Yes, it’s true. I was once an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay cosmetics. I don’t want to start this story with Mary Kay. I’d like to tell you about some of the other endeavors I’ve been involved in. It will hopefully give you a little insight into who I am and why the hell I do what I do.
When I was wee lassy of 18 I decided to quit my crappy job as a hostess in a popular restaurant. Unfortunately I didn’t have a job lined up to support myself, and since I enjoy eating and having a roof over my head, I bought a paper and started combing through the classifieds. I found a promising ad that said something like:
Now Hiring Managers Trainees for a fun-loving office!! No experience necessary!! Please call XXX-XXXX!!!
Sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want to manage something? I called the number. The girl who answered was screaming over very loud music that yes there was an opening, but she’d have to call me back. After several “Huh?”s and “Whaddya say?”s, she took my number down and hung up. A few minutes later the phone rang. It was a guy saying that I had passed the first test for this great job. He said that they only wanted “fun” people working there, and if I could handle the unprofessional way his partner had answered the phone, then I was on my way to becoming a manager. He set up an appointment for me to come in and interview.
At this point, I’m thinking that this whole thing is really weird. I didn’t know what kind of business this was or anything! I really didn’t want to go to this interview, but I REALLY needed a job. So, I went.
The building that the office was in was in a pretty crappy part of town. The office itself was pretty crappy too. I was introduced to a short, skinny guy. He was the boss. The girl was his partner, but Skinny Guy was obviously in charge. I was ushered into a room with about 20 other people to wait my turn to interview. There were people from all walks of life in there. Young people that looked like they lived in a cardboard box. Old guys in suits. A couple that looked like they lived in the woods (not in an L.L. Bean kind of way) had come to interview together. I didn’t think I had a chance of landing whatever this job was. There were so many people there!
After about 30 minutes, it was my turn to interview. Skinny guy sat me in his office and explained that half of the people in the room I had been sitting in wouldn’t make it. He was only picking people he thought he could train. That’s why experience wasn’t necessary. He wanted someone hungry to learn the business. When I tried to ask questions about the job, he would just smile and say that all my questions would be answered later. He made me promise to come for the second interview the next day. I agreed.
Day two consisted of Skinny Guy sitting all the manager-hopefuls down in the big room again. Most of the older people from the day before were gone. He gave us a long speech about how great we all were and that we all had gotten the job. Then he started to explain what we were doing. Skinny Guy’s office was in the imitation perfume business. It was called Scentura. He explained that each bottle of perfume was worth $10 each. We could sell them for anything we wanted and keep the profits. We weren’t salesmen though. We were Managers-In-Training. One day each of us would have our own office. We were going to train salesmen, but before we were ready to manage and train, we needed to know how to sell. We would start the training bright and early the next morning. That night we had an assignment. We had to sell as many bottles of perfume as we could to our friends and family WITHOUT THEM ACTUALLY SMELLING IT. We weren’t allowed to bring home inventory or buy bottles yet. We had to convince everyone we could that this stuff was great and get them to buy it based solely on our word for it. Whoever sold 10 bottles would get a $100 bonus. Then he went down the rows and made each of us promise him that we would come back tomorrow. Then he said “At least 5 people will not show up tomorrow. Those people are fucking liars.” That was the end of day 2.
That night I went home and did what most of the other stupid people in that room did…I called my mom and asked her to buy some perfume. My mom, ever supportive and just as gullible as me, bought 3 bottles. That was all I could sell. I was too embarrassed to start calling all my friends.
Day 3 (I know, I can’t believe I went back either) started in the big room again at about 7:30 in the morning. Sure enough a few people didn’t show up. Skinny guy pointed out that he was right, and he just KNEW when he met those people that they were trash. I’m thinking to myself “Hmph, I’M not TRASH!!” So then we call out how many bottles we sold the night before. Sure enough 1 person in the room of about 12 sold 10 bottles. “Come up to the front,”Skinny Guy says, “Come up and get your bonus!! $100 cold hard cash!!” The girl who walks up is a skinny blonde who looks about my age in style and mannerisms, but her face is haggard. She’s drug skinny. She walks up to the front and Skinny Guy hands her….a box of perfume!! 10 bottles! Did she win the bottles? HELL NO!! She gets to sell those bottles for $20 a piece and give him half the money. That’s $100!! Whoopee!!
Now I’m thinking (and I’m sure everyone else is too) that this is bullshit. He said cash!! But (there’s always a but), we aren’t getting paid to train, so she actually did win something since the rest of us aren’t making crap. Today, Skinny Guy explains, we will be going out with other managers-in-training to learn the ropes. We divide up into groups. There are three other people in my group plus our “trainer”. Trainer is a twenty-something black guy carrying a back pack. Before we leave Skinny Guy fills up his back pack with perfume bottles. No one in the group has a car except for me, so I drive.
In the car, Trainer starts to tell us what this job is really about. We are to stop people in parking lots and gas stations and try to get them to buy our perfume. We are to avoid cops because they don’t like us. Hmmmm…..
First stop is a restaurant that Trainer wants to go to because he’s already made a sale, he needs to deliver. I go in with him alone because if our whole group went in that would look too suspicious. Hmmmm……
Next we go to a shopping center. We follow Trainer into a Subway restaurant, and he starts to talk to the girl behind the counter about his perfume. She seems interested until the manager, a large fat man, comes out and starts to SCREAM at us to get the hell out of there. Trainer actually tries to say something about letting the girl make up her own mind, and manager comes from around the counter and chases us out threatening to call the cops. Trainer is yelling back at him as we are herded out onto the street. HMMMMMM……
Next stop is the mall. Well, mostly the mall parking lot. Standing outside of the major department stores and stopping people as the walk out, NOT IN. If they are walking in, they are more likely to allert a store employee of our presence. Mall cops are not our friends!! I actually talk Trainer into going in the mall so I can get something to eat. Bad move. I happen to see a friend of mine who starts asking questions. I can’t remember what I told her I was doing or who those weird people I was with were. I was so embarrassed. HMMMMMMMMMM………..
Back to the office to turn in our bottles (many) and our cash (not much). Of course, Trainer keeps the profits. I think he sold 2 bottles that day. We walked around for 6 hours, and he made $20. We had to wait for the other groups to come back before we could all leave for the day, so Trainer and my group went down to the parking lot. Trainer pulls out some weed, and the other members of my group start passing it around. Unbelievable. When the other groups show up, Skinny Guy then sits us all down and asks how we liked it. Once again, he goes around the room and asks if we plan on coming back. When he came to me, I said yes. I can not believe it, but I did plan on going back.
That night I told my boyfriend(now husband) what went on at “work”. Thankfully, he wasn’t as crazy naive as I was and talked me out of going back even if it made me a “fucking liar”. I still felt bad though, so I called Skinny Guy the next day and told him I had some debilitating disease that made it impossible for me to walk around so much. (So even though I wasn’t a liar before, I guess I became one!) He just said fine and hung up.
That was my job experience with Scentura Creations. And you guys thought Mary Kay was bad.
Stay tuned for Part 2: I’m not falling for it this time SUCKA!!