Friday, March 09, 2007

Just Curious About Your Opinon

I was invited again this week to a party. I would love to go to a party to hang out with friends, and meet new people, to visit together, laugh, and eat. Wouldn't you?

However this party wasn't really a party to me. I was invited to a party so that I could by stuff and someone else could get free stuff because I bought a lot of stuff. I am so sick of these things.

This particular party was a Tastefully Simple Party. Yes, like I need to spend $13 on bread mix when, I can make my own from scratch for $2. Or how about a soup mix for $8? Let's not forget to add tax and $7.95 for shipping! What a deal! I was also invited to bring friends and even my husband. Snort. If I don't even want to go, why would my husband, or any other guy?

"The food you love, the time you deserve" is their motto. Here's an idea, why don't I take the time I'd spend at the party and baked something fresh for my family myself?

These aren't parties, they are live infomercials!!! Can we just get together to spend time with one another? I know, "There's no pressure to buy anything. We'll just get together for fun." What? There is too pressure, a lot of pressure! We're not just getting together for fun. We're getting together so I can spend money to help you get free stuff.

I went to a Pampered Chef party in January. I did. It was the first one I'd gone to in over 10 years. Nothing has changed. We all stood around listening to the saleswoman give her pitch and then we were handed catalogs to shop. There was no time to visit with one another, like I had hoped for and there was definitely pressure to buy.

Why did I go? I was invited by someone who has been a friend to me for three years. In fact, she's been one of the only people I've stayed in contact with from my old job. She'd invited several others that I hadn't seen in awhile, so I thought it would be nice to see some old coworkers. Even if they had shown up, we'd have been really limited in our interactions because of the on-going commercial. Oh well. I think I can go at least another ten years without doing that again.

Besides just how yucky all this feels in general, I feel worse because even if I did want to go to some of these, our budget simply wouldn't allow it. I've told people before that I can't go because of the money. That's kind of hard to admit when everyone else seems to have to problem with it. But it all adds up. Think about it. Even if you hosted a party and got $50 in free products, won't you end up spending more over the next few months by reciprocating at all your guests own parties?

What happened to just getting together because we like one another? Why not just have a party for fun? Is this just a problem where I live?

Here's a major point of contention with me. I've been invited to seven of these parties in the last seven months. All the invitations have come via email and all seven women used my email from the list of the ministry I am serving in. Now, when the main directory was given out, everyone was told NOT to use it for soliciting the members. Good idea. But, how is this not soliciting? Everyone of these invitations is a solicitation.

I thought about mentioning this to the main coordinator, but she invited me to an Uppercase Living Party. How about the assistant coordinator? No, she used it to invite me to a jewelry party. What about the other leadership women? Not her; Southern Living and Uppercase Living. Her? No; Pampered Chef. Her? No, that won't work either (candle party). What about the person directly over me? Nope: Tastefully Simple. DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE A PROBLEM HERE??????????????????????

I'm the first one to wish I knew some of these ladies better. I wish I could develop stronger friendships. But to be honest, all these invitations feel less about wanting my company, as wanting my money. I don't feel like a valuable member of a ministry. I feel like my importance is directly related to my wallet. Why are we doing this to one another?


Susan P. said...

Wow, you took the words right out of my mouth! Excellent post and something I am definitely in agreement with you.

Gena said...

Kimberly, I agree 100% with your assessment of these parties. I HATE them. I refuse to give them and I have only attended 3 in the past 15 years. I went to those basically out of guilt, or trying to "help" someone just starting out. Everything at those parties is so expensive. I do love the Pampered Chef products, but you know what? You can find almost the exact item at Target or Walmart and they work just as well. The only thing I truly love is Tupperware and who even does that anymore? All of the Tupperware I have is old and still in excellent condition. I would be upset, as you are, with the e-mail sharing. It is soliciting, but some people just don't see it that way. Thanks for the post!

Kelli said...

I agree completely with you, Kimberly! I stopped going to these type of parties years ago. It is a vicious cycle of all the ladies having one and you had better return the favor, etc!
I'd much rather get together with a friend and enjoy each others company than look through a catalog stressing about how much I should buy! LOL

Jodi said...

Oh, Kimberly, I so agree with you on this one. I have never given one of these parties - and won't.

When Hubby and I first married, he was in the military - very little extra cash. When he got out after six+ years, he was trying to establish himself in the business world - still very little surplus cash. Now he's established and we have five children -- still very little extra cash floating around - lol! Maybe people who have money to burn on this stuff don't realize the pressure some of us feel when we're sitting there scouring the catalog for the cheapest item available, so we can leave without feeling embarrassed as if we were a cheapskate for not buying - but yet still face our husband without cringing in guilt.

I agree with Gena, most of what is sold you can purchase elsewhere (similar quality) for a better price. Or you can choose to purchase cheaper quality for very low price. And as incredible as it may seem, no one has ever asked me about the quality of my cookie sheets - especially with their mouths full of my cookies. Apparently they still taste awfully good off my dollar store pans. ;o)

I think women today are still hungry for fellowship -- they just don't know how to go about it. I don't know how these money/sales parties ever came to replace the "real" thing, but the idea is so entrenched in our churches that I know many throw them because they think it's expected.

Okay, I keep going on and on with my comment and then deleting because it's too wordy! I could really get into a discussion on this post, Kimberly, (I'd love to talk with you about why it is -- how it started -- and how to change it!) but ... I'll stop now. :o) Great post!

Mrs. Bonnie said...

I agree too! The only time I ever go to anything like this is if I know the demonstrator, and want to help them out with their "home business". And for the record, I only know one and she does rubber stamps. Fortunantly, she's very low presure sales, and just likes to socialize. But yes, I hate being used as a seat filler, and hate being pressured into buying things I don't want or need! (But supposedly can't live without)

Kimberly said...

It's nice to know I'm not totally alone, those it's rather lonely around here. Everyone I'm surrounded by seems to think all these parties are fine.
Jodi-Feel free to comment as much as you wish. It may take a few comment posts, but I'd love to hear what you're thinking and your ideas.
I am so blessed to have you ladies sharing my life. Now, if only you all LIVED nearby... I guess you're all my window friends...

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

I often go to these...but never buy anything. I figure I'll sit in the back and catch up with friends! I don't go when I know I won't want the product for sure.

The one good thing about Tastefully Simple is that you get to try all the food. And their apple cake is yummy. (Of course, I have a recipe that's just as good and much cheaper!)

Stay strong!

(And while I can't imagine hosting a party, I promise not to invite you now that I know your email and that you live nearby!) ;)

Davene said...

I know I'm reading this long after you wrote it, but since I'm still catching up, this is where I'm at!

Anyway, I agree SO STRONGLY that I couldn't not comment...I know, I know, that's a double negative...but you understand my point!

The last one I attended was the neighbor of my pastor's wife, a woman that my pastor's wife was trying to reach out to. Yeah, some outreach for me to come along to meet her and establish a great relationship with her so we could talk more about her relationship with God. Sure, that really happened. (Can you sense my sarcasm?)

Instead, it was exactly what Jodi described:
"the pressure some of us feel when we're sitting there scouring the catalog for the cheapest item available, so we can leave without feeling embarrassed as if we were a cheapskate for not buying - but yet still face our husband without cringing in guilt."

I left feeling so manipulated; it was unbelievable. Fortunately, in our new church, I haven't been invited to a single!!!


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