Thursday, September 07, 2006
The Catford Wives
A very long day. Fellow consultant Collette arrives at my place at 8:00 a.m. After rooibos tea and scrambled eggs, we head off to Luton by train. The Holiday Inn near Luton Airport is the venue for the first Jubilee meeting of Tupperware UK and Ireland since the relaunch a year or so ago. The Jubilee recognises the top consultants, introduces new products and the new catalogue, and generally gets us all fired up with the love of Tupperware.
I am the only male consultant. Marc from Blackpool is on holiday this week, so he can't make it. I do think I approach the work a bit differently to other consultants, both procedurally and philosphically. Maybe that has something to do with being a man. But probably it has more to do with other factors: as a gay man living in the centre of a very diverse city, my parties have a much broader range of social, ethnic and income demographics than many other consultants'. My parties are often run for groups of colleagues in their work place, or for friends who live wildly scattered, so I have to be prepared for anything and anyone. At one party, one of the guests turned out to be someone I had met on a dating website. He said nothing, and neither did I.
Summer has felt a bit slow Tupper-wise, so I am surprised but thrilled to be named number 6 consultant for summer sales in the UK and Ireland. I am rewarded with a new and improved Quick Chef, Tupperware's hand-operated food processor, to add to my demonstration kit.
Another new item in the Autumn/Winter catalogue is the Multi-Server, a Tupperware classic which has been off-menu for a while. Customers have been begging for it, but as a new kid on the block, I didn't even know what it was. When the Managing Director whips out a Multi-Server onstage and announces its return, my fellow consultants start whooping and screaming. So what is this thing? Well, it is a rice cooker, a fish poacher, a defroster, a cool box, you name it. I am told it cooks pasta without continuously boiling water, but my jury is still out on that one, and I am going to try it for myself this weekend.
Consultants are showered with gifts, prizes and a chance to buy all the new items for our demo kit. On the train home I am absolutely laden (see photo above): a BreadSmart bread bin with separate bread boad, Tupperware branded umbella, carrier bag of smaller items, my own backpack and my prize Quick Chef which is all dragged up in florist's wrap and a bow.
Back home, I have barely half an hour before I am boarding the 171 bus to Catford to run a party for Maria. I had already packed my big black kit bag last night, thank goodness. Sadly, my handy trolley-bag on wheels is history already: it has taken a lot of punishment these last few months as I hauled it through puddles, across cobbles and on and off buses and trains. It now has a dodgy wheel, the zips are broken, and a bag of flour leaked on the way home a few weeks ago. As it happens, a new trolley bag is the latest incentive Tupperware is offering for recruiting a new consultant, so I will see what I can do.
Maria is an ex-Tupperware consultant, and she intends to stay that way (I tried). Six of her friends barrel in, and the next few hours are a blur of scandal aired, bowls burped, ciggies smoked, consultant teased, salsa prepared, teenage daughters compared and contrasted, and a lot of Chardonnay poured. And it's a good party for Maria, she comes out with £100 worth of Tupperware for less than £50.
I am home just before midnight and go straight to bed. As I drift off, I hatch a plan to host a weekend Open House at my home in the next few weeks for everyone on my mailing list. I can show off the new products, bake a few muffins in the Silicone Muffin Form which is a special offer for September, and give away some of the bits and bobs I have picked up at the Jubilee (an orange peeler, an thing for lifting boiled eggs out of the pan, etc.). If you are on my mailing list, stand by for an invitation. If you are not on the list, feel free to join.