No One Put a Gun to Your Head

mary-kay-gun-to-your-headIn an effort to help Kaybots save lots of time in responding to Pink Truth, I have put together a list of common things Mary Kay lovers say to Pink Truth members. These things are meant to show us how wrong, silly, stupid we are and how wonderful, workable, easy Mary Kay is.

We’ve heard them all before and none of them hold water. They’re simply parroting lines from the upline and corporate. They make incorrect assumptions about our members and their efforts in Mary Kay. So let’s debunk these phrases… and save Kaybots the trouble of telling us such things in the future.

No one put a gun to your head. – Pink Truth members are repeatedly told that no one “forced” them to do anything related to Mary Kay. Most often it is stated, “No one put a gun to your head.” And this is true. No one “forced” us to do anything. However, all of us were lied to. Some of us were told deliberate lies about how much our sales director makes, how much we can expect to sell, how much inventory we’ll need, the benefits of carrying inventory, how we can make money with just a “few” hours per week, how directors make executive pay or “full-time pay for part-time hours,” and a host of other things. Others were told lies of omission. Information about Mary Kay and the success (or more appropriately, the failure) of others was withheld from us. Deliberately. Without all the information, and without the correct information, we could not make informed decisions.

You should have researched Mary Kay before you joined! – Sometimes we are told that we didn’t do enough research about Mary Kay before we joined, so it is our own fault for being uninformed. Not true. Mary Kay does not allow anyone to see the “negative” side of the business. Directors and recruiters withhold the negative information because they are desperate for you to sign up. So-called “negative” (real?) comments on Mary Kay websites or Facebook pages are promptly deleted. Don’t listen to those negative nellies! Until sites like Pink Truth came on the scene, there was literally nowhere else to get the rest of the story about Mary Kay. And today, recruits are told that Pink Truth is full of lies and no one should read it. Mary Kay and its representatives are discouraging research outside of what they want recruits to see.

You should have said NO. – In Mary Kay, women are taught that “no does not mean no.” It means “I need more information.” Women are taught to repeatedly ask other women to consider Mary Kay, even if they have already said a firm no. They just don’t understand enough about Mary Kay. If they knew more, they’d say yes. So keep asking, and eventually you’ll wear them down. So even saying NO doesn’t work in Mary Kay, because you will still be hounded… whether it’s to buy products, sign up to sell Mary kay, buy an inventory package, place additional orders that you don’t need, or go to a company event. And coincidentally, many of us said no. It was just dismissed by our upline.

The business is simple. – The concept behind Mary Kay is simple. Sell products. Recruit new distributors. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. The execution of the concept is not so easy, however. Due to market saturation, it is difficult to find women to sell to and to recruit. There are too many other options in the cosmetics market and there are too many other women trying to sell and recruit, with no limitations such as territories. Mary Kay sales directors and charlatans will teach you about time management, scheduling, goal-setting, interviewing, closing sales, and the like. What they won’t teach you is an effective way to find more potential customers or recruits. Why not? Because a method for finding such customers and recruits doesn’t really exist. It is next to impossible to get a consistent flow of new customers and recruits. About the only way to do it is the equivalent of cold-calling… constantly. In a real business, there are tried and true ways of getting in front of your market in a way that will turn into business. In MLM, everyone is a target and there is no true way to isolate the good candidates (read: the ones who are easy to sway) to give yourself a good chance of being successful. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. There are a few hundred women in Mary Kay who are very successful. Years ago when the company had 700,000 consultants in the U.S., 480,000 were quitting and being replaced each year. Your chances of success are almost nil.

You shouldn’t have ordered more inventory than you could sell. – This makes sense, right? You should only order what you can sell. The problem is that women are coerced into buying large inventory packages with misinformation. They are told the products “fly right off the shelf” and that “you can’t sell from an empty wagon.”

Due to market saturation, the products are extremely difficult to sell. Women have too many choices available all around them, and many times they’d rather pick something up in a store or shop online… where they won’t be hounded to hold parties or sign up to be a distributor. It’s easier and more convenient to buy elsewhere. And even when women do choose Mary Kay, there are so many representatives to choose from and thousands of Mary Kay auctions on eBay, giving them lots of options for cheap(er) products. Although carrying inventory might help facilitate some sales, women often have the wrong products on hand, requiring them to order more from Mary Kay.

Then there’s the issue of being “active” in Mary Kay. You have to order at least every three months to qualify for the discount, and at least every six months to retain your downline. Even if you have lots of inventory and you don’t need more products, you’re going to have to order to stay on the merry-go-round.

And of course, there is the pressure from your upline to constantly order. Directors and recruiters are notorious for hounding women to order additional products. The excuses run the gamut from “order the limited edition products before Mary Kay runs out of them” to “we’re trying to meet a goal and an order from you would help the team.” If you are working toward a goal and trying to move up in Mary Kay, more times than not you will need to “top off production” by placing an order for yourself. You don’t want to get so close to the goal and then miss it because your production was a little short, do you? You’re told that a modest order now will pay off in the long run, as you will be eligible for higher commissions and you’ll eventually sell the products.

Sure, women still have the opportunity to say NO. But don’t underestimate the constant subtle (and not so subtle) pressure to continuously order products.

You just didn’t work hard enough. (Also: “Mary Kay works when you do!”) – Either we didn’t work hard enough, or we didn’t work “the Mary Kay way,” or we didn’t believe in Mary Kay enough, or we didn’t do the right things. No matter how much work you did, you will always be accused of not doing it right or not doing enough. You must be made to feel guilty for your failure. Because Mary Kay doesn’t want you to realize that it is the fault of the multi-level marketing system and a host of market conditions that almost ensure you will lose money. Pink Truth has had thousands of members who all worked hard and did things exactly as they were instructed. But they didn’t get the results because this “business model” dooms almost everyone to failure.

You wanted a get-rich-quick scheme. – Pink Truthers are often accused of wanting to make money fast with little to no effort. It doesn’t matter that they were told they could make money in “a few hours a week” or that they could make “full-time pay for part-time hours.” Those are deliberate lies, used to downplay the amount of time and effort needed to have even the slightest chance of success at Mary Kay. Yet recruiters continue to push these phrases, implying that Mary Kay is a get-rich-quick scheme. Even still, the vast majority of Pink Truth members realized that any small business takes a lot of work, and they put in the time and effort. They simply didn’t succeed because MLM sets almost everyone up for failure.

You quit before you had a chance to become successful. – MLM promoters commonly say that people didn’t quit because they failed…. they failed because they quit. They claim that too many people quit before they’ve had a chance to succeed in MLM, making their failure all their own fault. The problem is that 99% of people fail in MLM. They see the failure, and they quit. That’s a good business decision. Stop the bleeding. MLM is not like a real business. In a real business, your chance of success is reasonably correlated to the effort you are willing to put in. Not so in Mary Kay. There are hundreds of thousands of women diligently putting in the effort – – working many hours, doing all the things they’re taught to generate leads and business, holding classes and following up – – and they still lose money year after year. It’s because the system of MLM guarantees failure for almost everyone. The real truth is that you didn’t quit too soon.


  1. So much manipulation!

    I was indeed recruited because I couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t know how to say “no.” This personality trait would cause me grief for many other life decisions I would make along the 21 years since joining MK. Ironically, I think I’ve gotten the lesson at this point, and I learned the response from a hard-nosed MK Sales Director. “No,” is a complete sentence.

    Great article! You covered all the bases.

  2. This is great! I’ll just add that the underlying mechanism is hidden from recruits. It’s not just that 99% will fail, it’s that 99% must fail. In MLM, these donwn-line losses are the primary source of up-line and corporate cashflow.

    The system simply cannot work without these losses. It is designed to take cash from the down-line and feed it to the up-line (and corporate).

    In legit businesses, cashflow comes from outside customers. MLM cash flow comes primarily from the inside…from the pockets of the sales force.

    You can’t turn a profit in MLM without losses in your own downline. Is turning a profit this way something to be proud of?

    • @Data Junkie, it’s helpful that you can now get a FNBO MK credit card at only 27.99% interest. You can get the full store as soon as your credit card is approved!! … … …

      • Paying ~30% interest on business losses is just what these MK ladies need!

        In all seriousness, MK must have an arrangement with FNBO to allow them to offer cards to such risky applicants. And by arrangement, I mean MK may hold some of that revenue aside to “pay back” FNBO in case of default. Considering their profit margin on sales to consultants, that would not be difficult. This, coupled with that ridiculous rate, is what the actuaries at FNBO must be looking at to make this work. Banks are VERY risk averse.

        And don’t rule out a rev-share between FNBO and MK on that over-the-top interest rate.

  3. Institutionalized victim blaming at its worst.

    Company cult fanaticism at its worst.

    When someone gets package that’s late or damaged or something, they don’t cuss out the order picker. They blame the company or the carrier. Airline lost your luggage (Hi Dacia!)? It’s not the baggage handler, it’s the airline.

    People in corporate jobs don’t Hulk out when someone criticizes their workplace. They may disagree but realize that people have opinions and understand that.

    CEOs of big corporations are routinely bashed and their companies vilified. No one builds shrines to Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos in their living rooms.

    Yet Mary Kay the person and the big corporation alike are sacrosanct. Ryan Rogers is a living saint who farts perfume just because of who his grandmother was. And it’s all the IBCs fault.


    Signed, Popinki, granddaughter of Anna and Genevieve.

    • CEOs of big corporations are routinely bashed and their companies vilified. No one builds shrines to Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos in their living rooms.

      Yet Mary Kay the person and the big corporation alike are sacrosanct.

      Nailed it, yet the PTCs who “claim to stumble” onto our site feel that Mary Kay Wagner Rogers Eckman Weaver Louis Miller Hallenbeck Ash should be above criticism, immune from being blamed. Some have even elevated her to godhood ( SuzyQ My senior was fond of saying that when we died, we would face both Mary Kay and God. In. That. Order. Think about that for a minute.

      Compare that to ,say, Disney and there are plenty of websites offering criticism; from the good, acknowledging that the disabled passes were being abused to the bad, talking about how the cast-members are treated to the weird, wah! Disney’s gone woke because( add talking point here).

      Until the IBC/director looks at MK with a real understanding of how the system exploits your accurately named Institutionalized Victim Blaming for its own benefit and how all of the financial burden falls on the lower ranks, then all we can do is carry on explaining MK’s figures and reporting what the directors type in their own little groups.
      Hopefully someone will find us and read what’s written here and find that her own niggling doubts have a basis in reality.

    • @Popinki .. “farts perfume” 🤣🤣 hopefully it’s one that was discontinued (Intrigue??) so they can secure a profit from his flatulence!!
      👏🏼 👏🏼 bravo 👏🏼 👏🏼

      • LOL! I’m thinking of this awful perfume my one sister used to love as a teenager. She even had the lotion and powder so she could really stink herself up with it. I don’t remember what it was called, but I can smell it just typing this, bleah!

          • She really liked makeup and hair back in the day. Her best friend went to school for cosmetology and my sister probably wanted to also, but our mother never would have let her. Which is a shame because she’d have been great at it.

  4. “No one put a gun to your head. ” … If you use a gun to get money from a bank, it’s a crime. If you use lies and omissions on loan applications to get money from a bank, that is also a crime. One is armed robbery, the other is fraud.

  5. This is a great post! I’m responding to the “never sharing negativity” portion from the 1st point. I had joined MK right before chaos hit us all in 2020. I became a director in 9 months and “earned” a car 3 months later. All of this helped my director earn her coveted pink caddy. I lasted as a director for a year. I couldn’t make production with my weak team and discovered pink truth which was my final push of the fog. I went into debt and just slowly drifted away. I remember attending a meeting with my director. I used to team lead with her every week. She never woukd let me tell others that I was a former director or car earner. At that time, I would not have sabotaged her or made my path seem negative. She and my nsd were very careful in coaching me about my “decision to step down” as a director. This is all hilarious to me. I was 20 years older than these 2 ladies yet there I was being coached and schooled like a naive, young adult who knew nothing. The only regrets I had was leading others down the same path due to not knowing any better. This site is amazing and really helps those of us to know that we aren’t alone in our experiences.

  6. We teach our teens (especially our young men) that “No means No”. Why doesn’t this apply with MK consultants who are trying to recruit? Why are they TRAINED to have a response for every excuse given? Why are they TRAINED to never accept the word “No”? The scripts and training are all about endless harassment and manipulation in order to get a signed consultant agreement. No means no- always.

  7. I trust everyone here is familiar with something called a “thought-stopping cliché?” The purpose of thought-stopping clichés is to shut down opposition by using what appears, at first glance, to be a final, unanswerable argument. In practice, it’s not necessarily that the person using the cliché wants to convince you that you’re wrong; it’s to keep themselves from realizing that they’re wrong.

  8. Re the terrible phrase, “No one held a gun to your head”, I also think “No one from Pink Truth held a gun to anyone’s head telling them NOT join, or to quit.”



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