Monday, March 21, 2011

Dixie Longate dishes the Tupperware freshness

“Dixie’s Tupperware Party”
Through May 15
Royal George Theatre Cabaret, 1641 N. Halsted
Tickets, $44-$49
Call: (312) 988-9000;

Trust me. This is not your grandmother’s Tupperware party. I caught up with one of Tupperware’s top salesperson Dixie Longate  (the alter ego of actor Kris Andersson), to chat about her one-woman show, her three kids and practical food storage solutions. The Sun-Times article can be found here. Here's the full transcript of what the Tupperware-selling double-wide trailer-owning diva had to say:

How did you get started selling Tupperware?
Dixie Longate: Well, I got out of prison and my parole officer –she’s so sweet, she’s this adorable lesbian—she said ‘you need a job in order to get your kids back. First of all, I was [laughs sarcasticly]: I don’t want them back! You get out of prison –and they don’t tell you this—you’re all like ‘hey, freedom’ and then they try to give you your kids? What part of that makes sense? Freedom means get the hell out of my business because I want to go have sex with somebody. With your kids there, you can’t ‘cause you have to pretend and you can’t make the same noises or else the youngins will be like ‘Mommy, are you ok? Can I help you’ and you’re all ‘don’t come in here now, it’s just not a good time.’

How many kids do you have?
Three. Oh my Lord. Winona is 16. She’s sweet. She works at the Hooters. She’s such an over-achiever. She’s got that tight, orange t-shirt and her nipples poke through. I’m trying to get her to score me one for church, ‘cause they’re so fancy. I’m gonna put some of those sparkles on it. Wouldn’t that be pretty in church with sparkles? Sparkles means Jesus pays more attention to you. Jesus is like one of those ADD kids. He just goes up to whatever is the most sparkly. So, you should always try to be sparkly at church. I don’t wear sparkles when I’m drinking a lot, ‘cause I don’t want Jesus to see me lying down between the pews. They give you that wine. It’s not very good, but it’s free, so I’m going to drink it.
 Where was I? Dewayne is 10. Absorbine Jr. is 3. He’s such a doll. He don’t speak yet, but I’m lettin’ him learn on his own time.

How did you come up with the name ‘Absorbine Jr.’?
Ok, so he’s my third child. And you know you just get pissed off and bitter by the time you have your third. You don’t want to go through labor again. You just want them to knock you out and wake you up when ‘Bonanza’ is on. They put me out and gave me some drugs and I said ‘that’s fine’ and when I woke up he was born. The nurse was new and wasn’t that bright. She was writing different medications that they put me on and was putting them all over my forms. Writing stuff in any old space to write it and in the box for the name she put ‘Absorbine Jr.’ And I decided they already named the baby, that’s going to save some time. So, I just kept it. Sometimes I just call him ‘Junior’ and other times it’s just ‘shut up.’ You can’t call him a ‘hooker’ yet, ‘cause he’s too young and he won’t understand.

Why Tupperware as opposed to, say, Avon or something else?
Well, it’s funny. My parole officer had a Tupperware bowl on her desk. She used to put candy in it. It was this pretty little one that looks like glass. You can still buy it. You can see it when you come to the party. When I was finishing my last session –you have to check in every week and they ask you stuff like ‘how’s that ankle bracelet working for you?’ and the answer is always ‘it’s getting in the way of my panty hose.’ Anyway, she always knew how much I liked the bowl. She told me she bought it at a Tupperware party and I should sell Tupperware.
At first, I thought she was on drugs. I almost called that Nancy Reagan and said ‘Just say no!’ But my first party was so much fun. All I had to do is stand up and talk about all that plastic crap. People bought stuff and they gave me free drinks at the party! I can go to work and get free cocktails? I’m staying! And now I’m in the back of this theater building in Chicago selling this stuff. I have arrived!

Was there a learning curve or does selling come natural to you?
Look: of course I’m good at selling things. I have a daughter.  I’m also a woman. You go to the bar at night and you ain’t got no money, so you raise an eyebrow. There are things I can do with my legs and a pole that’s always good to score me a couple of coins. So, I guess you can say I’ve always been good at selling things. Selling this came natural. Tupperware is the greatest crap on the planet! Who doesn’t need great food storage solutions?
People would come to a party and would have fun, so they would host a party. Who doesn’t want to have fun? Unless you’re retarded. Or a sadist who just wants to spank people.

You were the top-selling associate in 2008. What was the reaction of your fellow sales ladies when you attended the annual Jubilee to collect your award?
People raised eyebrows, because I’m so pretty. When I first started selling 10 years ago I did sort of ‘rock the boat,’ because I’m not a traditional Tupperware lady. People are more open and accepting to have fun.   They’re so great and supportive. The company gives so many incentives. I won a trip to Hawaii this year. True story. True. Story. It’s a great company to work for. They support women and women’s issues. At the end of the day, yes, we sell plastic bowls. It is so much more than just that, though. They’ve been in business for 65 years.  A Tupperware party is an opportunity to get together and really celebrate and have fun. 65 years and the party is still going on.

Before you started selling a Tupperware party, did you ever attend one?
You know, I never did. The first one I went to was the one where I went to learn how to start selling it. My mama had parties and owned Tupperware.  When I first started selling it, I would see things and think ‘That’s Tupperware? I remember having that when I was a youngin’.” Tupperware still sells that same ladle she used to beat me with. I used to suck on those popcicle makers long after the popcicle was gone. I would suck and suck in preparation for what would come later. Which, it turns out, is selling Tupperware. Who knew?

Is your mama still with us?
It depends on the day. We keep trying to unplug her, but she lives and lives. She’s got a fightin’ spirit. She don’t that much anymore. She drools a lot, though. She’s an angel. We brought her over for Christmas and plugged her in. She perked right up. We told her we had some Christmas cookies for her. Certain types of cookies make her drool more. Not even eating the cookie, just the mention of the cookie.

Is she aware of all your Tupperware success?
I think she is. I say things like ‘Hey, mama: I’m not a whore!’ and she brightens right up. Family, neighbors and church folk are all aware. They’re always coming over asking me for food storage solutions. Just the other day the Reverend came over and asked if I had something for storing his cocaine and I found him somethin’. It’s sweet. I have food storage solutions for everybody.

What’s the best selling product right now?
The company’s best seller is the thing called ‘the quick shake’ ($13).

 It’s a little shaker thing that you grandma might have used to make gravy. Of course, in my grandma’s case ‘make gravy’ meant ‘hit the hooch and she would pour it into the shaker and suck it down. She’d be drunk and say ‘come on, let’s celebrate Thanksgiving.’ Other people use them for their meal replacement shakes. The ‘homosectionals’ use it to make cocktails.

For me, I sell the most can openers ($32).

 Oh, my Lord and Savior. It’s the best can opener in the world. When you come to the party and see it, your jaw will open. It takes the lid off the can with no sharp edges. And there is this clamp on the side that comes down like a little bird sayin’ ‘I wanna take this lid off,’ so you don’t even have to touch the lid. It’s amazing. And if you have arthritis, palsy or you’re doing too much of anything else that makes your hand hurt, you still can use this can opener. It’s my favorite product in the whole wide world. This can opener is better than some of the men I’ve dated.

Another thing is the FlatOut! Bowls ($17 for two-piece set) that fold down for easy storage. 

And you can’t forget my Season-Serve meat marinader ($20).

 During the warm summer months when you go outside and want to stick your meat in something, use the meat marinader. Your meat is going to come out so juicy and tender, why your friends are all gonna jump on your meat.

What Tupperware product do you personally use the most in your own kitchen?
I use the can opener a lot, but because I’m a big party gal, I like to give parties and I love to have people over to the doublewide trailer. So, I use the Chip ‘N Dip bowl ($39.50). It has the compartments for you to put stuff in. You can put your chips in the big bowl and your dip goes into the smaller bowl that clips onto the side. Who is the genius that comes up with this stuff? It’s amazing. You throw both in the dishwasher and your party clean up is done. And it’s also color-coordinated, so the ‘homosectionals’ love it. They always love things that match in color.

Who is the audience for your Tupperware party?
A lot of people think it’s only for ladies, but it’s not true. Sure, the little old ladies who have been goin’ to Tupperware parties for forever and know the brand always show up. They can’t get enough of the food storage solutions. Young gals who want to have fun and have a party also come. Party is right in the title, after all. You want to come to my ‘Party’ and get a little raucous with your girlfriends, you can. Men come, too. It’s a fun date-night thing. The Red Hats always come ‘cause they’re old and not busy. The ‘homosectionals’ also like to come, ‘cause they all love the party stuff. They love to have people over and entertain. And they seem to buy anything sparkly to serve their fancy things out of. So, I guess my ‘Party’ is for everybody. Except kids. They’re sticky. I have nice things and I don’t want ‘em sticky at the end of the party. If you’re thinkin’ about bringing the kids, don’t. They’re just gonna whine, complain and get my nice Tupperware sticky.

Why has Tupperware endured?
When you go to the grocery story and buy disposable crap, you don’t really think about it. You have a relationship with Tupperware. When you use it, you remember the party, you remember the host and you remember the fun you had. That’s why you see so many ladies who scrawl their names on the bottom of their Tupperware. They don’t want nobody stealin’ their Tupperware. It would be like stealin’ their man. You form that kind of connection to it. It means something more to you. And because it lasts forever, you will always remember.

Last word on Tupperware?
Freshness! Tupperware is gonna keep all your crap fresh. And then the second-to-last word is ‘savings,’ ‘cause you won’t be buying stuff only to throw it away ‘cause it went bad. Third-to-last-word is ‘lifetime warranty.’ Ok, that’s two words, but if anything breaks we’ll replace it free of charge. This crap is amazing. Amazing!

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