None of my business

I’ve written about being accosted by a Mary Kay sales rep while innocently browsing the racks at T.J. Maxx. I’ve also had a sales pitch given to me on a train ride home, while collecting my things after a job fair, and after receiving a request for an interview while jobless. Many, many businesses are based on one person selling something to the next, and it’s not about the product, it’s about “joining the network.” It’s about buying the idea that you too can have your own little business empire if you persuade enough people to be a part of your team.

I hate it.

I could also never do it.

Sometimes the sellers are charming. They’ll throw a compliment your way and the next thing you know, you’re being herded into a room with twenty or thirty others, believing you were there for an interview, and not knowing until that moment, that you would be subjected to a presentation.

‘The first time it happened, it was Primerica. Some people call it “Crimerica.” If you run across someone who works for this company, they won’t tell you the name at first. Instead they tell you “it’s a subsidiary of Citigroup…”

Then you get to the office and you’re escorted into a room with a bunch of chairs. A couple of people are talking to each other with smiles and enthusiasm. Then the lights go down and someone pops in a video. What follows is a bunch of commentary about people doing well and making lots of money. Then the video is off, and the star of the show, rumored to be pulling in $45K a month struts in. “Make your money work for you,” is one of the lines you hear. All you have to do is recruit three people, and then they recruit three apiece and you’re on your way. If you don’t have a job and you don’t realize there just aren’t enough people in the world for that plan to actually work, you can get sucked in.

After the presentation, the person who invited me pulled me into her office. I’d be selling life insurance and investment plans. The big draw was that you could get a plan done for you for free. The catch was that you had to find other people and drag them in for the song and dance. While that may not be hard for some, the thought of scouring town for unsuspecting candidates was daunting. I can barely ask someone for directions. Am I really going to recruit people to join my business? For a short while, I believed I could.

The second time I got roped into a presentation, I drove an hour and ten minutes to an office, again, thinking I was going in for an interview. Instead I got to hear about selling supplements, shampoo and yes, in home water filters. It wasn’t long until they got into the development conferences around the country, or how someone was “on track” to make beaucoup bucks that year, or that every business is structured like a pyramid, if you think about it. I politely sat there, knowing I would not get that hour of my life back and then I tried to make my exit when the person who invited me cornered me.

“It’s really too far of a drive,” I said, hating that I couldn’t just be honest and say “It sounds like a sham.”

The person’s eyes filled with a combination of annoyance and desperation. “It’s not that far!” she snapped.

I extracted myself from the office before the rest of her cohorts surrounded me. After arriving safely at home, I looked for dirt on the business and found plenty. Not only did you have to buy your own inventory, you also had to buy business cards at a ridiculous rate, rent your desk, and pay for the “training materials.” Renting a desk? What kind of job doesn’t pay for these things? No wonder the interviewer was desperate. She had to find someone to help her pay for her to make money.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

The third time this happened, I got the interview scheduled, went into the room, saw the rows of chairs and promptly turned around and left. See? I’m learning.

The worst is when friends do this. Thankfully I have been left alone. I witnessed a Mary Kay rep bogart a friend’s Facebook status the other day. The status was something along the lines of not getting cupcakes and balloons for her one year anniversary at her job. It was a joke, intended to make people laugh at the visual of someone receiving fanfare for a year at the same desk. In pops the Mary Kay rep: You should join Mary Kay! We do that for real!

Can’t you just hear the sound of a record scritching to a halt?

I added to it, encouraging the friend to join because she’d be great at it while knowing this person had zero interest in such a thing. No, make that below zero—she had -1000 interest in such a thing. We have joked about it before.

Mary Kay didn’t get the joke. She kept on, explaining that her skin looked great, she won pearl earrings and even a watch!

Okay, none of those things are enough to sell me. I tend to go with the skin treatment that works, and if it can be found at the Target across the street, even better. Earrings and a watch? Well, I already have those, several of each, in fact. Let’s not forget that the famed pink caddy is also a great way to draw in the cops.

Here’s another one—Ardyss. What is that? The name tells you absolutely nothing! If anything, it sounds like someone who was trying to get creative when naming a baby girl. Ardyss. It’s a body shaper thingy—or, you know, what people used to call a girdle. “Lose 3 sizes in 10 minutes!” is the hook. “Whaaa? You think, that’s unpossible. But it got you thinking about it.

Every single one of these things is meant to advertise something you don’t have now but that you should want. Vacations! Pink Caddy! Pearl earrings! Cupcakes! Balloons! A skinnier you! A healthier regimen! Endless wealth! A better life! Then you’re supposed to believe that you can’t attain this without that product, or business venture. You’re supposed to feel bad about yourself and then be motivated to learn more. That makes sense; it’s a very basic sales method. If someone isn’t convinced that they need what you’re selling, then you’re out of a job.

The thing is, sometimes people get so aggressive with it, that it’s gone beyond selling and veering towards bullying. If you say no, you’re told that you didn’t really listen, or that you have to hear a story about some success story, or how you’re just being closed minded about this whole thing. If bullying proves to be ineffective, I imagine there’s a handbook out there endorsing chanting and reaching out zombie style as the next step.

Balloons! Cupcakes! Pink Caddies! Skin’s never looked better! Buy Mary Kay! Sell Mary Kay! Join us! Be one of us! One of ussss...!”


Father knows Best

Occasionally I peruse my spam folder to see if there are any new messages alerting me that I've won 500,000 pounds in the (Chinese, Hyundai, Microsoft, and so on) lottery, or messages from:
-ailing widows that wish to donate their life savings to me
-deposed Nigerian princes who need a safe haven for their currency
-soldiers who have dug up millions of Saddam's loot and are sending it to the states
-lawyers settling estates for wealthy, heirless plane crash victims

Most of the time the messages are ho-hum. Once in rare while, you hit gold.
This is the first time I have been informed that I have a (dead) brother and also scolded by the sender--or rather, "slammed by the spam."
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am very surprised that you never cared to respond to the letter I sent to you by Post.It has been over three months now,that the bank has been on my neck to produce the heir apparent to your late brother.

Presently,the bank had given a 21 days ultimatum for me to present the Next of Kin,so that the inheritance sum ($ be paid to the bona-fide beneficiary.Please,I would like you to acknowlegde the receipt of this mail,so that we can file for the claim and release of these sum to you.Already,I am to send to the remittance department of the bank your details.
Kindly re-confirm to me the following:

Names :
Address :
Telephone Number :
Occupation :

As I stated in my letter to you by post,you are not required to spend any money for the claim process as your late brother's financier had promised to assist you to ensure that the bank does not confisticate your late brother's wealth.Further information would be made available to you as you provide the above informations.

Based on the urgency, of this matter at hand,if you failed to get back to me Asap,I would not hesitate to arrange for a more competent person for the claim of this funds,since I would not be alive to watch the bank confisticate this Estate,instead,I would make arrangements to donate the funds to the charity.

If you are confused,get back to me on my private email (revfathersamuelbest@yahoo.fr) with your information and for clarification.


Rev.Father Samuel .J. Best


We're number 1!

We're #1

In under 24 hours I have had this emailed to me twice, and I've read the headline multiple times via classmates on Facebook who shared links to the same article. I have never seen so much pride.

I guess everyone wants a little validation to counter the Princeton review's yearly ranking of West Point as one of the top twenty "Stone Cold Sober" schools.


1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

2. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.

3. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.

4. College of the Ozarks, Point Lockout, Mo.

5. Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.

6. U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.

7. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.

8. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.

9. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, Calif.

10. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.

11. U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.

12. Wesleyan College, Macon, Ga.

13. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass.

14. City University of New York-Queens College, Flushing, N.Y.

15. Webb Institute, Glen Cove, N.Y.

16. Berea College, Berea, Ky.

17. Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga.

18. City University of New York-Baruch College, New York.

19. Simmons College, Boston.

20. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Gender Bend

Crossdressing is generally addressed with smirks and laughs because the term generally conjures up the image of a man dressed as a women, down to falsie eyelashes and fishnet stockings. The transition is a convincing one and you’re faced with a glammed up uberwoman, taller, louder and more made up than any woman you’ve ever seen in your life. Or else, it goes the other way and you end up with what is obviously a man, playing a joke by wearing women’s clothes.

When women crossdress, people don't care. I guess it’s because our wardrobes are broader than mens’, we can wear trousers and dresses, pants suits and button down shirts. No one considers those things out of the ordinary. We simply take whatever men’s clothes we like, and we wear them. When men do this, it's rarely a success.

Even if we take men’s clothes, we still put our own twist on them. Yes, you can just buy the man version and keep it moving, but it seems the clothing manufacturers have caught on to this trick. Back in the ‘90’s, Levi’s came out with “boy cut jeans for women.” Yes, that is really what they called them, and sucker that I am, the name alone piqued my curiosity. I hit the Levi’s outlet looking for these mythical “boy cut jeans for women.” Why I wanted boy cut anything when I had hips and thighs is another subject. I never found the jeans, but I also never forgot the name.

Last month I received a Fossil catalog (apparently people still use catalogs in the internet age) and among the watch selection was the “boyfriend watch.” You can’t just buy a man’s watch and remove a few links to fit your feminine wrist, you have to buy a women’s watch that just looks like a man’s watch. There are also boy briefs for women, complete with a sewn up pee flap. No, really, I’m not making this up.


On my mind

As the title pretty much tells you with the subtlety of being hit on the head a thousand times with a mallet, his post covers several items that have been on my mind recently:

1) "Quote unquote"

why don’t we use this like the actual quotation marks in writing? Here’s what I mean—“He said everything in the speech was a quote unquote joke.”
Why not “everything in the speech was a quote joke unquote." Ignoring that any use of the term “quote unquote” makes one sound like a tool, doesn’t that make more sense? (Aside from that, when writing "quote unquote" do you need additional quotation marks? Somehow it seems wrong not to have them there)

2) “Don’t let the car fool you, my treasure is in heaven” bumper stickers
After the initial impression that the driver believes he or she is somehow entitled to this so-called treasure (apparently it’s not enough that the driver thinks he or she is going to heaven, upon arrival, there must be treasure too), why is it that these are most likely to be found on a POS car? When I think “treasure” I think Ferrari…Porsche…maybe even a Mercedes. Oh, right, because it's really unlikely that cars like that will have $3 bumper stickers slapped onto on them. And what else is just as unlikely? That a bumper sticker is going to fool me into thinking that the 1982 Honda Civic hatchback with rust eating away the wheel wells is a treasure.

3) Vehicular sandwiches
If you see one sort of car (let’s say a Ford Explorer) parked between two other cars of the same make and model (let’s say VW beetle) what do you think? That’s right—sammich! But what kind of sandwich would you say it was? If you answered “VW Beetle” I’d have to disagree. On what planet do you name a sandwich after the bread? Think about it. In this case, the VWs are the bread, and the Ford Explorer is the filler--make that order a Ford Explorer on VW beetle, please.

4) A trivial question

Q: How do you know when a band’s fanbase is aging? A: When they sell fanny packs

5) Spell and speak
There is no “h” at the end of the word “height.” I really wish people would stop adding one.

6) Not-so-original thoughts
Have you ever thought up an invention only to learn that someone else had that same original thought before you? Here’s my invention: glow in the dark gloves for the hearing impaired. How else would you talk in the dark? My husband’s invention? Scrolling message board for cars. Yup, that’s been done too, and there’s even a license plate frame version. When he learned about it, he was just as pissed as I was about the gloves. Well, here’s an invention I’ll bet you never envisioned: Handerpants. If you're thinking, "I know, glow in the dark handerpants!" you can stop right there; I've already applied for the patent.