When writing about Tupperware's (NYSE:TUP) recent sales flops, it's easy to go for the spoiled food analogy. This time around, the firm's third-quarter numbers don't provide such an obvious whiff of danger. Will you get sick if you try a taste of this? You may have to dig in to find out.

The problem for Tupperware remains sales. The Q3 tally came to $255 million, which is a drop of 1% compared with last year once you figure in the boost from foreign exchange. If you're happy with the fallout of the falling dollar, the sales figure looks like a 2% gain. Gross margins improved slightly as the cost of goods sold was lower than the prior-year quarter. Earnings for stockholders came to $0.22 per share.

BeautiControl, the firm's horribly named attempt to snag some of the Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) market, increased revenues by 26%, and profit zipped up to $1.7 million from $400,000 the year before. That may not seem like much, but considering that the entire profit for the quarter was only $12.9 million -- and half of that came from selling land -- the contribution from BeautiControl is increasingly important to the bottom line.

With sales holding their own and a new division coming into profitability, plus a 5% dividend yield, what's not to love here? Plenty.

First, there's a little thing called competition. While the Tupperware brand is an American icon, most of us are happy to grab bargain containers from industry gorillas such as Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE:NWL), Clorox's (NYSE:CLX) GladWare, Sterilite, or any number of low-cost knockoffs available at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) or Target (NYSE:TGT).

More importantly, the firm doesn't actually take in enough cash to support its capital expenditures and dividend. Running a deficit on slack revenues may be OK for our government, but it's not the kind of thing you want happening in a company you own.

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Seth Jayson has a habit of conducting unintentional biology experiments in his Tupperware. At the time of publication, he had positions in no company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.