Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Monday, September 17, 2012


Like most husbands and many unmarried men there are two things I have learned to stay away from: Baby Showers and Tupperware Parties.  Mary understands this and hasn’t mentioned either in an attendance fashion for years.  In fact, I thought that Tupperware parties were a thing of the past.

Not so much.

Mary brought me an article from the OC Register discussing the recent Tupperware Jamboree held in Anaheim.  The Jamboree is an annual event celebrating the top salespersons for the product.  The top three of this year all happened to have one thing in common:  They are female impersonators.

Whew!  Roll over Earl Silas Tupper, and maybe Brownie Wise, who thought up the whole idea of selling from women's homes.

Although Tupper found a use for the new material, plastic, by using its memory and elasticity to form a seal that made foodstuffs last longer in 1936 and introduced it commercially in 1946, it wasn’t until his partner, Wise, hit on the idea to empower women in the home with a way to make some money by using their domestic and social skills, that he made any real money

Eventually he did what most men do when they are out-thought by a woman: he fired her in 1958 and stole her idea.

When World War II ended the returning men decided they wanted their jobs back, thank you very much, and that they wanted their women to return to the kitchen.  That home salesroom for Tupperware gave these women a chance to make a little money, exercise their independence, and  develop skills that allowed them to move into the entrepreneurial aspects of American (and eventually global) commerce.

Dee W. Ieye
Kevin Farrell
Last year’s worldwide sales were $ 2.6 billion and Aunt Barbara (aka Robert Suhan), Dee W. Ieye (aka Kevin Farrell) and Kay Sedia (Aka Oscar Quintero) all had sales over $200,000 last year.  Let’s set things straight (no pun intended), these ladies are not part of the LGBT movement.  They are more in the pattern of comedic entertainers, who find their slightly over-the-top personas are non-threatening and attention getting.  They ease the tension at their gatherings and lessen the feeling that the hostess is using her friendships for personal gain.

All of them graciously acknowledge that they never would have their success had it not been for the originator of the idea, L.A.’s Pam Teflon (Jeff Sumner), whose mother prompted him to sell Tupperware as Joan Crawford in the mid-1990s.  He was so successful that he made U.S. News and World Report, NPR and a feature story in the LA Times.

The irony that these three men are breaking sales records in a market that was designed to make women successful is not lost on them.  The original concept of rewarding women for hosting a sales activity remains intact, and the success these three entertainers have is shared by a multitude of soccer-moms and stay-at-home wives in Orange and San Diego Counties.  More so than in Los Angeles where there are more drag queens and fewer stay-at-home moms.

Although the closest relationship to Tupperware and  lobster may be that left-over lobster salad can be preserved, I found it interesting that the most recent “Lobstermen” in Maine are now women, brought into the workforce because of the economy and a falling price in lobster.  NPR did a feature on one of the lady Lobstermen that you might find interesting.  Here is a link to the four-minute feature.

Next posting I’ll be focusing on something a little more personally familiar.  Want to learn the latest on the Tooth Fairy?  Check out my next post.

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