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Stop Being Exploited By Your So-Called “Friend” and Learn To Say “No, Thank You”

I have a friend who keeps having “parties” that revolve around buying overpriced clothing.  Same product line and consultant each time.  The clothes cost about 4X what similar items cost at a department store.  Nothing is inexpensive.  The consultant gets a 30% commission and the hostess gets free and discounted merchandise.

I just received an invitation for the third “party” in 12 months.  Does this seem wrong from an etiquette standpoint?  The same ladies get invited to each event. 0929-16

Your “friend” is exploiting her friendships for monetary gain.  She keeps inviting you and the same group of women to multiple parties because all of you lack a polite spine to say, “No, thank you.  I’m busy that evening.”


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  • Wendy October 18, 2016, 4:35 am

    Is she at least a good hostess providing food/drinks excetera? Do you have fun or are you forced or feel forced to buy things? These are questions I would need answers to before throwing her to the flames. These parties wouldn’t continue if people turned to her and said we don’t want to come or this is horrible don’t do it again.

    • Goldie October 18, 2016, 2:27 pm

      I don’t even know if I’m sure about the food/drinks piece being good. Before I learned to say “no” to every one of those sales parties, there was always a decent amount of items in my house that I’d never meant to buy, never used, which I had bought at a sales party because I was there with my girlfriends and we’d all had two glasses of wine each, and everyone else was buying, and I felt caught in the moment and also, in my wine-addled state, wanted to show gratitude to my friend that was hosting the party, for what an amazing hostess she was. (And here’s your answer to why these parties continue!) Then I’d wake up the next day and shake my head at the ridiculous garbage I’d bought the night before. Very quickly realized that I could not afford to go to those parties at all, and started regrettably having other commitments that I couldn’t back out of any time I got an invite to a sales party. People got the message pretty quickly and the invites stopped. I strongly encourage OP to do the same.

      • Ali October 20, 2016, 12:14 pm

        This is my policy, as well. I don’t accept invitations to any home sales parties, ever. I *nearly* made an exception earlier this year when a close friend was hosting a party with products made by women in third-world countries. I figured my money would go further if I donated directly, instead of buying over-priced items I neither wanted nor needed. The cause was good, but there was not really any way to determine that the money I spent would actually go to the women who made the products.

        I still get an occasion invitation, but for the most part, my circle knows I won’t attend. Of course now there are “online” or Facebook parties of the same variety. I get those invitations, still, and leave the group as soon as I get the notifications.

    • lakey October 18, 2016, 4:42 pm

      These are sales pitches. Providing refreshments doesn’t change that. And people do attend because they feel like their friend or relative will be embarrassed if hardly anyone attends. And people do buy things they would rather not buy because it is a “friend” who is doing the selling. I fell for these things when I was younger. I would look for the least expensive item offered, and buy it. As I got older I realized what a rip off most of these “parties” are. I haven’t been to one where the merchandise wasn’t extremely over-priced. A few of them do have good merchandise, but the prices are a big problem. In my experience, most of the people who attend these parties wouldn’t be there, and wouldn’t buy anything at those prices, if it weren’t for the fact that their friend is the seller.

      Admin is right.

  • Aleko October 18, 2016, 5:18 am

    If the ‘friend’ is planning to hold the event for the same group of women for a third time in 12 months, it can only be because the last two were profitable. This is scary: evidently all (or most) of you not only meekly came, but felt obligated to buy overpriced that you didn’t want – not just once, but twice. (If you had all looked at the merchandise and said ‘No thanks’ the first time, there wouldn’t have been a second time, let alone a third.) No wonder she and the ‘consultant’ are planning to milk you all for a third time; they take you for suckers. For heaven’s sake, Just Say No!

    If this woman was a *real* friend of yours, you’d surely have felt able to say to her ‘Samantha, I really don’t enjoy sales parties, and anyway the merchandise is wildly overpriced’. So if you find yourself dropped from her social A-list for not turning up to be fleeced, your loss will not be great.

    • Devin October 18, 2016, 1:19 pm

      Is it possible she’s having a 3rd party because the first 2 were profitable because other attendees really like the clothing? Just because its over priced for OPs taste doesnt mean other people might find it more fitting with their budgets. The OP should say no to the invitation if she doesn’t want to attend, but i won’t through the hostess into ehell. She is upfront aout it being a sales party, so everyone can make their own decision.
      If your friendship cools with the hostess after declining her invite, then you were a customer not a friend. Im hoping you’ll get an invite to her next non-sales party and you can continue your friendship.

      • Goldie October 19, 2016, 9:51 am

        If it’s 4x what it costs at a department store, it is overpriced for anyone’s taste.

        Frankly, if those items didn’t have an extra markup, then how would the hostess and the sales consultant make money off those parties? They give the consultant a 30% commission, give the hostess free items, and still turn a profit – they have to – the consultant’s employer would be out of business otherwise. They’ve got to add in a little (or a lot) extra for those sales parties. It just makes logical sense that they would.

        • Devin October 19, 2016, 1:19 pm

          How do you think department stores make money? By marking up the cost of their product to cover the cost of the building, labor, shipping, and advertising plus the profit the store keeps. Think about the times you go and they have ‘up to 70%’ off sales. That shows you how much stores mark up their products.
          A person who normally spends $5 for a bargain brand shirt might find spending $20 unacceptable for a brand name shirt. Some people might view the brand name shirt a bargain if they usually buy the $80 designer shirt. Its all about perspective. I personally dont like the styles these parties usually sale, but i have friends who love the products.

          • Goldie October 20, 2016, 9:12 am

            And then the “sales consultant” puts a 300% markup on top of what a department store already has. Thank you for proving my point.

      • Becca October 20, 2016, 5:31 pm

        I know a lot of people who do rave about the clothing and aren’t consultants or the kind that host parties. It’s a thing!!!

  • stacey October 18, 2016, 6:04 am

    I don’t have a problem with people who have these kinds of parties, provided that they are up-front about the nature of their event. There are consumers who are fans of many product lines that I don’t personally care for. But your friend is either quite the fan, quite oblivious- or both. Say “no”, and say it as a complete sentence. You don’t need to provide a socially acceptable explanation of the absence either of yourself or your money…

  • Michelle October 18, 2016, 8:02 am

    I learned very quickly after the first product “party” to be unavailable/busy when those invitations are issued. You could just say “No, thank you”, no explanation required. Of course, that could cause your friend to be upset so you would have to be prepared for the consequences- possibly avoiding you, not inviting you to other social occasions, etc. That could be a plus, though, if your friend really just wanted to be friends with your money.

  • L.J. October 18, 2016, 8:42 am

    Just make a personal policy of never going to sales parties. If you show up at a party and it’s a sales party, leave. That way you don’t have anyone wheedling you that, “You went to Sarah’s sales party, so you haaaaave to come to mine.”

  • JD October 18, 2016, 8:52 am

    Ugh, I have a friend who is nice, but has no clue about such things. She invited me to three of the same home sales parties in a year. I went to the first one and bought a thing or two. They didn’t have much I wanted, but I decided to get that much. I went to the second party because she was borrowing my party plates for this one, and I wanted to deliver and return them myself, since sometimes such things don’t all get back to me when I loan them to others. I had figured she invited me the second time because she was using my plates, and I felt no obligation to buy again. The attendance was definitely down at the second party, and I noticed that the ones who were there had been to the first party, which surprised me. The third invitation, I couldn’t believe. I thought the whole idea of the parties was to keep getting new people involved. I turned it down, and she later admitted to me that no one came to her third party. She stopped having them after that, so maybe she learned something. OP, just as admin says, decline!

    • Lomita Momcat October 18, 2016, 3:09 pm

      “…I went to the second party because she was borrowing my party plates for this one….sometimes such things don’t all get back to me when I loan them to others.”

      After a “friend” borrowed a hard-to-find, expensive book for a class project and then never returned it, I learned my lesson: I don’t lend anything I’d be upset not to get back. No exceptions.

      FWIW, 99 Cent Store has lots of plates, platters and other items that can be used for informal parties and occasions.

  • Margaret October 18, 2016, 9:43 am

    I buy clothes that way because I like the vendor. If the OP bought ones, the hostess may well think that she wants to upgrade her wardrobe with the seasonal collections. Some people, like me, might appreciate the opportunity, so it is not an overall bad thing to issue multiple invitations. The OP does need, as the admin said, to learn how to say “no thank you.”

  • Becca October 18, 2016, 9:44 am

    There’s nothing wrong with inviting you multiple times unless you have made it clear that you do not want to attend ever. If you say “I’m busy that evening.” then you open it up for the next one that rolls around to say “What about this one?”

    These sales are frequent because they have to keep drumming up sales and a lot of times there’s not much more you can do in that line of “work” than the same old song and dance. I told my friend that I don’t do product parties, she sometimes tells me in passing that she’s having one but doesn’t go out of her way to invite me because she knows my general disinterest.

    The clothes MLM one is the new thing for my best friend and I shiver a bit thinking about it. I see things and I’ve heard about how it’s structured, it all goes against my fashion and my business sense.

    • Dee October 18, 2016, 11:36 am

      I agree. I don’t know that this “friend” is using the OP and her friends or just continuing the invites since everybody seems fine with attending each of these “parties”. OP, if you don’t like attending but you don’t say so then the problem is with you, not with your “friend”.

  • Lisa H. October 18, 2016, 9:53 am

    This is not a ‘friend’, this is a leech. I no longer attend these parties, but if coerced, I am very clear that I will not be purchasing anything. Well said Admin.

  • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 10:19 am

    Insert ‘Tupperware’ ‘Longaberger’ ‘Mary Kay’ and many other home party situations. (Don’t get me wrong, I own lots of Tupperware, etc). In my dorm in college it was particularly bad, when girls wanted the hostess gifts and how many times can you hit up the same people? (one girl cried hard because she needed X in sales and two show bookings to get the corning bakeware set, I took my month of pizza money and bought her the $20 set at Target, which was the same thing, just to shut the drama down. Calculus wasn’t allowing me such frivolities as all the nights off to do parties).

    You have to politely learn how to say NO. I’m sorry but I won’t be able to make it that night, I hope you have a good time. Lather rinse and repeat.

    • Lomita Momcat October 18, 2016, 7:58 pm

      You touched on an issue that really used to raise my hackles: school fund-raising sales.

      When my daughter was in elementary and middle school, regular as clockwork we had the fund-raising sales. Cookie dough, Christmas and gift wrap, nuts and candy are some of the things that these sales featured.

      I didn’t mind buying these things, because they were usually good quality. I didn’t even mind bringing the catalogs to work, though I never hit up my coworkers. I’d buy stuff for other people’s kids, they’d buy stuff for my kid. No problems.

      What I hated: the companies that organize these fundraisers would kick off the sale with an assembly at school, where they’d get the kids all jazzed up about the prizes they could earn for selling quantities of the product, and how the kids who sold the most would be featured as “class heros” at the awards assembly.

      This just killed me. Small children have no sense of value of the prizes offered, they just want to be praised and noticed. And some kids feel left out because their parents can’t or won’t help them sell products.

      Your story about the crying girl in your dorm made me think of that. Your kindness to her was above and beyond the line of duty.

      • Goldie October 19, 2016, 10:41 am

        So much this! My son’s elementary school had a fundraiser once that they were really pushy about. They started out the usual way, putting sales flyers in the kids’ weekly folders, I’d throw them out and my kid was none the wiser. But then they gathered the whole class and promised a pizza party to the class that would make the most sales. We are talking boxes of $2 chocolate bars, 30 bars to a box. Can you imagine how much my son wanted to help win a pizza party for his whole class, never mind that they could’ve bought pizzas for half the city with the money all that candy would cost? But before I could explain it to him, the school made the sale mandatory. You HAD to pick up a minimum of one box and pay for it upfront, or else. My coworkers, who were really understanding about the whole thing, bought half of my box and my family ate the other half. I’m still fuming fourteen years later! The money was being raised to tear the old playground down and to put a new one in. There was nothing wrong with the old playground as far as I could tell!

        • mark October 19, 2016, 4:43 pm

          I’ve done Girl Scout cookies for years. It gets hard to sell them for $4/box year after year. Especially considering how little the girls and troop get. I understand why the council takes the lion share, without it there wouldn’t be Camps and Programs, but sometimes I think given the time investment and money investment, it would just be easier to pay more money.

          • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 12:03 am

            I did the girl scout cookie thing. I had to HUSTLE and sell my 50-60 boxes, as my parents would buy TWO. The winners of the shakes at the drugstore soda fountain had large nearby extended families that would buy vast amounts so they would always be over 120 boxes. No way could I compete. For a $1.50 shake. I realized this the third year, hustled my cookies, and went in the day the award was done and sat at the soda fountain and bought my own. One box of the fancy cookies worth (in that day they still had chocolate shortbread, my ultimate favorite and vanilla or chocolate, those were $1.00 a box). Here the whole school year there is something or other the kids are fundraising for and it gets hard to duck all the ones that come to your door…. if I bought from them all it would total several hundred by the end of the school year. If I had a kid in school I’d rather just hand them some money rather than have them hustle stuff I don’t want.

      • JD October 19, 2016, 1:15 pm

        My two kids had those fund-raisers at their schools, too, constantly, and they drove me nuts. I finally told them no more fund-raisers for us.
        So my 14 year old daughter (who hated selling anyway) gets yet another fund-raiser packet handed to her. She handed it back to the teacher and said she wouldn’t be participating. The teacher said “Oh, but you can sell to your neighbors, easy!” My daughter truthfully answered that we lived in the country and didn’t have “neighbors.” The teacher said “Your grandparents will buy from you, you know they will.” My daughter truthfully answered that they were all dead. The teacher said, “You have aunts and uncles, surely! What about them?” My daughter truthfully said she had only one aunt living in town, who had six grandkids she had to buy from, already. The teacher said, “Your parents can just take it to work then, how’s that?” My daughter truthfully said that her mother was not allowed to bring fundraisers to work and her dad refused to do it, because he was the manager and he didn’t want his employees to feel obligated to buy. The teacher gave up and took the packet back. When my daughter told me later what had happened, I gave her a high five.

        • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 12:07 am

          Alright! When they do that at a 7 year old is when I would go give them a piece of my mind and hand the packet back if I had to walk into the class to do it. (neighbor here had that done this fall to her 7 year old, who came home crying from the push job the teacher did, and I offered to take it back and I did. The mother worked and didn’t have the time, I’m almost two generations older, and I had no qualm in doing it. The teacher said but you’re not her mom/grandmother/aunt, and I said no but I agree totally and I have daytime off which her mother doesn’t. Why not just ask for class dues? I used to do that when I was in school… nothing more was said)

        • Lauren October 20, 2016, 1:39 pm

          Good for your daughter! We don’t have a rule on bringing in fundraisers to work, but it can be a little awkward. Several colleagues have kids who sell Girl Scout cookies and other items, and unfortunately, I can’t buy from everyone. I try to alternate who I buy from each year (I genuinely like the products and don’t mind), but I hate that kids are pushed to do stuff like this.

          • Becca October 20, 2016, 6:03 pm

            At least with Girl Scout cookies or Boy Scouts and their candy bars, they are signing up for a club and know that it includes these fundraisers that they’re participating in. There was no push to do cookie sales for us, we spent our time peddling them outside the store fronts more than anything, that was a group activity at least.

            The school fundraisers though, those were torture for me. My mom would buy a couple things but we lived in a neighborhood that was 55 and Older, we were grandfathered in to allow us to live there under the old rules, my dad refused to sign a new lease lol. So yeah, I couldn’t sell to anyone there or risk getting in trouble from management. They were looking for reasons to get us out of there, no way even with the older folks who didn’t mind us being there would we risk asking them just for some trinket prices.

          • NostalgicGal October 21, 2016, 2:24 pm

            Just note, if you hand money to the Girl Scouts during the cookie drive, a plain donation, they have to send that in as part of sales, and get a percentage back. If you just want to donate to the troop do it any other time other than cookie-drive time.

        • PWH October 21, 2016, 7:33 am

          Good for your daughter. Unfortunately there are way too many fundraisers of this type at schools and most of the items they sell aren’t worth it. My Husband’s SIL is always coming to us to buy this or that – wrapping paper, hanging baskets, tupperware! – to support our Nephew’s school. It happens way too often and most of the time we don’t need or want any of the items he is selling. I would much rather just donate the money than just buy something for the sake of it.

      • Angela October 21, 2016, 8:44 am

        By the time our oldest child was in middle school, we had instituted a policy of donating $25 to the school in lieu of fund raisers. The school was fine with it!
        Our daughter did sell the chocolate bars for a band fundraiser, but she was able to sell almost all of them on the school bus.

  • Ashley October 18, 2016, 10:41 am

    That right there is why I stopped going to those parties.

    Overpriced stuff, pushy consultants, and I’ll see the exact same people at the next party because our circle is so small.

  • Gena October 18, 2016, 10:43 am

    Just because someone invites you to an event, does not mean you have to attend.

    And just because you attend one of these parties, does not mean you have to buy.

    • stacey October 18, 2016, 4:57 pm

      This, precisely!

  • Shoegal October 18, 2016, 10:43 am

    This is an easy one. Just stop going. This is something all of you are perpetuating. I would politely bow out. You can go if you really want to simply to socialize but stop buying. “Oh I don’t see anything that I have to have.” That will stop all the parties.

  • DGS October 18, 2016, 11:02 am

    “No, thank you”, is a complete sentence.

  • Cat October 18, 2016, 11:30 am

    I imagine she is making a profit on what is sold at these parties. I would simply decline and say that I don’t need any new clothing at this time.

  • ally October 18, 2016, 11:40 am

    So many of these MLM are also getting their consultants to have people “host” parties online, usually through Facebook, so you don’t even get the benefits of socializing and a little hospitality.

    In person, don’t go. Online, leave or Unfollow the group. And *both* can be followed up with “Product parties aren’t my thing” to your friend the hostess.

  • Miss Herring October 18, 2016, 12:00 pm

    “I don’t buy things at product parties.”
    “I have no interest in attending product parties.”
    If you attend or, worse, buy from anyone selling MLM products, you will be stuck buying from everyone. Just don’t do it. Yes, some MLMs have decent products, but they still tend to be very overpriced. MLMs generally don’t make money for the people who do the selling, only the recruiting, and most MLM sellers lose money in addition to time. Personally, I won’t encourage MLM involvement by purchasing MLM products.

    • Nicole Friedman October 18, 2016, 6:57 pm

      Agreed! MLMs (multi level marketing) are largely scams. Generally the “consultant” has to buy the products with their own money. The profit margin is high as the products are always more expensive than in the stores, but factor in the costs of hosting (food, drinks…), and you’d be lucky to get $100 per party. The only real way to make money is through recruiting others to join your “team”. I would not give money to any MLM as they specifically target potential “consultants” with the promise of making thousands each month… the reality is many don’t even break even. The only reason they’re legal is that unlike a true pyramid scheme, MLMs actually sell a real product… but the business model is to make money through recruiting, not sales. I’ve known a few people who got suckered into this so I hope to prevent others from the same mistake. Just remember that real salespeople get a real salary plus commission. Consultants have to buy the merchandise they sell, and do not receive a salary. If you’re really friends with a “consultant”, let them learn sooner rather than later that an MLM “career” is just not reality.

      • lakey October 19, 2016, 9:49 am

        Absolutely. Over the past 35 years I’ve known quite a few people who’ve become involved in MLM companies. I’ve never known anyone who was successful enough at it to even give it the value of a part time job. All of these people would have been better off to supplement their real jobs with a part time job in retail.

        Most of these people start off with big ideas of all the money they are going to make. One couple really believed that they were both going to be able to quit their real jobs. A friend of mine who was unemployed thought she was going to make a career in a scheme that involved people putting water filters on their faucets for “free”, then they end up agreeing to pay for them. These people really believed that they were going to make thousands of dollars a month.

        • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 12:15 am

          The saga of the $2000-3000 vacuum cleaners. They’re a big cylindrical powdercoated things with seriously tough hoses, and supposed to be wonder-vacuums. We had a rep come to demo one with a really seriously heart-tugging presentation, however he had to pepper it with other stuff that read that he was a real sleaze. THEN he realized we were serious about we weren’t going to buy but we wanted the premium offered and quit 3/4 of the way through and refused to give us the premium because we wouldn’t let him finish. We both assured him, GO RIGHT AHEAD, he stopped not us. He gave us the premium and left. Later we got discount offers, finally down from $2000 to $500 for one used for about 20-30 demos. THEN, I went in for an ad to sell stuff and make bucks. To sell this vacuum, which was now $3000. The markup was 90%!!!!! That is how the guy was going to make $1000 selling a vacuum (that is what he told us on the side). I told the interviewer I could sell anything I got my heart behind, and I was sorry, I just could NOT sell these vacuums. I had been through a presentation and nope. They are still selling these vacuums. Do not answer these short surveys on the phone (where they figure out if you have enough income to buy one, then set up a demo)

        • Library Diva October 24, 2016, 3:23 pm

          This is why I really, really dislike these parties. It seems like almost everyone I know is into them. Only one person seems to have found much success, but it’s hard to tell how much money she really makes. She has not quit her day job. She has a substantial downline, she’s won a bunch of trips through her MLM, she was honored as a star diamond coach and was at one point talking about hiring an assistant. But I noticed that talk has dried up recently and has been replaced by mentions of the need to “reboot” her business.

          I can’t imagine it’s anything she did wrong. She clearly believes in this program with her heart, body, and soul (it’s a fitness/weightloss one), and she is a wonderful (if not slightly repetitive) walking advertisement for it.

          I think the well just runs dry eventually. There are so many people out there selling these products, and a limited number of purchasers. I have read that the top 1% in MLMs are an essential part of the scheme. If you never even hear of anyone who wins these free cruises, free cars, massive cash bonuses, etc., eventually you’ll think they’re empty promises and stop buying in. But they get you by dangling the 1% in front of you and saying repeatedly, “this could be you…you just need to register for our conference…or pay to attend this class…or Skype with one of our super-successful folks.” It’s no accident that every single one of these brands sells not only a product to consumers, but a certain mindset to reps.

          One other thing I’d like to note before I end my anti-MLM rant. They invariably sell these schemes as something that’s an easy way to make extra money, while not taking away time from your family. It’s not true. Everyone who finds any success has to hustle hard and invest a lot, just like any other business. In most cases, you’d be better off hanging up flyers and selling your service as a dog-walker, babysitter, housesitter, or whatever. You’d get to keep all the income you made.

  • LadyV October 18, 2016, 12:28 pm

    This is where you have to grow the titanium polite spine. At minimum, you stop attending the parties. But better still, you tell the “friend” that you are NOT interested in the products, and to please stop inviting you. I hope that she at least has been upfront about these being sales parties – if not, she goes on the E-Hell rotisserie.

  • ketchup October 18, 2016, 1:15 pm

    So don’t go. There’s nothing more to it.

  • koolchicken October 18, 2016, 3:14 pm

    As someone who’s worked with personal shoppers, I’ve never heard of this. So this has to be something new. Or ovcurs at a store I’ve never been to. If it were me I wouldn’t mind going, that is if my friend was going to hook me up too! But from the sound of it, your friend and the consultant are racking up the rewards, commission, free stuff, discounts, etc. and you’re stuck paying full price.

    So from the perspective of a person who prefers having a shopper (at the moment I only have one), it can be very helpful. They get to know you, your likes/dislikes, lifestyle, and body type. If you get a good one then they’re worth their weight in gold. They’ll pull styles you can trust will flatter, they’ll show you how to mix and match (therefore increasing your wardrobe for less), will set aside new things, call you when there’s sales, even hold sale items for you sometimes. So if you’re getting this kind of attention that’s actually a good thing, assuming you’re looking to buy these clothes. But if this shopper is focused mostly on your friend then there’s no point in going to these parties anymore. It’s a one sided relationship you’re not benefiting at all from. So when she invites you again, just say “no thank you, I have everything I need”. And let it go.

    • Owly October 18, 2016, 6:17 pm

      The consultant isn’t a personal shopper from a department store. It’s an MLM salesperson – like a Mary Kay or Tupperware party, but with clothes instead of makeup/food storage. So, I mean, I guess theoretically they might have a similar skill set, if you get a good consultant, but you’re still buying bland MLM-label clothes instead of stuff from, say, Nordstrom.

    • Cass October 19, 2016, 12:17 am

      This is completely unrelated to personal shopping. Look up companies like Pampered Chef and you’ll see how it works. This is multi-level-marketing, which is a nice name for a pyramid scheme.

  • Mags October 18, 2016, 3:25 pm

    I don’t mind home parties when I have money to spend, but right now I don’t, so I just decline invitations, which is easy enough because I am super busy. Also, practically all of the invitations are from people who have never invited me to anything before. I suppose if I started going to these parties I might work my way into the inner circle of friends who gets invited to non sales events, but at the moment, I don’t really feel like buying any new friends.

  • Lerah99 October 18, 2016, 6:22 pm

    In my social group I have several friends who are now selling MLM stuff: LuLaRoe, Pampered Chef, Sentscy, Pure Romance, Party Light, Tupperware, 31, Younique, Mary Kay, It Works, etc….

    I am being begged to host parties almost weekly and I’m invited to parties continuously. Online parties, in home parties, parties at restaurants, etc…

    I don’t begrudge them their entrepreneurial spirit and none of them have been pushy in their requests.

    A couple of times they were selling something I wanted and was willing to pay a little more for in the spirit of helping out a friend. Most the time, not.

    So most the time my answer is simply “Sorry, can’t make it.” And that suffices.

    Letter Writer, I think if you just tell your friend “Sorry, can’t make it” that will be all it takes.
    I wouldn’t cast your friend into E-Hell simply for holding the parties.

    And if this is her third one in less than a year, either people like the stuff and keep showing up or she’s going to see a LOT fewer people at this party.

  • Anonymouse October 18, 2016, 10:28 pm

    Back when my MIL was alive, she had a semi-addiction to PartyLite candles. I got three or four invites to these sales parties, and gave the same response each time: “I have severe allergies to artificial scents, and don’t want to risk an asthma attack. Thanks anyways.”

    Somehow, I still always got invited the next time around.

  • edy October 18, 2016, 11:24 pm

    I had a friend who sold overpriced, average quality jewelry for years. I attended 2 parties and made small purchases to be supportive, but I withdrew my support when she started pressuring me to throw a party, assuring me that “people love the parties!”

    It really made me wonder, do people love them, or was everyone telling her that to be nice? Judging by the amount of money that some other attendees spent (some spent hundreds of dollars, and came back for future parties), can I assume that there are people who actually WANT to make these purchases, and aren’t just doing it to be nice? If everyone’s just trying to be nice, wouldn’t it be easier just to give our friend some cash and cut out the middle man? (sarcasm intended)

    • Mojo October 19, 2016, 2:12 am

      The recruiter gets a bonus or a cut of your profits. I had a friend who got pushy over me joining a ‘great scheme!’ the same way, and it cost us our friendship.

    • Library Diva October 24, 2016, 3:26 pm

      I had a friend make precisely that point at the “launch party” of a good friend of hers. She’s already bought something and sales were going slow, so her friend’s “mom” in the business (that’s what they used to call it…seriously creepy) started in with the pressure. “You know, Laura’s a single mom, so let’s all support Laura.” My friend kept quiet at the moment and didn’t even say anything afterwards, but she said that she’d watched Laura’s kids many times, had been by her side through the divorce, had tried to talk her out of sticking with the jerk that she ultimately married. She said that rather than another overpriced necklace of mediocre quality, she’d prefer to just take Laura grocery shopping.

  • Mojo October 19, 2016, 2:01 am

    As long as you keep buying, she’ll keep selling. Why wouldn’t she? – it’s a lucrative business model.

    Now you know what these ‘parties’ are, you can decline. If you’re not interested in the product, it’s your right as a customer to walk away. When she wants you as a friend, then maybe you’ll talk.

  • eeek October 19, 2016, 5:55 pm

    I once declined an MLM party invitation politely, with a “so sorry, I’m busy” response – only to have the hostess reschedule to accommodate my availability (in a very public message to all, claiming “Because eeek can’t attend on Thursday, I’m switching to Tuesday, since we can all do it then, too!”) Ugh.

    So now I’m inclined to reply with “So sorry; I’m not interested in / don’t care for [product]. Thanks for thinking of me. How are the kids/pets/Save the Walnuts Foundation?” If pressed further, I will take a deep breath and go into the “I don’t support MLM ventures” response, complete with math involving exponents, graphs comparing purchasing power to world population, and the storied history of the pyramid scheme.

    I’m not asked to many parties. Alas.

  • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 12:32 am

    My DH had an Amway wave come through work and a lot of people quickly signed up. We paid the $ for the dealership, and to be fair they gave us a box of products that was ‘worth’ more than we paid, to use and become familiar with the products. They do have some good products, though a bit overpriced IMO. However the upline got seriously bogged down and his upline person needed training before DH could be trained. Plus they had all these ‘motivational speaker’ gatherings where you had to pay to go and they’d keep you hyped up. I don’t hype. I went to one about six weeks in, and yeah when the guy quit talking it wore off very fast on me. Like a few minutes. DH wanted to go to the BIG event in BIGGER CITY the next week and I had written a check for the amount. I met his upline and the one above that and we discussed when DH would be trained. Well first upline needed training. I suggested that upline and DH get trained at the same time. OH NO that could NOT happen. I took DH aside and said when are we going to MAKE some money, I pointed out how much we’d bled so far and no sign of when he’d even be trained. And the upline person asked us a few moments later, if we had two friends to be presented to for HIM to be trained. No, we didn’t even have two friends to get US trained. I went to the organizer person and got our check back. They didn’t want to but they handed it over. I ripped it up and that was the end…. except. Neighbor got into Melaleuca, and at the mailboxes, draped an arm loosely around my shoulders and asked if I’d ever heard about Melaleuca. I took my wallet, took out my current Amway dealer card, put my arm loosely around HIS shoulders and showed it to him and asked if he’d ever heard about Amway? He never brought it up again. Neither did I.

  • PWH October 21, 2016, 7:42 am

    I’m on par with everyone here. I’ve stopped going to these parties. In the past few years I’ve been inundated with requests for Tupperware, Scensy, etc. all through Facebook invitations. My my husband’s SIL has gone through everything from Avon to Tupperware and I attended a few parties just to support her (She was a stay at home Mom at the time and was looking to supplement her income). After accumulating way too much of everything and spending way too much money, I’ve put my foot down. I’m tired of the pushy sales – “I need to sell $XX more to meet my sales goals” or “You can’t leave without buying something”. When the sales flyers come out I will check to see if there is anything I want. If there is, most companies will allow you to order online and enter in the details for your local sales rep. That means less work for me and for SIL.

    • NostalgicGal October 21, 2016, 2:43 pm

      This. One place I worked at, I sold jewelry I made or went to the wholesale mart and bought; there was the Avon Gal and the Tupperware Gal. Management was okay as long as it was on our time, and we didn’t have any inter-department hissies between us. So we respected each other so we could continue to sell. I would look at the latest flyers and if I wanted some, I would buy. Otherwise I didn’t. Don’t give me a catalog just let me page one and give it back. About once a month around payday I would put my stuff up in my cube during lunch and do the same, sell if you wanted some. Now you can do the online and I like that better, I can just look with no pressure.