How do you really feel about sell at home parties?

sell at home partiesI was invited to one of those sell-at-home parties yesterday. Seven girls were supposed to go, and four ended up cancelling last minute–meaning it was just me, one other girl and the hostess of the party. (Plus the lady actually selling the jewelry).

When I originally RSVP’d, I had every intent of not purchasing anything. I figured there would  be several other girls purchasing things, that it wouldn’t be so blatantly obvious that I didn’t buy anything.

But with only me and one other girl, there was no escape. I guess I could have held my ground, but I felt bad. I am a terrible “say no” kind of person–I avoid those people outside Target by making no eye contact.

SO…$150 later, I was the owner of five pieces of jewelry that I know I could have easily gotten for $50 max somewhere else. Yes, the jewelry is nice, but it isn’t something that I normally would have bought if I hadn’t been at a jewelry party.

To make matters worse, being the schmuck that I am, I agreed to host my own party! As I left the party, all I could think was “What the hell have I done?”

After the party, I was meeting another group of friends for a movie–the same group of friends that I was planning on inviting to my own jewelry party. One friend asked where I was coming from, I told her it was one of those sell-at-home jewelry parties, to which she responded “Oh I HATE those!”

Um yeah….guess you won’t be coming to my party.

After feeling horrible for several hours–horrible that I purchased $150 worth of jewelry that I don’t really love, horrible that I agreed to host a party that I don’t really want to–I decided to go ahead and just cancel the party. I also plan on returning some of the jewelry.

The thing with these parties is that all the stuff is so overpriced. And they scam you by making you purchase more in order to get a better price. For example, I could buy two cheap items at full price, then I got the next four items at half price, and if I spent over $100, I could get a necklace for $20.

I would almost feel better just opening up my checkbook and writing a check for $50 straight to the person who’s selling the stuff. I would have saved myself $100. I mean, who actually goes to these because they want to? And how many people actually go to these out of obligation and guilt?

How do you feel about sell-at-home parties? Do you have a similar horror story to share?


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32 thoughts on “How do you really feel about sell at home parties?

  1. August 15, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I completely understand where you ladies and gent are coming from. I too have gone to many home parties in support of family and friends. Personally, I don’t feel compelled to by anything, but I am gracious when others open up their homes to me. I feel that understanding a persons why, better helps me to understand my obligation…if any at all. I am a firm believer that friends want to see friends succeed and I don’t have to get it as long as they do. If direct sales is their passion and these consultants are able to fulfill their purpose then what’s the problem. Simply put, without customers the very business you work is doomed to fail.

    I encourage you to explore All’asta, it adds a fresh new twist to this industry. I became a consultant with this company in late May. Everyone wins at an All’asta Party, because the hostesses and guest get to sell their new, gently used, and once loved treasures at the party. There’s never any pressure to buy anything. Better yet, our guest get to make money once these treasures sell in a silent auction managed by an All’asta consultant. If you like Anthropologie and Pottery Barn, you’ll love our all exclusive Signature Collection filled with one-of-a-kind a kind treasures because our price point is so much better.

    Being that I am a founding consultant of a company with ground floor opportunities, I am thankful when someone tells me no upfront. I simply put my info out there. If you want it, pick it up. If not, pass it on to someone you know who enjoys partying.

  2. Anita
    January 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Most people who get involved in MLM”s get hustled out of their money. Do not feel guilty about saying no to these scammers. First they want you to buy something, then they want you to host a party, and after that they want you to join in on their pyramid scheme. Only the people at the top of the pyramid make any money.

  3. December 30, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Just like any store, not all products are created equal. This is an incredible business model and can be a smarter way to shop. Do your research, learn about the product and find the people you want to shop with. Companies like Stella & Dot are truly revolutionizing the social shopping experience. This is truly shopping local and with women based businesses. So many good things to say about the industry. Keep an open mind as you just might be the next sales person.

  4. December 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I hate them. It’s overpriced crap that you feel compelled to buy out of guilt regarding the personal relationship you have with the (usually) woman selling it. I think this industry capitalizes on stay at home moms, wives, people looking for extra income and I don’t appreciate it.

  5. December 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I always look at the catalog online before deciding to go. AND I am a direct sales consultant. It really depends on who is doing the selling. I am not trying to make a million, or ‘grow my business’. I do a 10 minute presentation and sit down to answer questions and take orders. It’s very low pressure and plenty of people opt not to buy – and I take no offense in that. I never reach out to people to host parties or contact them aside from the opt in newsletter. I do very well for not marketing or forcing parties. It’s a shame some consultants and companies turn potential customers off with forcefulness and expensive products

  6. December 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    The same thing happened to me over and over again. I would find myself in a living room with 2 other guests and the sales person, awful! The pressure was tremendous. I would even tell the hostess on the phone that I could not spend any money and she would say to come for the social part and don’t worry about it. But I would always find myself scouring the catalogue to find the cheapest item.
    Now I simply do not go.

  7. December 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    HATE HATE HATE these! I have been forced to go to so many of these parties over the years, but even more than that, I hate when people try to sell this stuff at work. I’ve had co-workers aggressively handing out catalogs, inviting people to parties and even hosting parties at work over the years and I think that is the most inappropriate thing there is. I refuse to participate in this type of selling ever again, and I’m so sorry that you got duped into spending so much money 🙁

  8. December 12, 2012 at 9:55 am

    UGH I hate these.
    I just went to an Airbonne party and spent a bunch of money.
    I don’t like the products and it’s becoming a pain in the butt to return them.
    Never. Again.

  9. December 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Hate them. I am like you, I feel guilty and end up spending too much money. Now I just politely say no.

  10. December 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I’m a man and I don’ t think men have “at home parties” unless it involves beer and a football or soccer game. That being said I probably would have no interest in going to those parties no matter what they sold. If I’m not looking for something I don’t want to feel enticed to have to buy. I’m saying this because my wife has been to some and has held some when she was in her 20’s. She said she felt obligated to buy and was spending money she didn’t want to but also didn’t want to say no to her mates about going. She’s not that type of woman any more and if she’s not interested her friends better respect that. Cheers! Great post.

  11. December 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    HATE. It always seems like the same people are hosting these and it drives me crazy! A coworker tried to sell me jewelry, then makeup, then pizzas, followed by pampered chef. I bought one thing the first time around, but couldn’t possibly keep up. I understand that she was trying to earn a little extra money, but I hadn’t feeling pushed to buy and guilty when I didn’t. This same person tried to use me for business contacts, she received a bonus for new recruits. As a result my impression of her really went downhill. I understand her desire, but I just felt she was using me to make money.

  12. December 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I have never been invited to such a party, nor would I attend if I were invited. I don’t like high-pressure sales techniques and I like to research my purchases in advance of making them so I know I’m getting the best product for the best price.

  13. December 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Remember, the parties are the product. The product is NOT the product. Now don’t feel guilty, okay?

  14. Lea
    December 11, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I had a co-worker once invite me to her bachelorette party, which was a sex toy party. Well, I showed up with another co-worker and found out that the bride-to-be and a bunch of her friends (attending the party) had gone out to dinner prior. So really, the only reason why I was invited (and several other people too) was to get more people to attend the sales-based party and make the bride more money so she could purchase more stuff. Half the people at the party weren’t invited to the dinner! I was so offended!

    And that same co-worker (ex-co-worker now as I changed jobs) currently sells Epicure and at least 75% of her Facebook posts are about the Epicure brand. Sometimes it’s a straight up sell of a certain product and other times it’s talking about how she used a particular epicure product in dinner or such. It’s soooooo annoying that I keep meaning to change my settings so I hide the posts.

  15. December 11, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Normally I would be right with you. I’m not a huge fan of those parties UNTIL my sister-in-law introduced me to Noonday Collection. Talk about a jewelry party with PURPOSE – helping to give jobs to artisans in third world companies and (even in just a small way) helping to break the cycle of poverty. ADORABLE jewelry (and trendy!) for awesome prices. Check it out:

    Noonday’s story: After visiting Uganda in February of 2010 and holding hundreds of children without moms and dads, Joe and Jessica Honegger (the founder) decided to adopt internationally (from Rwanda). Also on that visit, they met up with long time friends who had lived in Uganda for many years trying to create sustainable income opportunities for the Ugandan people. They asked Jessica if she would like to sell the fair-trade locally made goods in Austin, in order to raise money for the costly adoption process. Jessica agreed and the first Noonday Collection trunk show was born! Talk about a jewelry party with PURPOSE.

  16. December 11, 2012 at 5:17 am

    I’ve never been to a sell at home party. In fact, whenever I’m invited I flat out say no, that I can’t afford it. I think those high pressure selling situations, where you’re being pressured by your FRIEND is terrible and I just refuse to participate.

    It sucks that you got pressured into buying stuff you don’t want or need, I’m glad that you are open and honest about it thought! A lot of my friends get suckered at these parties and then stubbornly insist that the tupperware/kitchen gadget/cooking spice/jewellery is really worth the $150 they spent on it.

  17. December 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Honestly I’ve never really understood these parties. It just seems kind of schemey. I once won a prize from a bridal fair for a free makeover from this Avon type company. Little did I know it was really a way for one of their consultants to come to my house and try to sell me and my sisters on a bunch of overpriced products. I don’t like being pushed to buy something so no thank you.

  18. December 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Those things are all the rage with the military spouses. We have the wax warmers, the purses, the diaper bags, the makeup, the jewelry, the kitchen items. It goes on and on and on. It seems like every time I turn around I’m getting invited. I always say no.

    One of my best friends sells the make up and she keeps trying to get me to switch to buying my make up through her. It drives me nuts. I cannot stand these “parties” and do my best to avoid them like the plague.

  19. December 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    First of all; who is still doing these things? Are they really making that much money? I’m not a sales person. I hate those parties too! I’d ONLY go if it was a close friend and NEVER agree to host a party. Sorry! Just not happening. I know you felt on the spot since there were so few there and that sucks. I might have done the same in your place even though I said I wouldn’t. Try not to feel bad about returning the jewelry and not doing the party. When they get into that business they know what they signed up for so I try not to take it as my responsibility to help them.

  20. December 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I used to go, but I have made it a rule now to just decline the invite. The only ones I would consider going to now are Pampered Chef. I have a few of their items and they’re great quality and I use them all the time. Other than that, I have no interest in going or hosting.

  21. alotta lettuce
    December 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I *always* RSVP no for these parties, and on the very rare occasions that I do attend them, I never, ever, EVER give the person selling goods my contact information, because I have absolutely zero interest in hosting a party and subjecting my friends to the non-stop hounding that will inevitably result, nor in becoming a purveyor of whatever goods they might be pedaling.

    I’m actually on the verge of defriending a number of people on Facebook because I cannot handle their incessant posts, trying to get me to buy jewelry or candles or sex toys or any number of other things. It is SO OBNOXIOUS!

  22. December 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

    When I do go to these parties it is usually to support a friend in her new business or it is a close friend that is hosting the party. I never agree to have one myself, but I will set a certain amount to spend and try like heck to not go over budget!

  23. December 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I just don’t go. Period.
    Like you said, you can purchase that stuff much cheaper elsewhere. the same is true for Mary Kay, Avon, Pampered Chef, etc. its all pretty much a scam anyways. Luckily, i haven’t been invited to many product parties and I count my lucky stars for that. Its just not worth it.

  24. Hannah
    December 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I brought our pup to the last party (he is friends with the hostess’ dog) and he had an accident in the middle of the floor. It was a bit mortifying (now hilarious) and she did not handle it well. As soon as the formal part of the party was over, we bowed out.

    I now am thankful that he saved me $150 even if it means sacrificing our dignity.

  25. December 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I have never been to one, and that is because I ALWAYS have said no. Like you said, it is all so overpriced.

  26. December 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I don’t like them one bit. But I’m not sure what you could have done differently in your situation… so awkward and so much pressure. In the future, avoid going at all costs (pun intended)!

  27. December 10, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I don’t think I’d like such events. It almost sounds like you are expected to buy, so that’s a no-go for me. I’d leave my wallet in the car or at home.

  28. December 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I’m on the fence about them. I will typically decline if it’s either a) not a good friend who’s hosting or b) I have no interest in the company/product.

    A group of friends and I used to have “adult” toy parties every year or so. I really liked those because it was close girlfriends getting together (so noone cancelled at the last minute) and that was more the reason for the get together than the party. It helped we were all interested in the products so usually we each bought something, but if someone didn’t buy an item, there were enough of the rest of us so you didn’t feel singled out.

    If it were the similar group of friends and one decided to host a tupperware or jewelry party, I’ll usually still go and there has been a time or two when I haven’t bought anything because I just didn’t want to spend the money and really was just there for the girl time.

    I agree that it’s really frustrating if a lot of people bow out of these parties at the last minute. I had that happen when I hosted a Tupperware party and I decided never to host something like that again. And I agree the stuff is usually really overpriced and I can’t get out without spending at least $50. That’s why I tend to not go to them when it’s just an acquaintance that’s hosting it, and if I’m truly not interested in anything, I don’t buy it.

  29. December 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I avoid these parties like the plague now! I used to go to them and then spend all my money on cheap trinkets, candles, cooking utensils etc etc etc but the last thing I purchased was about 6 years ago when I bought a couple of knives from a friend who was selling for Cutco. These knives were EXPENSIVE but I could’ve gone to Ikea and purchased better knives cheaper …. that was the final moment when I knew that I had gone to my last ‘party’ LOL It’s difficult when you feel sorry for people who are selling this stuff and then feel that you have to open your wallet …… count me out.

  30. Elizabeth
    December 10, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I don’t go. Ever. I hate them.

    It’s just rude to try to pressure your friends into buying stuff. They’re your friends, not customers. Now any time I’m invited, even if they say “no pressure to buy anything!” I just say that I have a policy and don’t go.

  31. December 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I’ve never been to one, but I’ve been invited to many. I would end up like you, buying things I don’t want, agreeing to do things I don’t want to do. I’m too much of a softie to say no! That’s why I beat them to the punch and don’t attend the parties.*

  32. December 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

    HATE THEM. I got invited to a jewerly party once and managed to escape with only $20 earrings- but seriously $20 earrings that I don’t need and could have gotten for like $5 at Claires.

    I usually just decline.

    Even when I used to do rubber stamping regularly, we never had the parties. We either ordered direct from a demonstrator, or she hosted get togethers where we paid a fee to do a project, so buying wasn’t required.

    Sorry you fell for the upsell scam- I did that recently at a quilt convention. When I got home I realized I wasted $40 on 4 things, rather than wasting $15 on 1… What I bought wasn’t even what I expected it would be. Major disappointment.

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