Another Frustrated Mary Kay Husband

Another Mary Kay husband writes to tell us of the deception, manipulation, and financial impact of his wife’s decision to get involved with the company.

I’ve read through the pink truth website off and on for over a year now but I thought I would toss you an e-mail since I really don’t have anyone else to talk to about “this”.

Two Novembers ago, my wife said that she was interested in joining Mary Kay after she had a couple facials done by someone she knew.  Prior to that, we had talked about the fact that Mary Kay is probably a pyramid scheme (in which we both agreed) and I never thought in a million years that she would express ANY interest in it.

I figured, since signing up with a starter kit didn’t really cost that much ($100) and we had recently moved about 3 hours away from our hometown (because of my job), and she was staying home and taking care of our young boys, I thought it would probably wouldn’t be “that bad” for her to get out and do something.  I told her I thought it was probably a scam but if she felt comfortable with it, then do it. 

Now, I love my wife, but her next move was inconceivably “bad” in my opinion.  She tells me a few days later that she purchased $2,700 in inventory.  To be honest, I flipped my lid at that point.  We are pretty frugal to begin with and she told me after she made the purchase.

Needless to say this has caused a lot of strain on our marriage for the past year.  Since then, I’ve done my research on MLM’s (Penn and Teller have a great episode on them too by the way).  I totally feel like she was a victim (but she doesn’t see it that way).  She truly believes that if it doesn’t sell, it’s her fault and she didn’t follow the system.

It’s been more than a year and the initial credit card purchase of MK inventory has only been paid down ..say .. maybe $300.  It seems that the only way that you can really make money is to recruit.  Just selling this stuff doesn’t yield a return that is worth it.  She managed to get one recruit but that is it.

It’s gotten so bad that I’m not even allow to ask any specific questions about it or she gets SO upset with me immediately.  I always argued who gets left holding the bag when it doesn’t sell but she really thinks I just want to make her miserable which is simply not true at all.  I want her to be happy and NOT be taken advantage of (and honestly I don’t think she feels like she’s been taken advantage of).

She has completely swallowed the Mary Kay kool-aid and there is no point for me to try to convince her to send the inventory back before the year is up because it will just end up in an argument.  I really do feel horrible for making her feel so bad about it but she continues to think it’s such a great thing and I have yet to see anything great about it.

Anymore, I just bit my lip and dread the day that I have to start draining our family finances to pay for something that could have (should have) been avoided to begin with.  There are plenty of volunteer jobs out there where you DON’T lose money :).

Anyway, I’m not writing you to ask you to talk to my wife or anything like that.  I just thought I could talk with someone that could possibly understand how I feel.  Maybe all I need is someone to tell me it’s not that bad and I shouldn’t worry about it because it’s not worth it.  Humongous ***SIGH***


  1. MLM Radar

    Since she’s insistent on keeping things from you, please protect yourself.

    Pull your credit report. Make sure she hasn’t opened secret accounts in your name.

    Pull her credit report too. Yes, I know, that’s not proper. But given that you know she’s hiding things from you, things which could hurt you a lot, you should know what is really happening.

    Once you have a better picture of your combined financial situation, see if she comes clean with the tax return you’re about to file. MK Directors LOVE to tell their recruits that MK makes a great tax deduction. (Which isn’t true. A loss is still a loss. Any tax savings is only a fraction of the loss.)

    Her “don’t ask me questions” attitude about MK is on the same level as if she was having a secret extra-marital affair.

  2. Lazy Gardens

    It is that bad … and you should worry. She’s definitely under the influence of the upline.

    Run a credit check on yourself AND your children to make sure she hasn’t been conned into opening credit cards and hiding it from you. Put a freeze on you and the kids so no credit can be opened against their names.

    If you can convince her to “marie kondo” her supplies and product she’ll see how much she really has. And mark it so she’ll be able to tell at a glance how long it’s been there.

    Will she agree to set up a separate bank account for her business, with a debit card? Like a real business would, instead of using the household and personal credit cards? The household expenses are often a slush fund for Mary Kay. All Mary Kay income and expenses go to that account. And it’s clear that she’s not making money.

    Cancel any current cards and get NEW numbers … her upline has those numbers ans WILL USE THEM!

  3. Tilly

    I walked away from 10 years in MK (1 as a director) with more than $20k in debt and a failed relationship. I NEVER made more than what MK cost me.

    It is that bad. Treat her as if she was in a cult (there are books for that), but protect yourself and your finances.

    All her fellow consultants and upline WILL make you out to be the bad guy. You’re not. Love her the best you can through this very difficult period. She will try to manipulate you and will most likely believe her new sisters over you. Hugs

  4. Char

    It is that bad. Think of her as a drug addict you love and want to help.

    Does she prefer to hang with her “druggie” friends instead of you? Missing money? Attitude? Priorities changed? House neglected? Too preoccupied or tired for you? Are the signs slowly getting worse?

    Don’t believe a word she says when she criticizes you about not supporting her “habit” i.e. fake business pyramid scheme. Addicts can be very manipulative and creative. Show your tough love and don’t enable her. Hopefully, she’ll love you more than “the other woman addict friend”.

    Protect your finances and take precautions. Place a fraud alert on your credit, and hers. It’s free.

    “A fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The alert stays on your report for one year.”

    Good luck. I hope she sees the light and chooses her family instead of the vultures. Remember, a con wouldn’t be a good con if it didn’t SEEM legit. Good con women (successful MLMers) don’t say, “I’m going to con you now.” Nope, they plaster on makeup and call themselves consultants or business owners.

    Forgive her after. Unfortunately, MLM has infected many of us, and I hope her disease is short lived.

  5. ran4fun

    Like the others said, it is that bad. Confrontation over it will only push her away. You’ve already gotten good advice from those before me. Maybe here’s another option that won’t make you look like the bad guy … tell her you want to help her business succeed, so you made an appointment with your tax accountant so he/she can advise her on how to run her business successfully. If she has any integrity she’ll want to abide by the IRS to avoid tax trouble. And if her up-line discourages her from that, ask her if they will defend her if the IRS audits her. If she hears the truth from an outside source she is more likely to “hear” it than from someone close, like you. Good luck! We’re all pulling for you.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      ^^^ Good idea.

      AND, have the accountant run the calculations twice. Once with the “business deductions” and then next pretending they weren’t there. Which put more SPENDABLE money into the family account.

    2. Char

      Without disagreeing as I don’t really know the best way, I have concerns over this strategy. It’s not that it doesn’t make some sense, just providing another perspective:

      “Confrontation over it will only push her away.” – Does that mean she doesn’t choose you when given an ultimatum? What does that say about her priorities? Call the MK bluff now before this scheme infiltrates your family even more.

      “Maybe here’s another option that won’t make you look like the bad guy” – Only the bad guy in her eyes! Stand for what you know is fact. Nip it now before she becomes a full blown addict out of control and these women get their claws inevitably in deeper. You are NOT the bad guy. Period.

      “tell her you want to help her business succeed, so you made an appointment with your tax accountant so he/she can advise her on how to run her business successfully.” – Doesn’t this appear to give some validity to the scheme? To me it sends the wrong message. When she fails, she will blame herself instead of the system.

      “If she hears the truth from an outside source she is more likely to “hear” it than from someone close, like you.” – I know it’s life, but that just sucks.

      If we keep pussyfooting around MLMers, the vicious cycle will continue. People will dabble in MLM, lose money, quietly go away, and forget about their experience thinking they failed – be in debt perhaps also causing others to be in debt too.

      The bigger message needs to be that MLM is never okay, it’s a pyramid scheme, and keep that $hit away from my family. Don’t enable MLM by buying it’s products.

      If we don’t starve to death the scamming companies and worker bees, the queen will keep slowly feeding and reproducing.

      1. Tilly

        Have to agree here. This isn’t the time to be subtle, and she’s NOT going to believe the tax guy any more than she will believe her own husband. The tax guy doesn’t ‘BEE-LIEVE’ either – what would he know?

        I wouldn’t have when I was deep in the pink @#$%.

      2. Juliet

        wow Char, I sooo totally agree with your analysis, you laid it out plainly and simply. I really do endorse what you are saying and I hope that others will be able to read that and understand ”let the damage fall where it may” method actually leads to AVOIDING total catastrophe. The pain we suffer from stripping away all the facades we put up to avoid confronting an irrational thought pattern is so much less than the pain we will suffer if we continue to cater to the addiction demon.

        Trouble is I do understand the ”genial” approach, as I have suffered through my own addictions, and have been surrounded by so many friends and loved ones who are or were active addicts, and stating the plain truth will get you annihilated in whatever punishment form the addict knows will hurt you the most and drive you back into silent acceptance.

        I don’t say that to dispute you at all —- it sounded to me like you were wondering why on earth the straight truth method isn’t preached versus the shiny, happy people version that caters to the addict’s ego. Tap Dancing On A Land Mine — Aerosmith speaks the truth there for sure.

        Wonderful, wonderful submission, Char, thank you.

  6. Mickey2942

    Maybe it is time to tell her to get a job to pay back that money. She is less likely to spend more money. Or if she does, it won’t be money you earned.

    Close all joint accounts. She has demonstrated that she can’t be trusted. You can give her a debit card to purchase groceries, that you add money to.

    1. Not a bot

      I agree, tell her that family money cannot be used for her ‘job’ and give her a very limited amount. Any money she spends on her business has to come from her. If she wants to get a job to help finance the ‘job’ that is supposed to be making her money, maybe she will see the light. At least with volunteering you get to help others, what she is doing is just wasting time and money.

  7. 15yearspink

    Above all else, NO MORE CREDIT CARD DEBT. If she will not agree to this, she needs to get out immediately. You see, the MK line has gotten so big that even $2700 doesn’t go very far. So you facial one family that all have similar skin tones or color preferences, then you’re out of certain shades and need to reorder. That’s when the problem starts snowballing.

    Stay on top of this, as the other ladies have suggested. The financial well-being of your family is at stake.

  8. Weekended

    Something that I learned here is that MK–or other MLM–is very good at capitalizing on women’s needs and insecurities. Perhaps you could try to figure out what makes your wife vulnerable to Mary Kay and help her satisfy that need in another way. In my own case, with Weekenders, I was a housewife in a new community and bought into the idea of running my own business from home. I have also really loved clothes and looking pulled-together, and that aspect of the business appealed to me. MLMs always find a need and try to fill it. It’s their modus operandi.

    1. MLM Radar

      And where they don’t find a need they try to create one.

      Who doesn’t want a chance to improve their situation? That’s EXACTLY why you need Mary Kay or Amway or Stella and Dot or It Works…..

      Liars. All of them.

      1. Char

        This is why MLM must be immediately identified and classified as a fraudulent method irrespective of needs.

        ‘You need money, let’s go steal a lady’s purse.’
        ‘You need friends, let’s go join a street gang.’

        These examples wouldn’t typically fly because people know they are not legitimate choices. If only MLM was recognized by everyone for being a similar type of activity.

    2. enorth

      “figure out what makes your wife vulnerable to Mary Kay and help her satisfy that need in another way.”

      In fact, I just listened to a video where the NSD told the Directors: “Recruit with the dream, not the kit.”

  9. Sharon

    Get involved with her business. Become her business partner. MARY KAY always said that a woman with her man behind her is a woman and a half. Without his support, she is half a woman. MARY KAY works if you treat it like a job. I’ve been with the company for 42 years. I’ve earned the use of 20 cars. It is not MLM. It’s a dual marketing plan. Everyone orders from MK and sells to their customers. I’m sorry your wife purchased more inventory than she should have. I never ask my new consultants to place an order until I see exactly what she is going to do with the business. You should call her director for direction and help. We as directors cannot read minds. Give her a chance. If that doesn’t work out, call the company and they will direct her to someone in the area you live. We are go-give. We help women even when we do not make money on them. It’s called the adoptee system.

    My husband retired at 52 yrs old. He has recruited and sold products for me. He will tell you that MK is absolutely the best career for women. He makes me a woman and a half. I hope you do that for your wife. She apparently really wants to be successful. Help her instead of hindering her. She could be very successful but she needs you.

    1. TRACY

      Oh my goodness Sharon. If you’ve been with MK for 42 years, you darn well know it’s MLM because MULTI LEVEL MARKETING means you’re recruiting people who fall into multiple levels in the pyramid.

      But let’s talk about those 42 years, Sharon.

      You are a sales director. In the last 10 years, you never made enough in commissions to make it into Applause. You’re making about $15,000 to $20,000 a year in commissions? You have no retirement. Not from Mary Kay, anyway. If you’re lucky you have a little money saved, but God only knows how that would be possible making so little from MK.

      So tell me…. why haven’t you promoted yourself beyond sales director? Why don’t you have a bunch of offspring directors? Surely you want more women to have all the affluence you do? Why didn’t you ever get a pink Cadillac? Why aren’t you an NSD?

      If this opportunity is so wonderful, I think you would have taken advantage of it. All you have to do is treat it like a business!

      The answer is simple: You’ve worked your ass off for 42 years and you have nothing to show for it. You tried to move up and you couldn’t do it because the system was rigged against you. You will retire with nothing from MK, and the company doesn’t give a hoot about you.

    2. BestDecision

      And your website says customers can call you from 9-9 every day. So you’re saying you work 84 hours a week.

      You’re at least 60 years old, and I’ve never heard of you in MK. It’s a shame you’ve not made it to that magical life of an NSd, nor will you have anything to show for your decades of loyalty to MK.

      Post-Cadillac, I now have healthcare, dental, vision, retirement, disability, and life insurance. And I never work as many hours as you do or even as many as I used to.


    3. ran4fun

      “MARY KAY always said that a woman with her man behind her is a woman and a half. Without his support, she is half a woman.” …

      You know, I understand the intent of this script. I’ll admit I have a great husband who supports me and holds me accountable. I am a better person because of him. But without him, I am still a whole woman. And there are plenty of single women who are whole and complete. It’s 2019. It’s time to put this Mary Kay attitude to rest.

      It really should read,”Without his FINANCIAL support, she is twice as likely to quit Mary Kay due to financial losses.

  10. KayNoMary

    It is that bad, as others have pointed out above. If your wife won’t listen to your concerns – which you have every right to voice because this impacts you directly – you have to treat this like she’s a drug or gambling addict that won’t get help.

    You have to protect your finances – don’t allow her to use family money, joint bank accounts, or joint credit cards or allow her to use money earmarked for rent, utilities, food, and other necessities for this nonsense.

    She’s already lied to you and put you into debt that you are struggling to pay off, until she quits for good she’s capable of doing it again and it could be much worse next time.

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