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  • Martha, Self-Restraint, Best Business Practices

    November 23, 2009

    Whatever your feelings are about Martha Stewart, you have to admit she’s a good business woman. She built a media empire and became a zillionaire in the process, although not entirely by playing by the same rules as the rest of us middle-class schmucks, but that’s another story.

    So then the other day, I passed through the living room where AD was flipping through the channels and there was Martha on the television speaking to someone in her usual snotty and condescending tone.

    It didn’t really catch my attention because Martha always speaks that way, even when she is talking about turnips. But then I heard her trashing Rachael Ray and I just had to stop and find out what crime Rachael had committed against Martha.  Were Rachael’s bed sheets not Egyptian cotton?  Had she used canned green beans in a recipe? No. It turns out that Rachael does not even have a garden!  What kind of low life does not even have a garden?  Show of hands?

    Now I’m not Rachael’s PR lady and neither am I her detractor, I’m just saying Rachael is very popular.  Lots of people buy her books and magazines and watch her TV shows. My point is that she is loved by millions and my guess is that most of those people are the same people who buy Martha’s crap stuff.

    Then last night as I was dozing off, there was Martha again on my television, this time going off on Sarah Palin.  Martha was dripping with contempt and saying some really ugly things. And again, I’m not here to sing the praises of Sarah or tell you why she is the devil, because everyone seems to have already made up their minds on that.  I’m just saying that millions of people love her.  And wouldn’t you agree that a lot Sarah’s fans are probably K-Mart shoppers? Or Sears shoppers or wherever Martha is hawking her wares these days. Obviously, I don’t keep up with Martha.

    For a woman with a head for business, Martha’s lack of  self-restraint mystifies me. I fail to see what benefit it was to Martha to vomit the feelings she has towards Sarah and Rachael all over middle America, thus alienating most of the very people who fill her coffers.  Were those thoughts that simply could not go unexpressed?  Did it endear her to her customer base? No.  I think it made her look really small and sad.

    Whatever your feelings are about any of the three women mentioned heretofore, from a purely business standpoint, Martha’s self-indulgent behavior seems to me like a really bad business move and terribly unsavvy.

    Martha your lack of restraint surprises me. I thought you were more calculating than that.

    34 Comments »

    1. Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam says:

      Oh – I am cracking up with this one. Yes, definitely BAD, BAD Business….but she is one smart cookie and when I find her books on sale at yard sales for a quarter, I buy them up. 🙂

      November 23rd, 2009 at 10:36 am

    2. Jenny-Jenny says:

      I just have never liked her but still… what’s up with that attitude.. was she having a theme? Beat up on women week?

      * * *
      It seems to me that all of America is suffering from a lack of self-restraint in recent yeras — verbally, materially, and many other ways. But why stop now! The holidays are just around the corner! =)

      November 23rd, 2009 at 10:45 am

    3. k&c's mom says:

      My sister and I discussed this over the weekend. We love Rachel enough to have stood outside for three hours on a freezing December afternoon to have her sign a cookbook. And then Martha goes off on her. Maybe Ms. Stewart needs to up the estrogen for mood swings.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 11:02 am

    4. Kathy Johnson says:

      Have to tell you how MUCH I look forward to your letters, you are an amazing woman and one of US! Love your recipes too. Just love your articles! Thank you! 🙂

      November 23rd, 2009 at 11:35 am

    5. Becky says:

      Have you heard Rachel Ray’s response? It was the epitome of graciousness – she said that her skill set was not as good as Martha’s. No defensiveness, no snarkiness. I was never a Rachel Ray fan (not against her, just ambivalent) until now.

      “Her skill set is far beyond mine. That’s simply the reality of it. That doesn’t mean that what I do isn’t important too … I really just think she’s being honest. She does have a better skill set than I do when it comes to producing a beautiful, perfect, high-quality meal.”

      Then she adds: “I’d rather eat Martha’s than mine, too.”

      * * *
      Yes, Rachael’s response was beyond gracious. Although I don’t agree that Martha was just being honest; I think she was being mean in a pathetic effort to elevate herself by tearing down another. ~AM

      November 23rd, 2009 at 11:44 am

    6. Carrie says:

      I love that last line – not more good-hearted, just more calculating. 🙂 So true! What a great reminder that when we tear others down, we only end up looking small ourselves!

      November 23rd, 2009 at 11:50 am

    7. WendyP says:

      I have never liked Martha. I refuse to buy her products or try her recipes. She’s such a phony. The whole idea of making your house warm and welcoming should come from someone who doesn’t make you want to run the other way.

      People have referred to me as “Martha Stewart” because I really like to cook and create things for the home and friends. I have never taken it as a compliment.

      Martha needs a visit from Ms. Manners.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 11:51 am

    8. RefreshMom says:

      Somehow I missed the Sarah Palin comments; I only heard the Rachel Ray ones as replayed by the news (and Rachels comments in response were infinitely more gracious).

      When will people learn that you won’t gain more followers by bad-mouthing someone else (and, by association, their followers). An appropriate comment would have been that there’s room for both of them in the kitchen and that Rachel’s done a service by making eating at home simple and approachable again.

      She certainly added fodder to the caricature she’s become. (Might be worth tuning into SNL next week.)

      Mary Hampton

      November 23rd, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    9. Screwed Up Texan says:

      Not wise of Martha…hasnt she ever seen Bambi? If you cant say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    10. Donna @ Way More Homemade says:

      So I heard that Martha appeared on Rachael Ray’s show, and then started hearing about the bad-mouthing (although I saw neither in person). Is she bi-polar and off her meds?

      November 23rd, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    11. Debbie Owensby Moore says:

      Oh, I missed both incidents! I really don’t follow either woman. But I do remember catching a small segment of Martha’s show last year. She was also speaking frankly about politics.

      Maybe prison and getting older has changed her to be so honest, she is blunt! She has so much money now that she doesn’t need anyone. Kind of a lonely place to be.

      How gracious of Rachel Ray.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    12. Shirley Cohen says:

      I like you even more..for finally saying what so many of us think, but would not dare to say out loud, (fear of a dirty look from Martha shaking a wooden spoon!

      November 23rd, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    13. momof8 says:

      Rachel Ray’s response showed she is a class act. What an example of graciousness for everyone!

      November 23rd, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    14. zoom says:

      I think Martha has more of a serial killer voice like Hannibal Lector or Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada. It is a voice with no inflection or emotion.

      My favorite Martha moment was when she made her own door knobs. She had a welder’s kit and mask and melted metal to make her own homemade door knobs. If I ever have that much free time, I think making door knobs would be way down on the list.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    15. Jill says:

      Just goes to show, even going to jail doesn’t phase some people. Martha is a perfect example of why women fail to “prosper” in business (lower wages, yada-yada). We are our own worst enemies.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    16. Shelly W. says:

      I bet Martha just wishes she had a thimblefull of Sarah Palin’s guts, class, and chutzpah. A hair’s breadth of Rachael’s sense of fun wouldn’t hurt either.

      * * *
      You know what I think bugged me about Martha’s comments is the implication that she is better than Rachael Ray and Sarah Palin, and by default all the rest of us middle class middle America non-elites. In my mind, she was indirectly expressing contempt for the very people who have made her wealthy and that sort of chaps my backside.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    17. Lisa B. says:

      She would do well to remember…
      THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD IN THE WORST OF US

      AND SO MUCH BAD IN THE BEST OF US

      THAT IT HARDLY BECOMES ANY OF US

      TO TALK ABOUT THE REST OF US.

      ~~~anonymous

      November 23rd, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    18. Lucy says:

      I’ve never liked her. She’s one smart business woman though but what a terror she would be to work for. She doesn’t even be able to fake niceness on her show. I also saw Rachel’s comment. She was most kind.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    19. Elizabeth says:

      Sometimes it seems like we all never really leave High School. Martha was probably the Senior Class Pres, Rachel was Head Cheerleader and Sarah was HS NRA Pres. oro something. I thought we were all supposed to act like grown-ups eventually:)

      November 23rd, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    20. Heather Crawley says:

      I really like the look of some of Martha’s products, but her attitude, approach and superiority keeps me from buying anything. I know she has an zilloin dollars, but I also believe that I can speak with my money. I just won’t contribute to someone with that attitude.

      The older I get – I just turned 40 – the less tolerant I am of people that don’t understand or live a life of humility. I just can’t stand it. We were put on this earth for somethings besides being superior to someone else. Thanks for the post.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    21. Kathy says:

      Its not a good thing.

      November 23rd, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    22. Momfever says:

      Well written and lovely post! And I totally agree with you: trashing other people only makes you look like trash.

      Not very smart of Martha, is it.

      November 24th, 2009 at 6:12 am

    23. Brigitte says:

      I kind of feel that way when other famous people start spouting political opinions and such. I think that since some people look up to them, but not everyone will agree with them, they should keep pretty quiet about it. Except maybe when it’s something all normal people would agree with, like that it’s wrong to kick puppies! 🙂

      November 24th, 2009 at 8:03 am

    24. Carla Turner says:

      I totally agree with you!!!!!
      Carla

      November 24th, 2009 at 8:25 am

    25. Viki says:

      Like Martha, we as women are harder on other women. We can be our own worst enemies. Why is that I wonder?

      November 24th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    26. Jennifer says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more…..

      November 24th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    27. Jenny 867-5309 says:

      It is mind boggling how many celebrities feel they have a right to express their opinion of people. What’s the point?! Very, very tacky.

      November 24th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    28. Allison says:

      Seems Martha has apologized… http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2009/11/23/2009-11-23_martha_stewart_apologizes_for_comment_that_rachel_rays_cooking_not_good_enough_f.html but in my mind and I’m sure many others, the damage is done.

      November 24th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    29. Bill McNutt says:

      I’ve always been taught never to criticise other people in public. “Publicly praise, privately correct” was the training I got.

      When did that change?

      I make exceptions, of course, for people holding political offices. If you can’t criticise tax-fattened hyenas, there’s no justice.

      Bill

      November 24th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    30. debbie says:

      I’m on this bandwagon too! As to the retail outlet for her goods, I’ve seen her in many Macy’s ads!(did i spell that right?) so I guess she doesn’t need our middle and lower class money any more.

      I’ve never been a martha fan, do not buy her stuff because of her attitude, and when she comes up in conversation I make it known how I feel. It has caused conflict with my sisters, whom I love so much, which makes me sad. But no matter what I can’t support her ugliness.

      I do enjoy your blog very much.
      Thanksgiving Blessings,
      debbie

      November 24th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    31. Jenn A, says:

      I agree with you-I am not looking for any attitude with my craft supplies. 🙂

      November 24th, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    32. Laura J. says:

      I’m not going to defend her recent behavior, but I have to share a little story in Martha’s defense. About 9 years ago, when my girl was five years old, she LOVED to watch Martha Stewart’s show. B/c we homeschool, we would take a “break” when Martha was on & Jami would watch every step Martha took as she demonstrated her different projects. Jami, of her own accord, decided to draw a picture of herself and Martha, as well as write a little “fan letter”. I located the address (thank you, Internet), wrote a little letter of explanation, clipped one of Jami’s photos to it and mailed them off. You can’t imagine our shock when the phone rang one day – caller ID said “OmniMedia”. I answered it, and a very nice woman in Martha’s office said Martha had received Jami’s picture and liked it so much that she would be sending her a photo, too. A few days later, Jami received an autographed photo from Martha that said “To Jami, My #1 Fan – You’re a Good Thing – Love, Martha”

      It absolutely thrilled my girl. It wasn’t long after that the stock scandal broke. I explained to my girl that sometimes the people that we like make bad choices and there are prices to be paid for those choices. She still likes Martha, but realizes that she made a bad choice and had to pay for it. A good illustration of how no one should be above consequences, maybe?

      I don’t know what’s up with Martha now. I wish she would get it together – she is very talented and has so much knowledge to share. The snooty thing kind of ruins the whole, though, dontcha’ think?

      November 25th, 2009 at 3:57 am

    33. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

      I wonder when women will quit beating each other up and start lifting each other up instead.

      It’s easy to be mean. It takes more skill to be kind. I’m sad that Martha has come to this, and as you know, I do have a garden. Not everyone wants to or can. 🙂 ~~Dee

      November 29th, 2009 at 11:53 am

    34. Kimberly says:

      I used to love Martha.

      I have ten years of her magazine stacked up downstairs (those things are TOO expensive to throw away.)

      I would tape, then TiVo her show.

      I MADE HER HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS!!!

      But, then, three years ago, I quit.

      It was the day after the election in 2006. She said, about ten seconds after she walked on stage, “Isn’t today a wonderful day?” And then basically did a jig, “we won we won we won. Yipeeee! you lost you lost you lost. Nanny nanny boo!” It was really awful. I mean, I would have been fine if she had said, “Yesterday was an important election. I hope everyone had a chance to vote. What a wonderful day. It’s a good thing.” But the gloating? Whatever, Martha.

      * * *
      So I made some candied ginger, big whoop. But ~YOU!~ made marshmallows?!? I bow down. I do. And my son would want you to adopt him.

      I keep seeing her Christmas issue of Living in the grocery store and I’d really like to have it. But I Just. Wont. Buy. It.

      December 4th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

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