I remember reading some years ago about a traveling salesman who arrived at his favorite hotel only to find that there was a clergy convention going on. He was, later, describing the experience of being surrounded by such a host of “dog collars” to a friend. “How did you feel about that?” asked the friend. “I felt like a lion in a den of Daniels” he responded!
I felt like that the other day when I visited THQ. As I approached Pine Avenue I noticed a lot of women on the sidewalks all dressed in purple. The closer I got to the THQ parking garage, the thicker the throng became. Then, outside the hotel to the rear of THQ I spotted bus after bus loaded with women in purple.
I say they were all dressed in purple, but on closer look, there were a mixture of clothing styles… some skirts longer than others, some without jackets but with similar “purple inclined” blouses…evenI believe some with pants instead of skirts.
On enquiry, it turned out that it was a convention of Mary Kay Cosmetics representatives.
To be honest, it was in many ways like an Army congress event where delegates vastly outnumber the civilians who look at the uniformed with the same kind of curiosity I guess I must have.
There was no doubt they were proud of their uniform. While, until I asked, I had no idea what organization they represented, there was no doubt that–even with variations of uniform–they were all obviously part of the same organization.
Later in the day, I was at dinner with the territorial commander and chief secretary. As we waited in the foyer of the restaurant, a number of Mary Kay Cosmetics representatives came in. This time, some had replaced the purple jacket with one of brighter color. Others had the same kind of hat (a kind of safari hat with tiger markings). Commissioner Bond was curious and asked why the different color jackets. It had to do, I believe, with the area the representatives came from. And the hats? To do with some other sub-grouping. The attendees were, in fact, Mary Kay “directors” (I believe that was the term used) and there were 7000 at this particular gathering.
A larger gathering in the south attracts twice that number we were told.
A few things fascinated me about the group. One was that, despite minor differences with clothing styles–and the fact that the variety was increased by wearing different scarves, hats, jackets, and so on–there was an indisputable organizational identity. It reminded me of when, a few years ago, New Zealand airlines changed uniform. They, too, had “mix and match” outfits resulting in a variety of uniforms, yet again with no organizational confusion. Despite the variety, the wearing of uniform for both groups was immaculate, representing pride in what they represent. What possibilities does that offer for the Army one wonders?
Another thing that struck me was the zeal of the Mary Kay people. They were obviously proud to belong. They were anxious to share their “testimonies.” They were enthusiastic and positive about their product. They were, in many senses of the word, “evangelists”!
To be honest, I sensed they were possibly prouder of wearing a uniform than some Salvationists are at our congresses and commissioning events…particularly in public places. And, possibly, they seemed to be more zealous about their product and in trying to sell it to others than we may be as a movement. This despite the fact that their product is cosmetic and ours has to do with something infinitely more lasting.
Kay Sera. Que sera? Whatever will be will be?
Or do we have a choice?