It's show time, and Tony Renfro of Liberty is ready with his garlic, vegetables, two kinds of cheese, creamy sauces - and, of course, his Pampered Chef cookware
Nine women are gathered for this demonstration, which will result in a garden ranch pizza and several hundred dollars in sales if all goes well.
Two hours later in Lee's Summit, Marilyn Mayer covers an oval kitchen table with velvety black cloth, the better to display her silver Silpada jewelry for sale.
As job cuts and pay cuts abound, and as the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed increase, new soldiers are signing up in direct sales. Renfro and Mayer are among them.
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