my flailing tupperware business

somehow doesn’t matter.

my website has the March specials….though they are thankfully not labeled as such.

I haven’t had a Tupperware party yet this year.

Not one person who leaves me a message neglects to tell me that my voicemail still advertises the value of the 40% off April Gift Sets. What a value those were!!

And this, Tupperware’s birthday month. A month jam packed with specials.

Maybe I’m not meant to earn thousand(s) of dollars a month working just four hours a week!

Maybe I’m just a Tupperware fan, and not a Tupperware lady.

Or maybe I just have a life, and a sufficient enough income.

I’m boring.

Please accept my apologies.

the "thin air approach"

sales were okay.

but only okay.

I’d had grand dreams for the weekend. Last year this show was rained out, and I was so sure that everyone would use their beautiful Saturday at the Concord Home and Garden Show at the Sleeptrain* Pavilion. Even though it’s in the middle of fucking nowhere.

Everyone was at Home Depot buying plants for their garden, said the Touch of Orange lady. According to the natural material outlet plates guy they all had soccer games and Little League or whatever. Everyone’s so full of excuses.

My energy level was low, and the crowds were just not there. Both Friday and Saturday I did about as well as last year. Okay. But not great.

When you make $6 a set, you gotta sell a lot of sponges to rake it in. We have a trip to Paris to pay for. I was anxious as I left the show Saturday and I cursed the poor marketing–if you could even call it that!–of stupid Sleeptrain Pavilion.

Then the Universe delivered what I became sure was the secret to a successful Home Show:

The “Thin Air Approach”(TAA)
as recommended by Sharon, Silk Blanket Sales Rep, former pitchwoman

When the crowd is sparse–or whenever you don’t have an audience–do your demo anyway. Pretend like someone you know is right in front of you and you’re talking to them. Keep doing it. People will see what you’re doing, and they’ll come over to check it out. You won’t believe the wads you can pull in!!

“But.. I have dignity!” I proclaimed. But then I remembered… I sell sponges.

“So…10:01 tomorrow, I just start demoing?!!” Yes. “No matter if no one’s around at all?!” Yes.

I let it sink in. I asked Claire and Alex. Claire said that she’d come over to see what the crazy woman was talking about. That was pretty convincing. I consider Claire to be an excellent representative of America.

So I did. I swallowed my hangover. And my headache. But not till 11:01. After another pep talk from Sharon.

I started. “Feel the Super Sponge, I’ll show you how it works.”

No one budged. They kinda looked at me, but that was it.

“Do you ever notice that nasty odors these things get?” pause. “They’re a haven for germs and bacteria. The Super Sponge never gets a nasty odor and it’s because it dries rock hard….” and on and on and on… I’d get to the end of the carpet part, and I’d begin again.

For awhile I imagined Alex there. But not too realistically, or it would have made me laugh. After a minute I realized that I was staring right into the eyes of a brushed metal bust of a horse. It was kinda pretty I guess.

So I demoed to the horse. I pictured the horse’s look of disgust when visualizing all the germs and bacteria in his sponge at home. I asked him if accidents like that ever happened at his house. They do. But he lives in a barn. He doesn’t really mind.

I wondered if I was dreaming. The horse said no.

People were confused. They stared. I looked them in the eye, then back to the horse.

As one couple purchased their sponges, the husband remarked, “I thought you were a robot.”

A dude walking by asked his companion, “Is she for real?”

Some didn’t know how to react. They’d turn around nervously, wondering if I was trying to sucker them in. I’d glance in their eyes, and then around, both letting them know I was watching and letting them off the hook.

I was detached. It was nice. Most of the time I’m demoing, I do feel like a robot. Get up all the enthusiasm you can muster, Susie. Smile big. Laugh loudly about how it’s soooooo gross to pour that soda back in the glass and give it to the kids. …just get their money.

It worked for awhile. I sold some sponges. A couple of mops. Then it got busy, and I didn’t have to employ my new found secret for awhile.

After the two o’clock rush died down, though, my energy was down. Kombucha hadn’t worked. Neither had Emergen-C. Two of em, even.

I broke out the coffee. But never managed to feel energetic enough to break out the TAA. So much talking!! And my shoulder aches so bad. You have no idea.

A long story shorter: I got some of their money. I had one great turn where I couldn’t get the sets packed or take their credit cards fast enough. I must have turned over eight sets of sponges and four mops right then. What a feeling!! These are the glory days.

The horse sold for 300 big ones to a nice lady in a sun hat and a big bag that I knew contained a set of Super Sponges.

You know, there’s no way know how effective the TAA was. But I tell you. Way to give my weekend a twist. And me something to do. For this, the hopefully last day of 2007 that I will ever sell Super Sponges. Direct. At a fair or home show. I hope.

*JR: “honk, honk!”

sponge selling checklist

  • breakfast, lunch, dinner
    • include grapefruit in the morning (makes caffeine last twice as long due to a biochemical interaction in the liver)
    • include chopped apples for late morning and another for late afternoon (wakes you up just like coffee)
  • rental car
  • 1 hard large Super Sponge*
    • take out of package at least three days in advance
    • use brand new Super Sponge
  • fanny pack
  • microphone
  • extra batteries
  • Microfiber Cloth*
  • carpet
  • electric water heater
  • that shit that’s made almost entirely of alcohol and is supposed to kill 99.99% of germs
  • notepad for mileage
  • $100 in change (4 twenties, three fives, five ones)
  • canteen of coffee
  • one Kombucha/day in cooler with Techni-Ice(R) ice packs*
  • one Aveda PVA face cloth, in packaging, retail price $14.00
  • pens (3)
  • cough drops
  • some sort of nicotine
  • CDs & tapes for car
  • sweater
  • lipstick, makeup
  • fork, napkins, electrolyte mix, BOTTLED WATER!!!!

that was what I forgot. The bottled water.

*for sale Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only at the Concord Home and Garden Show!

WARNING: WAY, WAY TMI

You have been warned.

I was wondering today when I might expect my period. I have a lot of deadlines coming up, and I want to make sure I can take the half day it normally demands of going home early, laying around and smoking out the window.

A lot of women my age know how long their cycle is and when it’s coming. Like it comes every 27 days or whatever, and lasts between four and five. And if they don’t know that much, they know roughly, or they know they can’t expect it at any determined time whatsoever.

I always feel mine coming, but I never know for sure when it will arrive. I’m always surprised. I have pimples right now, so that always makes me wonder, is it coming? I don’t think I feel it. Let me check. Mmm… nope.

So it was this thought process that was occupying my head as I flossed this evening. I remembered how months ago I had made myself a Google calendar called Personal, and had intended to use it to track this very thing. Doctor’s offices ask for this information all the time. How awesome would it be not have to surmise that it was about two and a half weeks ago, because chances are pretty good that it was about two and a half weeks ago. That always makes sense to me. I don’t know why.

Personal hasn’t really gotten much use. Let me see. Oh wait, yes it did. June 8th, 2006 was a heavy flow day. Totally informative.

Anyway, as I flossed, I tried to remember something distinctive about the day when I last got my period, but all I could remember was thinking that I ought to add that day to Personal and finally start tracking my cycle and better understanding my hormones. (And, while we’re going with TMI, I want to understand my fertility cycle, too, if you must know. I want a baby. Eventually. And before then I hella don’t.)

I kept flossing. I remembered chatting with Julia about how much better I was feeling now that the flow had commenced. And so I searched: Julia period.

Julia: aaaaaaawwww!

how’s work?
1:54 PM me: i got my period this morning and now I’M IN SO MUCH PAIN

Yep. The first day of my last period was October 23, 2006. Unless maybe it wasn’t Julia I had been talking to in this memory of gchat?

The point is that I could figure it out. But so could Google!! Now they’ve taken over my blog. They have my calendar, my email, my photos! My mailing lists are GOOGLE DOCUMENTS! (I do not store credit card numbers. The Tupperware Sisters provide secure transactions for all their customers.)

And now they know that [email protected] is actually me!! And they know that it was I that wrote them all those letters alternating between my two gmail accounts so they’d think there was more support for my ideas!

Oooooh Google. You may as well have my soul too.

I think I'm deep

And I think I’m attractive, and I think I’m smart.

Today was my second Tupperware Party.

John gave it a C and I agree.

I missed my cat the entire time.

He just reached his paws around me and gave me a claw filled hug. And then he bit my leg.

When you asked what I was doing this weekend, I should have said, “Frantically preparing for my next Tupperware Party.”

Frantically preparing for life is more like it.

I have a new boss. But my fear of commitment remains. I may be on time today…tomorrow…all next week.

But that doesn’t mean anything.

My sister and I knew each other in a past life. My sister and I are opposite sides of a ribbon stretching through space and time. My cat is a fifteen year (?) stain on that ribbon.

I never claimed to know anything. I still don’t. I know about Tupperware; I know about super sponges. I hella know about co-ops.

But I still don’t know about me.

And I sure as hell still don’t know about you.

v day

last year I had a miraculously romantic Valentine’s Day. I was working long hours at a Home Show in Colorado. The weather was below thirty; the show was slow. I wasn’t really slinging those sponges.

The two gentleman (using the term loosely) to my left kept me pretty well entertained. I talked on the phone a lot, too–as I always do during slow shoes. My Nokia had a radio and that was pretty sweet.

And then there was the Quick n’ Bright Guy. (Quick n’ Bright is an amazing biodegradable natural cleanser. It’s totally powerful. Just apply it, walk away, come back and it’s eaten through your shower scum and/or other residue. Amazing.)

I met Quick n’ Bright Guy (QNBG) six or so months earlier working the Ventura County Fair. I spent most of that fair sleeping on sponge boxes in the back of my booth. I was perpetually hungover.

We’d gone on one date. We ate pizza at a local joint, shared a fifth of Jim Beam (is that the small one–I never know?), and took a walk down the beach. His dog came. I don’t remember the dog’s name. The dog wasn’t with him this trip. He ran away a couple months later while they were on the road. QNBG had to get to a job and didn’t have time to wait to see if the dog would return. Somewhere in Utah, I think. Such a sad story.

He was full of stories. But I was interested in another vendor at the Ventura County Fair, so we didn’t go out again.

Here he was in Colorado. And I was bored. We made a date for Monday. Then I couldn’t do Monday. (I was avoiding the date.) So I postponed for Tuesday. Valentine’s Day. (I hadn’t realized.)

I hate Valentine’s Day. I’ve broken up more times than I’ve been kissed on this stupid day. I avoid it at all costs (though today I had a lovely time singing love songs to myself). Anyway, it was Valentine’s Day. And I had a date. And then I had a call from Zach informing me that mystery flowers had shown up on our doorstep back home*!! Romance was uncharacteristically in the air.

As it was when I found myself sharing a smoke with him while snowflakes fell about a park on our post-work stroll through random park from the car to Applebee’s. His nose was so cold! It was cute. I had some prawn thing with broccoli. It wasn’t so bad. I imagine he ate beef. Days later we knew the bartenders by name. I would pound a whiskey and nurse a 14 ouncer of Bud Light, and then drop him off and drive the hour back to my aunt’s house.

Anyway, I’m happily not selling sponges today. And I happily received two extremely large boxes of Tupperware today. And Tupperware is totally better than flowers. It lasts longer, for one thing. Lifetime guarantee, even.**

*Card read “Just in case nobody else sends you flowers.”
**Contact me to learn how to get FREE Tupperware just by hosting a party!

life

I thought it was big when I finally acquired a doctor. I needed one and this one smells okay and she’s brisk and businesslike. So I kept her.

I’ve had a dentist since birth. Dr. Huntze. When he retired, Dr. Wong took over. Their office is in Pleasanton. My insurance agent, Lou, is in Pleasanton, too.

I’ve always had a hair stylist, too, of course. Though that changes over time. I never had a colorist or a manicurist. My mom had one for awhile though, and she did my nails a couple times. I wouldn’t say she was my manicurist though. From time to time I’ve frequented those walk-in manicure/pedicure places on Telegraph. I’m not really one for manicures though, to be honest.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a tanning salon. I did by some of that spray tanning junk when I was little. I’d do it again. I should do it again.

In the last year I have accumulated an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, an auto mechanic, a cobbler, a tailor, a vacuum cleaner repairman (he does sewing machines too), and a loan officer.

But what I really need is an accountant. Will someone be my accountant? I pay in Tupperware. Lots and lots of Tupperware.*

*over time

I’m petrified

of my first Tupperware party.

On Saturday I attended a party throwing seminar. We discussed recipes and dating techniques. I had been under the impression that I had dating techniques. (Despite all recent evidence to the contrary.)

I’ve been a bona fide Tupperware consultant since August and I’ve avoided consulting a single party. Now, given that I’m like the only active Tupperware Consultant in the Oakland Berkeley area, one might argue that this is a disservice to my local community. I think that’s a good view. I’ll adopt it. That way I can file Tupperware under Philanthropy.

Anyway, I didn’t even want to have a party but some woman found me on the internet and first emailed and then called! Now, who calls a Tupperware Consultant because they’re so eager to have a Tupperware Party?!! (Ok, so I totally did this when planning Jenfest 06. That’s not the point.)

The point is that this lady did, and this Saturday I’m popping my party hymen. From Saturday on, I shall spread throughout the world the joy I have found in Tupperware!! I shall sell SELL SELL!!

I have a list of people to call for datings. I promised my Director I’d have a party lined up by Saturday. Are you on that list? I can write off any trip I take so long as it overlaps with a Tupperware Party, so don’t think you’re so safe, oh friends in other states.

Hee. It’s funny that “Tupperware Party” has the same initials as toilet paper.

My sister thinks I should give out Shit Be Gone toilet paper as party favors. I think that’s just because we have a lot of that though.

My Director plays this game called “Party”. Clever, huh? She fills a small Fridge Keeper with little tiny Tupperwares (keychains and smidgets). Inside each tiny Tupperware is a piece of paper. If you pick one that says “Tupperware Party” you win a Tupperware Party! “Wouldn’t that be fun?” she says. You could win a “10% off one product”–that’s the real reason to play. She says about 50% of the papers say “Tupperware Party.” Such a sneaky way to get people to commit to hosting a party. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Ethics, you know.

I think that in my teeny Tupperware in my 6 cup Heat n Serve (my small Fridgekeeper holds my salad mix), I shall abbreviate “Tupperware Party” to “TP.” Then they can choose between Shit be Gone and a party with me. Of course should anyone pick the toilet paper, I’ll say “So you’d rather wipe your ass then hang out with me again?!”

Yes, that will be a good game. I’m sure it will help me avoid all Tupperware Parties in the future.

Now, let this be a solemn vow: As a Tupperware Consultant, I swear I will not make those mocha brownies out of that Vanilla Spice packet, cake mix and water and mayonnaise and instant coffee and whatever. That’s disgusting. I have ideals, yo.

The problem is, I don’t know what I will make. Salsa, maybe?

And what will I say? How will I greet them at the door?!

“Hello! Nice to see you. My name is Susie, and I will be your Tupperware Consultant this afternoon. I’m soooo excited!! Oooh, and my father calls Tupperware Tuppyware! How cute is that? It’s in my blood. I’ve found so much freedom in my Tupperware career. What do you do?”

Yes, I’m ever so witty. And I love Tupperware. It’s bound to be a successful party. And career.

my second Jewish funeral today

and hopefully the last funeral of a close family member that I never knew that I will ever attend. Probably I will get this wish, unless family I never knew about starts coming out of the woodwork. And dying. Now that would be scary.

My favorite part of the Jewish funeral tradition: Getting to help to bury the dead! With shovels, dirt, and all.

My least favorite part of the Jewish funeral tradition: Not being Jewish. As I am not technically a Jew (though I am of Jewish heritage), I don’t get one of these black ribbon things to tear at the end of the funeral and pin to myself for seven days to symbolize my mourning. Which is appropriate given that I hardly knew both of my father’s parents, but also inconvenient given that one of the most appealing aspects of having a death in one’s life is getting to milk the sympathy from the utters of everyone you know for as long as society deems appropriate. Which I still plan on doing.

My least favorite part of death: The concept of burying one’s dead in a casket which is enclosed in another casket of concrete. The casket of concrete serves to keep decaying bodies from contaminating drinking water. But how is anyone going to rejoin the universe that gave them life if they remain for eternity decaying enclosed in concrete?!!

My favorite part of the family trip to the funeral: my father’s joke that I shall have my ashes kept in Tupperware. Apparently he wasn’t a fan of my blog back in 2005 when I wrote my living will.