The Return of Saladmaster

Here are some early morning random thoughts.... And then a story.

1. I love the way my children say certain things and I am positive I will never correct them or teach them the right/socially acceptable way to say it. They're either going to have to learn them the right way from the world or say these words for ever. Such as, they call Hula Hoops: Hoopa Loopers. Precious, right??? Toaster Strudels: Rooster Doodles. Tornadoes: Hornados (As if they were from a Spanish Speaking country and I have NO idea where they got this from!!!) and Tomatoes: Pamatoes. I love them all!! Recently, I heard another little boy from our church group call Jelly Beans, Bunny Beans and I've been slowly trying to integrate this into their vocabulary ever since. Am I a terrible mother?? They're just so darn cute!!!

2. My books are selling like hot cakes in Germany this month!! Woot. Woot! Well, and by hot cakes, I mean I've sold five... But that's a big number for me over there!!! And not just Reckless. We're going all the way up to Fearless!! Amazon has stores in six different countries: the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. And last month I sold at least one book in every country but Italy. The month I sell a book in every single store, I'm going to celebrate!! :) Zach laughs at how excited I get over just one book, but people these aren't English speaking countries... At least not primarily, and I can't help it!! Plus, then I get to assign a made-up story to the person who bought the book and that's part of the fun. Once, I sold 10 Reckless copies in France in the matter of a week. Well... sold is a relative term since it's free. But you know what I mean. These ten books obviously went to a university-age book club made up of all very chic, stylish French twenty-somethings. They discussed Reckless in a little cafe, over espressos and croissants and hated Kiran at first, but grew to love him by the end.

This is why I'm a writer. I live in the world of the delusional! :)

3. I am sick. Like really, really, terribly sick. And not with anything truly debilitating, but with the nastiness of a monster head cold. My nose is like a snot faucet, my head feels like it's being sat on by a hundred ton elephant and my voice sounds as though I swallowed a frog.... It's so not attractive. I can't even open my mouth without falling into fits of ugly coughing. And have you ever been pregnant whilst struggling with a cough????? So not fun, bladder-wise....!!!!!! But the worst part is my voice. Sometimes when you get a cold you can sound all sexy and gravelly, but not this time my friends. The only way to describe the sounds coming out of my mouth is Croaking. I croak my instructions to my kids, or my conversations with Zach and it's so awful, I would prefer just to take a vow of silence for the next week or until something like my normal, lisping self returns. (I don't really have a lisp. Just a giant tongue. Once a dental assistant told me it was very geographical.... That doesn't make sense. Trust me, I've asked others.)

So anyway.... My head is more fuzzy than normal and I'm a bit on the miserable side.... I just hope this all goes away before the weekend, when we go out of town for Stella's Dance Company. I'm hoping to get bunches and bunches of work done. That's the plan anyway...

4. Ok and now to my story....

I got an email last night.

Well, a particularly-mind-stumping email.... That had me reading it and re-reading it all night, trying to figure out how the heck it ended up in my mailbox.

My email used to be a very boring place, filled with e-bill reminders and clothing store sale ads. Occasionally I would get a random email from a friend, but for the most part, nothing exciting EVER happened there.

Then I published some books.

And that has definitely spiced things up a bit!!! :) I get all kinds of emails from fans, both angry and sweet :) and other writers whom I ADORE (Jenn and Nancy!!), opportunities with book bloggers and some from people who are soon to be very good friends! (Like Brooke!!) I even met my editor through an email exchange that had nothing to do with editing!

I have like pen pals now. And it's fun to open my account and see what's going on in there!

Until last night.

Oh and this email has NOTHING to do with writing.

Nope. It has to do with Saladmaster..... Dun, dun, dun..... (That was ominous music, in case anyone was wondering.)

Yes, Saladmaster has returned to my life!!!!!!! If only for a brief moment. Still, the email is sitting in my inbox, just waiting to be responded to and I'm trying to swallow some bitterness so that I can at least sound mature and professional when I shoot back my reply.

I'll give you some history before I talk about the email.

A refresher course for those that already know the story.

Saladmaster, if you don't already know, is a direct sales company that sells the highest end cookware you can buy. All of their products are made with 316 Titanium Steel, which is completely non-reactive with whatever goes inside. It's the only metal in the world that you can store blood in or put into your body (Like for a hip replacement). It also is completely safe to cook food in. (Where as Teflon pans have been linked to cancer, and aluminum pans, what most cookware is made out of is thought to be a significant contributor to Alzheimers. Oh and it is supposed to be able to last generations, it's very, very durable.)

But it's more than this amazing, very, very expensive cookware... It's a way of life. A very, very healthy way of life. A lot of heart-patients and cancer-patients, who are trying alternative medicine such as a change in diet as opposed to chemo and what not use this product because they have a very, very high success rate with both, but especially cancer patients. Even stage four cancer patients.

It's not just the cookware though, like I said, it turns into this way of life.

The pots and pans cook your food evenly and from the inside out, so that you can cook vegetables at a lower temperature without killing the nutrients and vitamins. Nothing is cooked over a temperature of 187 degrees Fahrenheit and if you do it correctly, nothing is cooked with oil, butter or water. Yep, even vegetables are cooked in the pan without water.

I was introduced to this product through my friend Kendra who had a party at her house. It was just me and Kimbra and Kendra and so I got to ask a bazillion questions, like how do you boil an egg without water (It's possible by the way).

I was amazed. And not just because I absolutely adore infomercials. (Billy Mays was my hero, RIP...) :) But because this product is just a completely different concept than anything I had been introduced to before. Seriously, if you ever get a chance to sit through a show, you should. It will blow your mind.

They even cook you dinner and everything!!!

Ok, so by default, because they are very pushy salesmen, I ended up hosting a show at my house. It went something like this, "Rachel, what day works for you to host a show?" And I'm all fumbling around... going, "I, uh, um.... I really want Kendra to get her gift, and maybe I need to host a show in order to do that... uh.... Saturday??"

And so begins the slow spiral into hell.

Actually, the party I had was super fun and our friends bought a set, and our other friends were seriously considering it until they hosted a party of their own, but that's a different story and his name is Todd.

And that leads us to Todd. The Saladmaster guy who started it all.

He is one piece of work.

Which I knew going into this. I mean, you can't meet the guy without, I don't even know how to explain it. But you know he's a salesman. You just instantly know it.

Anyway, so my previously unconvinced husband sat through the show and was impressed. Which doesn't happen very often. I mean, I had come home from Kendra's party unable to stop talking about the product, and he just told me I was gullible, until he saw it for himself! And then he did hours of internet research and we decided this was something we were interested in.

Plus his best friend had just bought a set, that helped a little.

We changed a bunch of stuff about our lifestyle before we even purchased the product. We stopped using canned foods, stopped eating out by 75% because restaraunts use aluminum and microwaves, we gave up our microwave in exchange for a non-cancer-causing toaster oven, most of our foods are home cooked, I try very hard not to cook anything that comes in a package or box. Cakes are made from scratch, pancakes are made from scratch, I used to do my own spaghetti sauces and mac and cheese, but I've gotten lazy... and busy. In fact the only thing I buy canned or boxed is Kraft mac and cheese, tomato soup and refried beans. (Although I used to make those from scratch too...)

And then there was Todd who just kept pushing and pushing and throwing in this deal after this deal and here's some of this to sweeten the pot and blah blah blah.

But Zach and I don't buy, or don't usually buy anything with credit. If you don't know, we're a little bit... goofy. And so most or all of our purchases are cash, save for our car. Although, this summer we have to buy a van, and we do plan to use cash for that.... If we can save it up in time! :)

So that was the biggest downfall to Todd's whole argument. We don't use credit. And the sets cost from anywhere between $4,000 to $10,000. Yep, it's expensive stuff. And, most people, especially us back then, didn't have just thousands of dollars sitting around to purchase new cookware.

So Todd threw in the ultimate deal for us. He told us Rachel, if you sell for me, if you do this program, after thirty shows, Saladmaster will reimburse you the set you purchase. Whatever set that is.

For free.

So, we do credit for the initial thirty shows, and then use the cash they just hand over to us to pay off the pans.

Oh and by the way I'm making money while I do this.

Although I made it absolutely, perfectly clear that if I didn't sell a SINGLE thing the entire thirty shows that I would still get reimbursed. And I was told, absolutely, of course you will, you just have to do thirty shows, but I promise you will sell sets. It's just how this product works, people believe in it and they want it. It changes lives.

And since it had changed our lives, we started to consider it.

So Zach and I talked about it some more. A LOT more. And I had sold jewelry for a brief time before Scarlett was born, and so I had some experience with direct selling and we decided that we had nothing to lose.

Plus, Saladmaster is actually the parent company of Regal Cookware, and so it's a reputable company. If we had any issues with Todd, we could go to corporate.

Other than the sleazy selling part of it, this seemed like a legitimate organization.

I have to give you some serious background so that in a few minutes you don't think I'm completely crazy and gullible for falling for this horse ****. :)

So, I trained with two other guys, and we all start selling for Todd. I had to do a certain number of training shows with Todd there, and then I could go out on my own. There started to be a number of problems during these training shows, such as I set them up, they were my friends and family and yet if I sold a set, Todd told me after the fact that since he was there, he get's the commission and when I go out on my own then I can start collecting my own commission. Never mind the commission is $600-$1,000/per set sold and sometimes I was selling multiple sets. Ok.... Well, the first time that happened I threw a huge bitch-fit (Lets call it what it is, and got my commission.... Or at least part of it.) and so Todd stopped going on shows with me when he realized he wasn't going to be stealing from me. Let's not even get into the sexism that went on between the three boys and me. Up until that point, I didn't really believe sexism was an actual issue still prevalent in today's society. Surely men see the value and worth in women, by now??? Uh, no. I was, and I'm not kidding you... sent to wash all the dishes, all the time. When we were all together, that was the only job they allowed me to have! To wash dishes and hand Todd the vegetables. PLUS. When we were in meetings, they would actually ask me to get them coffee!!!! As if they couldn't walk across the room by themselves.... Todd then sent Evan, another.... the word I really want to use here is douchebag, but I won't, I'll use gentleman. And that lasted all of one time when he pressured the couples at dinner so severely into hosting a show with me, I had to call each of the couples the next day and apologize to them for his rudeness. I was mortified. And they, in turn, hated their evening.

After that, I told Todd I didn't need any help, thank you very much! And I started to do shows on my own, with Zach as my little helper.

It was actually fun. We liked doing it together, getting out of the house for a couple evenings a week, and personally I LOVE public speaking so it was right up my ally.

I honestly hate to admit this, but I'm a pretty good saleswoman. And I did really, really, really well selling Saladmaster. I was always booked with parties, people had a really good time and I sold a bunch of sets.

The problem was.... I never got paid for those sets.

Todd, turned out to be a little bit of a loose canon. And by little bit, I mean, during this whole fiasco, he went through a crazy, psychotic divorce... Like his wife just up and left him and filed for a restraining order against him and he had four kids. Now, I don't know the whole story or what kind of husband he was at home, but for a while he was living out of the Saladmaster office and honestly I felt bad for the guy.

Meanwhile, I'm still selling, doing great and not getting paid. Or getting paid VERY sporadically.... Zach has had words with him a couple times and it's to the point where we stopped thinking it was something we would continue doing, and more like let's just do our thirty shows, get our money and get the hell out of Dodge. Although, we never made that clear to Todd, because we were afraid what would happen.

We apparently should have been afraid anyway....

Because then Todd took a vacation to Texas, to work with a Saladmaster guy down there for a while. (Saladmaster is all over the country and has been around since the fifties. It's what Zig Ziglar sold all those years.. The infomercial with the vegetable chopper...? Anyone? :)

Ok, anyway. This is where things REALLY started to get sketchy. Suddenly, no money was coming in. Like at all!! And here I am still working all these shows, just trying to make it to my 30th!!!

Plus, on top of me NOT getting paid, my hosts/hostesses were not getting their gifts. That's the whole allure of hosting a dinner. They give you this really, really expensive gift for just hosting a show with them. And nothing was getting to my hosts.

At one point I had done 18 shows, and not one of them had received anything!!!!!!

And I hadn't gotten paid.

So. Todd FINALLY sent me a check. I deposited it in my account.

We needed the money.

And it bounced.

Yep, the check just bounced.

And then it happened again.

And then I got another check and tried to deposit it and my bank told me they wouldn't take it.

Oh my word. It was craziness.

Then... It comes out that Todd's not on vacation in Texas. He MOVED TO MISSOURI!!!!! What??? When was he planning on telling me??? He wasn't. I found this out through a different Saladmaster guy in Omaha, whom Todd owed several hundred dollars to.

So we called Corporate. Our back up plan.

And they were great. They got me all my host gifts, all 18 of them, by this time I was missing two whole sets of cookware, and they got those out to the owners. The only thing they weren't able to get me was my money.... But by this time it was $700, and down by half of the original amount owed...

I still had faith that Todd would send it to me. I mean, I was pregnant with my third child, I had mouths to feed, surely he understood the plight of the working mom.

Surely not.

So, I still wasn't to my thirtieth show yet and Saladmaster generously suggested I start selling for Chris. A different SM guy still living in Omaha. He had a seemingly successful business and was willing to just take over where Todd left off. Or so he said....

I kept selling, because while all this was happening, I was still doing really well, and had all kinds of parties lined up.

But things are never as they seem with lifelong salesmen and Chris turned into just as big of a disaster as Todd!!!!

Ok, that's a little unfair. Todd is a nightmare I never want to relive again. But Chris, who told me he was still selling, actually wasn't. And by this time it was time to have Stryker, so I had slowed down my shows. Under Chris, he still owes TWO of my past clients gifts. And like I said, these are worth like $350. AND, the whole getting paid back for my set from Todd, fell through once he disappeared, so the deal I made with Corporate and Chris was that Saladmaster would send a set worth $4,000 and when I sold it, I would keep all the profit. Which was $2,000 less than the original owed amount, but Todd was gone at this point and we decided to just take it, and get out of the company all together.

Ok, but Chris was all, I just have to keep the set at my office because if it were to ever end up on Ebay or whatnot we could all get into serious trouble.

And I trusted him like an idiot!!!

Then he disappeared.

With my host gifts.

And my $4,000 set.

Getting royally screwed doesn't not even begin to describe!!!!!!!!!!

The Christian part of me walked away and has been trying to turn the other cheek ever since. The angry/bitter/screwed over side composes nasty letters to Corporate in my head weekly.

This happened in February of last year.

We published Reckless in March.

Not a coincidence.

So maybe, maybe in the end it was a good thing... Because prior to that March, I had looked at self-publishing as a failure and refused to believe an agent out there didn't or wouldn't believe in my manuscript.

Turns out Self-Publishing is the greatest thing that ever happens to me and I can now look at traditional publishing with a very, very wary eye.

Anyway, this leads us back to the email that I got last night. From Chris. The second guy. Telling me he's back in the business and wants to know if I'll come sell for him again.....

Uh, what????

Instead of a reply, I might just send him a link to this blog so he can understand my trauma!!!!!

I'll give it to him though, I mean, to steal essentially $4,000 from us and screw over two of our clients and then email to ask if I want to go through it all over again takes some serious kahonas (Sp.???). Right???? I mean, you don't get there by apologizing for who you are or what you've done. You get there by keeping your eye on the prize. Which is dollar bills, dollar dollar bills y'all.


Zach would LOVE the chance to reply. So we'll see how this goes down. But more than likely I will stay polite and professional with a very poised, "No thank you, I've had my fill of direct sales for two life times."

Anyway, I'm still reeling. That email was like a nightmare come to life. In my head I retreated to this tiny little girl, huddled in the corner, whimpering, "I don't want to sell pans, I want to be a writer, I don't want to sell pans, I want to be a writer!!!!"



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  1. Holy Mother of Pearl...
    You are so much better than me! I would have sent a reply...
    So GLAD you aren't selling cookware anymore and decided to write. Your books are amazing!

  2. I just got done reading your Reckless Magic series, like literally, just got done. I have completely neglected my 4 little kids the past week in order to do so.

    I LOVED them. And that says something because I'm typically not the reading type of girl.

    In fact, I couldn't put my kindle down!

    Just thought I'd let you know!

    -Andrea from AZ

  3. Wow, that does sound like a nightmare. It's one of those experiences you are so afraid will happen....

  4. Was it Chris Fransisco by chance?