Ask the Readers: Should I go to my neighbor’s purse party if I’m not planning to buy anything?

My neighbor is having a purse/bag party next week and I really do not want to buy anything. I was just out for a walk and she asked me if I was coming and I said probably because I feel bad saying “no”. I rarely go to these kinds of parties because I hate to feel like I need to buy something.

My question is, “How do I go to a party and not buy anything when everyone around me is making a purchase?” -Sheri

Do you go to in-home parties (Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.), when you don’t plan to buy anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you approach this in a polite and cordial manner without breaking your budget or feeling obligated to buy things you don’t need.

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Comments

  1. Sara says

    I’ve already answered the original question, but in response to the negative remarks:

    Some people get into these types of businesses as a way to minister. It’s a great way to meet other women and be a blessing to them. I’ve given away my product to people who just can’t afford to purchase, but love the product. I’ve stayed with my hostess long after her friends have gone, just to chat. And sometimes we’ll end up praying together, even non-Christians! Sometimes people are stressed or depressed and just need a fun night out and distract from their issues. Sometimes people are just so busy and a “one stop shopping” night is perfect for them (these are generally career women with money).

    Sometimes direct sellers CAN be pushy, but it is certainly not the rule. Not all direct sellers are evil. =)

  2. Michal says

    This conversation is why being a woman is so great! Can you imagine men having this discussion?!? I just sat here and read every comment even though I should be in bed. I couldn’t help myself! I love all the strong feelings we have as women. Our emotions are such a powerful part of us and can be a great strength. We care about each other’s feelings and how others perceive us and want to make people happy. This would never happen at a fishing lure or guns and ammo party! I know I’m generalizing- maybe some of you love fishing/hunting…

  3. Christy says

    I am not afraid of saying I can’t make it. It depends on who is trowing the party, if it is family then I will go to support the numbers but I will tell them before that I will most liking not be buying anything. If it is a good friend I will tell them that I don’t need the items they are selling or it is not in the budget but if they are looking for more attendance I can make it. If I don’t know them very well I usually just don’t go.

  4. Cindy says

    I’ve never liked these types of “parties” and I’m done with them! The last one I went to was a year ago – they were selling jewelery and skin care stuff. I normally don’t go to these but I’d just had a baby and needed an evening out. I’d been to many fun parties at this friend’s house so I assumed that there would be socializing along with the sales pitch. Boy was I wrong! Once I realized that everyone was really serious about buying stuff I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was so bored. I wasn’t in the market for overpriced skin care items (the “cheapest” item there was about $95!!) and the jewelry wasn’t my style. I didn’t buy a thing and the next time I get that kind of invitation, I will politely decline. I have better things to do with my time.

  5. christina says

    I just let the host (my friend) know in advance that I am not in the financial position to purchase anything…but I will be happy to come and spend the time and company with others =) All my friends have been understanding and still wanted me to be there!

  6. Jeannnie says

    If you know you are not interested, I would not go..your neighbors are probably going to say “so–which one are you getting??” You may feel awkward. I would say “you know I have so many handbags I just don’t even use!” (for me, that’s the truth) I get approached for so many parties–you kinda have to get a “backbone” I do like Pampered Chef & maybe even one Tupperware party..What I don’t like is if I go to one–someone there books a party and then wants me to come to that and then so on–then I just think it’s nothing more than a “fundraiser” and I have to refuse again!

  7. Nancy says

    Great comments!

    These home parties fill a need in the world – many people have successful home businesses, many hostesses enjoy the planning and bringing people together and many guests don’t mind buying. It’s all pesonal taste.

    What is annoying is when you are only invited to these kinds of things and never anything else by the hostess. Last month I was called by a neighbor to invite me to her home show…ONE HOUR before. Really? Then she let me know it was her daughter starting in the business and she should’ve invited me earlier. When I told her I couldn’t make it – she said she would drop off a catalog and that maybe I would want to book a show for her daughter.

    Now. THAT was in poor taste.

    I’ve hosted shows over the last 20+ years and make sure everyone knows they are welcome and don’t have to buy anything and am really never insulted or feel bad when they don’t. It’s their money!

  8. Michelle Schubert says

    I would go and not feel bad about not buying anything. Sometimes the hostess gets more perks for invited guest and the number of guest in attendance. I have been to many parties that I have not purchased something or someone beside me has not. Don’t feel bad, go and have a good time socializing.

  9. Jennifer says

    I usually go if I am able to – even if I don’t plan on buying anything. I don’t mind if people come to my parties (that I rarely have) and don’t buy anything. I mainly enjoy the socialization with friends.

  10. Emily C says

    I’m up front with my friend–I don’t have the money to buy anything right now (husband is in a PhD program and we have 3 kids), but if it’s something I’m interested in I’ll come and see the products, and take a catalog home so I can order in the future. The consultant will often still give the hostess credit for things purchased in the future from someone who was at a party.

  11. Pam says

    When we were newly married and had an extremely tight budget, I would still go to friends’ parties to show support for the friends (who like us, had tight budgets, too), knowing that (as discussed with my husband ahead of time) I would just choose one of the least expensive items to purchase, once again out of support for a friend. If I didn’t need it, I could save it to give as a Christmas gift. However, my eyes were opened when I finally accepted an invitation to host a party of my own…not one of the friends whose parties I had attended (and made purchases from) showed up at mine, or even bothered to RSVP. Now, I just politely decline saying I have other plans….I know a lot of people say just to go and have fun or be another “body.” I say go do things with friends that don’t involve people trying to make a buck and who will be there to support you as a friend when you need it. Let the people who enjoy spending the bucks (and many people do–nothing wrong with that if you can afford it and enjoy it) patronize the “parties.” I’ll spend time with my true friends.

  12. says

    I usually say no from the get go. My reasons are simple. At this stage in my life I have neither time nor money to spend. If I’m going to socialize it’s going to be with people I genuinely want to be with in a setting where we can truly talk and have fun in a more personal way. I’m just not a party type girl.

    When I do relent and go I’m always tempted to spend money that I don’t have. Sometimes I bow, sometimes I don’t, but the very fact that I’m tempted is enough to keep me away.

    Occasionally, I will go to support a close friend. I will not go when the person inviting has made no attempt to befriend me in the past and only wants me to come for the $$/ prize factor. I don’t like feeling used.

  13. Lee says

    Depends on your point of view for going… Having to spend money or one more opportunity to ‘let your light so shine before men’. I never spend money at these parties if I don’t want to. If I’m limited in funds, then I look for the most inexpensive (and yet, practical) item… You could always use it as a gift for someone else. Most people hosting these ‘parties’ understand that not everyone can or will buy. And most people trying to get them to host the ‘parties’ know that there is an average percentage who will actually buy or host a party themselves…

  14. AnnaBanana says

    I’m a long time reader but this is the first time I’ve ever felt the need to comment… I have a friend who is a designer w/ Celebrating Home and I have hosted a couple parties and also attended several. I always say “please come, don’t feel like you need to buy something, just come and eat and see everyone”. And people do that and I love the fact that they feel that they can. My friend is helping support her family w/ her Celebrating home business, I get to catch up w/ people I don’t see all the time and we all have fun.

    Also, I live in a very rural area where we have to travel more than an hour to get to any sort of shopping mall and these parties can be just the ticket, especially when you don’t have to fight a crowd!

  15. angie t says

    This is a relevant topic – I got invited to 2 of these at the same time on Sunday. As a general rule, I don’t go to any of the at home sales parties because I don’t have the extra money to spend and I don’t want to offend anyone if I buy from one friends party and not another. Both friends seemed upset that I was unable to attend and I now almost feel guilted into going to both parties.

    The first weekend we moved into our house, I got invited to my neighbor’s Pampered Chef party. I politely called and declined the invite as I had a lot of unpacking to do and had to go into work for a few hours that day. Three years later, the neighbor confessed that she was very upset with me that I couldn’t make an effort to socialize with her and at times still shows signs of resentment.

  16. Ashley says

    I personally have a “policy” that I don’t attend parties where you are pressured to puchase things. And I tell people that. I tell them that I don’t attend the parties becaues I really think its rude to invite people over to your house so someone can make them feel like they should buy something. I do this in a very nice way and I make a point of telling EVERYONE the SAME THING. No matter who it is… Most of what they sell is comparable quality to what one can get in a good department store and its WAY over priced. And usually not something you need. If someone wants to start having parties and selling toilet paper and baby wipes at really good prices with home delivery… well sign me up:)

  17. sarah says

    We don’t have $50 or $80 for a night out – can’t even do a babysitter, unfortunately. But your point that it is a business is helpful. I don’t go to a store if I’m not planning to buy something, nor, I guess, to a home-store w/ refreshments, phrased as a party.

    • Melodie says

      @sarah, Spend $50 for a night out with my husband? Are you kidding? We skimp and save and go out ONCE A YEAR while grandma babysits for free and we still try hard to combine gift cards and coupons so as not to spend more than $25 – $30 on that evening.

      I do go “window shopping” often. Store owners expect that not everyone buys who comes to their stores. And party hostesses should expect the same. The party is a marketing risk. But sales will not take place without some marketing. So it’s a worthy risk. However, hostesses should not expect their guests to make a “courtesy” purchase. I think that would be a rude and assuming approach for the hostess: definitely not good marketing if she hopes to attract more people to the next party.

      I only go to parties that I really think are interesting to me so that I’m genuinely shopping when I go. I do try tell the hostess up front that I will probably not buy immediately since the budget is tight; but that I will be shopping with future purchases in mind. When put to it at the party, I again mention that I am not ready to buy yet, but I will make special comments about a few items that genuinely caught my eye and that I will be thinking about.

      The fact is, I don’t ever have extra $$ to spend at a party or anywhere else . . . not even $10 or $20. All of our purchases are necessity based.

      The only time that I make an out-of-the-ordinary purchase is if I find an item I’ve been planning to buy for a couple of months and have run it by my husband several times so that he has already been setting aside a few extra dollars into the budget for that item for a little while. I try not to buy anything ever, party or not, unless I really think it’s a worthy purchase.

  18. says

    Before internet, direct sales was a way for women to make money from home. While there are differences, big blogs who refer us to different companies to make a cut off of each click are also trying to sell us something and making a profit. The upside of blogging for profit is that it’s a lot less intimidating because it’s not in person and they are able to sell to a lot more people. The upside of direct sales is that it’s done in person and on a more intimate level.

    I just had to chime in because if we are bashing people trying to sell us something, I think blogs can be the same way. By choosing to read a blog, we can be tempted to jump on a deal that we don’t really need just like when we choose to go to a home party and buy something we don’t really need. It’s all about making good decisions for ourselves, not about if blogging or home sales are immoral jobs to have.

  19. Alyssa says

    I’ve sold Mary Kay in the past and when I’d book a hostess for a party I would tell her to mention to all her invitees that they should not feel obligated to buy anything. I present the “party” as just that…a party. A night out with the ladies to enjoy some great products and get a mini makeover. I’ve also been to parties for other like items and I know that just by going I’m helping the hostess recieve free items and discounted prices on items that she wants (which is why she’s having the party in the first place). So just look at it that way, your helping her get the things that she wants just by going.

  20. Melissa says

    I just have to add my 2 cents :) I LOVE at home parties. I think the best products out there are what can be bought from these in home parties. I have used Mary Kay for years. When I found all this couponing stuff I of course had TONS of make up from the drug store. So, I figured it was free and I should use it. I hate it all. I will never use anything other than Mary Kay (and no – I’m not a consultant!). When I buy things from WM or Target it breaks and is not good quality. When I buy my kitchen products from Pampered Chef or Tupperware, they are good quality and if in a year something happens to it I can send it back and get a brand new one – which I have done. I am a consultant for a different company and I know there are lots of people out there who like what I sell. I even get people contacting me through my website that I don’t even know who want to buy my products. There are a lot of people out there who want good quality products so they don’t have to waste their money on junk over and over. I would go to the party (yes, I realize you already went and it didn’t turn out good), even if I wasn’t buying something because you never know what you might find or end up liking.

  21. Kristi says

    I don’t go to home parties of any kind. Since we started Dave Ramsey, this was one area I easily cut out of our budget. When I get invited I do not feel bad nicely telling my friend that I don’t go to home parties and I don’t buy anything. I feel good that I am in charge of our financial future, and if people get offended because I say no, then that is their problem and not mine, friend or not. I’ve been the hostess of home parties before and if people say they don’t want to come, it is okay.

  22. Stacy says

    When I sold Pampered Chef, a good friend called me who was invited to a party being hosted by our mutual friend. She had already told our mutual friend she wouldn’t buy anything. She then called me to tell me she had no plans to make a purchase and didn’t know if she should come. I told her to come. The more the merrier and that I appreciated her letting me know. It is a “party” and the non-purchaser’s outlook or opinion might be what someone else is looking for to make a purchase.

  23. Rachael says

    I would like to challenge the readers of this blog to host a party sometime before Christmas. Just for fun. No sales required. Many of my friends (aside from my really close friends) feel like there is an excuse needed to throw a party. That is the appeal of these direct sales parties. Why don’t we just get together to chat about our kids? That’s why we go to them, anyhow. (By the way, I usually have fun at these parties. I set a budget–usually $25-$50–and buy Christmas or birthday gifts for people that I would buy for anyhow. If it’s something really practical that I know I would use, say mascara at a Mary Kay party, then I may buy that.)

    • Megan says

      @Rachael, I agree! Or even better – throw a charity party. Get together to bake cookies for folks at a local women’s shelter, pack Operation Christmas Child boxes together, host a “bring what you have/take what you want” swap and invite some neighborhood kids so that they can “shop” for their parents’ Christmas gifts, team up with a local multicultural center and see if a newly immigrated woman would be willing to teach a group of your friends how to make a special treat from her country (everyone could pitch in $5 to help out your teacher). There are so many great ways to spend time with friends – and help others – without making it about consumerism. I’m not opposed to these sales parties, but there are plenty of other good reasons to throw a party :)

  24. Nikki says

    I don’t combine $$$ and friendships. I never go to these parties and I never host them. I feel comfortable with that decision.
    I want NO motive to be my friend other than you genuinely enjoy my company. :-)

  25. amanda says

    I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who hates these things. I do feel pressured to buy something, even when it isn’t in my budget. Several years ago, the Pampered Chef thing went through my circle of friends. I dutifully attended and bought at each party. Then it was “my turn” to host- and none of my friends bought anything. I felt really used. Now I just decline all of those kind of things unless I have a need to support someone- the best example I can think of that is going to my neighbor’s Silpada party- she had filled in for our dogsitter in an emergency and wouldn’t accept payment, so I bought some stuff off of the clearance table at the Silpada party from her to square things up in my mind. I love the rule that someone mentioned about not accepting those types of invitations if that is the first invitation that you have had from the person.

    • Pam says

      @amanda, Same thing happened to me when I finally hosted a party–none of my friends that I had bought from even attended, let alone bought from me. That ended my party-attending days!

  26. Erin says

    I think ultimately, it’s the approach of the consultant. I work for a home based business, but I am super, super lax about it. I allow friends to ask me if they can host a party, and let them invite who they will. If it’s a great show, great, if not, I help them out on my end so they can still have a good show. It’s really all about the fellowship. Being away from the normal environment to hang out with friends. This makes it easy for all parties involved, I believe. I also NEVER call people who were invited and didn’t attend, and do NOT get frustrated or offended if someone doesn’t buy something. I’ve been there, too!

  27. Emily says

    I honestly love these type of parties! I enjoy going to them & hosting them. I’ve never really felt pressured to buy, nor have I pressured someone else to buy. I never been insulted when someone came & didn’t purchase anything. I do, however, usually try to stick with the parties I know I’ll benefit the most from. I try to do some research before hand.

  28. Amy says

    Wow. Very interesting discussion. I am a ‘Jewelry Lady’ with Premier Designs and I love what I do! It makes me sad that so many of you have had bad experiences with direct sales. I currently work a full time job and my Premier business is going to allow me to soon be able to stay home with my kids. It has been a HUGE blessing in my life. I have also experienced a lot of personal growth through my business. My goal at every show is to provide a fun evening for the ladies and show them how they can actually save money by accessorizing and spend less on clothing. I am never offended when someone doesn’t buy and usually I don’t even notice until afterwards.

    I strive to honor God and serve and encourage each and every lady who hosts a show or attends and if I do that then my business will be more successful than pressuring women to buy things they don’t want to buy.

    I am never offended when someone doesn’t want to host a show or buy anything even if they are a close friend. They will still be my friend – it’s not personal and shouldn’t be.

  29. says

    I don’t think it’s a guilt trip at this point- we all know that the ‘party’ is an ‘in-home sales presentation’. If you feel guilted, don’t go. If you can’t stick to your strict budget, don’t go. But be polite. I go, without the intent to buy, but normally end up supporting my friends and the sales person. I like meeting new people as well, and I like buying things. I don’t think I’m as frugal as many of you- but I’m trying. (Maybe I should stop going? ;)
    I recently hosted a ‘no pressure to buy’ party for my friend who is a new rep. I told her my intent- to have more of a girls night, and she was on board. After words, I heard that she was annoyed with those that made her work and didn’t buy. That made me crazy! Such a double standard. Just goes back to SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. I didn’t say anything, but I’m not in a hurry to host anytime in the future. I’m sticking to houseparties.com and dinner parties.

  30. says

    I make and sell children”s clothing…and am FINE with ladies coming to my shows and not buying anything. Their encoragment, and even the fact that they took time out of their day to come, means a lot to me I appreciate their encouragment, and oftentimes, they give me helpful tips! You never know how word or mouth will spread, and sometimes someone seeing your products up close makes them interested and willing to buy in the future!

  31. T says

    I appreciate the need for work for SAHMs … I really do … but I seriously wish the “home sales” movement would DIE. For many of the reasons already enumerated:
    It is manipulative to people you try to involve. Result: harmed relationships.
    As far as I can tell, it is largely a scam for the people so employed – you don’t make much money compared to the costs of being in business (let alone the social costs of pestering people to host parties/buy things/join your “downline”).
    The products may be high quality, but they are also generally overpriced. If I wouldn’t buy something of that price in a store, why are you trying to convince me to buy it from you? I’d rather hand you $20.
    I feel the same way about the constant requests for school and extracurricular fundraisers. I’d rather give your kid $5 for $CAUSE than buy something. At least then the full donation goes to the cause, rather than partly to companies that are based on practices I consider distasteful.

    • Rachael says

      I’d actually really like to see a whole topic on this…. Using kids to sell merchandise. I hate being approached to buy things we don’t need, especially candy and junk food that is so expensive.

    • Sara says

      @T, Actually I’ve never had to pressure someone into purchasing something or hosting a party. And customers call me back all the time to make more purchases. That’s not me pressuring, they are coming to me! And the profit really is good.

  32. michelle says

    I have hosted several informal parties for fun (not selling or buying anything) and have had mixed results. For my jewelry making party I had several ladies show up and have a fun time. I provided the beads and other supplies and they each went home with one or two small pieces of jewelry. I also showed them how to make earrings as I had just learned how. I have also tried to host an informal card making party twice and each time only one person showed up! I have never hosted a party for selling things and am incredibly disappointed that when I am not selling anything how few people show up.

  33. says

    This is such a needed discussion topic, especially among the demographic that reads this blog I’m sure.

    I’m not a huge fan of network businesses for this reason. They tend to create an awkward situation for friendships. Yes I am all for supporting my friends but if it’s about making money I’d much rather give them cash than participate in a purchase for something I don’t need which will at best minimally impact my friend’s income. I figure if I need something for myself or a gift I will ask to place an order.

    It’s SO HARD being a frugal when your friends constantly invite you to Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Candlelight and, most recently for me, Usborne Books parties.

    Case in point, I had never heard of Usborne before the party I attended a couple months ago. But when I got there I fell in love with the books. Then after searching around the internet I realized I could get these books new or gently used off of Craigslist or other used sites for up to 90% less than what Usborne charges. What a dilemma! I can buy multiple books elsewhere online for what I can buy at a party! And I am completely in LOVE with children’s books!!!!

    For my friend’s party I purchased 3 books to be nice but I admit I hated writing that check!! Like I said I want to support my friend but I wish I could have just written the check to her or bought her a bunch of books directly!

    The bottom line for me is that all the network business products are EXPENSIVE. I have everything I could ever want from Pampered Chef, I have no need whatsoever from Tastefully Simple b/c I prefer to bake from scratch, and I buy my candles and containers from Target. I love my friends but not the pressure!

    (And don’t get me started with the pressure to host a party. UGH! Every time I’ve tried they’ve each failed miserably. Such as, I send out 50+ invites and 2 people show up. We have fun but what a waste! If I don’t like to have pressure put on me, I certainly don’t like to bestow it even more. That’s just wrong.)

  34. Jaclyn says

    Yikes! Tough crowd. I’ve never been a consultant or hosted a party. I have been to a few and I’ve always had a good time (and I think I’ve bought something maybe once).

    Personally I’ve always admired women who put themselves out there like that. I could never do that!

    Honestly I think its funny that people seem so against others trying to make money with these parties. What do you think stores do? I’d rather a friend of mine make money doing this than lets say work for an insurance company denying peoples claims.

    What I am hearing is that people think the consultant or hostess is making them feel a certain way. You control how you feel.

  35. LisaB says

    It is my opinion that these ‘at home sales parties’ function as a way to mostly provide the hosts with free junk (makeup, tupperware) and add more sales reps to the company’s pyramid scheme. I am not helping my friend be a SAHM by helping her get free mascara. Little ‘real’ money is made by most hosts (which is why so many host only one or two parties and then quit). It is NOT right to be pressured to host your own party instead of buying as a favor to your friend, as some commentors have said. This is how the pyramid scheme works! It’s manipulative. So instead of buying, you will have to foot the cost of hosting (i.e., pressuring YOUR friends and providing food) as a way of getting out of wasting your money at a party?
    Additionally, if I want to minister to others or be ministered to, it won’t be at a sales party. How about just invite a friend to coffee? Or take somebody muffins if you know they need a friend? Me time and/or fellowship time shouldn’t cost you an overpriced spatula.
    And if I have one more woman approach me with a compliment and then try to push Mary Kay…augh!

  36. says

    I still say how do home parties stress relationships any more than when we send our friends referral links online…to get earn free points and product for ourselves? When I get 4 referrals from 4 friends to one company, I can’t sign on through all of them. And maybe I don’t want to sign on at all. Groupon, Swagbucks, Ebates, yada, yada, yada. I don’t think home parties cause anymore pressure to buy than what the internet is now creating with sales and referral pressures. And my end conclusion is that neither is bad, both are always going to be there, and we need to decide how we are going to handle the pressure. To say home parties need to be done away with is like saying internet referral programs need to be done away with, in my opinion.

  37. Maria says

    I have been a stay-at-home mom for 7 years. I know the challanges we all faced balancing our budgets at the end of the month, specially going from a 2 income to a 1 income household. Believe me, I hear you out there! However, during these past 7 years as a SAHM, I have learned to adjust myself, and do whatever it takes, to meet our family’s NEEDS ONLY with what my husband can provide for us. For me, my primary role as a stay at home mom is not to bring home the bacon, but rather to care for my husband, children and our home. In other words, we have learned to live within our means with what my husband can provide us, and believe me, it can be done! Since two of our three kids are know in school, I have a little more time to find ways to supplement our income, but ONLY to meet our WANTS not my our NEEDS. I do this provided that I don’t neglect my family. I can tell you that I’ve successfully earned money by doing it the only way I know how which is WORKING. For me, there is no greater feeling then getting paid after a job well done. Since, I know the value of money and I know how hard it is to earn it. I am determined not to waste it or give it away either. Thus, I’ve disciplined myself not to buy or be pressure into buying things I do not need period. I’ve also learned to be upfront with people and just say “NO” also period. How they handle their emotions (that is if there are offended, hurt or disappointed by my “NO”) is truly not my responsibility. My responsibility is to be responsible to my family and to my God by being a good steward with what the Lord has giving us.

  38. Karla says

    My female neighbors (9 of us) and I get together about once a month, because we enjoy the company! We used to only get together because of a home party. Home parties are not “evil,” they are actually a nice way to meet new friends. I have bought from some and not from others. I buy the item if I want the item. I have never felt pressured. Go! Enjoy yourself! It’s a free night out with no strings attached! And it can turn into some long-term friendships!

    If you really feel pressure to buy, then put some money in your budget for it. A night out with the girls needs some budget money too!

    That being said, don’t have a house party or send your kids to homes for a fundraiser if you won’t reciprocate in a purchase. It’s okay to attend otherwise, but if each of your friend spent a bunch at your home party and you got a bunch of free stuff, you should reciprocate in kind.

    I buy from Every Child who shows up at my door for a fundraiser. My neighbor always sends her three children to my door for every fundraiser under the sun (school fundraiser, church, Scouts). I gladly purchase from each of them. She has never bought one time from my kids. How rude is that? If I buy wreath, wrapping paper, greeting cards, magazines, etc. from her kids, she should buy a little something when mine knock on her door–or she shouldn’t send them to my house constantly to support her kids’ activities. That is what a fundraiser is–getting others to help pay for the activity your child is participating in. I don’t mind purchasing, the activities are good for the kids. But again, if you ask, you should reciprocate. Oh yeah, the girls and I have never talked about it, but she’s not been included in any of our activities lately, so I guess I’m not the only one who thinks she’s not very nice. Again, budget for your neighbor/friend-time, it is well worth it. Food for thought.

  39. kristen says

    I probably wouldn’t go to the party because I’m the type of person that would feel pressured to buy. Everyone is different and if you don’t have a problem saying “No” then go and have fun! I really don’t like these direct-selling companies because I think it interferes with loving people the way Jesus wants us to – with no other motivations. I know some people may be able to be a sales person second and a Christian first, but I think too many times priorities get switched around. If I’m going to talk to someone about a great thing that’s transformed my life I’d rather it be Jesus, not a new skin cream.

  40. says

    I have read a number of these comments, and can understand where everyone is coming from. I have attended oodles of these parties and have done several of the things myself. So–here is my 2 cents–while working as a consultant, I always believed in my products–I tried to learn as much as I could about the products, and the business. Usually, a consultant gets some sort of credit just for having a party–and often, there is a requirement to have a certain number each month–so, when the consultant tells you you are helping her just to host or attend, she really means it. True, times are tight–but, these can really be informative and fun–and everyone needs a little time-out now and then. The best sales advice I ever got was from a tupperware lady–it was, “You never know what someone is thinking.” The least expected persons often have the best parties–also, those who do not buy, may have a party later, or may even want to try consulting themselves. Also, there is almost always something inexpensive–when I did Pampered Chef, we had nice little recipe books that sold for one dollar–I often used them as prizes–and everyone loved them. We also had a first rate vegetable peeler for $5. I live in a very small town–and at many parties, I sold almost nothing but vegetable peelers–however, there was the one lady who bought $99 of product, and then the lady who had been searching for years for the perfect garlic press–$29 of product–and the older lady, who wanted to get several items, but needed to order them one every 2 weeks–I added her order to my current party–helping the hostess. We were taught to actually give a cooking class demonstrating the uniqueness of the product–I took my young daughter along as my helper–we had fun. The trick is–don’t let upper management people pressure you–do it your own way. Just enjoy it–don’t go for a company with hugh start-up costs–you are almost sure to make new friends and get some great products for yourself and family. And treat each of your customers as if theirs is your most important order–because it is!

  41. says

    Like many others have said, I have been on both sides of the fence. I have learned to be discerning on which parties to attend and to know up front what the price range will be. I ended up at a jewelry party once where the cheapest item was $35! As a Pampered Chef consultant now, I always tell my hostesses to encourage people to come even if they can’t buy anything. First, as someone else said in an earlier thread, the information provided at parties (recipes, cooking tips, etc.) is worth coming. Second, if the consultant is good, she/he will demonstrate how to SAVE you $$ by purchasing key items. I have said an enormous amount of $$ by spending very little to help with food preparation. I make it a practice to tell people at every party that there is no obligation to purchase that the hostess is thrilled to have them there just to sample the food. This takes some of the pressure off right away.

  42. Emily H. says

    As a former MK consultant, I sympathize with those who do direct sales. But if I know I can’t afford to buy (which I can’t), I just don’t go.

    I’m in a related dilemma now. A friend from years ago that I’m just friends with now on FB asked me to host a candle party for her. I don’t really care for candles. I use like one per year, usually around this time of year. I don’t really want to ask my friends and family to shell out money for overpriced candles, especially this close to Christmas. But I feel the same pressure. She said she’s trying to buy Christmas gifts for her kids. Um, well, so am I and if I spend $$ on your candles, then I am buying the gifts for YOUR kids…obviously going to have to politely say no, but I kind of resent the request.