Earlier this week I received an invitation to attend a cosmetics "party" with a friend I haven’t seen for a while.
I explained nicely that I was passionately anti-mlm (multi-level marketing scheme) and would never attend a party, but that I’d love to see her, and invited her to book club.
She told me she’d love to come to book club, and that she doesn’t really support mlms either, but she enjoyed parties. She also said that the next time she invited me I should just remember that it’s about fun.
Watch: Things Mums never hear. Post continues below.
My friend Penny and I write together at The Good Enough Parent blog. We've bonded over many things: our love of our children, our lived-in (i.e. not display quality) homes, our sense of humour, love of books and absolute passionate hatred of pyramid schemes.
As I lamented to Penny later that day, the women who host parties are usually lovely, although consent isn’t a strong point.
They are rarely manipulative sociopaths (unlike their uplines); they are often isolated mums who join the scheme partly for the social aspect.
While I have many, many problems with predatory network marketing schemes, by far the worst thing they do is target lonely mums.
So why on earth would you go to a product party instead of a playgroup? The answer is incredibly simple, especially if you’re someone who has driven to a new playgroup, had a panic attack in the car and left.
Network marketing makes socialising easy - it’s almost impossible to have an awkward conversation with someone who’s following a script. A group social interaction with a common focal point, scripted conversation and a set plan? Watch the demo, play a game, have a glass of wine, spend $345 on face creams you’ll never use and go home feeling accomplished, socialised and confident.