I've been "Mary Kay'd"...again!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One of my biggest pet peeves is getting "Mary Kay'd" while out and about. Other than best friend D, I've never heard anyone share a similar experience, but I'm curious to see if anyone ends up coming forward with a story like mine.

This is what happens to me at least once a year:

Me: Sitting in a Starbucks minding my own business.
MK Lady: Polished, professional, outfit perfectly coordinating, make up "just so," on the prowl.
MK Lady: "I love your ________" (tights/shoes/coat)
Me: Oh thanks, it's my favorite."
MK Lady: You have such a great sense of style. You look really professional. What type of work do you do?"
Me: "Oh I work in non-profit fund raising."
MK Lady: "That so great!! You know I work a lot with the non-profit community. What made you get into that?"
Me: "Oh, you know, ___________" (insert reason of the day I like my job)
MK Lady: "You know, I work for a company that is doing a lot with fund raising. We're actually establishing a foundation and doing a lot with opportunities for women."
Me: "Oh, umm, great."
MK Lady: "I should give you my card. I'd love to give you more information. Do you happen to have one of your cards?"
Me: "Uh, yah, here."
MK Lady: "Great! It was sooo nice meeting you!!"
Me: "Umm, yes. K. Bye."

This was the first time I got Mary Kay'd a few years ago. On that instance, she liked the tights I was wearing. I stupidly gave her my card. She called me at work multiple times; fortunately I always managed to dodge her calls.

I've had many other encounters where I haven't seen them coming. Because, who am I to be a b*tch if someone compliments me on my brand new winter coat that I love? Of course I'm going to say "thank you" and tell you where I bought it when you ask. Fortunately, I've never given out my contact information again...until last night.

You see, last night I was waiting in a Starbucks to meet with a bride to discuss day of coordination. I had a copy of a wedding magazine out on the table that I was going to give her, and I was keeping an eye out for her to walk in the door. I saw a woman in her mid-20s, dressed professionally, walk in the door. I briefly made eye contact with her, realized it wasn't the bride, and looked away. She made a loop around the store, came right back around and found her conversation starter...the magazine (apparently, I wasn't wearing anything yesterday worth complimenting).

MK Lady: "Oh, are you getting married?!"
Me: "No, I coordinate weddings."
MK Lady: "That's so great! I love looking at wedding magazines! I actually have done makeup for weddings before...I should give you my card."
Me: "Oh, great. I'll give you my card as well."
In my head: Ok, totally thought this was a Mary Kay lady, but she's obviously I free lance make up artist. Sure, I'll give her my card.
MK Lady: "Great! It's so nice that we're able to network like this! I hope you have a great night."

Of course I look at the card right after she walks away and have an "oh crap" moment because, of course, it was a Mary Kay card! She totally got me, and got me good, because now she has my cell phone number. Boooo.

What I don't understand is: who are these women really, and what do they want?! They are literally all over the city looking for young professional women. The first time I was approached was in 2006 and 4 years later, it's still happening. One time last year, I was approached in the shampoo aisle at Target. I've been approached at Starbucks all over the city. Best friend D was approached on the train. They're all so perky and friendly I almost feel badly being rude, but should there be a next time, I'm going to have to ask, point blank, what they're after. For me to sell makeup? Give them money? Join a cult? WHAT IS IT?

So please tell me, have you ever been Mary Kay'd? Do you know what they're looking for? Please enlighten me...I've been dying to know for 4 years, but I don't think I can handle another encounter!


Jaime said...

I've been Mary Kay'd plenty of times - I work in a high-pedestrian traffic area. I wrote a post on it, too, a bit ago (maybe January of 2009). I get disappointed - I mean, it's so exciting to feel like you look so cute that a stranger had to stop to compliment you, then there's the huge letdown when you realize it's Mary Kay....

Keg Design said...

OMG - so hilarious! I've was Mary Kay'd 4 years ago at a coffee shop in the loop. I didn't know what I was getting into at the time, but this woman stalked me for a good 3-4 months afterwards (maybe longer). I really have no idea what they want. Probably to sell something. I'm also "Hair Deal'd" all the time too - "oh, love your hair...listen to our 1 minute gimmick." I've learned that sometimes you just have to give the cold shoulder!

nodakademic (formerly pink helicopter) said...

This is pure speculation, but I think it's a type of 'pyramid scheme'. If one of these ladies manages to get you to become a consultant, I think they get some sort of kickback from MK for 'mentoring' you. I don't know if that's how MK works, but that's how a lot of those types of companies work.

e.louise said...

How bizarre! I've never had this happen to me, but I think @nodakademic is correct on their structure. On the other hand, my husband has been confronted several times by financial salesmen/women who work in similar structured industries, he's learned to Ignore :)

Tara said...

I have been Mary Kay'd as well. Mostly in the loop or near Michigan Ave/Wacker area. The first time was just a few months after I had moved to the city so I wasn't very "hardened" yet to this tactic and was too nice so ended up listening to her on the phone for way too long - it is basically like a pyramid scheme as mentioned above; they are trying to get you to be a consultant and then you are suppose to try to get other women to be consultants and so on...

Ali @ His Birdie's Nest said...

Whoa I didn't know they did this. I've never been Mary Kay'd but I have 3 friends that have sold Mary Kay.
Nodakademic & E Louise are right, they do get a kick back of sorts if the mentor you. The more salespeople you have working under you the hirer you move in the company. That's how they get car etc. My friends would just try to get people at their make-up parties, as far as I know, they never approached strangers like this. How annoying :-/

Laura said...

OMG I'm so loving all of this feedback! I've seriously wondered about this since I was first approached by one of them. It's SO wack-a-doodle what they do, and they're always so chipper and full of compliments for you.

I would also like to note that I'm sure that people who casually sell Mary Kay are probably AWESOME! It's the overly polished women trolling Starbucks that concern me ;)

BigAppleNosh said...

I've NEVER been Mary Kay'd! I feel left out, haha. Maybe it's not big in NYC?

tina said...

I get Mary Kay'd all of the time. The last time it happened, the woman came up to me and tucked in the tag that was hanging out of my shirt. Then she started walking with me uninvited. I thought that she was hitting on me until she gave me her card.

Ali @ His Birdie's Nest said...

OMG just noticed I wrote hirer instead of higher! Along with other typos...Embarrassing!

Terese said...

a little late on this, but here's my 2 cents...

i work on michigan ave (hunting ground for MK), so this has happened way too many times to me. unfortunately, it's made me very cynical and my default response to anyone who delivers a random compliment is to scowl and run away. i blame MK!

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