I get invited to at least one direct marketing party a
month, usually two or three. These
parties are quite prevalent in the stay-at-home-mom demographic. I know upwards of ten people who sell
products via home parties. There’s a
nearly endless supply of over-priced products that you can purchase via a
clipboard while sitting comfortably on your girlfriend’s couch. Here’s how it works:
1) You receive an invitation by mail for the party 2-3 weeks in
2) You receive an email from the hostess that is sent to multiple
recipients reminding you of the party
3) You call your friends to see who is going. You certainly don’t want to miss anything by
4) You RSVP (most people don’t these days)
5) A couple of days before the party you get another email
reminder with some sort of incentive if you bring a friend
6) No one ever brings a friend
7) You leave your family right at dinnertime to attend a party
8) You grab a plate and have some chips and dip and a drink
9) About 10 minutes in, the hostess asks everyone to gather in
the living room and passes out the catalog and the clipboard
10) You watch a demonstration and are mesmerized by all of the
products. You become acutely aware of
how much you need a paring knife that costs $12 or a jar of moisturizer
that costs $33.
11) You fill out your order form, justifying your overspending
based on your insatiable need to fit in with everyone else. You feel guilty, after all, if you leave the
party without buying anything. What will
the hostess think of you? Will you ever
be invited back?
12) You contemplate having a party yourself. Think about all of the free stuff you’ll
get! You decide against it because it
makes you a little uncomfortable.
13) You spend $50 that could have gone towards food for your
family. You wait two weeks and,
finally, the day arrives that you receive your products.
14) You try out your paring knife. It works REALLY well. How
did you ever get along without it?
15) You try out your moisturizer. Wow. Your face is really soft
and it smells like an orange creamsicle. That was $33 well spent.
16) You vow never to go to another party.
17) You receive an invitation by mail for the party 2-3 weeks in
I have attended many, many home parties and this is how it
always goes. Only once have I actually
had the will power to leave the party without making a purchase. When I did, I felt as if I had scaled Mount
Everest. What an accomplishment!
The home party is an innovative sales method because it
exploits most women’s desperate need to fit in. I try to limit the number of parties I go to because I always
spend more than I should and I never really need the products. I know there is no end in sight for these
parties because they provide a convenient means by which stay-at-home-Moms can
make money without having to adjust their schedules. I do not stand in judgment of the women who choose direct
marketing as an alternative to working part-time. I actually know a few women who have been quite successful. I just think we need to be honest about how
these home parties operate. The whole
process is a little ethically questionable. I hope this will not deter people from attending the party I have
scheduled in November. I'm anticipating a
big crowd so I get lots of free stuff!