted Manipulation (Part 3)

mary kay recruitingRead Part 1 and Part 2.

Written by Jersey McGoody

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.

Super-Director wastes no time in contacting me… I didn’t get to the phone in time, and not even an hour later Marily texts me to check if I was able to “touch base” with her. (Geez, after this fiasco, I am so sick of hearing “touch base”… “let’s touch base” “we’ll touch base” “how about we touch base” … stop trying to touch my base!! LOL)

We finally get to talk, as I’m bouncing the now-teething baby on my lap to keep her from screaming, and she pretty much repeats all the same lines and the same questions…” any reason why you couldn’t..?”

I’ll tell you what, if nothing else, this has really taken a hit on my dignity, and I didn’t even sign up!! When you repeat your dire financial/life situation over and over to different people, it kinda feels like you’re digging your hole deeper and deeper.

I explain that I’ve had “parties” for various MLMs before — Premier Designs, Celebrating Home, etc… and that for each one I had an embarrassingly low turnout, meaning my mom and preteen sister, and my best friend from high school who has a hard time saying no to people she cares about. And I had invited my entire work office, which consists of over 20 women. I tell her that I’ve actually had a good handful of friends and acquaintances who have started businesses with a wide variety of MLMs and they were successful for the first 3 months or so, mostly with friends and family as clientele, then it just kind of flopped after that.

“Well, think about it… those companies, they sell products that you buy once and then that’s it, right? With Mary Kay products, after two or three months, you need to restock! And that’s when they come running back to you!”

She keeps slipping in the conversation that I should mention the “business opportunity” to a handful of my women friends as well (because evidently that takes priority over ensuring that a consultant has the proper training and knowledge of skincare and application techniques… in other words, nevermind if they have bad hygiene or can’t talk, just get ’em in, whoever they are!) and I mention, “Well wouldn’t that saturate the market and take away from my business? I mean, I don’t really want to engage in a bloodbath with 3 of my loyal friends to make a buck, ya know?”

She chuckles and clarifies that “Here’s the thing, you have your own circle of women that you know, and then each one of them has their own distinct circle of women, which probably only a few overlap, and then those women will reach out to their circle of women!” (And women! And women! And women! Uh-oh… is Hugh Hefner or Charlie Sheen in earshot?) “…and if they sign up under you, you’ll get a commission from them!”

“So they’ll have to pay me? And would I then have to pay anyone?”

“Nope! It all comes from the price of the product… once it gets sold, everybody in the upline gets a certain percentage check! Isn’t that cool?” (Yeah, sold from WHERE? The warehouse or the consultant’s car? Hmm…)

Now I apologize that I can’t remember a great deal more of specifics about our conversation, which lasted about 15 minutes or so, because I was trying to keep the baby from screaming into the phone. But towards the end, she tells me, “You have some really good questions!!” (Is that code for “wow, you’re really onto us and our scheme!”)

Shortly after that, I let her know that if I ever decide to, then I will let her or Marily or somebody know. “Well, we’re here for you if you ever decide to take this opportunity, have a good night!” Surprisingly not much pressure. Also no mention at all of what type of education or experience I would need to ensure I can truly HELP people with skin issues, color matching, product application, etc.

I think that’s what bugged me the most, the lack of “expertise,” just rehearsed scripts to sell. I noticed that when I asked Marily about my friend’s psoriasis, she uncomfortably tried avoiding the subject. And at the Monday meeeting too… no doubt the women were dressed “sharp,” but some of their makeup–no offense, but bright green and purple eyeshadows and angular-drawn red lips just don’t work for most people…

Later that night, Marily texts me to thank me for talking to her, and that I’m so sweet, blah blah. She mentions that she still has that gift for me, “you deserve it!!” and asks if she could drop it off at my office sometime this week. Ok, cool. Two weeks go by and she says she’s sorry that she never made it up there, she’s been having health issues, but she still has it.

Another few weeks go by, “Hi, I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you terribly. I’m thinking of you and your hubby. Are things better?”

“Nope, not really.” (Well, somewhat.)
“Well, how’s the eye makeup remover working for you?”
“Good.” (Decent enough, just like baby oil.)
“Yay! I’m in a challenge to treat 3 women to breakfast…and best part is, you’d get a $20 MK gift certificate! How’s Saturday?”
“I’m working.” (the truth)
“Oh, I figured that. Maybe some other time then! I could drop that gift off to you on Friday, ok?”

*a few weeks later*

“Well, time just got away from me again. Wanna come Monday night and I’ll make it up to you?”
“Not sure if I’ll be able to make it. If so, I’ll let you know.”
“By the way, I have an idea for a job for your husband… but it’s too much to text… give me a call and I’ll tell you all about it!”

(another MLM perhaps? just tell me the damn company name that’s hiring and he’ll go to their website and figure it out from there…it ain’t that complicated..)

“I’m really hoping you can show up Monday…we’ll have lottsa fun!!”
Ok, *IF* I can come, *THEN* *I* will let *YOU* know. Geez.
“Just let me know by noon if you can make it, so I can prepare!”

(…prepare what??)

“We had so much fun last night, and were thinking of you!! Give me a call when you can!!”

…aaaaaaannndddd that was the last of it for now…she hasn’t tried to touch my base since this past May. Still no gift!! Although I still get generic mass-emails from her. Maybe she finally got the hint. Watch, tomorrow she’ll try again. Oy.


  1. Lazy Gardens

    Another few weeks go by, “Hi, I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you terribly. I’m thinking of you and your hubby. Are things better?

    TRANSLATION: Are you still broke? Or can I manipulate you into signing up now?

  2. BestDecision

    My Director used to purposely bring my orders by my office. Now I know she did it to be in reach of all my co-workers. When she’s arrive, she’d never leave, either, and would hang around after they told her I was busy and couldn’t meet with her at the moment. She’d actually say she’d wait and then loitered around for awhile!

    If she, or even this post’s Director, was that busy with all these customers and all these sales, she wouldn’t have time to hang around! Do FedEx or UPS people stand around and chit chat? No. Because they have a solid business to run and loads more to deliver.

    I’ll say it for everyone. Mary Kay, you’re pitiful.

  3. Cyclist

    Great story!

    Marily sounds like a pain in the abs. And you have so much going on! A teething baby, family and a job (that actually pays). Shame on her for stalking you!
    Why not ignore her texts and calls?
    My director has been stalking me over all possible means of communication, and after I wasn’t returning texts and calls, she sent me a Card (!!!) in the mail (!). Still nada. Once she called from a different number. Then I picked up and actually had to talk to her. But even then I told her I would like to not talk to her again. It’s been quiet since.

  4. enorth

    “Once she called from a different number”

    They’re taught to do that.

    I heard a NSD say the following:
    “Three things are ruining our business…email, texting, and Caller-ID.”

  5. morningstar

    What is amazing is the lengths these directors will go when they have a fish on the hook. A seasoned director acting like this is such a turn off in any type of profession. Director treated her like a child not an adult. I have seen all this while in MK. This director was/is applying the layering technique and getting nowhere. The promise of a gift of low value and not making good on it is another example. And using lame excuses not to deliver. Funny how that is, when the director decided this woman is not a ca$h cow.
    The crazy actions of the director (and many others in MK) will be the ultimate downfall of MK. Most people are practical these days, watching what they spend on and here comes MK rep. hopping down the road. Someone you do not know asking you to plunk down big bucks for makeup inventory, claiming you could get off your ass and sell it if you wanted. Treating you like an adult just for now that she has the money and her hooks in you.
    Thank you for reminding me how hard it is to be a director let alone a consultant. To anyone reading this and being asked to buy inventory, it is not for your best interest but hers. It is about bringing in others not selling product. For the last 20 years the same NSD’s have ruled the roost, if this were about selling then this would be a much more expanded roster. I am sure the battle at NSD level is catty, lying bunch again; they are the best of the best at extorting money from unsuspecting people. They have been on the take so long it is a natural part of life.

    1. BestDecision

      Now there are NSDs barely keeping their titles. It used to be all about their wisdom and respecting their work ethic that got them there, but now it’s rampant abuse of finances and cheating that takes them there and doesn’t keep them there.

      I was a Director, and I can assure you the cheap tactics this one is using is representative of A LOT of them. They’re not making the money they were 10 years ago, so their desperation to maintain the lifestyle and APPEARANCE of an “executive income” is making them behave the way they are.

      I, embarrassed to say this, remember giving gifts to customers and my unit members’ guests that were discontinued products. I couldn’t sell them all off my own shelves, so who better to give a Cotton Candy eye shadow to? I remember using coupons to take my unit members to outings. It was humiliating but necessary because I wasn’t making even $50,000/year net profit some years. My Cadillac cost a fortune for oil changes and to fill up its tank, and maintaining and building a unit was not cheap.

      You are very correct. This behavior has given MK a bad name, and I’m thankful I’m not represented by people like that anymore. Ship is sinking!

  6. cindylu

    Best Decision…Thank you for pointing out how down hill this has gone during the past ten years or so. When I was in, I began sensing that this dual marketing scam was falling apart. When one of the top NSD’s was whining about losing entire units, I began to suspect all was not well. She spoke of executive income and yet somehow every single event in MK cost more than it was worth. My director was incapable of teaching glamor. Our unit members were poor as church mice. No one were winning any prizes and my director went no where for many years. Her husband, sadly was stuck keeping this selfish tyrant afloat. In MK they reap what they sow. The front loading and deceit of many years has finally led to hundreds of women embarrassed for being taken in by this con. We owe it to other women to warn them about those NSD’s that cheated their way to the top. They are indeed running the show. In order to hang on to their titles, their trips, their incomes and their pink cars, they now are facing the truth of the internet. Some of us are sending out the warning loud and clear, to not ever fall for all this manipulation, scripted anecdotes and promise of executive income. Most newer NSD’s haven’t got a prayer of finding recruits who will fall for these promises without being smart enough to check the internet.

    1. BestDecision

      The new October Applause is showing even more proof things are falling apart. For example, there were only 186 NSDs having commissions over $10,000 for that month. Then, only 12 units out of the ENTIRE Sapphire division added 20 or more new recruits. MKI is now selling “Deluxe Minis” that could be GWPs or used as a Hostess gift or whatever. For 1 mascara or Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover, it’s $2. Per Deluxe Mini! They have a Lip Gloss Set with 5 mini glosses for a whopping $5, and they’re selling Mini Microdermabrasion Sets for $4. Per set!

      People who are desperate to sell more and meet new customers with these Minis aren’t making much profit as it is, and now they’re going to broke in just minutes of ordering these!

      MKI needs to also get it that MICRODERMABRASION IS OUTDATED. In a world of paper masks and better brands like Sephora, a stupid physical exfoliate with what feels like sand paper is irrelevant now. No one wants 2 steps, nor do they want redness and irritation from circling on that product. And having a skin care brush just now is TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. Clarisonic tapped out that market with a far better machine.

      Sorry for the all caps, but seeing this new issue has me irritated. Like my face was after that stupid Microdermabrasion set years ago!

      1. Stephanie

        O’lay works great. I love it. Then I use good old coco butter w/ vitamin e for lotion/moisturizer, you don’t need much because it’s thick.

        I used to use all that expensive crap, never before has my skin been soft from using O’LAY ($9.99 sometimes I have a coupon from Sunday paper and get $2.00 off) and coco butter.

      2. Neverpink

        Nowadays we have gentler, more effective (and less expensive) chemical exfoliates! No more harshness from rubbing grit on your face. I get mine from Amazon for about $12 per (for BHA and AHA, and one bottle lasts about 1.5 years!)

        I think some IBC had a video about MK’s new “revolutionary” acid peel or something, which I suspect is an AHA at a higher % concentration. Way to be years behind the times, MK… :/

          1. Neverpink

            They won’t disclose the % of AHA in the product?? WHAT?! That can be really dangerous! You could get chemical burns if you think the concentration is lower and use it every day…

            OTC or not, not disclosing the concentration is a real safety concern. All companies should disclose this kind of information. This is crazy!!

          2. enorth

            Here’s what was said at seminar on stage: “The only time we provide a percentage of ingredients is when a MK product is classified as an OTC drug product, like in a product that contains sunscreen ingredients.”

            It’s from a YT video: MaryKay Demonstration of Radiance Facial Peel.

          3. Neverpink

            Wait so… they won’t disclose the % concentration because it’s an OTC product… but the only time they DO disclose the % is when it’s an OTC product? Am I understanding that correctly? (Apologies if I’m misreading!)

          4. enorth

            Well, here’s what was said in the video: “The only time we provide a percentage of ingredients is when a MK product is classified as an OTC drug product, like in a product that contains sunscreen ingredients.”

            I don’t understand, as other companies have no qualms with giving a percentage.

    2. BestDecision

      Almost forgot! They’ve taken off the YTD net commissions of the NSDs. So, you can see those monthly that grossed over $10K, but you can’t see how their REAL take-home commissions were after chargebacks, etc.

      And, you’re welcome. I came on here initially to see what this “MK Sucks” site was all about as everybody in the company was mortified by it, and then I came back as I started to lose respect for the company, other Directors and NSDs, and then my own career in it. After I resigned, I’ve come back to share my real story and encourage those doubting themselves in the pink quicksand that they aren’t alone. We all fell for it. And wasted so much time and money!

  7. enorth

    I came across a video where the NSD was telling her SDs that she had just ordered inventory for the first time since she became NSD. And why was she ordering inventory? “So I can get out and hold parties and recruit some off-spring Sales Directors.”

    Times are tough.

  8. Stephanie

    You all are not going to believe this.

    My sister knows I read this site, she told her friend (former MK kay bot) and directors are now teaching IBC’s to download free phone number apps (pinger, free text etc) so consultants don’t have to buy burner phones or use someone else’s phone to call from a different number.
    Pinger and related apps are on Apple Marker and Google play which you download and can use as a phone that changes your number.

    *face palm*

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Burner … “Burner is free to download and free to try. Additional time and numbers are available by in-app purchase or subscription.” Pinger … “New accounts receive a new phone number and 10 free minutes. ”

      So they are going to have to pay more to sell less.

      This is a drug dealer tactic!

      1. Stephanie

        Hi Lazy Gardens!
        I didn’t see your comment when I commented below.
        I downloaded it, it gave me 30 free mins. I called my hubby’s phone to see if it works and it did, LOL.
        I won’t use the other 29 mins. You are 100% correct, this is drug dealer(s) tactic.

    2. MLM Radar

      I have a policy: unless I am expecting a call, ALL calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail. That includes numbers generated by “pinger” apps. Nice try, Mary Kay ladies and other MLM scam artists, but you lose again.

      My old cell phone number was plagued for FOUR YEARS with scam artist calls. (I didn’t change the number because I was job-hunting when my phone contract came up for renewal, and the number was on all my resumes and applications.) Four YEARS, three or four times a DAY, of “press one now to lower your credit card interest rates” or “free home security system” or “easy money to go back to school” or “Heather with Card Services.”

      So, yeah, you can try to get me to answer the phone by using a bogus phone number, but I’m not taking the bait. My tolerance level for phone number games is somewhat lower than dirt on the bottom of my shoe.

      And a lot of other people aren’t taking the bait either.

  9. Stephanie

    I couldn’t believe it. It was so weird. My sister knows I read this site, her friend quit Mk recently and that was one of the reasons aside from being pressured to recruit customers. Somehow she was able to keep her customers, (she did have a couple loyal ones) she explained to everyone why she quit (one reason protecting them) and told them if they wanted any MK products they were better off buying on eBay.

    Back to pinger and track phones: what I want to know is; what the heck do you tell the person you are stalking? Do you even mention you are calling from another number?

    P.S. I just downloaded the Pinger app, sure enough you get another number. You get 30 free minutes. You can text from a different number too. There are ads that pop up too.
    This is disturbing having a way to conceal your number and show up as a different number.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      There are legitimate reasons for it – such as a reporter not wanting to use his personal phone number. Or an abused spouse wanting to keep her real number secret.

      But if you have to hide your phone number from a customer, to keep them from hanging up on you … that’s an indication that things are not going well.

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