Written by Popinki
Recently my cousin and I met up for a late breakfast at a local restaurant. The place wasn’t very crowded because it was late for breakfast and too early for lunch. The closest people to us were a middle-aged couple. The man was dressed casually but the woman was dressed to a T in a skirt suit, heels, jewelry, perfect hair and makeup. Kind of odd for a casual place on Saturday but I figured she had an event or job to go to and I was there to catch up on family gossip anyway.
I like to knit and crochet and people have been after me for years to start an Etsy store or something. I’m not strapped for cash thankfully, but with the rising cost of everything a little extra money would be nice. I could use up my odds and ends of yarn and build up a stock of basic hats, mittens, cat toys, and other little things that are quick to make and it wouldn’t cost me anything. However, I don’t rush into anything and I’d have to find out exactly how much creating a shop, shipping, packaging etc would cost and cut into my time before I took the plunge. My cousin was all over the idea and knows someone who sells on Etsy and was willing to pick their brains.
All the while Madam Suit had been glancing over at us but I work in town government and so unfortunately I either know everyone in town or they know me. They stood up to go and the man went to pay the check while Madam Suit headed our way. “Did I hear you say you’re a knitter?”
Knitters love to talk shop. My cousin got sort of an “oh God” look on her face because she’s been out with me before when I’ve met up with someone from my knitting group. Crafters also span the spectrum of gender, sexuality, appearance, religion, and income level. The inclusivity is part of why I like it so much. So I said yes, been crocheting since I was 6 and knitting since 10.
Then she started to gush about how I must be so talented and she could never get the hang of it and my BS meter lit up. I’ve worked with the public since 1998 and total strangers don’t butter you up like that unless they want something from you.
Then she started asking my cousin if she had any hobbies and if she could use some extra money, and she told us that she had the perfect opportunity where we could make ALL THE MUNNY without having to spend a dime, in our spare time, with all the training and website paid for and she’d just love to give us a call to tell us more about it. I just kept saying “No thanks” over and over but my cousin tried to argue with her. Naturally she had a counter for every argument. I was getting more and more angry until I finally resorted to my angry voice. It’s very low, very formal, very polite, and it scares the daylights out of people. I told her neither of us were interested and that was final. At that point her husband came back and said to leave us alone for God’s sake and let’s go already. She went but she left a Mary Kay business card and a pamphlet on the table.
The waitress actually apologized to us, saying that woman was a real pest and the manager of the place had had to tell her to quit trying to hustle the staff.
The incident bugged me all day. I’m against Mary Kay because of animal testing to begin with, but first of all I didn’t even know they were still around, and I’d assumed they were like Avon where someone left the catalog in the break room and people told her what they wanted to order. I’d recently watched a documentary about LulaRoe showing how predatory and cultlike they were, and heard horror stories about Amway, but I had no idea Mary Kay was the exact same way.
First of all, I haven’t worn makeup for probably 15 years and I use skincare stuff I get at the drugstore. My cousin does wear makeup but she wasn’t glammed up or anything. Not really the sort of people someone shilling makeup would go after. I googled Mary Kay Criticism and this site came up and after binge-reading a heck of a lot of it it made more and more sense.
It’s June, so Madam Suit was probably desperate to recruit a few warm bodies to meet her quota to stay on whatever level of the pyramid she’s on and sucker them into buying hundreds or thousands of dollars in inventory they can’t sell just so SHE can meet her numbers. No doubt she was hoping my cousin and I would go home and sucker our friends and family into buying and shilling for Mary Kay. She reminded me of those “pickup artist” guys who will hit on every woman in the bar hoping that just one will be willing to sleep with him.
I’m especially angry on behalf of the waitstaff at the restaurant, and I’m sure every female in a service position Madam Suit encounters on a daily basis because I’m sure she tries to sucker them, too, and when you have to be nice to people in order to keep your job you can’t tell her to take a flying leap.
I also wonder now how much credit card debt she’s hiding from her husband, and how many times he’s had to drag her away from someone when he was hoping for a day off.