Monday, November 5, 2007

Concerned Citizen or Presumptuous Pest

“A Mary Kay Husband” recently contributed a piece that was posted on the Pink Truth website. He describes an experience he had one evening while filling his gas tank. His vivid tale can be read here. Please give it a read as this post will make more sense if you do.

Perhaps an aspiring writer, this “Mary Kay Husband” chronicles his experience at the gas station in storybook like detail. First describing the beautiful October sky, the golden hour, and billowing puffy clouds and then, by contrast the rusty, threadbare, pickup truck with a Mary Kay sticker in the window and the beleaguered woman driving it.

The interesting thing (to me) is the liberties that he takes after this. If he is creating a fiction piece he has done a bang-up job. If he was going for ‘truth in reporting’ I believe he has missed the mark by a long shot. It seems that he and his wife had a bad experience with Mary Kay. In fact, he uses descriptors like curse, pain, hardship and even nightmare to describe how passionately he dislikes Mary Kay. For someone who apparently misjudged a book by its cover (Mary Kay) he seems awfully prepared to launch right back into the assumptions again. It is these assumptions (and ones like them) that make me wary to trust anything the Pink Truth camp has to say.

First the Mary Kay sticker on her truck must mean this woman is a Mary Kay lady. Right? I mean there is no way that she could have bought a used truck that already had a Mary Kay sticker on it, right? If I saw a beat up old truck with a Mary Kay sticker on it, I would probably say to myself, “I wonder whether or not she is a Mary Kay Beauty consultant.” As opposed to his take, “she MUST be a beauty consultant” or the overly optimistic, “that must be the discard of a Car Driving Independent Beauty Consultant”!

Then of course, the assumption that she is doing as poorly as his wife did with her endeavor, and is in need of his valiant rescuing is about as narcissistic as you can get. “My chest seemed to inflate a bit. I knew I had a mission. Smiling to myself I noted there were no phone booths nearby for me to change into my super-hero outfit.” Oh, I guess you CAN get more narcissistic. Is it possible that this woman is selling Mary Kay, has bought too much inventory that she can’t sell, and feels trapped? Yes. However, there are so many other possible scenarios that would explain this little scene that I could not possibly describe them all. Perhaps the truck belonged to a former MK IBC, perhaps even his (I couldn’t help but notice how similar he said this truck was to one he used to own. Was this his old truck with his wife’s MK sticker still on it?) Perhaps she just started with Mary Kay and was able to afford a vehicle for the first time. As I said, as a work of fiction, this is topnotch stuff. As for journalistic integrity, Walter Cronkite would be ashamed.

Now I try not to be too mean to people that I don’t know at all, and I am sure that this man had all the best intentions in the world, both at the gas station and in writing this elaborate journal entry, but frankly who does he think he is? Rushing in to rescue a woman he deems to be in financial duress by buying milk at a gas station? THIS is the guy that is going to give her financial advice? The guy that ASSUMED her entire life story based on a window sticker he saw on her truck? The guy that couldn’t even open his mouth to ask her if she sold Mary Kay would have saved her from the evil empire of Mary Kay except he was afraid that he might get labeled “by her as one of the evil, negative anti-MK people she perhaps was told to avoid”? That is not so much an assumption as it is a fantasy.

I am not sure how I would have liked to see this play out if he had it to do over again. On the one hand this arrogant, condescending self-titled superhero would have impressed me far more if he had opened his mouth. Good or bad, if he had at least said something, I could have respected him for having a conviction and sticking to it. On the other hand, the last thing anyone buying beer, cigs, and lottery tickets needs is unsolicited advice from a stranger. He seems to have found some resolution in airing his feelings of superiority in the comfort of his NEW community. I am left asking myself, “was he similarly bold when his wife was in Mary Kay”? Did he tell all his wife’s friends in Mary Kay about the time that he ‘almost’ saved a girl from her financial woes by telling her ABOUT Mary Kay? Perhaps I am judging him by his cover, but I can certainly picture it.

To me, this story highlights many of the problems that I have with Pink Truth. They have apparently unanimously decided that Mary Kay is evil, and everyone involved in Mary Kay is either a victim or a deliberate tyrant… or both. They have also decided that they are God’s gift to women everywhere, preaching the gospel of Pink Truth. The irony of this and the many other grievances I hold against them is that almost everything they claim to hate about Mary Kay is painfully (even exponentially) apparent in their own [cult] support group.

A Mary Kay Husband – thanks for assuming that because you failed, all of us in Mary Kay are failures. I am sorry that you had a bad experience with Mary Kay. I wish there was someway that I could take back your poor decisions for you and bring you back to that place where it ‘all went wrong’ and let you choose again. But I can’t. Your experiences are yours to deal with as you see fit. However, please don’t suppose that, the fact that you couldn’t do it means that no one can because frankly, they can and they are.

Am I wrong? Leave me your thoughts please!



  1. I, too, thought this was complete fiction when I read it on PT. I mean, PLEASE! It could have been an old truck, a borrowed truck. And even if he would have said something I doubt she would have taken him seriously. If a strange man approached me and started telling me ANYTHING about my supposed life I would have immediately thought STALKER!! and grabbed my child and ran. Too many episodes of Criminal Minds, I guess. But that post was ridiculous.

    It's nice to have a place to be balanced about the MK oppertunity. I want to believe that some are making money in this business and doing it in an ethical way. It's just so hard to make money in this business without recruiting and that's where it gets tricky. It takes a while to get set up in this business and if you need the money now to pay bills then it would be so easy to frontload a new consultant who is hanging on your every word and believes what you say. But I have a hard time believing that EVERY director is this way.

  2. Hi Judi,

    I was excited to see your comment here. I am glad that you have found a place to speak your mind.

    I know that it takes a lot of work to earn money selling cosmetics because I see the amount of effort my wife puts into her business.

    As I have mentioned before, this is either a great hobby/passtime that won't earn you much money or it is a excellent money making opportunity that takes A LOT of work. The people that I have heard from and about that had the 'rags to riches' stories worked REALLY HARD to achieve what they did. I am talking what must have been 80 hour weeks.

    It is a numbers game and it takes a lot of time and effort. You have to get a lot of "no's" before you get a "yes". If you have a 10% 'conversion rate' and an average purchase of $50.00 you have to talk to a lot of people to 'make a living'.

    If you talk to 100 people, 10 will agree to a 'facial' or 'demonstration'. Of those 10, 1 will buy. If you need to make $2,000/month, you need 40 customers. With those numbers, that means you need to 'talk to' 4,000 people and facial 400.

    Now I know (from my wife) that you usually sell to a lot more than 10% of your facials and that your sales can be much higher than $50 so these numbers are obviously high. But the important point is that if you want to make money, you have to be willing to work, work, work.

    There of course will be people that try to take shortcuts. Some more inteligent than others. I think what we see on Pink Truth is a lot of the ones that tried to take a shortcut (one way or another) and it caught up with them.

    There really is no shortcut. Even the 'evil directors' that create clever traps and lies, are going to either have to keep 're-inventing' their lies, or find new people to lie to. I am not saying, "good for them" by any means, just that even their "shortcut" is no shortcut at all.

    I don't know about you, but my wife and ALL her clients LOVE Mary Kay products. Most of them will loudly proclaim their allegiance to it, and they are paying full price! I am convinced that anyone willing to put in the time could make a living just selling the product. NO recruiting at all. I am NOT saying it would be easy, just that it could be done, and done by just about anyone.

    As always, thanks for commenting!

  3. David,

    I really enjoyed your dissection of the short piece I wrote about my trip to the gas station, what you called: “Concerned Citizen or Presumptuous Pest.” Thanks for taking the time. I suspect our experiences with the “opportunity” have been vastly different. I’m happy for you.

    If you have the time and interest, please do take a look at another article I wrote for the, and earlier for the You can find it here:

    Take care and have a good night.


  4. Blessed,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment about this piece. Thanks to the natural lack of voice inflection afforded us on the internet, I am not clear if you are being sarcastic or genuinely complimentary.

    Regardless, I thank you for leaving your thoughts here and would appreciate having your thoughts appear here on a regular basis.

    I think you are right about the vast differences between our experiences of Mary Kay. I have no problem acknowledging that there are some people that have had a bad experience... perhaps more than most people think.

    I do however have a problem when people take an experience they had and uniformly apply it to everyone. I am sorry that you and your wife had problems with Mary Kay. However, it is outrageous that you would apply that experience to someone at a gas station with a Mary Kay window sticker.

    I did not have time yet to read your article in its entirety, but it seems to be an excellent resource for anyone who sees a problem that needs to be fixed.

    Again, thanks for stopping by.

  5. No sarcasm intended. I’m not sure, though, what you meant in your last note by “ However, it is outrageous that you would apply that experience to someone at a gas station with a Mary Kay window sticker.” If your interpretation was that I was projecting onto every woman associated with MK sticker the preconception that they had suffered from the experience to the same degree, you’re right. That would be rather presumptuous. That was not the message I intended to convey.

    I do though, very much, believe every woman participating in the “opportunity” is exposing themselves to a very real vulnerability. There is a significant level of vulnerability, particularly when the extent of participation in the “opportunity” reaches a point where the IBC’s director (or “higher up”) occupies a position of trust. I don’t, mind you, believe this vulnerability is at the same level as that associated with most any other sundry independent business undertaking. The MK MLM offers a far greater risk due to it’s deceptive, predatory recruiting and front-loading tactics. My concerns about the “opportunity” have nothing to do with the quality of the products. My repudiation stems from personal knowledge of the MK MLM tactics.

    Do I believe participation in MK exposes all participant’s to an often unanticipated, too often unrecognized, level of risk?


    Do I believe women and their families should take pause before swallowing the polished pitches and exposing themselves (their time, dollars and trust) to the MK “opportunity”?

    Most definitely.

    Nice comments re “Your money.” On target. If I were to warn you that while in a particular neighborhood, you should always travel in groups, avoid unlit areas, and keep moving at all times, the mere fact I offered such a warning would indeed tell you something about the neighborhood, wouldn’t it? Consider the message you send (however unintentional) when you are inclined to warn those interested in the “opportunity” they should avoid the things you mentioned in this article (“Your Money”). Revealing.

    I applaud your blog as an additional outlet for information re the “opportunity,” regardless of the stance you take. Ironically, your offering yet another conduit for retort to the many testimonials from those who’ve suffered at the hands of the “opportunity” validates the growing body of information/warnings that the “opportunity” should be avoided, that potential MK targets should be weary. MK Corporate refuses to even publically acknowledge this growing body of “Mary Kay Cosmetics clarity.” I welcome such acknowledgment from sites such as yours. I look forward to reading more.

    Take care.


  6. Blessed,

    Thank you as always for stopping by and commenting. What I am about to say is rather lengthy. I have posted the same text you can read here as a post on the main body of this blog. It may be easier to read there. I am posting it here as well for the sake of formality, and so that anyone reading your comment will see that I did in fact respond!

    I think that your use of big words, while admirable in its own right, has confused you a little bit. Allow me to simplify. If I am wrong, please correct me.

    1. It was presumptuous of you to assign the same financial degradation that you experienced to this woman with a Mary Kay sticker on her window. (Even if that was not the message you intended to convey.)
    2. You believe that ALL participants in Mary Kay are unwittingly exposed to risk. Operative word being ALL.
    3. You believe that (and forgive me for the lack of clarity here but this is where things started to get confusing): women and families should (either)
    a. Take pause to consider whether or not the opportunity fits their situation.
    b. Realize there is no opportunity, it is just a ‘polished pitch’, essentially bait that they will either take and get caught or ignore and live.
    *note, it can only be one or the other… a or b.
    4. Similar to warning someone about a bad neighborhood, you are suggesting that my examples of good ways to run your business are in fact warnings about Mary Kay, as though to say that Mary Kay is the bad neighborhood.
    *This is where I start to get confused, so if the above summary is wrong, please correct me. If it is correct, re-read what you wrote… it doesn’t come close to making sense.
    5. This one is really confusing so bear with me as I give it a go… I think you are saying, “This site is nothing more than an extension of Pink Truth and others like it, all of which Mary Kay refuses to acknowledge”. In essence you seem to be saying, “Ha ha, you are trying to prove us wrong but you are actually supporting our argument”.

    Again, please correct any misguided assumptions that I have made. In the meantime, assuming these assumptions are accurate, here is my response.

    1. Yes, it was presumptuous of you to assume that this women needed saving, that is why I wrote this post.
    2. It is difficult for me to believe that you honestly believe that ALL MK participants are unaware of the inherent risk in starting a business. That being said, I will assume that you mean “most” or “a lot”. I counter that with (and have before): It is unfortunate that some people (MK or otherwise) choose to use anything they can to exploit the weaknesses of other people. However, they rarely form the majority, and can not be used as ammunition against the thing they used to exploit you. Take God and religion for an example. People have horrendously massacred millions “in the name of God”. Does that mean that God is a brutal murderer? Do their actions nullify the existence of God? These questions are being hotly debated as we speak. Perhaps a more down to earth example. I really like Toyota. I currently own two. Let’s assume that I like Toyota so much that I went out (and at great expense to me) purchased a Toyota Dealership. If I found out that a Toyota dealership near me was selling their cars illegally. Here in So. Cal. that would probably be something like selling to illegal immigrants by fabricating identifications. I would not sell my dealership, walk away from Toyota forever, and start a campaign to stop every warm-blooded American from buying Toyota. I grant you that there are some devious people that have somehow managed to get into the MK infrastructure and are abusing that good name. However, I think that you will need to present slightly more sufficient evidence before any of us will ‘swallow’ that ALL participants in MK are being unwittingly scammed.
    3. Depending on which one you meant my responses follow:
    a. That is what I am all about. This decision should not be made lightly. Whether you are getting into this for fun as a hobby, or pursuing it as a career, or anywhere in between, you should take more than just a little bit of time to consider whether it is an appropriate decision for you and your family. If you are a follower of God, you should seek His wisdom as well.
    b. Refer to my response to point number two. I respect all opinions and views, but I cannot agree with you if you are trying to convince me and others that this 44 year old company is nothing more than a ‘polished pitch’ or a baited hook. This is not a company that relies on people to ‘swallow’ some falsified, imaginary, unobtainable dream. The company simply sells a product. Their chosen method of distribution is through independent consultants. It is people that think they will ‘find the shortcut’ to incredible wealth that ruin this sort of thing for everyone else. Somewhere along the line, someone took the idea and twisted it into something it was never meant to be. It seems that you and your wife were unfortunate enough to be in the path of the unfortunate disaster that resulted. The problem that I have with your argument here (in addition to imputing your experience on ALL Mary Kay participants) is that the web cast by slick ‘get-rich-quick’ schemers is only effective with people that are willing to sacrifice [common sense, ethics, values, etc] in order to achieve instant (or near instant) gratification. You are, in essence, proclaiming that through your ineptitude you perpetuated the problem and are now attempting to absolve yourself by taking cheap shots at the ones that are doing it right. Mary Kay Corporate is not the problem. The NSD’s are not the problem. The problem is when someone (anyone really) decides that they are going to cheat the system. Whether it is by frontloading new consultants or buying their way to the next level, it will always prove to be an individual that tried to cheat. Naturally pinpointing where this began is difficult. (To say the least!) However, if you are going to come out of the gate saying that MKC is the problem, you had better have proof. I will repeat myself. I respect all OPINIONS and VIEWS. However, rest assured that I will not allow opinions to be stated as facts on this site.
    4. Based on the limited understanding I have of your experience in Mary Kay, I think I can understand your feeling that Mary Kay is a bad neighborhood. However, please don’t be so naïve as to think that another “sundry” (I assume that you know this is the same as miscellaneous and sheds a great deal of light on why you may have been unsuccessful.) business opportunity should be approached with any less diligence and wariness. You see Mary Kay is a sort of hybrid or crossover of a business model. It does not require the full commitment of a normal entrepreneurial endeavor. I am sure that you have heard the comparisons to opening a fully independent retail shop (clothing, food, etc). It also does not stick you in a 9a-6p, clock punching, hourly wage, desk jockey position. This (you might want to sit down for this one) actually appeals to some people. In order to achieve this balance, some benefits have to be removed from the extremes. You can’t have it all. Imagine if I created an opportunity for you to participate in. It allowed you to work when (and if) you wanted, it cost you absolutely nothing up front (or ever), you were guaranteed a massive paycheck every week, and you get all the prestige of being the owner of your own company without having to worry about making anything happen ever. Would you sign up? I would hope so. The problem is that this is a fairy tale. If someone told you that Mary Kay was like that and you believed them, I am far more worried about your judgment than I was before. Mary Kay is not a bad neighborhood. A person that comes into the neighborhood and starts suckering unsuspecting passerby’s with delusions of grandeur gives the neighborhood a bad name. It seems that over time these people find that they don’t belong in the neighborhood and move along. (*sometimes they start their own bitter community and launch campaigns against the neighborhood they tried to scam their way into!) It is unfortunate that these characters make an appearance at all. However, like a stranger offering children candy, you can not guarantee your child will never run into him, you can only warn your child not to listen to his offers. You would not, by contrast, forbid your child from ever tasting candy. Would you?
    5. Finally, this site is not an extension of Pink Truth. This site does not support Pink Truth’s wildly inaccurate accusations that Mary Kay is an evil corporation that should be avoided at all costs. This is a site that examines the Mary Kay opportunity from positive, neutral and negative points of view. This site aims to:
    a. Demonstrate that Mary Kay is a genuine and viable opportunity to make money for anyone so inclined
    b. Warn newcomers and participants alike of the potential pitfalls inherent with any similar endeavor as well as those specific to Mary Kay.
    c. Offer tips and advice to anyone interested in making the most of their Mary Kay experience.

    Ignoring your atrocious grammatical errors, allow me to respond to your final paragraph one piece at a time.

    “I applaud your blog as an additional outlet for information re the “opportunity,” regardless of the stance you take.”

    Thank you.

    “Ironically, your offering yet another conduit for retort to the many testimonials from those who’ve suffered at the hands of the “opportunity” validates the growing body of information/warnings that the “opportunity” should be avoided, that potential MK targets should be weary.”
    Wow, can you say, “run-on, consider revising”? Yes, I am offering a conduit for retort and testimonials. No, it is not ironic. I WANT both sides of the story to be presented side by side. This validates my point that one should exercise caution before committing their finances to any endeavor. It does not mean that the opportunity (any opportunity really, but specifically the Mary Kay opportunity) should be avoided. If potential MK targets had to read your concoctions, they should (or would) indeed be weary. I think you meant wary. I normally would not deride someone for such a minuscule error, but considering the very high and mighty nature of your comment, I will not let it slide.

    “MK Corporate refuses to even publically acknowledge this growing body of “Mary Kay Cosmetics clarity.”

    *Again, if you are going to try to overwhelm me (or my readers) with your immense vocabulary, I am going to seize every opportunity you afford me to point out the incongruities in your persona. The word you are looking for is publicly, not “publically”. “…refuses to even publicly acknowledge this…”

    Let me ask you this. If you started a company that sold widgets and someone came along and set up a booth right next to your shop with literature explaining that you were nothing more than a fraud, what would you do? He has the freedom of speech. You know that he is full of it. You know that you offer a fantastic product for a fair and reasonable price. You have many customers that visit you regularly and your business is flourishing regardless. The best thing you can do is ignore him. If he has a legitimate complaint about the product/service he received, obviously you would try to make things right. But unfortunately, some people don’t want to see things set straight, they just want to complain. From what I have observed so far, this is the case at Pink Truth. The ‘key players’ there are not interested in truth or resolution of their complaints. They simply want to complain. That is within their right to do. However, when it comes to the company my wife represents, I will not stand idly by while liars flaunt their opinions as truth.

    “I welcome such acknowledgment from sites such as yours. I look forward to reading more.”

    I acknowledge that there are risks inherent in any entrepreneurial endeavor. I DO NOT acknowledge that Pink Truth presents anything even closely resembling the truth.

    Again, thanks for stopping by. I hope that I was able to clear some things up. You are always more than welcome to post your views here.


For Further Reading...

This Week On Pink Truth - Click Here
Pros and Cons of Mary Kay - Read or Contribute or Both!
First Post - Why I Started This Blog
The Article I Wrote For (here) (there)
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