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copyright 1999, Lois June Wickstrom


Burp-Top Betty


by Link-a-lot Lois



When I attended my first Tupperware Rally, I was introduced to my manager. "You can call me Burp-top Betty, and you should think of a name for yourself that says something nice about yourself and Tupperware." She picked me up in her official Tupperware Van. When we hit the road, she yelled to the other cars, "Get out of my way." When they didn't respond, she swerved crazily around them. Burp-top Betty explained, "If you get to the Rally half-an-hour early, you get to be in a drawing for free Tupperware." However, we were late. Burp-top Betty had to stop off at a dealer's house to pick up a bag-full of broken and scratched up old Tupperware to exchange for new stuff.

When we arrived at the Rally, the assembly of dealers and
managers was turning to page 14 of their Tupperware Song Book. Then they heartily sang the Tupperware version of "Twist and Shout," which, among others, changes the line "shake it on out" to "sell it on out." The managers, many of whom wore long necklaces with clear glass beads, and gold-colored pins with keys dangling from them, climbed up on stage and danced. Burp-top Betty pointed out the leaders of the assembly to me. "The woman with the dark hair is Modular-Mate Maxine and the man carrying the bag is Toaster Tom." Then she climbed on stage to dance with the others. Modular Mate Maxine urged the managers (who are mostly women) to wilder dance-steps, "I can tell how old you are by the way you dance." The managers, many dressed in business suits, responded with kicks and twists.

When the song ended, Modular-Mate Maxine and her partner, Toaster Tom, gave out gold stars, gold keys, checks, and other awards to deserving Tupperware salespeople. "Do you know how much money is in these checks?" asked Modular-Mate Maxine. "A lot of money!" responded the dealers and managers. "That's right. A lot of money," repeated Modular-Mate Maxine. The dealers strained forward to hear the names of recipients as Modular-Mate Maxine read them from her list. 

Burp-top Betty was called to the front many times to receive prizes for her high personal sales, her high group sales, and her high number of parties. Her group, the High Flyers, was 35th in the Southern Region, which has about 1300 groups. The High Flyers display a balloon emblem on their wall sign. Tampa has at least ten groups, with names like GoalBusters, Tupper Carousel, Tupper Connection, Sandpipers, and Energizers, which has a working light bulb on their wall sign. Burp-top Betty says a key to high sales is high customer service. "If you replace broken parts promptly and have recipe tips for customers, you'll do fine."

After the checks were all passed out, Modular-Mate Maxine and Toaster Tom passed the Tupperware canister to collect donations to help Tupperware dealers whose supplies were damaged or lost by hurricane Hugo. Some of the dealers put in their checks. Modular-Mate Maxine and Toaster Tom matched the total donated by the dealers and managers -- it was nearly $400.

Next, Toaster Tom demonstrated the latest party prize: a wide mouth toaster. Toaster Tom held the toaster under his chin, and opened his mouth wide. He asked the assembly, "Which is bigger -- my mouth, or the mouth on the toaster?" Like a child with a new toy, he paraded up and down on the stage with his mouth open atop the toaster, while Modular-Mate Maxine described the virtues of this new appliance.

Then it was time for more awards -- crystal beads, colored
ribbons, and the honor roll of dealers and managers whose sales were so high they deserved to have their names on the wall, printed on computer paper in large banner-style letters. The dealers lined up, as if for a spelling bee, and sat down when the amount of their sales was called. As each hundred dollars approached, the count went "$50, $75, $95, 96, 97, 98, 99, $100 of Tupperware, Ooooh!" accompanied by a raised right fist salute. After $1000 was called, the finalists were called to stand on the stage and given banners to hold, declaring them to be the top salespeople of the week. Toaster Tom bowed deeply to them.

Two of the top sellers gave a presentation, showing how they recruit parties. They have a game at the end of a party, which they tell party-goers, "You don't have to play this game, but if you do, you might win your very own Tupperware Party in your own home." The game features three baskets, with three different levels of Tupperware prizes. Each player takes a number from a Tupperware dish. All players who receive a #3 win one of the best prizes, and their own party. Players who draw either a #1 or a #2, receive one of the lesser prizes. The top sellers tell winners of the lesser prizes, "You can trade your prize for one of the better items right now, if you sign up for a party." And, even if a player doesn't win the party, the top sellers call her the next week to see if she would like a party anyway. "If she played the game, she was at least thinking about having a party.  And when we call her, we remind her that the best way to get Tupperware is to get it free." 

Modular-Mate Maxine thanked the top sellers and announced, "I will be holding a special class next Tuesday on how to recruit more parties than you have time for. You'll have so many parties you'll be really busy. Promise." 

Then Modular-Mate Maxine demonstrated how managers can have more dealers in their units by having current dealers recruit them.  She had two managers come to the stage. For their first turn, Maxine instructed each manager, "Recruit a dealer from the assembly." On the second turn, she told Manager A, "Recruit one more dealer." Then she told Manager B and her recruit from the previous turn, "Each of you -- recruit another dealer." After a few turns, Manager A had only a small cluster of dealers, while Manager B had filled her side of the stage.

Then Modular-Mate Maxine announced, "There will be a costume party for October 30th. Be there or be square!" And she added, "I'll have bags of candy for prizes -- but I'm not saying how much candy will be in the bags. And some of the bags might have money, but I'm not saying how much money." Toaster Tom, who is not a handsome man, said, "If you want to know how much money, remember my generosity is only exceeded by my good looks."

The meeting ended with another Tupperware Song, to the tune of "He's got the whole world in his hand," but which looked more like the Hokey Pokey. Burp-top Betty promised me I'd hear that song in my head all the next day.

It was saddening to find that I was unable to join in with this enthusiastic crowd of dealers and managers. I feel I have lost something important in life now that I am no longer able to work hard all week in hopes of earning a gold star.

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