Long live her majesty Dixie Longate, Queen of burping plastic containers and the phallic vegetables whose crispness they safeguard. Guardian blogger Kira Cochrane posted today about Longate's seemingly unprecedented enthusiasm for Tupperware parties — or jubilees, as she gleefully calls them — and her place in the pantheon of eccentric salespeople of ironic and practical kitchenware.
Over the course of her Tupperware-peddling career, Longate has become one of the biggest sellers of "fine-quality plastic crap" in the U.S., and as a result of her unbridled endorsement and wild gesticulating, she has been invited to the Tupperware sales conference this year. "When I was number one last time," says Longate, pulling back the curtain on the lucrative world of plastic tubs, "I had sold $219,000 of Tupperware in a year. Ain't that crazy?"
Yes, it's pretty crazy. Almost as crazy as Tupperware pioneer Brownie Wise, who no doubt would have happily approved of Longate's over-the-top sales pitch since she herself rode around in a pink Cadillac accompanied by a canary dyed to match the car as if she were some sort of deranged, post-war personification of Death straight out of a Tim Burton movie. Back in the early days, Tupperware sellers employed a tactic not so far removed from Longate's suggestive cucumber trick (use your prodigious imagination) called "carrot calling," whereby they present two carrots to neighbors and ask them to put one in Tupperware and keep one without the Tupperware to see which stayed, ahem, firmer the longest.
Cochrane notes that while "the history of Tupperware parties is sometimes considered bad for women" by "reinforcing domestic stereotypes and commercializing social ties," Longate's sales tactics are subversive and self-aware (on the front page of her site you must "click to enter Dixie"), continuing a long tradition started by Wise, who became the first woman to grace the cover of Business Week in 1954. Says Longate,
Tupperware came into vogue when all these women were relegated to the kitchen, and it was an amazing way for them to run their own businesses. I wanted to make this a little love letter to Brownie Wise, and to women everywhere.
That's fine and all, but if the Tupperware product is so empowering, why is it impossible to match a lid with a container once you store your new plastic ware in your kitchen cabinet? I'll tell you why — Dixie Longate is running some sort of slick, highly entertaining and good-natured pyramid scheme, and the pyramid is made out of mismatched plastic.
Drag artist is Tupperware queen [Guardian]