The Virtual Product Party

by admin on September 6, 2012

Something happened to me at work recently that I’ve never run across before, and I’m eager to get the opinions of others. I received an email from a co-worker, copied to every woman at our office (of about 25 people total). The email informed us that she had booked a “catalog party” from a multi-level marketing company (this particular one hawked all-natural food products). She attached a PDF of the catalog and told us that there would be a hard copy near the coffee machine, and also gave us a deadline as to when this “party” would close.

I’m not sure how I feel about this (I didn’t order, because I wasn’t interested). Traditionally, these have been real parties, held at a restaurant or someone’s home, with food and drinks and a chance to talk to the other partygoers, and this struck me a bit like those “virtual wedding/baby showers” or “mail showers,” where the “host” seeks to reap the rewards without extending any hospitality. At the same time, I’ve often heard these MLM parties decried as a gross distortion of hospitality for the profit of the hostess and consultant, so is my co-worker to be commended for keeping the transaction strictly business?

Interested to know everyone’s thoughts. Thank you for the excellent website — you have provided me years of entertainment and taught me many things! 0811-12

Why is your co-worker allowed to promote her business while on the work clock of another employer?   The only “strictly business” she should be engaging in is the business of doing her job and not distracting her fellow employers with her sideline business.

And you hit it on the nail, this is simply a means of reaping financial benefits without offering a smidgeon of hospitality.

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Ripple September 6, 2012 at 6:36 am

I don’t have a problem with this. This is no different than someone offering Girl Scout cookies or their child’s candy sales, or Avon products at work. You aren’t put on the spot about feeling obligated to get something because hospitality was also offered, you aren’t pressured because “everyone else” is buying something, you can refuse just like the OP did. My only question is why the co-worker only offered it to the women in the office. Does she think men wouldn’t be interested in natural food products?

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jena rogers September 6, 2012 at 6:40 am

Agree with Admin. “Strictly business?” I don’t think so. Were I the owner of that company, that coworker, and any others hawking their wares so explicitly, would get a serious lecture on allocating time for their other endeavors off the clock. Never mind the fact that the word “party” is so loosely define here as to make Daniel Webster turn over in his grave. Jeesh.

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CaffeineKatie September 6, 2012 at 6:58 am

Finally, they’ve stopped pretending this is anything more than a money grab. Personally, I’d find this even easier to ignore.

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Chris September 6, 2012 at 7:18 am

I somewhat disagree with the admin. I think that so long as the coworker has not violated the rules of your work organization, that this is commendable. I’ve been to those MLM parties and meals. Sometimes with advance notice of what they were, other times without (eg “hey we’re having a party at my place on Saturday, you should come!”). I felt horribly pressured to purchase products I neither wanted nor trusted. I felt bad that I wasn’t helping a friend and that, at least with respect to the meal, that I somehow ended up freeloading off my friend.

Frankly I don’t see this coworker’s action to be any less acceptable than I do seeing a coworker bring in their child’s school fund raiser catalogue, or selling Girl Scout cookies on behalf of their daughter’s troop. So long as the communication is clear and concise, no additional pressure to purchase anything is made, it doesn’t violate the employer’s policies, everyone else has the equal opportunity to do so, and does not measurably impact overall productivity for any employee (including the seller), it’s perfectly acceptable to make an overture to your coworkers.

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Angeldrac September 6, 2012 at 7:21 am

OR……we could look at it this way:
I am interested “Supperware”
The only way to by Supperware is through a “party”
I have no interest in attending my colleague’s Supperware party as I don’t know her friends.
Colleague offers a “catalogue party”, instead, then, to me and our colleagues and leaves the catalogues and order forms in the break room for us to look at over lunch, should we wish.
I look at the catalogue, put in my order, recieve my Supperware, thank my friend for orchestrating the thing and hope she got some benefit from the activity, too.
Everyone is happy and no one decided to take unnecessary offense.

Sometimes etiquette is not about “rules”. Sometimes it is just about assuming the best (instead of the worst) of people and acting graciously.

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Patti September 6, 2012 at 7:35 am

Wow, What catalog party. I certainly would not buy anything. I think I actually would take it off bulletin board, and put it on the managements desk, but I would not admit I did that.
Really, you want me to buy somthing with a invite, like that. No, I don’t think so.

Let’s
hope no one else buys anything either,

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ferretrick September 6, 2012 at 7:42 am

If she had stayed away from calling it a party at all, and simply said something like “here’s the current catalog, which is open until X/X/X” that would be fine from an etiquette standpoint. Certainly better than disguising a sales pitch as a “party.” Still wouldn’t excuse using her employer’s time and e-mail system to promote her own business though. If I were feeling particularly evil that day, I might forward that e-mail to HR with a note that the email was distracting from my ability to do my job.

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Margo September 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

I think the issue of whether or not this person should be sending the e-mails at work is a matter for her employer. (at our office, there would be no issue with her sending the mail around, provided she did so in her own time (e.g. during her break) and provided that any further activity was done on her own time, too.Similarly, the coworkers shouldn’t be using work time to go through the catalog. If she was pressuring people to buy, or sending repeated mails, that would be inappropriate) Op’s description is that she sent a single e-mail (i assume it was one mail, cc’d to all recipients) That doesn’t seem to me to be particualrly unreasonable, any more than it would be unreasonable (in many office environments) to end an e-mail round to collegues letting them know if you were having a yard sale, or asking for donations towards a gift for another collegue’s reitrement.

I don’t see that sending a single e-mail offering co-workers the opportunity to buy items from a catalog is rude in itself. If she was then following up, pressuring people ot sending repeated mails then that would be rude. To me, the only thing which is ‘off’ is calling it a party – there is no hospitality (real or with an ulterior motive).

I would find this far less rude than if I were invited to someone’s home so they could try to sell me something. Thre’s no pressure, no one is being misled. I don’t see any lack of hospitality – no0one expects hospitality from a catalog.

Unless OP’s co-worker was in breach of the specifc policies at her office, or was pressuring people to buy after her initial, informative e-mail, I don’t see that she did anything remotely rude.

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livvy17 September 6, 2012 at 7:54 am

Absolutely right, Admin. That’s why our employees are not allowed to use company property or resources (including time) to sell / promote anything. They’re allowed to have a girl scout cookie order form sit quietly on the edge of their desk, but that’s the limit. The only positive thing I can say about the above “party” is that at least you weren’t falsely lured to someone’s home thinking it was a real event, with the added pressure to buy that comes from accepting someone’s hospitality. If the co-worker hadn’t used the term “party” there wouldn’t have been any confusion at all.

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Ducklady September 6, 2012 at 7:56 am

I’d be so relieved at not having to actually attend one of those stoopid “parties” I’d probably forget to be annoyed by the virtual one.

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Lynne September 6, 2012 at 7:59 am

While greed may have been the motivating factor, I much prefer the invitation to peruse catalogs than to attend a pseudo-party — removes the pressure of being expected to buy *something* just because. That said, why bother terming it a party at all?

Also agree that employees should have been approached individually, during their break/mealtimes w the invitation to peruse the catalog, rather than by company email. Most companies have some sort of written policy regarding this.

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lkb September 6, 2012 at 7:59 am

Interesting that it was sent only to the women. A former co-worker of mine used to have party less “Supperware” parties by leaving a catalog and order forms in the lunch room. I took it as. “you may order if you want. No big deal if you don’t.” I can see that using work emails can be problematic bu then people can just hit “delete.”

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Katie2 September 6, 2012 at 8:10 am

I think that this depends on the work culture of your business environment. Here in the UK, it’s not unusual for people to bring in cosmetics catalogues, etc, for their co-workers to look at. But it’s not so usual (in my experience) to use work e-mail to do this- it’s far more informal than that and is not frowned upon as long as it doesn’t become too much of a distraction from work. Often it’s done in people’s lunch hours, so does not interfere with business in any way I can see.

When it becomes a problem, though, is if you feel an obligation to buy something each time to ‘support’ the person, or if they start to do any kind of ‘sell’ on you. That really puts me off buying, because each purchase leads to them trying to sell you something else. If I felt any hint of that in the office, I would find that very awkward indeed.

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mom2kids71 September 6, 2012 at 8:13 am

While I don’t agree with soliciting using an employer’s e-mail system, I actually don’t mind the “virtual” party idea. We have all been invited to at some point in time to a Tupperware, candle, jewelry, etc. party by a friend or coworker. Imagine hosting one of these, providing a spread for snacking and having only one or two people show up. I am busy and would much prefer to view a catalog and order if interested. I am on a budget and I usually don’t go because I am unable to order. By showing up, I feel obligated to order something.

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Huh September 6, 2012 at 8:17 am

People have done that kind of thing at my work, and I’ve just taken it as, “Hey, I’m selling this stuff if you’re interested.” I find it to be less pushy and less trying to guilt-trip you into buying.

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mamamia September 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

Did I miss where it said that the woman was promoting her own business? That wouldn’t be right, but I thought OP said it was a catalog party.
These started many years ago. Lots of gals like to order these things, but don’t have time after a busy day of work, pickiing up kids, making supper, etc. to run out to a party.
So they started saying, “I’ d like to order but don’t have time for the party, can you just give me the catalog?”
Not sure I think there’s anything really wrong with it.

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Jewel September 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

I agree with the Admin that this kind of activity shouldn’t be allowed at work.

On the other hand, I’d much rather be invited to a “virtual” sales party than a “live” sales party. With a virtual party, I don’t have to make up a reason for not attending. I don’t have to endure the awkward conversation and silences while guests get the shake-down to buy high priced junk. Best of all, I don’t have to dodge a sales rep trying to rope me into hosting my own sales party.

With a virtual party, all I have to do is press the email “delete” key and ignore the catalog conveniently left in the break room!

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Calliope September 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

I don’t know. This doesn’t really bother me. In fact, I’d rather have a coworker do this than invite me to a party to sell this kind of stuff. This way, anybody who’s interested in the products can purchase them, and anybody who isn’t can simply ignore the e-mail and the catalogue by the coffee machine.

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--Lia September 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

Obviously the thing to do is to ignore the email as you would any other spam and ignore the catalog as you would the ads in any magazine left lying around. You say no thank you to the budding entrepreneur if she brings it up. But there’s an evil part of me that’s playing out the scene where you make a “virtual” purchase in response to her “virtual” party. That is, you don’t actually hand over any money, but you go through the rest of the motions.

But that clouds the original point. Hospitality offered because you want to make money off your guests is rude. Remove the hospitality while still trying to make money off your friends and co-workers, and you’re still left with rude. It’s not like you’re saying that you’d feel obligated to buy something, or even listen to a sales pitch, if a proper party was given. Whenever I’m invited to these things, I decline immediately. I’ve never been tricked into attending one (not told that the party was really a sales event), but if I were, I’d leave immediately

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Cat September 6, 2012 at 9:21 am

In the school system this could be grounds for termination. You are not allowed to work for another company on school time. You don’t get to “double-dip” by getting paid by two different companies for the same work time. We had an AP get the boot for making business calls on the school phones while he was supposed to be working for the school.

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Daisy September 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

I have to agree with Admin. However, if I have to chose between quietly reviewing a catalogue in my cubicle at work or actually giving up precious family time to drag myself to one of these commercial festivities, I’m going for the cubicle catalogue every time!

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Enna September 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

I agree with Admin. If she was inviting people to a party she was hosting then that would be different – I don’t see most employers minding staff using email briefly to meet other work colleagues within reason as it can help with staff morale and team building. I went to a candle party once, yes the stuff was expensive but I could see the quality of the wax candles as there was a massive array of candles and ordements and the lile. To me, unless you have shopped at a shop before you shouldn’t order anything online from a company you don’t know as it could back fire (bit different if you are an expiernced internet shopper – I tend to stay on the side of caution a bit).

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Yvaine September 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

If it weren’t for actually calling it a party, I would find this much less objectionable than an actual product party. There’s no pretense of it being a real party and no in-your-face hard sell, just “the catalog is over here if you want to order stuff.”

But don’t call it a party, folks. Ordering from a catalog is not a party.

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Justin September 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

Coworkers involved in MLM marketing is a pet peeve of mine. The only way that you can make money in an MLM system is to be close to the top of the pyramid and have a lot of people you recruited who recruited a lot of people. The people I know who get sucked in to these systems feel they need to recruit everyone to sell under them or buy from them. With friends who get too pushy you can just scale back contact, but coworkers you are stuck with 40 hours or more a week. If management doesn’t stop these behaviours they can get out of hand.

A former manager of mine and his wife (also a coworker at my level) were involved in a MLM program. I would buy a small item occasionally because it got them to leave me alone for a while and peace of mind was worth $25 every three to four months. When they tried to recruit me I politely but firmly declined saying I knew how much effort it takes to grow a sales business well and I didn’t have that kind of time to invest.

Unfortunately another coworker who was young and in his first professional job got pressured in to selling in the scheme. He was taken to meetings and had to spend money he didn’t have to buy ‘materials’ and yet he never made any of the money he was promised. While I do know that it is rude to pry in to finances I know the situation because I was the one who took him to buy groceries when I found out he hadn’t eaten in two days because his paycheck was gone a week before payday and he gave he was pressured in to giving his last funds to the MLM company because of all the future money he would make.

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Katie2 September 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

I think that it would be unkind to report a colleague to HR for doing this. I certainly wouldn’t. If I didn’t want to buy, I’d just ignore the e-mail and not make an issue of it. Unless it’s causing a major problem in the office, I’d hope (!) that HR would have the discretion to leave this alone.

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Katie2 September 6, 2012 at 10:02 am

PS @ Justin- that sounds like a nightmare! That’s definitely HR- appropriate! I meant more if someone is selling cosmetics (eg A*von) rather than setting up their own MLM empire. And you sound very kind indeed for helping your collague out :)

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Lisa September 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

I think this is a gray area. She wasn’t openly soliciting business, she simply put out the catalog for people to order from if they wanted to. When I worked in an office, we had an employee whose Mom was an Avon rep and she’d bring in the catalog and leave it in the lunch room and people were free to order as they wished. No pressure. What I do have an issue with is when employees try and push the sale of items that their child should be selling (Girl Scout cookies). When parents are soliciting sales for their children, it teaches them nothing about hard work and a job well done. When I was in Campfire Girls, and we sold our mints, I was out knocking on doors or standing outside stores to make sales and earn my beads. NO help from Mom or Dad; I had to earn my reward on my own.

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TJ September 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

This is so much better than an invite to someone’s house where you consume their food and drinks and feel obligated to buy something so the “hostess” (presumably your friend) gets a gift. Alternately, this is just pure sales. If you aren’t interested then don’t purchase anything.

Like others have pointed out, some workplaces have rules against selling. Some do not. What I personally find irritating is the people who come office to office trying to get you to order tubs of popcorn for school fundraisers. Then you feel obligated to order equally from everyone. Fortunately my workplace banned this sort of thing for exactly that reason so I don’t ever have to be put in that position.

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Erin September 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

Silly tangentally-related story: when I was a kid, one of my dad’s coworkers, a very large and muscular man, was selling Easter baskets for some organization his kids were part of. He and my dad got along pretty well, so Dad jokingly asked him what would happen if he didn’t buy a basket. The coworker deadpanned, “The Easter Bunny’ll break your arms.” Dad replied, “I”ll take two!”

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Lerah99 September 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

I don’t mind the cookware/candles/jewelry parties, so long as I am told in advance.

Just bringing the catalog into work is even better for me. Now I can check out your stuff on my lunch break and there is no feeling of obligation to buy a little something.

So long as the person isn’t agressive or pushy about it, I don’t see a problem.

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Meegs September 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

I don’t know why anyone, except maybe the employer, would have a problem with this. Check out the product offering, and if you want something , buy it, if you don’t, don’t. To me this is MUCH more preferable then someone inviting you to their house and pretending its a party.

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Jenn50 September 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

Oh boy. Have we run out of things to be offended at? If the employer has an issue with the employee using company time and email to sell things, they should speak up. If a coworker has an issue with someone spamming up their email with non-work-related items, they should address that with either the offending party or management. If what you’re offended at is that it’s not really a party, lighten up. There’s no real sales pressure, no phoniness. Just an opportunity to buy something. Seems like an awful lot of nothing to get worked up over.

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Annie September 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

As long as her company doesn’t object, I don’t see why anyone else should. I would just be deeply relieved that I wasn’t duped into going to one of those awful parties.

A friend of mine was telling me recently about how his former colleague, “Y”, got in touch with him and said he wanted to get together. My friend was pleased to get a chance to catch up with Y, only to find that Y had started selling some sort of product and really only wanted to see my friend to sell it to him. He also tried to push my friend into become a salesman himself. Sigh…..some people.

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Mary September 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

The way I understood it is that the co-worker does not work for the natural foods company. She is only hosting the “party”. I’ve bought a few things from these “catalog parties”, but they were always through friends, not coworkers.

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Stacey Frith-Smith September 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

I see no reason to run amok like the town crier and take every email, pamphlet and catalog to wave in the face of otherwise busy executives. Email and internet usage are monitored at many workplaces and violations are dealt with by supervisors.

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Nissa September 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

I wasn’t really offended by this woman’s actions. I agree that she shouldn’t have called it a party, but like other posters, I would MUCH rather just click on a link to look at the catalog or browse through the catalog and order something if I decide to. I try to avoid going to the actual parties, b/c there is SO much pressure to buy.

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Calli Arcale September 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

I tend to consider MLM businesses to be a blight on humanity, as far too many are just thinly veiled pyramid schemes that ultimately profit not off of the customers but off of the low level salespeople. But be that as it may, as long as they remain legal, my coworkers have the right to get involved in them.

It’s probably wrong to describe this practice (making a catalog available) as a party, since no hospitality is involved, but it’s between the salesperson and the catalog company as to whether or not it violates their marketing guidelines. (If they require actual parties to be held, then this would be cheating. Some require parties because they provide a better marketing opportunity — also known as the exploitation of peer pressure and social recompense.) It may be wrong to display this at work, but that’s between the salesperson and her employer; policies differ from company to company. My company permits this sort of thing provided it is not disruptive and no time is billed to the company for it. One major exception is that once a year, the company provides space for employees to sell whatever wares they may wish to sell. Employees will be provided a booth, but they are on their own time and must either use vacation time or work weekend hours to make up the time. The general practice around here is that you can post a catalog, and perhaps occasionally draw people’s attention to it by e-mail or word of mouth, but that’s about it; anything more and you can bet people will be speaking to your manager about it.

This particular incident likely would not result in any disciplinary action at my company, but would probably diminish the person’s reputation, as this isn’t for charity and is framed as a “party” when it’s nothing of the kind. Most people hear “party” and expect some socializing. But at least this is easy to bow out of.

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Rug Pilot September 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

I have several MLM people in my practice. Only one of them has made money sufficient to support himself in it. I see all the work and expense put out to develop the Business, buying leads, endless phone calls, training of downline, etc. You need the right personality to be successful at this and the vast majority of people recruited will lose thousands of dollars a year trying to duplicate their upline’s success.

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Ashley September 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

If the company has a rule where it’s okay to do stuff like this (Because to me it sounds no different than if someone brought in a thing for Girl Scout cookies), then I actually don’t see the issue here. I’d much rather have it done this way than to go to a party and have to feel like I MUST order something. The email I can at least delete without the host breathing down my neck.

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Raven September 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I know it’s nitpicky, but for those comparing selling things as a personal business to people selling Girl Guide/Scout cookies – it’s not the same thing at all.

Selling dishes, jewellery, sex toys, etc to line your own pockets is a lot different than supporting a not-for-profit organization for children. I’m a Girl Guide leader, and I can assure you that we aren’t going on vacations and buying jet skis with cookie money. Our unit gets a little bit of money per carton, (to help pay for badges, craft materials, etc), and the rest goes back into the system to help subsidize programs for girls who can’t afford it, plan large-scale camp and travel opportunities, and to help provide post-secondary scholarships for members. I don’t think many workplaces would object to someone selling Girl Guide/Scout cookies on behalf of their daughter’s unit, in the same way they might object to someone essentially working a second job while at their first job.

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Magicdomino September 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I’m another who doesn’t mind catalog parties. As much as I like free food, the cutesy games and “subtle” sales pitches are too annoying (“Of course, you aren’t obligated to buy anything, but isn’t there something you would just love to have? Oh, look! You won a free prize. All you have to do is agree to have a party of your own.)

With catalog parties, there’s less pressure to buy anything. I can flip through the catalog in a couple of minutes, as opposed to driving to someone’s house. The hostess is earning her gifts by collecting orders, and delivering the goods. Granted, I’m assuming that the hostess is just offering the opportunity to buy something, and not harassing co-workers. Harassing co-workers is never polite.

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Surianne September 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

This is normal at my work place, and a lot of us enjoy looking through the catalogues on our breaks. We have fun with it and it’s a part of the culture. Nothing rude about that.

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LadyLelan September 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

To be honest, though I don’t really see how this kind of transaction system can ever be called a “party”, I don’t see anything wrong into what this co-worker has sent an e-mail for.

If she was pressuring people into buying, ok, there would be a problem. But it seems she’s only sent an e-mail saying that she’s grouping orders for a MLM catalog, and if people are interested, the order deadline is on a certain day. I’m sorry but I don’t see any problem there. If people don’t want to order anything, they just have to delete the mail.

The point I’m perplex about is whether this co-worker is going to have advantages – as a “virtual” hostess” – by grouping the orders. If so, there might be a controversial point. If not, then where is the problem?

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Margaret September 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I see no problem with that, unless your workplace has a policy against it. It’s been considered normal in every work environment I’ve ever been in. You let people know you, and they can order or not. There are a few things that I like from some of the direct marketing companies, but I don’t like attending the actual parties. If someone brings in a catalog and I want the item, then I order it.

It didn’t sound to me as if the co-worker was the salesperson. It sounded like she was the hostess.

As far as calling it a party — that’s just the terminology of the game. When you are talking about those direct marketing things, a party is one set of of orders from one hostess who is then eligible for any hostess rewards. It doesn’t matter if it was a catalog party or an in house party. If they started calling those sales events something else, would everybody suddenly think they are fine and dandy? Consider “party” in this term as industry jargon.

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Snarkastic September 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

@Justin
That is a truly horrible story. How could people take advantage of someone like that? Very, very nice of you to buy your coworker groceries. I don’t know how someone goes two days without eating. I have to be careful not going too many HOURS, otherwise I’ll fall over with a migraine. It makes me wonder about people living below the poverty line…

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Snarkastic September 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

My last comment was poorly worded. I apologize for all who had to read it.

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Barb September 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm

There’s no guarantee that the coworker is the one making money off of this. Just like the host of the live parties isn’t the actual salesperson, frequently the person bringing the catalogs in for a “catalog party” is just a conduit.

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AmysAuntie September 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I don’t have a problem with this. From the sound of it, no one was bugging non-participants to buy anything. Sounds like the OP preferred the sales party idea, but as for me, I’d rather chew my leg off with my teeth than sit around oohing and aahing over Tupperware or whatever. I worked Civil Service for 25 years and many times would find Avon catalogs or whatever either on my desk or being passed around. As long as I’m not being pressured to buy, it troubles me not.

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Adira September 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Actually, I would prefer it be that way. Those “parties” are not about hospitality, they’re fake. So just have the business, let people order what they want, and everyone is happy. Ordering can be done on a break, or when they get home by computer, easy peasy.

It’s not like receiving emails with orders would have to take more than a second. People spend more time on that during bathroom breaks and lunch.

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White Lotus September 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm

In every large office, IME, there is usually somebody doing a major cosmetic company, a home products company, Supperware, and maybe other things, too. Normally, catalogs are left in break rooms, and replaced when they expire. The marketing, which is almost non-existant beyond the catalogs, is aimed at retail customers, not at building a “downline”. Some of these products are good and people like to buy them. It is when there are “parties”, or any pressure to buy, or “downline” building, or use of non-personal time that it becomes an issue to (most) managers. That is approximately where I would draw the line. A single notice, “Hi. I am now representing Product. The current catalog will be in the lunchroom, or you can talk to me. Jake in Purchasing” would be an OK email for me, but not the virtual non-party.

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