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Old 01-29-2010, 08:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A Tupperware Party targeted at men.

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View: Man Cave sales party, man's world breakthrough
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Man Cave sales party, man's world breakthrough
Man Cave sales party, man's world breakthrough

Steve Rubenstein, Special to The Chronicle

Friday, January 29, 2010
Man Cave salesman John Schaffran displays the $25, four-b... Man Cave, a company that lets men be men, has codified ma... With the noble bird firmly perched atop the proper bevera...

A dozen guys were standing around a San Jose backyard the other day, gazing fondly at a naked chicken.

It was a moment of some significance. It was not just about a dozen guys and a naked chicken. It was, perhaps, even historical. For man has achieved great things in the course of history, but one thing he has never achieved is the right to attend sales parties - at least not in the way that women attend sales parties - and stand around in a backyard in the company of a commission salesman and a naked chicken.

There are Tupperware parties and Mary Kay parties. Men may be legally allowed to attend such parties but they never do, because Tupperware is plastic bowls and Mary Kay is lipstick. But now, thanks to a new Minnesota company, there are sales parties for guys, with barbecue gear as the merchandise.

On hand in San Jose were a dozen guys who had been lured to this particular backyard by the promise of free beer.

"Free beer," said salesman John Schaffran, in the hushed voice of a man imparting a great truth, "is something that will always get a crowd of guys together."

Schaffran is a newly minted sales rep for something called Man Cave, the outfit that is hawking the barbecue equipment. He is trying very hard to prove that men can, in the company of friends and a "party" setting, fall for a catalog full of high-priced gewgaws as readily as any female of the species.
A good mood

Thanks to the beer, everyone was in either a good mood or a very good mood. It was time to do a little selling. Schaffran shoved a can full of beer into the innards of the chicken and placed it on the barbecue grill. The can was no ordinary can but a special can specifically designed to be filled with beer and shoved up the business end of a naked chicken. It's in the catalog, for $29 plus shipping.

It was only Schaffran's second sales demonstration, so he had to do quite a bit of shoving to get the can inside the chicken. The guys stood around, watching what was happening to the chicken and offering advice in the way that guys do when trying to sound as if they know what they're talking about.

While the chicken cooked, Schaffran tried to get folks interested in his company's other fine and indispensable wares, which consisted of a set of rollers for cooking bratwurst ($30), a giant spatula big enough to flip four burgers at a time ($25) and a branding iron for burning the owner's initials into a sirloin steak ($55).

The guys stood around and watched the chicken. No one was placing an order. A recession is perhaps not the best time to be selling $25 spatulas. Clearly, the first-ever barbecue sales party for men was not going the way that revolutionary events are supposed to go.
Getting advice

And then Schaffran got a terrific idea. It was the kind of idea that guys hardly ever get. He decided to ask for advice.

And the person he decided to ask for advice was not just anyone, but his mom.

Schaffran's mom, Peggy, just happened to be hanging out in the kitchen of the home, listening through a window to her son's sales pitch. Peggy Schaffran, in addition to being a loyal mom, is also a veteran Tupperware saleswoman. She raised her family through the sale of plastic bowls and knows a thing or two about getting people to buy high-priced goods from a catalog.

"You're doing fine," she told John, when he ducked inside to confer about why sales were lagging. "You know the product and you're pointing out its features. That's great. Now try offering a premium if they buy a certain amount."

That's what they do at Tupperware parties, she said. Buy $100 worth of bowls and get a water bottle, or some such. John Schaffran, wise beyond his years, realized a fellow can learn quite a bit from his sainted mother.

He went back outside and made an announcement.

"Buy $100 worth," he said, "and you get this automatic pop-off beer bottle opener."
Free bottle opener

The automatic pop-off bottle opener was a splendid thing. You push the opener down on the bottle and the cap pops off by itself. True, it did not work very well (it took Schaffran four tries to open a bottle with it), but it was made of stainless steel, it looked great, it sold in the catalog for $15 and it was, under the terms of Mom's inspired plan, absolutely free.

That did it. About half the guys stopped gazing idly at the chicken and began filling out the order forms. And, sure enough, they were ordering just enough stuff from the catalog to push their totals over the magic $100 mark and qualify for the free bottle opener. This proved not only that a guy can be maneuvered into buying high-priced stuff as surely as anyone else but that a son, at any age, can do far worse than put himself in the hands of his mother.

The first-ever multilevel marketing party for men in San Jose was over. And, thanks to mom, it had been yanked to safety at the last moment like an unattended bratwurst beginning to turn black.

After the party, Peggy Schaffran said she was honored that her son was not only following in her footsteps in the catalog party sales business ("The apple never falls far from the tree," she said) but had chosen to take her advice as well, especially because it was good advice gleaned from 20 years in the plastic bowl trade.

"I know what I'm talking about," she said.

She picked up the automatic pop-off beer bottle opener and admired its many fine features but wisely, being not only a mom but a veteran of catalog sales premiums, did not try to open a bottle with it.
I don't really care for this kind of sales model. Make up, plastic goods, sex toys, I'm can't see it.

I'm a sucker for kitchen ware, but I hate being invited to Pampered Chef parties. I know it's a good business model for stay at home moms etc., but I just can't toss money into something that I don't need or find overpriced.

Have you been invited to such a thing? Does it sound interesting to you? Do you like this "party" sales model?
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When I get out of the insurance racket, this is what I want to do. Seriously, this sounds like an awesome job. Hang out, drink beer, barbeque and sell stuff. I'm good at all of those.
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would do this in a heart beat, my mom does a Tupperware style business with a company called Lia Sofia that sells "costume jewelry" to people (big gaudy jewelry to old ladies). If you can sell, this is the job to be in. My mom makes BANK (Sometimes up to 5-7 grand a week) because of her position in the company. She has been doing it for years and once you know HOW to sell the items, it will work.

I want to sign up to do this, my little hobbit ass could sell all of this stuff to people.
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by The_Jazz View Post
When I get out of the insurance racket, this is what I want to do. Seriously, this sounds like an awesome job. Hang out, drink beer, barbeque and sell stuff. I'm good at all of those.
...pressure your friends, family and coworkers, store extra shit in your basement, pay a large percentage to the 10 guys above you...
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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No, Jazz'll start his own racket. I can see him down at CostCo now... buying $1800 worth of Hunts snackpacks.

If he can figure out a way to combine that pudding-like food product and perky young breasts, he'll be a millionaire.
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Plan9 View Post
No, Jazz'll start his own racket. I can see him down at CostCo now... buying $1800 worth of Hunts snackpacks.

If he can figure out a way to combine that pudding-like food product and perky young breasts, he'll be a millionaire.

These ideas are trademarked. Steal them and I'll sue you.

fresnelly, can I interest you in a job? You can make bank and there will be pretty young things to look at.....
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Technically MLM Porn seems to work - seeing as cab drivers are paid to bring you to specific strip clubs in Vegas.
The shitty clubs pay more, and therefore the bad cab drivers sell you out to the not-so-good clubs.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's definitely not for me in terms of a career, but I think this is a pretty brilliant idea and I could see it taking off. If you give guys enough free beer, and then put some cool shit in front of them, they'll loosen up in the wallet. Hell, I bet it would work on me. Kudos to the person who thought this up. That's my two cents.
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