How dumb I felt. I should have seen it coming. At my child’s basketball game one of the fellow moms left her front row position to come chat with me in the back. Yea! What a happy feeling that someone wanted to come chat with me. “Maybe we would be friends,” I thought. I enjoyed a few minutes of chit chatting, and then the ball dropped. On came the marketing speech for the company she was an independent distributor for. As soon as I told her I didn’t need any of the kinds of products she was selling, she ended the conversation and went to sit back with her family. What a bummer!
You see, as a rule, I don’t purchase products from independent distributors. Actually, I’m forbidden. My husband put a stop to that early in our marriage.
Twenty years ago these sales pitches came mostly at home parties. You were invited for fellowship, food, and the marketing pitch was a part of the deal. You knew that from the beginning. It was great fun, but you couldn’t go and not purchase anything. I never felt right about that. So I would peruse the catalog and find something to take home.
When I arrived home, my husband would inquire about the outing and inevitably I’d present the thing I’d bought. Now my husband is good man, and feels a great responsibility to be wise with his money. So he would ask me how much the thing cost. The price I paid always seemed very inflated for similar products we could purchase at stores. Then came the the next question, and this was the clincher. “Did you WANT that?” No, actually I hadn’t really wanted anything, but felt like I should buy something. My husband was appalled. Ha ha! After several similar occasions he forbade me to go. He thought it completely ludicrous that I would go to these parties and feel like I had to spend money on things I didn’t want. But it would HELP the people I’d insist. He was not convinced.
And that’s how it all began. It was hard for me at first, but as much as I hated missing out on the fun parties, I actually felt some relief that I wasn’t pressured to buy things. I’m not really someone who wants a lot of things. When it comes to spending money, food and travel is what I love. Stuff? Not so much. I wrote about that more in my post Money Gossip.
As the world has progressed, now many of these parties are held online where there isn’t even the benefit of the fellowship and food! Now people from all walks of life as well as people I don’t know are pitching me to buy their products online. I still feel bad saying, “No,” but I think my husband was wise to put a stop to this years ago.
I received a Facebook friend request from a person who, frankly, I never thought liked me much back in the day, but, you know, we have all changed, and I was happy to hear from her. For a couple of weeks she liked and commented on my posts. Then came the sales pitch. After I didn’t purchase anything, I quit hearing from her. No surprise that we are no longer friends on Facebook! These are the instances I find irritating, not because I begrudge her making a great living selling things but because I felt like it was a false friendliness just to get something from me.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that people are making a living from home selling things they love. I’m not telling anyone not to buy. 🙂 But if you’re spending money you shouldn’t spend on things you don’t want, it’s okay to say no. I’ve found that when the person reaching out is truly a friend they always understand.
My thought is that you go to these parties, and these people are supposed to try to “sell” you on a product. If you’re not sold, why is it still your responsibility to buy something? Well, I don’t know the answer to that question, but, somehow, you still are obligated to buy something, I guess. So, early in our marriage, we decided together that I won’t go to these parties. And, if it’s awkward for me to say no (if it’s a super close friend or family member), I tell them that Dave doesn’t allow me to go (he couldn’t care less about being thrown under the bus and has given me permission to throw him). At this point, no matter who is doing the inviting, I ignore the invites. Thankfully, I haven’t lost any friends over the deal (thankfully because one of them was my best friend of my whole life who is more like a sister).
I hate it when people pressure you into buying stuff from them. There are a few products out there that I enjoy and want and I will buy them from time to time when we have some extra money. But I don’t ever buy from social media marketers. I have NO time for people pretending to be my friend just to sell me something. No thank you!
I can relate to your story because of an experience I had several years ago. I was in the midst of a divorce at the time, and I joined a support group to help me get through it.
One evening, one of the group leaders invited me to join her for lunch the next day. I thought this was such a sweet way for her to offer me extra support. But just a few minutes into the meal, I realized she was trying to recruit me as a distributor for a popular household cleaning product company. It really left a bad taste in my mouth!
That being said, there are a couple of companies that host parties that I truly enjoy. They offer a wide variety of unique products, and some are quite inexpensive. I feel I can occasionally attend a party, buy a fun little item or two, and still stay within my budget.