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The Plague of the Consultants: Keep the Jewelry, Candles, and Kitchen Gadgets to Yourself

Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Mary Kay, Thirty-One, Creative Memories, PartyLite, Tupperware, Longaberger, Tastefully Simple, Origami Owl, Cookie Lee–can’t anyone just have a party anymore?  One where I get to leave the checkbook at home and show up without someone expecting me to spend enough money that she gets a “half-price” or “free” hostess gift?  Are our lives so boring and mundane that we can’t get together and socialize without the pretext of checking out the latest products in whatever overpriced line is being peddled?

There are several reasons I have come to dislike these parties:

  • The products are expensive, and the price and quality can always be matched or bettered elsewhere.  Example:  Scentsy bars are $5 each, whereas Wal-mart sells theirs for $2 each.  They smell and last just as long.  I’ve found that the products are typically twice the cost at these at-home parties than comparable products in stores, especially if, like me, you try to bargain shop and peruse places like ROSS, Marshall’s, and T.J. Maxx.
  • I’m glad women, especially stay-at-home moms, have the opportunity to “grow their business,” “earn extra income,” and “meet new people.”  But I’m wondering if they ever stop to consider that the money they are taking is from other stay-at-home moms, who are rarely better off financially?  
  • People may say, “You don’t have to buy anything, just come anyway,” but let’s be real–how do you think the hostess and consultant would feel if, at the end of the night, ten people walked away without buying anything–especially when  both hostess and consultant have spent time, money and effort in the planning, cleaning, and refreshments?
  • It’s especially awkward when good friends are involved, as either consultant or hostess.  You really feel pressured to buy stuff (that you probably don’t need) to be supportive and help them out.

At one point, I was getting invited to two of these types of parties a week (!), but I think at this point I’ve turned enough of them down that the invites are dwindling.  People are determined, though–I’ve noticed more and more people are now thrusting their at-home businesses and consultant-statuses on social media like Facebook, the equivalent of adding irritating commercials to a TV show.

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