The Avon Chronicles: How I Got Stuck with an Order for $115!

Being an Avon mentor is not always about telling the fluffy stuff. Being part of a team gives us the opportunity to learn from others as well as show others what we’ve experienced. It doesn’t always have to be a success story; it could also be a learning lesson. Just like you, I have also been through rough patches hence why I decided to share this story with you today. I am an open book. They say a smart man learns from his mistakes and a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. I’ve been smart at times, I’ve been wise at times and sometimes, I was just flat out dumb. Use my mistakes to guide you; you don’t have to make the same mistakes — unless you simply want to 🙂

When I first joined Avon, I did not have a credit limit and I was participating in the Hit $100 Challenge. If I completed the challenge, I received guaranteed earnings of 40%, free samples and a beauty bundle worth $100! I really wanted to win the challenge to prove to myself that I could do it. I did not have the support of my family but I wouldn’t let that stop me.

I decided that I would work really hard. Leave no stone unturned. I got out, hit the pavement, introduced myself to new people and left brochures at local businesses. One day out of the blue, I got a call from a new customer who picked my brochure up from a restaurant. She said she loved Avon and that she along with her family would like to purchase Avon from me. She ordered a lot of beauty items and then told me to hold on so her niece could also place an order. I was so excited! I was holding the phone and jumping for joy! She had become the new love of my life — I’m so easy *eye roll*. She proved that this could be done. I had finally made it. I told her that I would place the order on Wednesday and drop off on Saturday. She said that would be fine and we disconnected. It was all going so perfect. I didn’t have to work for this one. I didn’t want to run her away by asking for the payment upfront so I figured I’d just pay for her order upfront and collect it when I delivered.

I calculated the total of her items and it was well over $115! Her order alone would get me in the Hit $100 Challenge. Now I could sit back and relax. This was going to be so awesome! One customer and I’m done for the campaign 🙂

When Saturday arrived, I called her — bright eyed and bushy-tailed. I was so excited. I even smiled so she could hear my excitement through the phone. She didn’t answer. Still feeling pretty enthusiastic, I left her a voicemail. She called back within 30 minutes. Yes! I knew she wouldn’t let me down. She apologized and informed me that she was waiting on her friend to come with the money. She only had $67 and he had the rest. She said he would be there within an hour and she’d call to let me know when he came. Still feeling pretty optimistic, I thanked her for telling me what was going on. We disconnected and I waited on her to give me a call back.

One hour had passed and I thought about calling her but said no, I’m not the pushy type. I looked at the clock and four hours had passed. I thought to myself — “maybe she’s a little tied up or he’s handling some business.” Oh no! I fell asleep. I jumped up and immediately checked my phone. It was already Sunday! She hadn’t called so I gave her a call. No answer so I left a voicemail. I called again on Monday. Still no word back. I waited until the following Monday and called, no word back. I waited one more week and called again. This lady was too excited to have found an Avon rep. There’s no way she’d let me down. She never answered 🙁

At this time, I had already received the free samples and was only one $100 order short of getting the bundle. I knew that I couldn’t return the items. If I did, I’d lose out. I worked hard for this. There was no way I was going to lose it.  So I decided to sell the products. I forgot she also ordered a jacket (XL-XXL) and shoes (size 10). I couldn’t find anyone that wanted to buy them! Since I had already paid for them, I decided to donate at a local women’s shelter. The way I figured it was a win-win situation; one deserving lady got brand new shoes and jacket and I got to keep my award sales. From some reason, I still felt as if I had lost 🙁

I felt so defeated. I had done everything right. How could this go wrong? With the next order, I had 3 new customers and 1 new business! I had left brochures at their location and they had just lost their Avon lady so they said my timing was just right. The waitress introduced me to her sister, the owner introduced me to his neighbor and one of their patrons decided to order from me! It was so unexpected. Once again, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy and I really didn’t know what to do. I just knew I wouldn’t mess this up. I told them that I needed the money upfront and even explained what happened to me with the $100+ order. To my surprise, they all understood! One lady even said “well you gotta get paid, don’t you?” She then asked if I had “one of those little Square things.” I didn’t. I knew I was forgetting something. Duh.

It was a great idea so I went to Square’s and PayPal’s websites and had them both ship readers for free. I carried the reader in my wallet so I’d never by jipped again. About a month later, I had a new customer call from brochures left at a beauty supply. She wanted to order for herself and two other coworkers. While on the phone, I explained that I take payment upfront. She said that’s how she’s always done it with her former Avon rep. Yes! I sent her an online invoice and she paid promptly. We arranged for delivery and she’s been purchasing from me from 9 months now!

Of course, you’re wondering about the lady that stood me up: she finally called about three months after she placed her order! She said she lost my number and wanted to know if I still had her order. I told her she’d need to place another order as I no longer had the items and that I needed the money upfront. She didn’t understand why and I informed her that she left me with an unpaid bill. I offered to take debit/credit over the phone. She said she’d call back. I didn’t hear from her until a month after that! And it was the same situation; she didn’t understand why I required payment. After I explained that I still remember she stood me up, she hung up.

It was definitely a learning experience. I was still wet behind the ears as some folks like to say it. Not only did I foot the bill for someone I didn’t even know, but I allowed her to run my business and to some extent, allowed her to break my spirit. Did she know she had done this? Probably not. At this point, it doesn’t even matter.

If she would’ve called in her order to any catalog company or ordered from Walmart.com, she would’ve had to pay upfront. This is no different. This is my business.

I avoided being pushy so I wouldn’t lose a customer and still lost a customer. It’s not considered being pushy. It’s called being a business owner.