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The Faux Hospitality of Product Parties

I routinely receive invitations to “parties” for Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Premiere, etc. I have an array of feelings about these kinds of “parties.”

A short version is this:

1.  I don’t mind (and will sometimes attend) if a good friend or someone I regularly socialize with invites me, although they’re basically asking me to pay for what they will receive “free” or discounted–couldn’t we all just go out to a nice dinner together instead of paying for all this overpriced stuff? I know that some of my better friends genuinely believe that I will find something I just LOVE…but, friend or not, having this kind of party all boils down to some level of greed.

2.  I do mind when someone I don’t know very well invites me, because it’s an obvious ploy for their hostess gifts.

3.  I hate that the invitations to such events encourage that you bring your own friends to this party where they won’t know the “hostess”, because it will increase the amount of her sales, and therefore her discounted and free items. bleh.

But the worst of these invitations is one I received via Facebook, inviting me to an online “party” to buy overpriced “gourmet” food mixes from an old co-worker I haven’t spoken to in at least 3 years. So not only does this party extend NO hospitality, but the “guests” are expected to buy various items, like an $8 bread mix (which I’m sure I could purchase an already-made gourmet loaf of at a smaller price) so that someone who hasn’t called, written, e-mailed or text messaged, and didn’t even post “Happy Birthday” on my wall (Facebook notifies you of people’s birthdays) will receive free stuff? Did I mention that, when we did work together, we never socialized outside of work?

I didn’t even decline it (as if an RSVP were even necessary for something with no actual party). I just removed myself from the event altogether. So unbelievably tacky. 0718-11

I’m with you on this one.  I absolutely never attend any sales party if the hostess has no track record of offering regular hospitality to me.   If sales parties are the only hospitality someone offers, they are a gimme pig engaging in faux hospitality for the sole purpose of reaping a financial benefit.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Zhoen July 19, 2011, 8:25 pm

    When I was ten, and visiting my brother and his wife for a few weeks, they took me to a “party.” I was happy enough to go, meeting my big brother’s friends, adult socializing… no. It was an Amway sales party. To this day, I feel weird about it. My brother knew, I hope my SIL knew, but I was not told what was going on until after the salesman did his spiel. I was a bright enough kid, I would have understood and attended politely, had I been told. On the other hand, I’ve never gone to another one.

    If there is any kind of deceit, these “parties” are dreadful. Asking the very poor, very young (who don’t know how to defend themselves against such incursions) or anyone who doesn’t understand the nature of them as shopping events, is wrong. For those that likes ’em, good on you. Enjoy.

  • etimodnar July 19, 2011, 8:40 pm

    I’ve turned down many an invitation to a product party as I’m simply not interested or don’t have the money. That being said, I’ve attended a number of them with mostly positive feelings about them.

    Recently a number of friends in my extended circle have been getting married and a popular option is to have a Tupperware Kitchen Tea, which I’ve really enjoyed. I really like Tupperware, so I’ll buy a product and I’ll also contribute money for the Bride-to-be so that she can select Tupperware items she wants in her kitchen. My purchase means she gets added host gifts too and given it’s all in preparation for her upcoming marriage, I’m more than happy she gets! (And I get something too, whoo hoo). If guests don’t want to buy something, then they typically just stick to contributing to the Bride’s gifts and enjoying all the other games and festivities. I’ve been a guest at these parties, helped organise one for my friend as her bridesmaid and been the recipient of one as a bride myself. The sales lady is quite tactful about it all being for the bride and what the bride may use in her kitchen and the entire demonstration takes up 10-20 mins of the whole afternoon.

    But then I’ve also been to a couple of parties with only 2-4 people that I don’t know well and it’s been a bit awkward. Then some have been pampering parties with the host providing cocktails and a good excuse to catch up with friends – that was lots of fun! Others have been in response to charity causes, with the host/sales lady forgoing gifts/profit and donating it to charity while attendees end up with nice stuff and a nice feeling inside.

    I wouldn’t host a party unless it were an all out shower-my-friends-with-cocktails-and-luxury party so we could all have a bunch of fun and no pressure to buy. I also wouldn’t host anything unless I were super keen about that product and actually believed it would benefit my friends somehow.

  • Laura July 19, 2011, 8:43 pm

    Have to agree totally with this post. I find these types of parties very offensive. I can do my own shopping, thank you very much.

    I was invited to a party by an old classmate I was BFs with in grade school. I went because I like her and the other girls I imagined would be there. Surprise, MaryKay party. I was not amused. Bought nothing.

  • Ginger July 19, 2011, 8:54 pm

    I hosted a jewelry party with my roommate. Our mutal friend sold the jewelry and my roommate actually wanted to host a party. We provided food and drink and invited friends, family and coworkers – people we interact with on a daily basis. Our friend laid out the jewelry, put out the catalogs/order forms and that was it. She didn’t do a sales pitch, but answered questions if people asked. The jewelry was really pretty and reasonably priced. And honestly, I only received a pair of earrings as a hostess gift…nothing crazy. Some people bought things and some didn’t. No one was offended if people couldn’t go or didn’t buy things. We had a good time and I love the jewelry I bought.

    I also went to an adult toy party that my friend was hosting. It was fun and silly and we had a great time laughing…her cousin was the seller and did a sales pitch…she had to in order to explain some of the products LOL!

    But if someone is only inviting me because I’ll be another name on her list, and we don’t have some sort of contact, then I will decline an invitation. Some people enjoy hosting these parties and some people enjoy giong to them. Only hosting them for the greed factor is wrong, but no one is forcing you to go or buy anything.

  • Sophs July 19, 2011, 10:03 pm

    This is slightly off-topic, but how does everyone feel about charity Facebook events? Often people who I haven’t spoken to in quite a while will invite me to donate to a particular charity cause that they are participating in (e.g. 40 hour famine, charity runs etc). Usually I will donate if I know the person quite well and I support the charity that they have chosen, otherwise I will generally ignore it. What is the general etiquette for these?

  • Raven July 19, 2011, 10:07 pm

    If you don’t want to go, don’t go. Whether you hate the products, hate the small talk, or don’t know the hostess, an invitation to a product party is just like an invitation to anything else – it’s an INVITATION, not a royal summons. You are free to say, “Yes! I’d love to attend!” or, “Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m not able to attend.” No one has a gun to your head.

    Is it selfish to extend your “business” to friends? Of course not. It only gets rude when you start hassling people needlessly. A lot of people have businesses that are word-of-mouth based, whether home-based or otherwise. They tell you what they’re doing, and you can get involved or not.

    Sometimes I get invitations from people with whom I have lost contact; I simply say, “No, thank you” and leave it at that. It’s not worth getting upset over.

    I think the big problem here is that people just don’t know how to say NO. You don’t have to make it complicated, you don’t have to feel like an ATM; just say no. If the invitations are constant and you get tired of it, politely pull the inviter aside and say, “Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m not interested. I’m sure you know someone else who would love to attend,” or something along those lines.

  • anonymous July 19, 2011, 10:56 pm

    I’m not against the parties for people who want them, but I personally won’t attend any. Maybe the stuff is good quality, but none of it – of any of the product lines for which these parties are held – is too my taste. My skin is fickle so I won’t be buying makeup or skincare products. I don’t do scrapbooking. I love cooking but I believe that I don’t need expensive gadgets to prepare good food. I already have Tupperware and I get my jewelry while traveling. I also personally find a lot of the stuff for sale to be very boring and suburban (that’s my own taste though, I wouldn’t judge someone else for liking it).

    When I first moved abroad I – as with most expats – had few friends. I was at a concert (alone) one day and a local woman who spoke good English struck up a conversation with me. I was excited to start making more friends so I was eager to exchange info and hang out later. She suggested we meet at a location between where we both lived, which was inconvenient but not impossible for me – it was a shopping mall, so I figured she meant we could go to the coffee shop there or something. But no…she then led me out behind the mall to an Amway and spent the next two hours trying to both sell me Amway products and get me to be an Amway consultant myself (yeah, a foreigner pretty new to a country where I don’t speak the language well…uh huh, that’s a GREAT idea. Sure). I felt hurt and duped – it became obvious that she saw my eagerness to make local friends as an opportunity for her. How sad.

  • Typo Tat July 20, 2011, 4:29 am

    I don’t understand OP’s rage over the hostess getting free stuff. So what if she gets something for free? You don’t have to buy anything, unless you choose to. You buy (or don’t buy) stuff for yourself. You decline the invite if a sales party isn’t your thing. Simple, really.

    As for facebook invites, I always work on the assumption that an invite sent through facebook was mass mailed, and isn’t specifically intended for me.

  • The Elf July 20, 2011, 6:21 am

    Too many of these sales parties are pyramid schemes, and I refuse to contribute to a scam. The Mary Kay example above is a good idea of how the lower level of the pyramid gets screwed.

  • Ista July 20, 2011, 7:01 am

    The only time I dislike these parties is when the hostess isn’t up front about what the party is. Says “We’re having a bridal party” and it turns out to be a Pampered Chef pitch.

  • Jo July 20, 2011, 8:42 am

    I’m with those who think there’s no reason for so much negativity and emotion. If you want to attend – do; if not -decline (or ignore). Unless the purpose of the party is hidden, who cares?

    I’m not a huge fan of these parties, but do go sometimes if it’s close friends. The sales pitches vary in intensity, but I’m mature enough to know what I do or do not want to buy. As far as being “scams”, many of these products have provided a way for the distributors – mostly women – to earn extra money in an honest way that contributes to their family. I’ve known many women in difficult situtions (small children, single mom, child with disabilities) where this was really the only kind of job they could have managed and the money.

    Yeah, some good/some bad in the mix of parties, but life is too short to get worked up over it.

  • kjr July 20, 2011, 10:02 am

    I will be honest, I think these “parties” are just blatant attempts for free/discount items for the hostess. Sorry – say whatever you want about the quality, but I’ve never been to a party where there was no pressure to buy. I have had friends and family who have done these and have attended many out of obligation, but everyone now knows my views on them and doesn’t bother anymore thankfully.

    The worst was when I was in a new town and a coworker my age invited me to her friend’s party for home items. I was fresh out of college, just moved to a new town and didn’t have any money to spare on such things. She assured me it would be a fun way to meet new people and I didn’t have to buy anything. I had never been to one of these before and believed her. I got there, and there was about 10 others, we had to sit in chairs in a big U shape around the demonstrator while she did her sales pitch. When she was done, a sales order sheet on a clipboard was passed around, and when I passed it by – the room was silent and I got lots of stares, and the woman next to me whispered I should just buy a cheap candle. A cheap candle was $20 – nothing I wanted to spend money on and didn’t. Way to make me feel low and awkward.

    Another story. I now own a business with a business partner. One day, he forwarded me an email from his brother’s wife. She had asked him to send it to me, and it was her requesting that SHE host a party at MY house (she lived a state away) and I invite all of my friends and family. So, basically, she wanted to use my home and friends to make her profit and free items. I of course denied that. That one still baffles me to this day.

    My sister in law used to host Pampered Chef parties. I love to cook. I hate the parties. She knew that and would just ask me if I wanted the catalog when she got new ones and I would just email her orders if I wanted anything. That was fine. I just don’t like the parties that pressure you to purchase (and sorry, if you are a hostess denying they pressure, they do. We know that if we don’t buy then the hostess won’t get their incentives. The hostess is usually a friend, family member or acquaintance that we of course want the best for.). I like to keep business and pleasure separate, and I think that makes better relationships.

  • sj July 20, 2011, 10:43 am

    I am frugal. I loathe product parties and never attend. I always feel guilty because somehow I end up being the only one not buying anything. No point in putting myself through that, I think.

  • Jillybean July 20, 2011, 11:57 am

    kjr – I can see what you are saying, and yes, I agree, at many of them there is pressure to buy. My sister sells Tastefully Simple stuff, and my other sister’s boss sells jewelry (not any of the big expensive companies, but her own fabulous company where most earring necklace sets are $20). I recently had a shopping party that combined the two. Jewelry was set up in a couple rooms in the house, and I served the Tastefully Simple food (which I, and several of my friends/family love). We had no presentations (I don’t host shopping parties that involve boring the crap out of my friends/family – did that once, and never did it again). People just socialized and shopped if they felt so inclined. I have no idea who shopped that night and who didn’t (though I do know the jewelry owner bought a bunch of Tastefully Simple stuff from my sister). But we had tons of food, wine, drinks, and music. People stayed five/six hours just hanging out and having a good time. They can be fun if done right.

  • Alli July 20, 2011, 4:42 pm

    I don’t understand the people who find sales parties ‘offensive’. I think maybe some people are a little sensitive? If you get invited you have the option to politely decline – no need to get offended about the invitation and stew about it all day. Some people enjoy having/attending these parties and plenty of good people make valuable extra income by selling these products. I’m with those who’ve said it before – nobody is holding a gun to your head, make your excuses and don’t attend. This is such a non-issue to me.

  • Business Call? July 20, 2011, 4:55 pm

    No one has mentioned this, so I have to throw it in:
    I work for a pretty large company with many campuses. Our company is supposedly very concerned about professional conduct and ethical business conduct. With all that said: I get hit up for these parties at work, by people that I don’t know, or people that supervise me, ALL THE TIME! It is so unfathomably inappropriate that I never know what to say. Here are some examples (not inclusive):

    1. A supervisor was hosting a “retirement party” for an employee. The supervisor used the department budget to buy gifts for the party. What did she buy? Items from her family member’s “business.” (I will not mention which one of these party/businesses it was)

    2. An employee called me from another campus by accident. After I spent several minutes helping her find the right department—she tried to get me to host one of these party/businesses! She had never met me. Unprofessional?

    3. I also have customers try to sell me these items while I am trying to help them. I feel like I am constantly explaining why I can’t engage in personal shopping or business interactions with customers, especially while I am at work!

    Anyone else experience these “invitations/sales pitches” at work?

  • Tomeka July 20, 2011, 5:24 pm

    A long-time friend was married to a woman who was extremely controlling and jealous of any time her husband spent away from her. So, she really hated his small group of high school friends. This continued even after they divorced. We therefore found it very strange to receive invitations to her holiday open house. None of us attended, but we heard later that it was not just a holiday party, but also an event to sell scented home products. I guess that explains why she extended invitations to people she had hated for over 30 years!

  • Liz July 20, 2011, 9:15 pm

    I have never been to a sales “party” where I haven’t been made to feel obligated to buy something.

    I’ve even had a consultant demand I buy something because this is her income. I told her to get a real job and left. It was harsh and rude of me, but she honestly wouldn’t let up and kept trying to stop me to leave.

    Needless to say, I don’t go to these “parties” any more. I just say “No thank you” I don’t need to explain myself!

  • Judith July 21, 2011, 12:34 pm

    @ Sophs – I get e-mails and Facebook mass messages now and again asking me to contribute to charity runs, etc. and sometimes I’ll contribute a bit even if it’s someone I don’t know well, because it’s going to a good cause.

    I don’t mind if you only get one e-mail or message. But a few years ago there was a woman I mainly know through an online community. I did meet her once, when she hosted her own baby shower and invited everyone she knew both on and offline – yes, I know, another etiquette blunder. But after that she got into selling sex toys and actually phoned me asking if I would be interested in hosting a party, when that was the first and only time she’s ever phoned me. I politely declined and she sounded like she was surprised and annoyed.

    Then her mother got involved in a charity walk for cancer. Most of them are OK with any amount of donations, but for this particular one she had to have $2000 in pledges to even participate. So my online “friend” created a Facebook event for it and invited everyone on her friends list, then proceeded to bombard us all with messages pleading for pledges. Apparently not many were forthcoming (surprise surprise) so the messages got more and more aggressive. “Come on, don’t any of you want to help my mom out? There are lots of things you can do. Organize a barbecue and pledge the profits! Have a garage sale!” Sure, I’m really going to bust my butt putting on a big event, and ask all my friends and family to shell out money for someone they have never met and I’ve only met once… even for a good cause I don’t think that would go over too well.

    I have no idea how many people contributed, but the last message I got from the event was that it had been cancelled, so I am assuming it didn’t meet her goal.

  • Enna July 21, 2011, 3:28 pm

    I do agree with both lines of thought that 1) it’s easy to turn down an invite and 2) it is annoying to get invites form people you barely know or assicate with. The OP maybe right or wrong that the host she recieved the inviation from is being gift grabby or not, I can imagine some are some aren’t. As for point 3) regarding bringing firends along who don’t know the host – maybe it’s phrased like “if you have any firends who would be interested in coming along, please let the host know by XYZ date.”

  • Emily July 21, 2011, 4:17 pm

    I understand some of the frustration. However, I was an MK consultant. (I currently just do it for personal use.) We were trained and treated very well. We were never to be pushy-rude-demanding, etc. If someone is, that is them, not the company. As far as a greed thing, that is also just that person. I can say that I did provide plenty of good food and I gave away tons of things I enjoyed doing that. I put in a fair amount of time to prepare my events. I took time to get to know the people that came. I made it absolutely clear that no one was ever under any obligation to buy anything from me. I’m not the sales type, so I wouldn’t push/corner anyone anyway. As far as a pyramid scheme; MK isn’t. You can actually make good money with return customers without recruiting anyone. I apologize on behalf of those conduct their businesses so egregiously.

  • Judith July 22, 2011, 12:51 am

    @ Emily – I am glad to see you weren’t the stereotypical pushy salesperson. I sold Avon for a while and most Avon representatives I have met aren’t pushy like that either.

    I once went to a friend’s Mary Kay party and bought something to help her out. After that, the consultant called me every month for about three years, although I never bought anything from her again. She was so annoying that I was scared to buy anything in case I never got rid of her.

    There’s a lady I work with who sells Regal, but she’s never pushy. There are always catalogues available in the staff room, and every few months she’ll send out a brief Facebook message promoting her online store. I am much more likely to order from someone like that who isn’t so aggressive, and I suspect others are the same way.

  • The Elf July 22, 2011, 8:30 am

    Yeah, some say multi-level marketing, some say pyramid scheme. It’s a fine line between them and depends on how you define it.

  • Peg July 22, 2011, 1:59 pm

    My main objection to these is when the fact that it is a ‘product sale party’ is not disclosed with the invitation.

  • Alexis July 22, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Some of these ‘hosts’ sound breathtakingly rude to me. Having a ‘party’ and then springing a sales pitch on your unsuspecting ‘guests’?! Ugh! Giving a sales pitch and then expecting and even demanding that the everyone buy something?!? Double ugh! Giving a ‘shower’ that is actually a sales pitch?!? In front of people not even invited to the wedding?!? AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! If you want to sell stuff, sell stuff. If you want to host a shower, host a shower. If they are not held as 2 seperate events, the host can roast in e-hell. My rule is, if it’s a party for something I might be interested in buying, and it’s convenient, I might go. If someone’s kid is selling stuff for a fundraiser, and it’s something I’ll use, at a price I’m willing to pay, I’ll get something. I won’t buy useless stuff, makeup I’ll never wear, cooking supplies that I don’t need/can pe purchased more cheaply elsewhere, or candles I won’t burn, jewelery I don’t wear, or any useless junk. And I won’t be pressured, period. I’ve only ever been to a couple of sales parties, one of them through a Facebook post (not a specific personal invitation) from a person I didn’t know. It was a nice evening I would have otherwise spent at home. I did get a few little things, not out of any sense of obligation, but because I wanted to, which follows my personal rules. People who get pushy or bent out of shape because they don’t happen to benefit by my personal rules are not my friends, and I don’t care if they like me or not. A lot of the posters here sound as if they’re mad at themselves for being unable to say ‘no’. Yes, it’s rude to trick people, and rude to pressure or berate them, but it’s still up to YOU to say ‘no’.

  • Yvaine July 24, 2011, 2:54 pm

    My favorite was being invited to the “adult toy” sales bridal shower of a total stranger (I was not invited to the wedding) and when I declined, being told I was Not Supporting the Bride.

    I had never met the bride…or the hostess…

  • MMP July 25, 2011, 10:09 am

    To @Alli- people are “offended” when they get invited to what is supposed to be a party and it turns out to be a sales pitch event. If’s it’s a sales party, say so. Being tricked into coming to one of these events is what upsets people.
    Plus, if it’s a such a non-issue to you, why did you bother to comment?

  • Allie July 28, 2011, 5:34 pm

    My coworkers and I used to be into Party Lite candle parties. We were all quite enthusiastic about the products and used to take turns hosting parties whenever a new catalogue came out. The hostess always provided some snacks and drinks (because we wanted to and enjoyed doing it), but the parties also had a potluck aspect, with all the guests bringing drinks and/or food to contribute. The first salesperson we had got annoyed with us because she said the food and drinking interfered with sales, but we said our primary purpose was to have fun and socialize and if she wasn’t happy with that, perhaps we should find another consultant, which we did. The new consultant would do a brief sales pitch and then join us for refreshments while those who wanted to would fill up their order forms. She would at some point retire to a separate room to conclude the sales transactions in private with those who were purchasing items. I can safely say there was never any pressure to buy, and I never paid attention to who did or didn’t even when I was hosting. The salesperson would contact me after a few days to let me know what my discount would be on all the stuff I was already buying anyway. Needless to say, all the guests were quite well aware that they were attending a Party Lite party, and we would study the catalogue for days in advance figuring out what we’d like and what we could afford.

  • Jenny August 3, 2011, 10:58 am

    All of my friends know I have a policy that I will never be interested in receiving an invitation or going to these types of gatherings. Feelings are not hurt, since it is not a personal rejection, but a philosophical one. It’s worked well for me for 20 plus years.

  • Sara August 12, 2011, 9:15 am

    Ugh, this bothers me so much! A few years ago, I was invited to a Pampered Chef wedding shower. I’d never been to a product party before, so I didn’t realize that the idea was that all the guests would buy things for the bride by ordering them off of the Pampered Chef list that was passed around during the demo. So I went beforehand, bought her a nice decorative serving tray, wrapped it in a pretty bag with a card, and brought it with me. I was then insulted by the hostess for bringing a non-Pampered Chef gift instead of buying something off of the list. This was just one of many, many really rude things about this shower; I eventually made up an excuse about having to pick up our dog at the groomers’ and left. Never received a thank-you note, never heard from either the bride or the hostess again (both former co-workers of mine) again.

  • Gracie C. August 12, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Hahaha – I was reading Sara’s comment and noticed the ad banner on the side was to be a consultant for selling Lindt Chocolate! Everyone I know would go broke. Yum.

  • megumi August 14, 2011, 10:41 pm

    I think the reason many people consider these sales organizations so offensive is that they are clearly relying on their ‘salesforce’ to guilt and cajole their friends and family into buying things they don’t really want or need. The sales attempts are seldom confined to organized events either. I would rather a friend or family member who is desperate enough for income that they are willing to make all of their social contacts feel uncomfortable and put upon just ask for direct help instead of ending up with a bunch of useless items so they can ‘earn’ a few cents the dollar of what I spent.

  • CC October 11, 2011, 11:04 am

    I know I’m late commenting, but this just recently came up. I belong to a group that meets once a month to make various craft projects. The lady who leads the group is a demonstrator of a certain home craft company, but people are not pressured to buy. There is a new person who has started coming to these classes who decided that she wanted to have a birthday party/demo for herself. Because this isn’t going to be a typical demo, the demonstrator is charging a small per person fee for supplies. At our last group, this person invited all of the members of the group, most of whom don’t know her from Adam. She wants to be the hostess so she can get hostess rewards. I have such an issue with this that I refuse to go. She’s throwing herself a birthday party and charging her friends to come instead of just paying the demonstrator the fee for however many show up. She’s inviting as many as she can in the hopes of getting more people to buy and therefor more hostess benefits for herself.

  • Cynthia March 21, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Honestly, I think if you don’t want to go, don’t go. Obviously, even if it is a good friend inviting you, their intent is to earn free products. If only offends you because you’re not particularly close to the person, then I guess I think that’s a problem on your part, not the hostess.

    There are plenty of people who complain about being invited (when you are clearly not required to go or purchase the product), yet those same people will complain if they weren’t invited. Apparently, that can be seen as offensive and hurtful. Ultimately, the hostess can’t win.

    Personally, I don’t mind getting the invites, regardless of the intent behind it. There are so many little things in life that we let bother us way too much.

    I also wouldn’t say that having a party boils down to greed. I think that’s rather extreme. The hostess likes a product, agreed to have a party, and hopes to earn products she might not be able to afford otherwise. Those products may be extremely beneficial to her. Additionally, she may have agreed to have the party to help out a former hostess or to help the consultant. Personally, I am pretty poor. I still try to purchase something at parties so I can help the hostess out and I like having parties, too, so I can earn items that I would not consider to be remotely useless. In fact, every product I have gotten from a party (whether it be my own or someone else’s) has gotten a great deal of use. I also see people complain about invites, but then have their own parties. That seems like a massive contradiction.

    I am sorry you dislike the direct sales scene so much but it helps people earn an income and helps others earn free products. I just think you should decline the invitations and not let it bother you.

    I stumbled upon this as I was researching Pampered Chef for a project I am doing for school.

  • Heather April 6, 2013, 9:20 am

    I’ve only ever been to one of these parties. A Tupperware party. The hostess, whom I didn’t know, announced that “points” would be awarded throughout the evening and for a certain number we could get certain free things. (You got points for helping her make Tupperware look good in some way of course.)

    At one point she got out a nifty hand-crank food processor that I owned at home. I said, “Oh, I have one of those.” She stared at me and asked how I’d gotten it. I knew why: though I was in my late twenties I looked like a teenager, and I’d been sitting on the floor as I often do to leave the couches for older people. I replied that it was a wedding present and she looked even more baffled. Then, since I had one, she handed it to me to demonstrate its action, but unfortunately she’d put a banana in it which is not something I would be using that machine for–not surprisingly it got stuck, and she snatched the gizmo back out of my hands because I was making her product look bad! “No points for you!” (She didn’t actually say that…) Finally the product demonstration broke up and we got to each some little snacks, chat, and look at the overpriced catalog, fun.

    Meh. Why would I ever go to one of *those* again?

  • anonymous July 4, 2013, 11:46 pm

    One of my neighbors (with whom I never socialize) has invited me to seven “bring-a-gift” parties in the last two years….two birthday parties and a graduation party for one daughter, one birthday party for another, a bridal shower, baby shower, and wedding (the last three in that order) for her. The bridal shower invitation included the names of all the stores where she was registered. I purchased a nice gift that she had listed from one of the stores. When I arrived at the party, I noticed open suitcases with “sexy” lingerie displayed (we were never told in advance that this was going to be a sales party!) After sitting around for an hour, a woman stood in front of us and explained that this was a sales party for “sex toys” and sexy lingerie. She encouraged us to buy items as the “hostess” (bride-to-be) would receive free items according to the amount of sales that were made. For two hours the sales lady explained each and every “product”. This would have been fine for a bachlorette party but not when you’ve invited family, grandmothers, mother-in-law, and those of us over 60 (who really don’t care anymore…lol). We all brought shower gifts but it seems that it wasn’t enough for the bride-to-be who seemed to want more from us.