No One Held a Gun to Your Head

Written by Raisinberry

How many times have we seen a pinked-fogged consultant write to all of the Pink Truth readers telling us, “No one held a gun to your head.” They want to be clear that no one was about to murdered if they didn’t order. We typed our own credit card numbers into the computer and hit “submit”.

There are some consultants and directors who can’t believe that those of us “career path consultants” would all be so stupid as to order what we didn’t need or hadn’t sold. They want us to take responsibility and leave Mary Kay Cosmetics alone. We are, to them, poor businesswomen, lazy losers, unfocused, and excuse makers.

Any consultant who wants to come here and lecture us about our work ethic better have at least two car “wins’ under her belt otherwise, she has no earthly idea what she’s talking about. It’s like being a Pavarotti and having to endure a “do re me” lesson from a 12 year old. “Work ethic” was never our problem. So are we clear? If you haven’t “worked your business” enough to be a grand achiever… stop with the words of wisdom. You don’t have a clue. But I digress.

“Nobody held a gun to your head” is the verbiage of the truly heinous. Nobody held the gun, that is for sure. What they did hold was our trust, our faith, our security, our hope, our reputation, our willingness, our loyalty, our belief.

When we were told something mattered for the sake of the area, we helped out. When we were told that we needed to lead by example, we complied. When the goal was so close that all we needed was a bit more, we came through. When the call went out to “be there” we found a way or made one.

All of this cost money. All of this cost resources. Regardless of whether our businesses were prospering, we were expected to “finish the court” or “finish star” or “finish car” or “finish Unit Club” or “stretch” for added wholesale, as needed. No one ever asked if my business could afford it. No one wanted to know.

From day one, I have seen women order big, when they never stood for sales count up. I have watched women order to be a star, knowing they haven’t sold enough to cover it. They received recognition for buying their star when they first started up, why should the second or third be any different? We could all see it but we all said nothing. And so it goes.

The director gets all the ordering reports. Whether you submit your numbers to her or not, she can tell if your sales match what your wholesale is. When you order more than what you have sold, that is terrific. It takes some of the pressure off having to scour the Unit for wholesale. There isn’t a greater day in the world to a director, than to look online and see $800 wholesale ordered… even though we might have no idea why you did that.

“No problem! I’ll take it! I… need it. I didn’t hold a gun to her head,” says Miss Director.

But here’s the thing. You are acting on her prompts. It’s her wholesale contest, it’s our national’s promo, it’s the company sales challenge, it’s the Unit goal. It’s the speed of the leader, It’s moving up, It’s you can do it, and “you’re SO CLOSE”! She knows you have $4k or $5K on your shelf… She saw you order it and because she needs every dime, she says nothing. She can’t ask you if that order represented 60% of what you sold, because she needs you to order more. And the exact same thing happens to the director. Only worse.

Over time, the director or grand achiever finds that maintaining production is a see saw battle that some months will be there and some months won’t. Some months there is good commission and low sales… some months all commission has to be turned back into wholesale, with no real profit realized,

It’s only when you get those $3K and up commission checks that you get some breathing room. Up and down it goes. Over time, the debt grows, the expenses mount, the credit cards double. Our ntionals know we are drowning because they see how many directors place a large wholesale order that matches what is needed to keep the Unit. “No problem! I’ll take it! I need it,” says the NSD…”I didn’t hold a gun to her head!”

They have looked us right in our eyes, and watched us drown, never lifting a finger to offer wise counsel… never saying, “we don’t need help from you this month, just sell out what you have, that will be great.”

On the contrary. They could never say that. They need every dime, every drop of your contribution to keep the area, afloat. As long as you were willing to order, your “contribution” would be taken and never discouraged. The upline needs every order, just as we needed every consultant order. whether we knew she was selling or not. We all looked the other way… grateful for the morsel.

Nobody held a gun to our heads, but they may as well have. Their silence and opportunism to take every drop of what you could give, so that they could reap the financial benefits, and watch you drowning under the weight of it, suffering a slow death because of it.

A National has years of watching the same scenario over and over again. It is that predictable. It is an expectation. Units are always suffering attrition and with less than 40 members a director is slowly going under. She can do the activity but has no guarantee that the results will be there… this business does depend after all on what others do, regardless of the “if it is to be it’s up to me” mantra.

Each time a director coughs up the needed production, she has one more nail in the coffin. She is encouraged to keep going, looking for that magic recruit, working her own personal business, shown scenarios where if she only held 5 classes a week, all month, she could do production herself… as if 5 classes a week were even remotely possible anymore. As if the National doesn’t know true market conditions.

Losing air… it is very real suffocation as you spiral under the waves of financial stress. You finally get the nerve to tell your NSD that you are going under. Her disbelief is incredulous, her attitude a virtual cold wind.

“Hold another class!” she says, “Do your personal business!”

It is stupefying to have a woman who has presided over this long chain of multi-level indebtedness, over many, many years, play dumb – play ignorant – play it safe. She knows exactly who is ordering to save their Units, and who is ordering every other month, the exact amount to hit minimum production, the caddy, or the unit club.

She has been the one to encourage them to do so. So doing a skin care class is the way out? If doing our “personal business” afforded any real earnings we would have never become directors! (Let us remind all gentle readers that achieving the Queens Court, the pinnacle in Mary Kay, means you probably profited $14,000 (maybe) for the year!)

But we try again and the usual happens and once again it is month end.

“I can’t.” I just can’t.

When the phone rings and she picks up the phone, and you tell her you have $24,000 on credit cards doing your Mary Kay Business, the most piercing and vacant words come over the line.

“How did THAT happen?”

The blame shift does not escape your notice. You want to scream out at her, “What are you crazy? You know! You watched! You encouraged! You Applauded!”

She has watched you turn over your time and resources and she has skimmed her commission off your credit card debt, as you stretched for her goal, the area, your Unit, the company, because of your trust and your loyalty. Her lack of concern for how this was all manipulated from you is telling. No one who was honest and true would have ever uttered those words, especially in light of the fact that they know exactly how it happened. They profited from it!

No, she didn’t hold a gun to your head. But she may as well have. To knowingly watch a person financially drown a slow death while you picked their pocket is depraved. To know exactly where she was headed and say nothing to turn her back is indifference. Mary Kay Directors and Nationals need your orders. It never occurs to them to say, “Don’t order any more till you get that large amount of inventory back into a range normal for your sales volume.” That declaration would be counter productive to what they must do.

Knowing it will happen, watching it happen, profiting off the flailing woman in the water and doing nothing is most certainly depraved indifference. But there is one thing that is worse.

Blaming her for it. That, my friends, is even worse.


  1. Kristen

    What an excellent post, Raisinberry. The critics skim through a couple posts, conclude that a group of former Mary Kay participants contribute here, and immediately leap to the conclusion that we tried Mary Kay, didn’t work our business, didn’t think for ourselves, and now blame Mary Kay for our poor decisions. I’m glad you wrote this to address that.

    Now, the gun-to-your-head argument. As far as I know, nobody ordered with a gun pointed at their temple. Does this excuse every MK manipulative, dishonest strategy just because physical force wasn’t used? Anything goes, so long as you haven’t threatened death?

    I plead with those still involved, pay attention to the actions (not words) of your director or NSD. If she really cared, would she be encouraging you to go into debt? Not just a couple superficial nice things she may have done for you, but overall, do you feel used?

    Nobody held a gun to my head in Mary Kay to order all the inventory I did. I take responsibility for listening to the garbage advice they fed me without looking into it. That’s why Pink Truth was created: to stop others from making the same bad choices! I did fail. I lost money. I quit. But now I know there never would’ve been that elusive future moment where it would all pay off. I’m not a sales type. Manipulation doesn’t come naturally to me. But I was told that if I could say “ up, up, up!” that was all I needed to be able to do. Really.

  2. Kate

    This is incredibly powerful. After all these years of reflection, Raisinberry still feels it like it was yesterday. We get it, and we thank you for articulating this particular inane “gun to the head” argument.

  3. AnonyMouse

    Classic gaslighting. As if they didn’t pull every emotional manipulation tactic in the book to convince new reps to order inventory they don’t need. I ordered way more than I should have. I take responsibility for that. And yeah, nobody put a gun to my head (which in today’s climate is a very insensitive phrase that should definitely be retired by all MK directors/NSDs) but when you place a “star” order you are celebrated to the nines in the unit. Who cares that you haven’t sold a single item yet, here’s a pin and a sash for you and everyone is going to give you a standing ovation and your name is going in the monthly unit newsletter. You’re the favorite child, the teacher’s pet, and they know how intoxicating that feeling is. Mary Kay Ash knew women in her era lived thankless lives and that the recognition would be like a drug to them. In 2021, can we see this bullish!t for the emotional manipulation that it is? It’s borderline emotional abuse. You do this for me, “for the unit”, even at a detriment to yourself, and I will give you the praise you crave. It’s gross. They will suck you dry all while making you believe Mary Kay is the only place that will appreciate you the way you deserve.

    Oh wait. That’s not “borderline” emotional abuse. It is ABSOLUTELY emotional abuse.

  4. Char

    “Their silence and opportunism to take every drop of what you could give, so that they could reap the financial benefits, and watch you drowning under the weight of it, suffering a slow death because of it.” —

    ^^^And this is what’s known as a successful MLMer. She who worked her butt off to achieve what is described above. She wasn’t a quitter, nope. She took every opportunity to squeeze others dry and reap the benefit. Don’t you just dream to be like her by attending every one of her meetings, and hanging on her every word? That’s the beauty of this business; everyone has the opportunity to achieve this same level of success. You too can learn how to emotionally manipulate people for profit without technically holding a gun to their heads.

    (I’ve been trying to be more “positive” lately like MLMers suggest.)

  5. NayMKWay

    “No one put a gun to your head.”

    So condescending. As if anything short of felony assault is fair game, and that it’s your own fault if you got talked into a foolish decision by someone you trusted.

    “You wanted to step up and be a team player? Well, that’s on you. No one put a gun to your head.”

    “You followed your Director’s advice? Silly you; you can’t believe everyrhing you hear, you know. Besides, no one put a gun to your head.”

    Dear Pink Truth Critics: Please stop blaming victims and making excuses for deceit and betrayal. It reflects poorly on you.

  6. Mountaineer95

    “Any consultant who wants to come here and lecture us about our work ethic better have at least two car “wins’ under her belt otherwise, she has no earthly idea what she’s talking about. It’s like being a Pavarotti and having to endure a “do re me” lesson from a 12 year old. “Work ethic” was never our problem. So are we clear? If you haven’t “worked your business” enough to be a grand achiever… stop with the words of wisdom. You don’t have a clue.”

    I love this. It’s so true. Seriously, why is it only the 12-year-olds who stumble across this site and end up leaving friendly messages? Not a single director shows up. None of the ones we’ve mentioned specifically has shown up to prove us wrong. The only one I remember even trying was that lovely Cynthia Rucci (I think) lady but she was proven to be a liar pretty quickly (hmm, I wonder if she is still a director?)

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