Pretty in Pink

I'm being followed: Thank you for your article on the Mary Kay Company ("Think Pink," by Sarah Hepola, October 9). It was interesting to note the comment by Ms. Piro: "That's why we don't go looking for salespeople. We want people who can let the person who's trying the product decide if she wants it or not. We don't want to pressure people, and we don't train anyone to pressure people." In my experience, this isn't accurate.

On at least a half-dozen occasions, I have been approached by the same two Mary Kay sales consultants outside of the Starbucks at Oak Lawn and McKinney avenues. As they fail to recognize me, they walk briskly with me (in fact, chasing me down) toward my car as I exit with my morning coffee. It is very disagreeable to cross their paths, and such a nuisance that I have brought the matter to the attention of Starbucks management. I appreciate any industry's ability to promote women in business, but leave the rest of us working and commuting women alone!

Maria A. Sproul

St. Mary: I just want to say thank you for such an inspiring and insightful presentation of the Mary Kay career. I became a Mary Kay consultant 38 years ago and debuted as the third national sales director in 1973 when I was 33. I am now an executive national sales director living in Colorado. I had a degree to teach business education but wasn't able to get a teaching job in Abilene in 1965 when my husband decided to leave his engineering job with the Army Corps of Engineers to go back to graduate school to get his degree to preach. Back then, selling Mary Kay put food on the table for us. Now almost $6 million later, my husband has been able to "semi-retire" from the ministry, and we are living close to our two children, their mates and our eight grandsons on 29 country acres in the 7,000-square-foot log house our son built for us eight years ago with special suites for each of our aging mothers--one of whom is still living with us at 93--thanks to the lifestyle choices provided to us through my Mary Kay career! I just want to tell you that God has blessed this family immensely because Mary Kay was a willing servant!

Mollye Morrow
Bellvue, Colorado

True picture: What a great article! Thank you for representing our wonderful company so truthfully! I am a senior sales director in Canton, Mississippi, but am originally from Arlington, and a friend e-mailed your story to me. It's a very positive, well-written article, and I thank you for running it. Most people just don't know what they don't know!

Liz Young
Canton, Mississippi

It's a man's world: I'm a former copywriter in Mary Kay's advertising department, and yes, the only male copywriter who was there. (Hired in March 1998 and quit in November 1999.) And I have a new appreciation for what it means to be a minority.

That women are the public face of the company and make up the bulk of its sales force while men serve as both its CEO and president of sales always seemed curious to me and poses questions worth asking: How can men be in charge of what is a women's company? Is it a women's company? When I was there, men held all the top spots, and apparently they still do.

The thing I remember most about my time there was how my boss had a massive drinking problem--so bad that she often could not drive herself to work in the morning--and my boss' boss once wept during a staff meeting after another manager quit. Sheesh.

When I see Mary Kay products now, I shudder.

Kevin Walters
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Bubble Busters

Take notice: Great article ("ICE, ICE Babies," by Patrick Williams, October 16). I am an SMU alum and former resident of the ICE house. One of the hardest parts about the program is that few people seem to notice what was going on there or even bothered to care. Thanks for igniting some attention for our project.

Jimmy Tran

Penelope's Perils

Six-man football: "Friday Night Lite" (September 25) was a fantastic story told in the inimitable storytelling style of Carlton Stowers. This piece was not about a sports team; rather, it was about a way of life, the poignant determination of a community to do something for its kids...and itself! Thanks for sharing it.

Burle Pettit