Keeping It Fresh
BY Baz Hawkins
August 19 2009 12:00 AM ET
It’s T-minus two days and counting 'til the big Jubilee, Tupperware’s national sales conference held each year in Orlando, and Dixie Longate is frantically bedazzling the front of her gingham dress so that she sparkles when she’s invited onstage for her yearly sales recognition. After all, this is the classic food storage company’s version of the Academy Awards, and Dixie is one of its brightest stars. Even though she’s not number 1 in traditional party sales this year -- largely due to Dixie's traveling the country in her new one-woman show -- she still plans on racking up the awards. Being number 1 at anything has been a dream of Dixie’s since she started selling Tupperware brand products in 2001, and last year she was living that dream.
“Tupperware is a great company to work for,” exclaims Dixie through her lovable, slightly slurred Alabama drawl. “It’s nice that they recognize even somebody with a checkered past like myself. There I was last year, standing on the big stage with a shiny tiara, a bunch of roses, and a pearl necklace, while thousands of people cheered and shouted nice things. I felt like a Disney princess.”
Advocate.com:So how did you become the number 1 Tupperware salesperson in the country?Dixie Longate: By selling buttloads of bowls. You know, I started doing Tupperware parties all over L.A. and Orange County, and let me tell you, those O.C. housewives know how to have a good time. Anyone who thinks those hookers are conservative has never thrown down in Anaheim Hills on a Friday night with a margarita machine and a table filled with plastic bowls. But I started selling and worked my way up the ranks, from consultant to manager to director -- that’s a real big deal at Tupperware -- and challenged myself to break my own record every year. And last year I made it to number 1, by selling almost a quarter of a million dollars worth of Tupperware in a single year.
What do you anticipate your rank to be at the awards this year?Oh, I think I’ll be somewhere in the top 10. People haven’t been buying as much of my plastic crap since I’ve been on tour with my show.
But your show’s called Dixie’s Tupperware Party. Don’t you sell Tupperware onstage?Sure. But I don’t know if it’s the crappy-ass economy or if people don’t get that they can really buy Tupperware brand products at my performance, even though I hand out catalogs and order forms, and talk about it being just like a real Tupperware party; I can’t make it any plainer than I do. I just think people are stupid. I had a pretty good year, but nothing compared to last year.
The economy has affected a lot of businesses.I guess. What I have noticed is that the types of products that people are buying have changed. With folks trying to stretch their food dollars and not eating out as much, the cooking, storage, and microwave products have been selling like hotcakes -- I always thought that was a stupid saying. That’s like that saying “drunk as a skunk.” What the hell does that even mean? It should be “drunk as my neighbor, Georgia Jean.” Now that gal can drink even a troop of boy scouts under the table!