Why I politely declined the invitation to your candle/purse/kitchen/jewelry party

Everyone likes to be invited to a party. I love parties! I don’t even mind if the hostess asks me to bring a dish. If I’m being welcomed to her home to enjoy the festivities, it’s the least I can do. And if it’s a shower, I love to bring baby or bridal gifts for people I love.

Unfortunately, the invitations I usually receive aren’t for parties. They’re for sales ambushes from trusted friends. “Come to my candle party!” is really code for, “Come to my house, eat some appetizers, and buy some overpriced crap out of my catalog so I can get free stuff or money.”

Maybe I’m being a curmudgeon here. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. The thing is, I don’t want to feel pressured to buy stuff I don’t need, especially when it’s typically so overpriced. Not to mention, it sort of makes me feel bad to know that I’m not being invited to a party simply because the hostess enjoys the pleasure of my company, but because I’m another person who may buy stuff from her.

When I choose to buy something, it’s because I need and/or want it, and I can afford it. I don’t want to feel guilted into buying things because my friend has provided appetizers or drinks, or because I feel responsible for supplementing her income. That’s not how business works. Good business is based on the exchange of money for worthwhile goods or services — not guilt because your friend is trying to start her “home business” if only her 20 closest friends would spend $200 each on the junk she’s selling.

I don’t like when sales people ambush me. I don’t like when they call me, I don’t like when they approach me in the mall, and I don’t like when they knock on my door. The last thing I want is to be solicited by a friend at a party.

If you want to build a business selling products, I don’t begrudge you that. By all means, let your friends know that you have those products available, and the ones who are interested in buying can come to you. But please don’t solicit sales from me under the guise of a get together. I’m too cheap to buy any of your overpriced stuff anyway.

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12 thoughts on “Why I politely declined the invitation to your candle/purse/kitchen/jewelry party

  1. Pamela

    Oh my gosh, so glad I’m not the only one!! I *hate* these types of “parties.” They’re not fun and they make me feel like crap because I can’t (and don’t want to!) spend $200 on a crappy necklace or one-use-only kitchen appliance.

  2. Caitlin

    I agree too! I hadn’t completely figured out why it bothered me so much (beyond being pressured to spend money that I would rather save for other things), but it’s true–they aren’t asking you over to enjoy your company. It also really bothers me that the salespeople at these parties (if a friend is just hosting, not selling) are really aggressive about trying to get party-goers to host parties. I’m with you on that count, too–if I am ambushed or harassed in any way, I immediately shut down and walk away.

  3. Kacie

    These are bad “businesses,” period. The sellers make very little money on the products they sell. If someone does make decent money in a business like this, it’s because they’re higher up on the pyramid and have people under them to send the profits their way. Overpriced stuff that I don’t need!

    I have gone to a few of those parties though, when I was especially lonely and just craving company, even if it was contrived like that. :(

  4. Mary @ Tips & Treasures

    Ughhh I totally agree. The sellers are SO pushy, especially in trying to recruit people to start selling for them as well.

    I usually decline these invitations because I’m not interested in spending buckets of money on crap I don’t need and never intended to buy.

    Occasionally I’ll go to one of the parties if I’m craving a girls (kid-free!!!) night out. Being a stay at home mom to two little ones can get lonely, lol. But when I go, I only go if there’s something that I’ve been thinking of buying and I stick to a very low budget.

  5. Alexandra

    I am also completely with you on this. It’s not a ‘party’ – it’s a sale. Call it that. Some will want to partake but I will likely not if it’s for ‘stuff’. (See website name – my apartment is under 350 sq. ft. and holds 2 people. We only have stuff that we LOVE; anything else goes on Freecycle.)

    Be strong and resist!

  6. Tiffanie

    Just to add some input from someone who DOES make a living by doing these “types of parties”… not all of us are pushy. I have been a Pure Romance consultant for 2 years and was able to quit my full-time job to do PR full-time, which will allow me to basically be a SAHM come November when we have our first baby :)

    And going off of what Kacie said… some of us actually DO make a very good living on our own, w/o having people below us. I have a team of 12 but make very little off of them because they haven’t been in the business long. In fact, I’ve made $0 off of them the past 3+ months :) I earn a great living by being a trusted consultant who has built a great customer database of people who know they can confide in me. I take pride in my “job” and love educating women.

    And I HATE those pushy consultants…I think I have repeat business because I’m not pushy and they come to me on their own. I won’t push you to buy, host or sell :)

    Anyway, just wanted to say that it’s not ALL negative. As far as the hosting goes…I would be a horrible host & would rather have friends over for dinner & board games lol.

    I loved reading your input & the comments! Thanks :)

    1. Karen

      It sounds like you’re doing it right, Tiffanie! Like I said, I don’t begrudge people the choice of making sales of any kind their career. If you have a client base of people who genuinely want to buy your products, then that’s a legit business. What bugs me is the people who don’t have a client base outside of the friends and family they invite to their parties. That’s a totally different situation than someone who simply makes a living selling products.

      Congrats on your success and on your baby! I’ve been wondering what happened to you since you quit blogging! :)

      1. Tiffanie

        Yeah, kind of disappeared from the blog world but still keep up with you & Kacie and a few others :) And thanks for not taking anything I said the wrong way, because I didn’t want to come across as snobby or anything…just wanted to put it out there that some consultants run their business in a way that is positive :) I had good friends & family who JUMPED at the chance to help, and things just took off from there. I make sure to stay educated on sexual health and I’ve taken training courses and I think that gives me the credentials people are looking for when dealing with something so personal.

        Anyway, sorry to ramble. I just love what I do and love my hostesses and customers :)

        Cannot WAIT for Baby to get here in November (14th). We find out the gender Monday morning! Love seeing all the updates on your little Guy ;)

  7. Mrs. Sellaneous

    I have a website with product. It is nice because product can be purchased at close to party pricing without the party! Hooray! I believe it is best to let people come to me. While we are discussing “selling” could we please outlaw all door to door salespeople?

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