Selling to Suckers: How Gullible Mary Kay Husbands Get Duped Into Debt

Treasure Map MK

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”
–P.T. Barnum

While Mary Kay predators focus their predatory sales tactics and psychological manipulation almost exclusively on their female prey, on occasion, Mary Kay’s manipulative tactics are geared toward convincing gullible and unsuspecting husbands.

While most husbands quickly see the Mary Kay scheme for what it is, if a husband is unfamiliar with managing finances, a business, lacks common sense, is too trusting, or doesn’t do his research, Mary Kay’s predators often score not just one willing sucker, but two.

Let’s look at how an otherwise honest, hardworking husband can, along with his wife, get suckered into the Mary Kay pink fog:

Meet Bob. Bob is a guy who has always supported his family.

Since the recession, however, Bob has found it harder and harder to make ends meet. With the kids and his wife, Susie, to support, Bob has found that his normal job just isn’t paying the bills anymore, so he’s taken a part time job on weekends to help support Susie and the kids.

Meet Susie. Susie’s a stay-at-home mom and she loves the fact that Bob has always supported she and the kids. However, she also knows that Bob is killing himself just to provide for the family and, as the kids are getting older, she wants to do what she can to help her family.

Meet Mary. Mary is an average run-of-the-mill Mary Kay director/recruiter. With thousands of dollars in credit-card debt, Mary’s desperately looking to find a way to get off the hamster wheel of personally financing her unit’s sales. Indeed, to Mary, she’s only a few “good” recruits away from reaching her biggest Mary Kay dream–driving the prestigious Pink Cadillac. Mary has also been trained in all the manipulative tactics of your typical Mary Kay predator.

One day, Mary meets Susie at the local grocery store. Sensing Susie is the perfectSuper Mom” in dire need of the Mary Kay “opportunity,” Mary proceeds to warmchat Susie and invite her to a facial scheduled that very night.

That evening, with the kids fed and ready for bed, Bob is left to tuck the kids in before falling asleep after a hard day at the job as Susie goes to the facial.

As the facial is about to end, Susie gets ready to leave, but Mary moves in for the kill: Mary interviews Susie for “her team.”

Finding all of her hot buttons and overcoming every objection Susie can think of, Mary works Susie over like a piece of meat.

Susie tells Mary she wants to talk to Bob before agreeing to anything like Mary Kay, but Mary’s predatory skills have been honed like a sharp knife. She uses her best Mary Kay scripts on Susie to overcome her objections:

I certainly can understand that! It means so much to have your husband understand the marketing program, because then you are sure to have his support! Tell me this, if he decides for you that this is something you should do, how would you feel about it? Then let’s fill out the paperwork, get your check and all done, then I will hold it for a day, until you have had time to talk to him. I’ll bet with your charm, you usually can persuade him to your way of thinking, right?

Mary goes on:

Tell me, does he usually support you in whatever you want to do? How would it be if I stop over and give him the facts. He may have questions that you haven’t thought of that I could answer for him.

Knowing that her husband and children are asleep and not wanting to wake them up, Susie reluctantly agrees to sign her Mary Kay agreement and gives Mary her credit card number to buy her starter kit.

The next day, before Bob leaves for work, Susie tells him about Mary and the “business opportunity” of Mary Kay and tells him that Mary will be stopping by the house after he gets home from work.

Not wanting to disappoint Susie, before rushing off to work, Bob agrees to listen to Mary’s pitch later that evening.

After work, a tired Bob gets home to find Mary and Susie waiting for him. Mary knows that, in order for her to keep Susie in her unit and to get Susie to order a lot of inventory, she needs to get Bob on board fast.

Although exhausted from work, Bob tries to asks the right questions only to have them answered almost before the words leave his lips.

With her well-rehearsed Mary Kay script, Mary talks quickly and confidently answers Bob’s questions.

Bob, dubious about buying a lot of inventory begins wondering how much this Mary Kay “business” is going to cost him and how many more hours he’s going to have to work to pay for it.

Bob: How much inventory does she need?

Mary: Remember that inventory is the source of profit. When you place an order with the Company for Mary Kay products, you are purchasing them at wholesale prices. You will then be able to sell the products to your customers at your own retail prices. The wholesale price of a cosmetic order is determined by a discount from the suggested retail price. This discount ranges from 40 to 50 percent of the suggested retail price, depending on the amount ordered. From time to time special product promotions are available at even greater discounts from retail. Therefore; if you bought $600 of inventory, you would sell it for about $1,200 and make $600 profit. How much inventory she needs is a function of how much time she has to sell and how much profit she wants to make. Her Director and sponsor can help with that decision. Everyone in Mary Kay – Both Consultants and Directors – buy directly from the Company at the same discounts.

Mary keeps talking quickly:

An order for at least $400 wholesale qualifies for the maximum discount of 50%. For example, you pay $400 wholesale for products you can sell for $800 retail. By always making your orders for at least $400 wholesale, you receive the full 50% discount. The key to consistent earnings is restocking inventory on a consistent basis. If your wife sells$800 suggested retail per week, she will need to reinvest about 60% of her sales to replace her inventory and pay for sales tax (sales tax on retail is paid up front and then collected from the customer) and other expenses. Inventory planning and control can be a joint planning area as her business grows.

Bob, sensing that Mary is really after a bigger order, asks:

What level of inventory is really best for her?
Mary: For a minimal activity level, we recommend that each new Consultant begins with a product inventory and reinvests her profits until she has at least $3,000 wholesale on her shelves. Some Consultants start at this level. This inventory level will give you an adequate variety and number of products to meet an average class and reorder activity (about two classes per week). For a more active business, your wife may want to build her inventory to $6,000 wholesale to have a complete selection of products on hand.

Bob, knowing that finances are already tight but still wanting Susie to be happy, doesn’t want to see his finances eaten up by something that could fail, so he wonders aloud:

Bob: Do you recommend financing inventory or using savings?
Mary: Every retail business needs three key things to operate: 1. Inventory, 2. Working capital, 3. Sales Effort. I would recommend a bank loan for inventory. Most businesses begin with capital and borrowings. The interest expense on borrowings is deductible for taxes and the borrowed funds allow you to leverage your inventory. That means that for a year, the interest is only 10-16% and if you sell through the inventory twice in one years, you will have made 80-100% on the amount borrowed. Being able to order more inventory also qualifies the Beauty Consultant to order at 50% discount which gives a ten percent savings right from the beginning.

The loan should be for 36 months. When the loan is repaid quicker than it takes to replace it with working capital from profits it can cause tremendous stress on your wife. A loan payment of $110 a month for 36 months at 12% would equal a loan of about $3,300. At 16% it would be a little more than $3,100. A $3,000 inventory equals sales of between $5,500 and $6,000. (Note: a $3,000 inventory costs a little more due to prepaid sales tax and shipping and some non inventory items are usually bought.) With that cash flow you can replace and increase your inventory, pay the loan, pay your expenses, pay the baby sitter and have some left over. You will see a business base after about 25 classes have been held. That is about 75 hours at 3 hours per class and with reorders and holiday sales, she will have probably have gone through most or all of the original inventory. It is important to replace and increase your inventory on a regular basis so you can supply your customers as their numbers grow. Remember that profits come from sales and you can’t sell out of an empty store.

As business math has never been Bob’s strong suit, he stops asking questions. Clearly, knowing the answers to his questions–seemingly even before he asked them–Mary has bested Bob.

Mary’s fast-talking and quick answers have convinced Bob to put his family in debt by Susie ordering a large inventory.

Within a few weeks, Susie begins focusing all of her spare time on working her Mary Kay “business.”

Soon, Bob begins to notice that, as he arrives home from work every day, he always seems to find Susie getting ready to leave for facials, meetings, or on the phone.

More and more, Bob is left alone with the kids at night–cooking and cleaning, in addition to working his full and part-time job, become his routine. Little did Bob know but, in addition to his being the primary breadwinner, Mary Kay had additional duties for him to perform.

Meanwhile, though it seems that Susie is certainly busy with her Mary Kay business, he notices that there is more and more inventory lining the shelves in the spare bedroom and the credit card debt is getting higher sand they’re having more trouble than ever trying to keep the bills paid.

Still trying to be supportive, he questions Susie. Her response catches him off guard.

“You’re just being negative. You worry about your job, and I’ll worry about Mary Kay,” Susie snaps as she heads out the door.

A few months in, as Bob finally realizes that not only has the credit card debt not been paid, it is now into the five figures, Susie declares that she wants to become a director–like Mary.

At this point, Bob realizes both he and Susie were duped into the Pink Fog.

With their marriage becoming more and more strained, Bob and Susie have to make a decision:

  1. Either Susie needs to quit Mary Kay and they can pull their finances back together, or…
  2. Susie continues on in the Pink Fog and they spiral further down into the abyss of financial ruin, putting their family (and their marriage) in greater peril.

It’s a decision that, unfortunately, too many couples are faced with in the world of Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Note: While the above is a fictional couple in fictitious circumstances, stories like Bob and Susie’s story are not uncommon in the manipulative world of Mary Kay.

Below are two of the documents that Mary Kay predators use on husbands who either don’t do their research or who are gullible enough to believe the pink predators. The third is a document that includes the script that “Mary” used on “Bob.’

Common Questions Husbands Have About Mary Kay by MaryKayVictims

Note: This document uses strikingly similar language as the one above.

Mary Kay Husbands Guide by MaryKayVictims

Lastly, this document (attributed to Mary Kay National Sales Director Cindy Fox) is used by others within Mary Kay, including “Future Executive Senior Sales Director” Elizabeth Elder.

Mary Kay Overcoming Recruiting Objections – Elizabeth Elder by MaryKayVictims


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