Mary Kay Vultures Debate Ethics As They Swoop In To Profit From Oklahoma Tornado Disaster

What is Ethical?

Ethical Definition

As someone on the outside looking at those inside the Pink Fog created by Mary Kay Cosmetics, here are two rules you can pretty much be assured are axiomatic:

First, if two (or more) Mary Kay salespeople have to debate whether something is ethical, it probably isn’t.

Second, in Mary Kay, the saying never let a good crisis go to waste has, apparently, a special meaning.

Less than 24 hours after winds of up to 200 mph from an F4 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, killing more than 20 people (including children), some within Mary Kay’s sales force have decided to use the tragedy by turning it into an fundraising scheme to sell Mary Kay products–much of it, apparently, from their excess (and already paid for) inventory.

“It is like a vulture coming in after the disaster…”

Here are just two examples:

Mary Kay Sales Director Phyllis Lynch

Mary Kay FB Tornado Post 1

Not to be outdone, Mary Kay Consultant Courtney Armstrong also announced that she would be donating her “profits” as well:

Mary Kay FB Tornado Post 2

While the turning of a disaster into a Mary Kay sales event is nothing new to the vultures in Mary Kay (see Boston bombing fundraiser), it raises certain ethical questions that are bothersome–even to some within the Mary Kay sales force.

Below is a debate among a number of Mary Kay consultants on Facebook, where the topic of the fundraising scheme is ethical or not. Among the persons commenting, one can note the moral, the amoral and the downright immoral among them–as well as several other noteworthy points:

  • As acknowledged by the person who started the thread, by doing the fundraiser, Mary Kay’s sales force does “profit” from the scheme, as their sales count toward their “production and/or our minimum orders or towards our star quarter.”
  • In most cases, the Mary Kay vultures doing the fundraising are likely using already-paid for, excess inventory (as stated below by proponents of the fundraising scheme)
  • Mary Kay is a $3 billion for-profit business, whereas the Red Cross (or other disaster-relief agencies) is not. Several of the fundraising schemers (either intentionally or unintentionally) use a tactic known as planting a logical fallacy. They do this by illogically equating Mary Kay Cosmetics to the Red Cross in order to justify putting money into a Mary Kay product sale/fundraiser.
  • Of the $15 a customer spends on a cosmetic item, as opposed to a potential $15 going to the Oklahoma victims, only $7.50 would go to Oklahoma, while the Mary Kay vulture will recoup the $7.50 she has already paid for the products she gets off her shelves.

Although the Facebook thread goes on a bit longer than could be posted here, behold, the moral, the amoral and the immoral within the world of Mary Kay Cosmetics:

Fundraising on Facebook

As the (moral) Mary Kay consultant who started the thread on Facebook stated:

Oh Ladies…this is just…wrong. It is just plain wrong to use our business for our gain pretending it’s for other people. We know we get production credit and it goes toward commissions when we do this. Honestly, I’ve had a number of FB friends horrified when they see consultants post things like this. It is like a vulture coming in after the disaster. Just…don’t. [Emphasis added.’

As stated above, if two (or more) Mary Kay salespeople have to debate whether something is ethical, it probably isn’t.

Instead of giving 50% of your donation to Mary Kay Cosmetics, if you would like to give a donation to the Red Cross to help the victims of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado, you can go to the Red Cross’ website.


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