Mary Kay. Thirty One. Celebrating Home. Premier Jewelry. Lia Sophia. Tupperware. Uppercase Living. Longaberger Baskets. Pampered Chef. I swear, if I get one more Facebook invitation to one of these parties, I’m going to pull someone’s hair out.
For the uninitiated (lucky!), I’m talking about product parties. Companies that hire people – usually women – to shill their products at “fun” social events. They feed their “consultants” all kinds of crap about earning money in their spare time, setting their own hours, and spending more time with their families. While all those things are technically true, I have yet to meet anyone who sells this stuff full time. And I’m not sure the money is worth what you have to do to earn it.
If you aren’t a consultant for any of these companies, you probably have a friend who is. Which means you’ll be hit up to host a party, beg all your friends to attend, and get discounts on products! So…basically, I can bust my ass cleaning the house, buy and prepare a bunch of snack foods, then cross my fingers that all my friends spend hundreds of dollars so I can get a free tube of last season’s lipstick? Wow. Sounds like a fun time.
Why Product Parties are BAD for Overspenders
I distinctly remember going to a Celebrating Home party, back when it was still called Home Interiors. It was hosted by a frenemy who just loved rubbing her perfect life in my face. I was determined not to look like a cheapskate, so I broke out the credit card (after sneaking off to the bathroom to call and make sure I had available credit left). I spent nearly $300 on junk for my kitchen.
A few weeks later, when I received my fake plant, 2 prints, and coordinating potholders, I was so mad at myself. I could have bought similar items anywhere else for less than $100. But because consultants for these companies typically receive 20-50% of the purchase price, I paid extra just to impress a girl I didn’t even like. And she probably saved $40 on her thousand dollar purchase or something. It’s not like she ever even saw the things I bought.
Once I had those items, though, I wanted ALL the matching stuff!
So I spent the next year or two crashing product parties (no one ever minds because they want more freebies) on a quest to get the entire set. I charged over $700 to a credit card before the collection was abruptly discontinued. And you know what? Now that I think about it, that stuff was ugly as hell. Proof that overspenders and product parties do not mix, because we lack the impulse control to keep it simple.
The Grandaddy of Them All
As if all the hoopla about product parties wasn’t enough, I’ve noticed a new trend in the last few years – sex toy parties. Oh yes. You can wear penis-shaped tiaras and eat cupcakes with penis-shaped sprinkles, all while watching demonstrations of various objects you can shove up your hoo hoo. Then, just in case you weren’t uncomfortable enough, you can place orders for your favorites while the other attendees gossip about your unmet intimate needs!
I’m sorry – well, okay, I’m not – but REALLY?!?! I know we live in a social age, but is there nothing we won’t share with others? I’m not going to sit on my friend’s couch next to her mother-in-law, listening to some “consultant” talk about the features of one rubber penis over another (buy them both and get a free sample of lube!). NOT DOING IT.
Why would anyone want to do that when you can just log on to any given website and order them discreetly from home? I think online shopping was created for the things that are too embarrassing to buy in public. If you have made a purchase at a sex toy party, this is me judging you.
The Bottom Line
The economy still sucks. People are still broke. Personally, I think people should feel guilty for asking me to buy crap I don’t need just so they can earn discounts on cookware or jewelry. And to my real friends who know how hard I’m working to stop overspending, yet STILL choose to invite me? The next invitation you send could save you money on anal beads for life, courtesy of my right foot.
Do you feel obligated accept invitations to product parties? Are you a consultant who thinks I’m a horrible person for not playing along? Let me know what you think!