The kind of party I hate.

I can remember, many moons ago, my Mom taking me along to a tupperware party hosted by one of her coworkers. Tupperware of every shape and possible use seemed to cover every flat surface in the woman’s kitchen and living room. The only place without tupperware was a small coffee table laden with homemade squares and a giant punch bowl. My Mom browsed around while I raided the snack table and wondered why anyone would need a tupperware container specifically for baby carrots. The host flittered between guests, extolling the virtues of tupperware. Eventually, my Mom bought an orange tupperware container and we left. As we got into the car, I distinctly remember my Mom muttering that she ‘hated those type of parties’ and tossing the orange tupperware container into the backseat.

That was my first voyage into the world of home business parties. Now that I’m getting invited to these parties, I understand why Mom hated them. In the past six months I have

Please make yourself at home, and buy something.

been invited to six home business parties for tea, jewelry, candles, tupperware, makeup and skincare products. Every invite I get to one of these parties makes me cringe, no matter what type of party it is. I would rather wrestle a flatulent hippo than go to one of these parties.

I hate these types of parties for a couple reasons. First, I hate the feeling of being guilted into buying something or the expectation that I should buy something. Often, I feel as soon as you walk into the host’s house, the guilt and expectation starts. They’ve invited you into their home, they’re feeding you, they’ve made an effort and you should recognize that effort by buying something. There’s a peer-pressure aspect to it as well. If all the other ladies are buying, it’s easy to get caught up in it or worry that the others will think you’re cheap.

The fact that these ‘businesses’ target women exclusively bugs the heck out of me too. They tend to use phrases like ‘Be your own boss’, ‘Make your dreams a reality’, ‘Unlimited income’, and their websites are plastered with pictures of women laughing and looking like they found a pot of gold coins. Seriously, try and find a picture of a man on any home-business website, bet’cha you won’t find one. I can’t shake the feeling that these businesses target women by promising easy money and instant success, but how much money can you really earn selling candles? Just because you have something to sell doesn’t mean people will buy it; being a successful salesperson requires a lot more than just opening your starter-kit and hosting a party. I feel like these businesses prey on women by making it look easy to make a pile of money with minimal effort, when that is likely far from the truth.

Another reason I hate these parties is that the product is either some I don’t want or need, or it’s ridiculously overpriced. I understand the host is trying to make money, but please don’t invite me over to your house if you’re going to try and take a gouge out of my wallet. This probably bugs me so much because I am cheap and I hate being pressured into buying anything. Just because you give me some food it doesn’t mean I have to buy your over-priced scented wax diffuser plugin-thing. If I think something is expensive, it doesn’t matter who’s selling it, I’m not going to buy it.

It seems there are more and more types of at home, party-based businesses around and targeting the ladies (I blame the inter-web). I’m not sure whether or not it’s the lure of easy money that encourages women to sign up as ‘independent consultants’, but lots of women seem to be buying into it. Maybe it’s the bad economy, maybe they’re bored and want a challenge. Whatever the reason is, I am sick of these parties and the expectations that go along with them.

How do you feel about at home, party-based businesses?


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

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34 thoughts on “The kind of party I hate.

  1. i feel the same way, sometimes. There are some great home parties and products that i love at the same time. I used to feel that sense of you must buy if you come, but i’ve just stopped buying if i don’t need or want anything. I know a lot of women who are crazy successful because they are consultants. They are a different breed, in fact, i recently posted about the women who excel at these types of businesses. They are usually energetic and passionate and completely love with what they are doing. There is something to be said for that.

    • You’re right, there are some women who are crazy good salespeople. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the women who get into these types of businesses don’t have much in the way of sales skills and aren’t given a lot of guidance.

  2. I’ve never been to one. Never plan to. For me, normal parties are harrowing enough without adding in pressure to BUY stuff at them.

  3. I hate those type of parties! I have always said no. I don’t think I’ve ever been to one, but I feel like I’m invited all the time. The items are WAAAAY overpriced.

  4. What I don’t understand about any of these “direct marketing” business is, if your product is as amazing as you say it is, why isn’t it in stores or why wouldn’t you want it in stores? It just doesn’t seem like a good business strategy to have a party and try to sell things to the guests, which makes me think the product probably isn’t any good anyway.

  5. I hate, hate, hate these! Even Avon rubs me the wrong way – my mom and I were talking about this yesterday, as her friend sells a skin care line. It’s an alright line, but overpriced for something that is just “alright”. My mom always feels pressured to just use her line, even though she doesn’t like it.

    • A friend of a friend sells Avon and is always trying to get me to go to one of her parties. I sometimes think Avon ladies are given lessons in guilt-tripping.

  6. Thankfully I’ve never been invited to these parties (I think they’ll start happening in about 5 years…) My older sister sells avon to make a little extra money, but in her case, it’s more of a “well, I could spend the same amount at a store or buy from her, so I’ll buy from her” sort of thing.

    As for these parties, I dread the idea of being invited to them. I’m very uncomfortable under these sorts of conditions. I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to buy something. And usually, a lot of these companies sell stuff I have no desire to buy. I mean, I do want some new pots and pans. But I’m pretty set with what I have right now. I don’t need anything that these sorts of parties sell.

    Oh, and that “geared towards women” thing? I remember going to a women’s conference a few years ago, and among the tables for local businesses accepting resumes, there was plenty of “women stuff”. Like jewelry, scarves, etc. And many of the tables also were trying to promote the “entrepreneurial spirit” through these sorts of selling parties. It made me really mad. So much stereotyping and targeting women.

    • I know, as if women aren’t already highly targeted in terms of advertising and marketing, yet companies still want us to continue to have these very stereotypical parties. I’m kinda surprised to hear they would let those types of businesses set up at a women’s conference.

  7. judy

    At 44 I have been to every kind of party imaginable. Now I just tell my friends that while I would love to come and spend some time I just don’t have the money to spend. I dont need tupperware,or candles, or jewelry, or pocketbooks, or sex toys, or crystal. Really..they drive me insane

  8. I feel pretty much the same way. The last time I went to one it was a makeup/skincare party, and I was hesitant to put much on my face in case it made me break out. I didn’t end up buying anything, despite the rather high pressure sales tactics. The other girls were pulling out credit cards, talking about how they really couldn’t afford it, and then bought the stuff anyway. One of them said that debt was a way of life, and they all nodded in agreement. I was horrified.

    • That is my worst nightmare – not breaking out (although that does suck) but hearing people say they can’t afford something and then going ahead and buying it anyways. Awful!

  9. Pingback: The Bane of My Existance | Digging Out and Up

  10. I, like you, have been invited to about a dozen of these parties in the last year or so. I’ve declined every invitation. I don’t think that sitting around pondering consuming just for the sake of consumption is an adequate use of my time. I’m sure I come off as rude for not going, but I just don’t want to participate in that sort of thing.

  11. I’m totally with you. I think that the stuff is completely overpriced. I was just invited to a 31 party. It’s for $50 cloth bags. Um, no!

  12. Holy crap I hate these types of parties. What sucks even more is that my best friend was working for Avon and she suckered me into buying so much Avon shit. Excuse my language. I just get so angry thinking about it. How can you even do that to people you care about? She got my mom and my aunt to buy stuff from her too just because we all felt guilty. She threw a huge party and thought people would buy Avon stuff, but surprisingly, no one bought a lot. They probably just came for the food. I mean really, I don’t mind handmade items but when it comes to selling stuff like Avon or Mary Kay… I hate salespeople, why do my own friends have to turn into salespeople too!

  13. Ugh, don’t even get me started on these parties. I’ve been invited to a handful so far, and they are always prepositioned as “I don’t want to make money off of this, but I do it for fun, and help others get the jewelery/make-up/etc that they want.”

    I always turn down these invitations because it’s so much easier saying no and feeling awkward for a moment, than being in a co-workers house, eating their food,enjoy their hospitality while peer pressure is all around to buy, buy, buy!

  14. There are few things in my world more awkward than these parties. I will admit, I have gone to one because I knew the lady was a amazing baker and would have a belly-busting spread. It’s a good thing my stomach covers most of my greed.

  15. One of my friends sells Avon, but she doesn’t do parties. Her boyfriend works at my company, so she sends catalogues in with him every week for my mom and I to look at. If we don’t want anything, we don’t buy, and she doesn’t pressure us to. Being a young mother, it just gives her something to do during the day while she’s home with the baby and it gives her a bit extra money for her personal expenses. I like Avon makeup anyway, because it’s a cheap way for me to try out different colours, so it works for me. Plus they sell mark as well, and I love their hookups. Even if she did a party, I wouldn’t mind because she’s so laid-back about the whole thing. She would literally sit there the whole time chatting about other things, and half an hour before it ended she would say “oh yeah, by the way, the makeup’s over there, take some samples, if you want something let me know.”

    I’ve been to a tupperware party that was awkward, but I told the friend whose parents were hosting that I wouldn’t be buying when I got the invitation, and she was fine with it- she just wanted someone there to suffer with. I ended up bringing my boyfriend at the time as well- his face when I told him it wasn’t optional was priceless.

    The worst is Mary Kay, though. A Mark Kay party I went to started with the coordinator gushing about how wonderful we were to support our friend’s business. I bought some things to support her (nothing I didn’t want already though), and before the party ended we were all asked to become Mary Kay consultants. Seriously? If we became consultants wouldn’t she lose her customers? It’s really predatory- if you want to move up in the business, you have to headhunt for more consultants. Not worth the time or money at all.

  16. Cait

    I think they are a good way to keep women spending when they should be saving. And that is all.

  17. I almost hosted a party once, since I won a drawing at a wedding vendor show. The catch to get my free jewelery was to host a show, and the consultant kept contacting me until I did. I was an undergraduate student at the time, and so were most of my friends. I told my friends about it and they seemed ok about going. In the end, I decided that putting myself and my friends through an unconfortable experience wasn’t worth the free jewelery for my wedding, so I cancelled. I don’t regret it and I ended up borrowing some from a friend. I hope that I would never to pressured into hosting again, and I hope that I’m never invited to one of these parties.

    • Wow! That’s quite a story – I’ve never heard of being essentially coerced into having a party. Good for you for standing up to the pressure and not having the party.

  18. Ugh, I absolutely loathe those parties! I’ve been invited to so many: cheap, ugly clothes, poorly made jewelry, Avon, baby goods parties (the girl that invited me knew I don’t have any children) and sex toy parties (yeah right!), and every time it’s a ‘friend’ trying to put pressure on me to buy awful things I don’t want all in the name of fun and friendship. Some girls host multiple parties a year, and I swear they only try to stay friends with me to try and con me into going to their parties. They certainly make no effort to speak to me any other time of the year. I went to the first few and after that I stopped going. Usually, a polite ‘no thank you’ seems to suffice, but today a girl I knew was so desperate for more buyers that she contacted me telling me I could place orders without even going to the party! When I told her politely that I’ve just recently spent a fair amount of money (foolishly assuming that this was the better way to get out of it) she responded saying I can pay her later or set up a payment plan! Seems I can’t even escape by not going anymore. Frankly, it seems like abuse of friendship if the main reason they speak to me is to try and sell me lousy goods at uncomfortable parties. Great post, glad it’s not just me that can’t stand these parties!

  19. Lexie

    I think it is a form of manipulation. I am squirming right there with you! I detest this type of business practice. They probably are not making too much anyways, they all seem to be centered around a pyramid scheme.

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