Lately there seems to be an epidemic of home parties, you know the kind, where someone invites all of her friends over for snacks and a demonstration of some sort of product; anything from cookware to candles, to handbags to, um, “adult-themed goodies”. Then you’re supposed to order products and possibly have your own home party, and maybe even quit your day job and join the company where you can set your own schedule and make more money than you’ve ever dreamed. Those home parties.
No, I’m not opposed to home parties. I’ve been to several and had a good time. I like a lot of the products. I’ve hosted some of my own, and I am a (very, very, very) part-time consultant (though I will probably phase out by the end of the year) for one company. The idea sort of makes sense too; friends all buy a little to help each other get a little more for free. Who can’t use free things in this economy?
I’m just getting a little tired of being invited (or pressured) to attend home parties. I’ve been invited to close to two dozen in the past six months. It’s not that I know so many people; it’s that the same people are having them over and over again. They have another one because they didn’t get everything they want on the first go-round, or they sell the line and need to have so many parties, or they have a friend who sells the line and needs money for some reason or another.
I get it. I get that sometimes you really, really want those host benefits, or you really need to make your numbers, or you’re in a tight spot financially and need some extra money. I just don’t understand how or when it became acceptable to push those needs or wants of yours off on other people. I think there are definitely limits to how many times you can invite the same person to a home party in a given time frame.
I realize there’s the standard fall back of “oh you don’t have to buy anything, just come hang out and have some snacks”. I don’t understand this one. My mother raised me that it’s bad manners to go to one of these and not buy something. She also raised me that it’s bad manners to have too many. (More on that later.) You’re being invited with the goal of getting you to purchase something, that’s pretty much the point. Telling you that you don’t have to buy anything (of course you don’t HAVE to buy something, it’s not like you’re going to be held hostage until you whip out the checkbook) seems to be a means of getting you to show up in hopes that you’ll see something you want, or feel like you need to buy something.
All of that being said, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have home parties, as I said, some of them can be a lot of fun. I think there’s just a limit to how many times you can invite the same people to come to your home to spend money. For me, I think that limit is about two to three times per year, at the most. My mom’s rule has always been not to only invite people for home parties. I think that makes a lot of sense. If you only invite someone over when you’d like them to buy something that can easily make a person feel used.
So what about you? What’s your take on home parties? How many is one (or more) too many for you? How do you gracefully decline?