If you haven’t been invited to one of these social abominations yet, you deserve a high-five and a chocolate milkshake because you just dodged a bullet.
Someone told to me recently that home shopping parties are making a comeback.
You know the ones. Tupperware. Lingerie. Fancy expensive blenders. Skin Cream. Jewellery. Makeup. Candles. Cleaning things.
Sold on the premise that they allows both busy women to shop in the convenience of their own home and buy exclusive products that aren’t available in your run-of-the-mill bricks and mortar stores, home selling parties are the super bug of friendship circles. Nothing infiltrates or kills faster than “hey guys, come over for dinner. I have the most AMAZING business opportunity!”
It generally involves a group of women (well-meaning family and friends of the host, nervous people with no money but a willingness to support the venture) standing around eating carrot sticks and hummus in an unnaturally tidy dining room.
Everyone stands around admiring the domestic bliss and sipping politely from their cups of juice. And then we partake in the ritual that is home shopping: faking enthusiasm for the products, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the cosmetics/plastic containers/ jewellery/underwear, and not at any single point mentioning that you are missing tonight’s episode of Masterchef for this.
And here’s what happens EVERY. TIME.
I start out cynical. But by my fifth carrot stick I am convinced this contraption/device/cream will save my life from the shambolic mess it is. And there’s never any mention of price, only how incredibly life-changing these things are. And I find myself going from crunching on a piece of carrot, to guzzling snake oil like a person possessed with the thirst of Shane Warne.
And then inevitably, it comes to the ‘hard sell’ moment. And that’s when things get awkward. Because everything is really expensive. And in your weekly budget, once you get past rent/food/bills, you generally don’t factor in a $300 Magic Tummy Pants lingerie set.
If you buy the token cheapest thing you feel like a stinge-arse. And besides, the seller isn’t that keen on selling you the cheapest thing. They want you to buy the special pack because that is “saving you money”. And there’s silence. A lot of silence.
And in your head is a mix of “F**k, this thing really will change my life. I NEED THIS.” and “F**k, I CANNOT afford this, what am I doing???” And then the largest one of all “F**k. How do I get out of this with my friendship intact?”
Because you’ve just sat through a 45 minute presentation with a charming sales person. AND you’ve eaten spring rolls by now. And the mixture of guilt, peer pressure, loyalty to your friend and want for more spring rolls is telling you to buy something.
AND THAT IS WHY I HATE HOME SHOPPING PARTIES.
I hate the guilt. I hate the awkwardness. I hate trying on bras in someone’s living room. I hate feeling like I want to please my friends by buying needless crap I can’t afford. And I hate that I have to spend my hard earned so they can get 50% off their purchases.
I hate that they prey on the very women they are supposed to empower. Why don’t you see MEN hosting home shopping parties? Because these companies rely on women’s guilt/shame/empathy and need to please.
One time is fine. I’m happy to support you, be a good friend, and besides, I really like eating dip. Even though I don’t have the cash to drop on whatever you’re selling, I will come and I will probably buy the cheapest thing in the catalogue.
But know this.
It is yuck.
I KNOW there are some great products out there and it’s a great way for some mums to earn extra income. But if you were starting any small business, would you rely on the constant goodwill of your friends and family to prop it up? Would you badger people into hosting events for you? Would there be the underlying feeling you’re at the bottom end of the pyramid scheme?
Getting together with friends is one of my greatest joys; I just don’t want the hard sell. And these days, the convenience of shopping at home can be found on the internet, not at my friend’s houses.
Thanks for understanding.
When was the last time you went to one of these parties? Did you buy anything?