|1960s Tupperware Party, Wikipedia|
It starts out innocently enough. A friend invites you over for a party. There will be snacks, lots of friends and family and, oh yeah, the opportunity to try some really great products!
There's always a catch.
Maybe I've just been sheltered, but it feels like the stuff pushing party circuit is picking up steam again. First it was Tupperware starting in the '50s, today it's Pampered Chef, Longaberger, Thirty-One, IT Works body wraps (I shit you not, that's a real thing)...the list goes on. Different brands that all rely on the same model: guilt your friends and family to come over and buy crap, so the hostess can get some free crap or a little extra cash. It all smacks of socially-acceptable peer-pressure drug-dealing parties, only the drug of choice is overpriced crap you don't need.
The whole scheme is dripping with guilt. Some of my friends feel they must absolutely accept any invitation they get, unless they have a conflict. And if you go, well, then everyone knows you must buy something, and it's not likely to be cheap. Out of guilt, I've browsed the stuff catalogs and have yet to see one things I would want to buy. In the Pampered Chef catalog and was unable to find a single kitchen gadget for less than $15, which is kind of pricey in my book for a vegetable peeler. Or take Thirty One, where you can get a monogrammed plastic lunch bag for double to triple the price you would pay at your local Target. Or maybe you need a not-so-stylish purse for $140. I'm gonna repeat that: ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS. I felt guilty last week when I paid $20 for a purse I really liked after weeks of fruitless purse hunting trips at the thrift store. But hey, if you wanna be organized and trendy, you're going to have to shell out the cash.
We're supposedly in an economic downturn, with budgets slashed to the core, and we feel it's perfect okay to ask our friends and family to buy extremely overpriced (mostly useless) crap so we can make a few bucks? Sometimes I just want to ask if I can give the host $20, keep my Saturday afternoon and we call it even.
I'd love to know how much money people really make in these ventures. I've never hosted any of these parties, so maybe it's a lot more than I think. But even so, aren't there better ways to make extra money than direct-selling stuff to your friends and family? Do freelance, work overtime, slash some luxury items from your budget, sell some clutter, cut cable, anything, anything seems preferably to joining the home-party circuit.
Maybe it's just me, because I hear a lot of people waxing ecstatic about how awesome these products are. Some people gladly line up to fork over their hard-earned cash for a $20 flat iron cover. Don't get me wrong, if you absolutely love any of these brands and are dying for the latest and greatest, then by all means, shop til you drop. But I personally wish people would re-think the "guilt-the-people-you-love" business model.
Does the entire concept of stuff-pushing parties bother anyone else?