Longaberger Enlightenment

Longaberger Enlightenment  

Master & Mrs. Po spend Womens’ Dream-Come-True day at Longaberger Headquarters in Newark, Ohio this past week.  Despite crammed training sessions and many info booths, Master Po still have no idea why women so fascinated with these baskets. 

On Thursday of week, I somehow manage to talk women (Mrs. Po and my Sister, Stacie) out of trip to see giant basket – not so lucky though on Friday as we are joined by other male, brother-in-law Honorable Mike and we make trip. 

Woman Dream Job - to work in Basket Office

Master Po think he have knowledge of wooden baskets because he price them at Wal-Mart at roughly $2.99 per basket (size similar to loaf of bread baked by Monks here in Temple).  He assume that since these Ohio baskets have “Longaberger” name and logo on handle, that they might cost double or even triple that amount.  Still he tell Mrs. Po to pick out some things for her birthday which is Sunday – because he want to treat Mrs. Po to such top-notch crafts.  He honestly think he might get a good buy and maybe get two baskets for under $20.00. (PLEASE NOTE: WOMEN WILL ROAR OUTLOUD HERE AT MASTER PO’S ASSUMPTIONS.)

Must explain to readers that World’s Largest Flag is being displayed this day on Longaberger grounds too. Live Patriotic music playing in pavilion, crowded streets, and food for sale everywhere.  TV News stations and newspapers are on scene and planes flying overhead to get photo of large crowd and huge flag.  Even country singer Darryl Worely singing on stage. Smiling, happy women everywhere.  Few men in crowd and NONE are smiling - ALL have look of shock on face instead.

(Please note: No prices below have been exaggerated one bit)

 After posing for photo under giant basket at World-wide head office, Honorable Mike drive truck to outlet where baskets are sold.  Master Po ready to recant birthday offer to Mrs. Po when he first see sign where ad say this bread-size basket, on sale, has price tag of $64.95.

When Mrs. Po noticed that Master Po’s body become fossilized and turned to stone and can’t move, she explain, that is only basic basket price.  Sure enough, she right – I find out women know much more about these baskets than men. This knowledge somehow keep women happy. To add handle to basket, it cost $14.95 more (for single handle). Double handle that meets in middle is a better deal – only $17.95. To get protective liner for basket, add $12.95 and for lid, add another $21.95. Great news is deal on ribbon for basket! Ribbon, size of paper clip, (in patriotic colors of course) is only $7.95 each.  And finally, if you want cloth cover for under lid, (cloth apparently come from heat shield used for re-entry to earth atmosphere by Shuttle astronauts), only cost $21.95 for piece as big as man’s handkerchief.

Before Master Po pick up robe and run out of building, women remind men that this is a USA Company, and they employ USA workers, and support USA Unions and help economy in America too.  Just then “God Bless America” start playing in pavilion and Master Po realize what is happening here. Even if peasant girl in China can make similar basket from reeds in rice patty for less than a nickel – Master Po must be patriotic and support this awesome basket business idea.  He see one basket, size of small kitchen garbage can that sell for $360.00. 


Visitors threatened with one-way hot air balloon ride to Kansas if they don't buy basket.

He walk for short time in building while band play “I’m proud to be an American,” and very depressing war song, “All give some, Some give All.”  He see another sign where visitor can make own basket and starting price for similar size is only $59.99 and he wonder if women remain happy to save 5 dollar and have to make own basket. He soon learn answer – many women in long lines to work stations to make own baskets too.  This puzzle Master Po even further. These women must be true patriots.

He finally leave building to sit on bench, eat soft pretzel and listen to more music.  Mrs. Po and others remain shopping in building for another six hours, but Master Po meet many friendly people with vast knowledge of basket business while sitting on bench.

30 foot tall basket not for sale - Nation in too much debt already.

One couple have name tag signs on shirts that say “Consultant” – they ask if I’m waiting for wife, and I say, “yes.”  They ask if she could use a consultant, but remember, Master Po not thinking like others at festival….He still rookie with limited info on basket business. He think they are financial consultants, so he politely say, “No thank you, we are retired teachers and have our finances in order.”   Lady “consultant” look at her husband with very odd look on face, and her smile completely disappear, and she and husband get up quickly and leave bench.  She give Master Po look, like he not only from other country but from other planet too.

I realize later, after Mrs. Po explain “consultant” position to me what she was referring to.  All in group get kick out of Master Po’s reply to her question.  In any event, she leave and not bother Master Po again. Meanwhile band play “Star Spangled Banner” and after women visit 3 more buildings, each with two floors, we head back to sister house to laugh again at Master Po.  Mrs. Po does find good bargains and is happy with her birthday gifts.  We sing patriotic hymns on way back to house.

Mrs. Po's bargains - all for about $75.00. I think she do well.

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927
From Left: Son, Steve - Dad, Frank - Mom, Anastasia (Makar) - Sons; John, Mike, Frank, Chuck (Author's Dad) - Twins, Pete & Mary - Daughter, Catherine. Photo taken in Wilmore, PA