Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To go or not to go?

There are two camps of people. Or I should say, two camps of women.

Those that love to go to home parties (think: Tupperware-style) and those that do not.

Which camp do you fall into?

Around here, there are LOTS of home parties to go to. PartyLite. Mary Kay. BeautiControl. Lia Sophia. Silpada. Beijo Bags. Pampered Chef. And I'm sure that I'm only scratching the surface here.

I really don't mind going to these parties. They are usually hosted by a close friend, and so I like to go and participate, make a purchase to help them out, mingle and visit and feel like a grown-up getting out of the house for an hour or two.

However, a slight problem can arise when multiple people within our circle of friends decide to host a party. Does anyone else ever run into this? You end up being invited to 3 or 4 different parties, featuring the same products, and then you start to feel obligated to go and buy. And although you might love the things you are ordering, the bank account can start to rebel pretty quickly.

So this Thursday I've been invited to a Pampered Chef party. And I love this (expensive) stuff. It's being hosted by one of my good friends. But, I know for a fact that I cannot purchase anything right now. So what do I do? Do I go and then try to slip out without anyone noticing that I didn't buy anything? (I so know what my sister will say about this. She has no patience for this kind of thing). Do I tell my friend up front that I can come but can't buy? Do I just not go? Oh, and she just built a brand-new custom house that I have been dying to see, which is another reason that I want to go. Yeah, I know...I'm really focusing on the issue at hand here.

So tell me. Which is the lesser of the etiquette evils here?

29 comments:

tirz said...

I must admit that I do not like going to any of these parties one bit - I try to avoid them at all costs. If I go, I normally don't buy. I'm beyond the shame that I used to feel about it:) Gosh, don't I sound so cold and heartless? Wow!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Wow, this is a toughy. Next time I'm invited to one, I'll have to come back and read everybody's input.

I tend to think that what you do depends on how well you know the hostess. If you know her well enough that she will understand that you can't buy anything, then let her know! That would be for your peace of mind because you'll feel like you've already settled it.

If you don't feel comfortable with saying that, then just go and don't worry about not buying anything. She'll be glad to have warm bodies at her party. :-)

kaleytaylor said...

I used to be an Arbonne consultant (only for a couple of months, actually) which kind of required the whole awkward party thing. And I hated it! I didn't like making people feel obligated to come, or even more obligated to buy from me. I'm such a non-confrontational person, this was not exactly a great fit for me :)

But when I am the one attending the parties as a guest, I sort of hate that, too. I don't like feeling pressured to spend money. I'm a tight wad.

SO, in your case, if this is a good friend of yours, I would suggest telling her that you'll come, but you probably don't plan on buying anything at this time. I think being upfront would be fine, and I bet she would understand. I think she would appreciate having you around though, for sure! Even if you don't buy, go to see your friends and have some food!

Jenn said...

I haven't been to one in quite awhile. But when I did go, I enjoyed the time spent with other ladies. However, I never had disposable income. I was never able to purchase anything. At first it made me uncomfortable, but then I just realized that our finances were more important to me then what others thought or the supposed etiquette of buying at these parties.

mamachristina said...

I am one who loves going to these parties, but only a select few, Home and garden, stampin up, and pampered chef. if you are up front your friend she would rather have you come then to not enjoy at all. I have parties and would rather my friend come and not buy anything than to stay at home.

Tracey said...

Usually I try to avoid these parties. The stuff is usually nice, but too expensive and I feel obligated to buy stuff that I don't even want or need.

SarahHub said...

I would go and have fun with your friends. I have hosted a few of the parties in the past, and I never felt like my friends owed we an explanation for their purchases, or lack thereof!

Jodie said...

If I can't buy I tell my friend right up front. And personally, when I host these types of parties, I never ever want my friends/family to feel pressured into buying something to "help me out" when I know it's going to hurt them financially. If you know them, tell them. They're your friends and they'll understand. :)
And I'm with Chel - I think she'll just be happy that you showed up! More people makes for more fun - and hey, it's face to face time with your friends! :)

Mom said...

If you really want to go and don't want to purchase anything, give me a call because I really want a garlic press. :)

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Mom fixed the problem! I love when moms do that!

Gretchen said...

Oy, I have posted on this topic, too because direct sales parties do tend to put friendships in a different position. I always refuse to host a party because of the lack of RSVPs and the pressure I'll feel to help out my salesperson-friend. And then...I cave and host one! Ack. NO will power.

There are no easy answers when you want to be supportive of folks in this business, whether as hostesses or the sales people themselves. I know each case is different; however, i'm with the folks of the opinion that you should go and have fun. If this is a close friend, and you feel like you can be upfront about your finances, great, but if not, it IS a party. There really IS no pressure to buy, other than that which we place on ourselves.

Tough question. Excellent post.

Carolina Mama said...

Honesty is the best policy. ;) Sometimes they are happy just to have you attend. ;) Like the time I got talked into hosting and my girlfriends came for me. Even if they didn't buy - I was thrilled.

Carolina Mama said...

p.s. you're mom is too cute!

Amanda said...

this is hard...and i completely understand. we don't have money in the budget for these parties...so i am always upfront right from the beginning, letting my friend who is hosting know that i would love to attend to hang out but that i won't be able to purchase anything. my hostess friends are typically gracious and glad i will at least be a "warm body" at the party since it can sometimes be hard to get enough rsvps!

Genny said...

I love to go to these parties, because I get to get out of the house and spend time with friends (i.e. adults, LOL!). But I know what you mean about feeling obligated. I'd still go to your friend's party, because a good turnout is a moral booster too.

mamajil said...

Funny that you should post about this. Because tonight I am invited to a pampered chef party....and although I love their stuff I know I am not going to make a purchase today. I am usually upfront with my friends if I know that I won't be making a purchase,if its where I can I may book a show to help them out. Tonight however I am not able to make it at all so I probably won't book a show either. I've had friends call me in the past for shows I am hosting and tell me they are on a spending freeze but they want to come for the "grown up fun time" and I always just say come! I would just be upfront....and go have fun!

Darcie said...

I say you should go too. It will be nice to hang out with some grown ups. The Pampered Chef parties usually have some good recipes too. Just tell your friend where you stand at the moment and if she's a good friend, then she'll understand. We've all been there.

Good topic btw. Interesting to see how everybody feels. I've always avoided hosting a party like that because I don't want to burden people with the invite. Now I see that it's for good reason!

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

I usually don't go. I would go only if I wanted to buy something. Otherwise, I fear the temptation would prove too great and I'd come home having spent money I shouldn't have spent. But, you're right, it's a tough call.

THE ROOST said...

Girl....... I do NOT like those parties for the reason you stated so well. ( I would probably side with your sister.)..Like you I am fond of pampered chef but going to a party is not worth it. I love parties with no attachments though:)
Tell your friend honestly it is not in the budget at the moment and you will have to decline....I think you would feel "funny" once you got there and didn't get anything....I have :(

Irritable Mother said...

I am in agreement with the ladies here - just tell your friend the truth, then go to the party and have a nice time.
She'll be glad you came!

The Fritz Facts said...

I love certain types of parties. I love Tupperware...it is a sickness really. And I love Home Interiors too.

I would let them know that you do not have the budget for it right now. She might still want you to come anyway. I always let people know if it just isn't in the cards right now, and they still want me to come and socialize.

Kelley said...

Why are all of these parties so expensive anymore? It really seems out of control! I had a jewelry party last November(my first party ever) and I was surprised by the number of women who came but didn't buy anything. Not that I cared but I have always bought at their parties because I thought it was expected. So I got to thinking of all the $$ I could have been saving.
I loved visiting with everyone though so it was all good but I am NEVER having a "come and buy something" party again!!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I loved reading your responses to this post!

I made it my policy years ago to not host parties. However, I get invited to them all the time. If I know I can't or don't want to buy anything, I usually decline the invitation. Mainly, because I don't trust myself under pressure. I always end up feeling so guilty that I end up buying stuff I shouldn't.

But...a few weeks ago, I went to a Silpada party knowing that I wasn't going to buy anything. I told my friend up front that I couldn't, and I slipped out quietly while the consultant was busy with someone else.

Becoming Me said...

I love the social aspect of the parties, but not the pressure to purchase...

Wendy said...

Well, I would probably not go, but then again, I *am* anti-social. lol.

Boomeyers said...

I had to chime in on this! I love going to these parties, but we are on a very tight budget right now. I went to a Southern Living at HOme party, where nothing is cheap, but it was at my daughters best friends mothers house (got that?) and I felt obligated to buy. So I bought the least expensive thing (plus shipping) and it was about $17.00. I turned around and sold it new in the box for $12.00. So I "paid" about $5 to go to the party and I don't have to clutter up my home with more junk. This is either smart or sad, I'm not sure, but you can try this!

The Bayou Belles and Their Beau said...

Don't go if you don't want to. But if you do, just tell the friend you won't be able to buy anything. Honesty is always the best policy.

Michelle@Life with Three said...

I'm not sure what the proper response is, but if I know I'm not going to buy anything, I usually just don't go.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

I think this is a phase we all have. When my first was about a year I had invites to one of these every weekend night--I think it's the fairly new SAHM who feels the need to help $$$$. Now that my oldest is ten, us SAHMs aren't into helping $$$ and just want to get through the day :)

But that's off the point. I am sure the real reason you were invited was because you are her friend and she wants you to see her lovely home. I am betting she could care less if you buy anything. If you are really close just mention you are strapped due to gas, electric, food bills and maybe another time. if you aren't very close, just say you just bought a bunch of new kitchen stuff and don't need anything.