Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Welcome to my Home Party Pain Cave

This is a post about one of the banes of my existence – Home Parties. I hate them. What precipitated this outpouring of negative emotion was a postcard that came across my desk in today’s mail. My boss' wife just invited me to a home jewelry party. This is the third Silpada Designs party I’ve been invited to, but the first one I feel I have no other choice but to attend.

I don’t mind the jewelry thing. In fact, I like it very much. What I don’t like is the over-priced stuff that tends to be all over the Silpada catalogue. I’m not saying it’s not nice. I’m just saying that like other pyramid home party schemes, Silpada has to pay entirely too many people – and – as a forced partygoer (it IS my boss’ wife…) that fee will come out of my pocket.

I’m not picking on Silpada. I hate all home parties equally. Despite the fact that I own several Pampered Chef things, I’d just as soon skip the party, browse the catalog in the comfort of my own home, and order without feeling guilty one way or the other.

For me, home parties bring out the absolute WORST in people... No check that. Home parties bring out the worst in WOMEN. Men don't have to go to Tupperware parties, Princess House parties, Scrap booking parties, Facial/Skincare/Beauty product parties, Candle Parties, Lingerie parties, Gourmet Food Parties, Kitchenware Parties or Overpriced Jewelry parties. Conversely, when I couldn’t think of a good excuse, I've had to attend more than my share.

I hate Tupperware! I know this seems like a very “Un-American” thing to say, but it’s true. First of all, Tupperware parties make me feel unusually old. If you haven’t been to one, Tupperware parties consist of a bunch of women ooh-ing and aah-ing over stackable bowls and plastic tumblers. I’m sure they’re quality stackable bowls and plastic tumblers, but they cost an awful lot… In addition, Tupperware consultants make people play silly games. During the last party I attended, co-party-animals competed for little scraps of “Tuppercash.” I may have collected ten thousand Tupperbucks…. We then had an auction for exciting items like flour scoops, miniature Tupperware bowls, and some plastic box that holds coins. When the bidding for the flour scoop opened, I yelled, “Ten Thousand Tupperbucks!!” I got outbid, but somehow, I managed to come home with the thing anyway. (You know, I can picture older partygoers in the kitchen saying, “Ten thousand Tupperbucks? When I was a kid, I got TWO flour scoops for 300!”) To me, Tupperware is really only good if you have an infant who needs something to drum on with a wooden spoon (that you may purchase at next month’s Pampered Chef Extravaganza).

I’ll quickly run through the non-eventful parties I’ve attended: Princess House stuff is not my decorating taste. I live in an area of the world with at least ten candle shops within a two-hour radius, so I won’t even go to candle parties… Don't get me started on embarrassing lingerie parties. My sister used to sell this cheaply made lingerie called UnderCover Wear. She hosted a party at my house, where her training manager asked us embarassing things like “What animal would you compare your last lover to?” and “Have you ever used feathers?” Thankfully, my sister didn’t sell UnderCover Wear very long.

The last Gourmet Food party I went to was unusually rowdy. The poor Tastefully Simple consultant had made an appropriate amount of samples that she planned to pass around the room. What she didn’t expect were 20 ravenous women, who grabbed fists full of anything on the plates… Needless to say, samples never made it from one end of the room to the other. In addition, I brought a friend with me - who just started a career in personal training and life coaching... She read the ingredients of each and every product to see exactly how healthy it was. Meanwhile, women around the room, through their overstuffed chipmunk cheeks, said, “Whaddaya mean 20 grams of saturated fat in this?” Later, the woman who hosted the party said my trainer friend was no longer welcomed at her home parties.

Another friend started a Pampered Chef Business. I had broken a P.C. stoneware pan that I needed to replace, so I went. I sat next to a woman from my church. Throughout the demonstration, she kept looking over my shoulder and saying, "Man, you're spending a lotta money!" The Mary Kay rep in college told me I needed to throw away my old skincare line because my pores were too big.... um. yeah. Scrapbook party: I was the only one who showed up. I have no interest in scrap booking, but had to buy, for pity's sake, a $40 scrapbook that still remains empty to this day.

My sister, through with underwear, became a home-party consultant for Water Filtration Systems, Mary Kay, and Algae Pills. Regarding Mary Kay, I already had a pretty good consultant (who never makes me go to parties.) My sister got angry that I never supported her businesses…. I have felt guilty because I refuse to buy stuff from her because she never sticks to it. I have NOT told her that my mother once waited so long for a Mary Kay order that she asked me to order it for her from MY MK Consultant. “Don’t you DARE tell your sister.” I asked, “what if she finally gets around to ordering your stuff?” My mother, ever the diplomat answered, “I’ll just have two then. I’ll use it eventually.”

This is the best one: I ran into an old acquaintance that said, "Hey, Kelly. I just started my own business where I help others start their own home businesses with the potential to make thousands of dollars a month!" I looked at him and said, "Amway, huh?" He looked crestfallen. "Under no circumstances am I interested in selling Amway..." (note: I recommend this pre-emptive strike if you need to end a similar conversation quickly.)

Every time a friend starts a new business, I feel horrible explaining how "I have a strict policy not to host home parties..." I even have a secret policy not to GO to them if they can be avoided. But. My boss' wife is having a home party... I have to go, don't I? I have to buy an eighty-dollar necklace, don’t I?

Why don't men have to endure this stuff? Why aren't there Snap-on Home Parties, or Karate Home parties, or sports memorabilia home parties, or model train home parties, or industrial cleaner home parties... Or fart spray home parties... or recliner home parties... Or something? How is it my gender is the only one subjected to these? Where's the justice in this world?

DISCLAIMER: If you or a loved one is a home-party consultant, please do not be offended. I’m sure that, barring the UnderCover Wear, you all sell quality items. All I’m saying is that the home-party world isn’t for me. It's not personal.


  • At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Shannon said…

    Love the post! I found it under a Google search for "I hate Silpada." (No lie!) I, myself, just received my FOURTH Silpada invitation in the past year! Over the past 2+ years, I have become acquainted with 10 neighbor ladies, whose "friendship" has spawned about 20 home party invites! (Silpada, Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, several makeup lines I can't remember, and homemade soaps.) I've turned down all but 2 invites, yet nobody gets the hint. My husband thinks these "guilt parties" are hilarious, as no self-respecting guy would ever say to his friend, "Hey, come over to my house tomorrow for a party. Bring your checkbook!"
    I keep thinking that "Miss Manners" would have a field-day with these chicks. A sales presentation is NOT a party! If you want to hang with the neighbors, throw a REAL party! Invite people to your home, feed them, and provide drinks! These ladies will not do anything unless there's something in it for them. The ones who throw the party for the hostess gift are bad enough, but the neighbors who've gone into the business are even worse. They lay the guilt on nice and thick, so that you feel like you are single-handedly putting them in the poor-house if you don't buy a set of $75 silver earrings. I have a part-time job, too - the difference is that I don't need to hit up the neighbors to get a paycheck.
    Whew! I feel much better! Well, at least until I get another postcard invite in the mail...

  • At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great post and couldn't agree more! I too am on my 3rd Silpada invitation. Will it never end? Anyways, I have a new rule -- "Don't invite me to your party and I will never have a party to invite you to." End of story.

  • At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know how old this post is, but it cracked me up. I feel the same way. I just finished going to a PartyLite party (because I felt guilty if I didn't support my friend) and only 3 people showed up, so I felt that I HAD to buy something. In two weeks, I'll be going to my 2nd Silpada party. I didn't go to the first one, but felt I needed to buy something because it was for my niece. I don't think it's fair that men don't have to go to these things either! I volunteered to host one Mary Kay party, but we cancelled due to snow. I never rebooked it. I will never host a corporate home party again.

  • At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I, too, found this post by Googling "Silpada Hate"
    I felt terrible not buying anything at the two parties that I was "invited" to because frankly, I'm broke and felt even worse after leaving. Worse is the cronyism that the "professional" business women in my region partake in because of this high-school-like crap. I KNOW I have lost business due to my lack of "enthusiasm".
    Luckily I turned down those lingerie invites. They sound horrific.
    Thanks for the post and letting me know I'm not alone.

  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Kristen Mcilrath said…

    I loved your blog!
    It really made me laugh and think.
    You see I have been trying to have an Avon Party, I planned lots of games and saved up for lots of prizes. I was going to have a non alcoholic drinking game too. The problem is I don't really know anyone. So I made up a bunch of invites to hand out to strangers I made conversation with. The party would be at a public place too. I just wanted to have fun with the girls and maybe make some new friends, and maybe some future customers...

    I didn't even care if anyone bought anything. I REALLY just thought it would be fun. Now I don't know if I even want to have a party, I don't want anyone to pity buy. (that would be so sad)

    I REALLY did LOVE your blog, it was funny but it made me think twice. :)
    Maybe I'll just use a party to reward my current customers. What do you think?

    Best wishes, Kristen
    AVON my 365 day journey

  • At 6:59 PM, Blogger Gamin' Mama said…

    Loved your post!! As a new PartyLite Independent Consultant, I reserve the right to disagree... but I still laughed my tuckus off! I have been an "ultimate victim" of a PartyLite party; I bought stuff for my SIL's party, I hosted a party of my own, and now I'm a consultant! Granted, I love the product and truly feel that I'm offering a service, but I sure understand that not everyone is going to feel that way! (Incidentally, I had never heard of Princess House and just had to check them out. I like their stuff!) :-)

  • At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been searching the internet looking for a lie to tell my neighbor on why I won't be attending her CAba party here in September. My neighborhood is crazy about using friends for free stuff. I have never hosted a "checkbook" party and never will. I find it rude to ask money from your friends. A true friend invites you over for a drink without your credit card number!!!

  • At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OMG GREAT! Using friends and family to earn money or free gifts - what is wrong with people! I also hate home parties it such a scam for overpriced items that people guilt you into buying something just b/c you show up!! 5 silpada parties in two months on my own block it OVERKILL!! Don't ya all get it - once in a long while ok - but most of us don't like these parties!

  • At 10:11 AM, Blogger Shirley said…

    Come on people, instead of whining on the internet, just say no! Lots of people love these events and lots of people dont. Really, in this day and age, you still get guilted into doing something you dont want to do?
    Overpriced? It seems that there are lots of high priced items in the stores, who makes that profit. The home parties just give people an opportunity to give the profit to the host and to somebody trying to make extra money instead of some big corporate company and their CEO's . It just comes down to how you like to shop.
    Learn how to say no and quit whining.

  • At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hate, abhor, can't stand, rather have root canal then attend one of those lame parties....I have absolutely no problem saying no.

    I will, however, generally buy if you just leave me a catalog and go along your merry way, and leave it up to me to decide when to call or email you about placing an order.

  • At 8:07 AM, Blogger Bren said…

    Really? Am I reading a teenage page? It sounds alot like you hate your friends who thought they wanted to spend time with you maybe. Chances are with your negative energy...they and their happy friends will be better served if you dont go. It is still proper behavior to KINDLY decline. There really is no reason to spread the poison consuming you.
    Would the list of the things you enjoy and like be very short I wonder...just sayin'. Do you find you have road rage as well. Really so much for such a small thing.
    As to the other comments, you know it is America, and a KIND "No, but thank you" is really all that is needed. Someone thought of YOU when they thought of who they would like to come to their home - for whatever reason - they didnt leave you off of that list. They like to party - again, for whatever their reason.
    And really - if you cant enjoy something you should stay away from it.
    Keep in mind the ladies who are the reps for these companies are just trying to make a living. You speak of a "boss" so I have to assume you too have a job - what generates YOUR paycheck? Is it a consumer good? Tax money? A Service? A paycheck for being "yuck" is well deserved. just be grateful someone does.

  • At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This post is great. The funny thing is I'm a man and I agree with you about it not being fair.

    My wife just got suckered into having a Princess House Party by my step mother. I called my step mother and asked who the hell is going to spend a car payment on that junk! Must be why they didn't call and ask me to host the party.

  • At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very interesting posts. I am in agreement with the ladies that have a more positive attitude however. If you don't want to attend these parties that your friends, co-workers or neighbors are inviting you to, try a little honesty and gracefully decline. A true friend in my opinion would be supportive,especially with so many suffering economically. Reach out to a few of your other friends, neighbors and co-workers and extend the invitation. You don't always have to make a purchase but the people you invite just might truly be interested in the products as well as the business opportunity. Let's lift up people when they are stepping out of their comfort zones. These types of businesses are not easy; let's not add to the challenges that often times come with it.

  • At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow! this is a joke! not enough room to say what I would want to say! or time. carry on girls! lots of things to hate...have fun!

  • At 5:28 AM, Anonymous local is good said…

    The one version of a home party that I liked was one for a local businesswoman. A friend threw a party so we could all see (and buy, true) reusable shopping bags from the local gal. It was fun to support and the profits were going to our local designer/entrepreneur.

  • At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No clue how old this is but just have to say i had a good laugh, and yes i myself am a pampered chef consultant (apparently not a very good one because i can't bring myself to guilt trip people into having parties or buying things) I think everyone just needs to learn to laugh at themselves! but hey if you ever want to order something i have a website hahaha jk!

  • At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is hilarious!!!! I can't stand these type of parties and since I'm terrible at saying no I always get guilted into buying something I don't want. Great post!!

  • At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I completely agree! I have a few friends who have never invited me over for a real party even though I have known them for years, but I have been to their homes for a party like this. They ALL say no pressure to buy anything, they just want to have fun. Then when you get there and they do the presentation it feels SO awkward and there is pressure!


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