Live long… Laugh often… Love always.
You walk out to get the mail and a cute postcard shows up! It is an invitation from a friend of yours inviting you to come to her house for a party! No, not a birthday party or a party for the sake of having a party, it is a party for a product, jewelery, candles, spices, wine, Tupperware, makeup, cleaning supplies, stickers, books, shaky things, you name it there is a “party” for it. But is it really a party? No, it is a closed door sales opportunity for the person, (insert the key word here) Beauty, Candle, Culinary, Health, Paper “Consultant” who makes a commission on that product. Don’t even get me started on the loose usage of the term consultant.
It is a tough situation when you get one of these invites, you want to be around your friends, you don’t want to be the one who doesn’t show up in case something fun happens after the pitch is over and the checks are written, you don’t want to be the only person not in the pics posted on Facebook, you certainly don’t need any $30 cleaner, $200 costume jewelry, or to spend $20 dollars on a three dollar 3M cleaning microfiber cloth, but your friend invited you into their home, they shampooed their carpets, they gave you some great wine and some cocktail wienies so you feel like you need to buy something to make up for the cost of your attendance to their party. Why buy something? Because then they will get a percentage of the sales at their party to get free product from whatever wares the sales consultant is hawking that day.
Now after the drink in you has loosened your inhibitions and helped you to loosen your purse strings, you go up to write the check that you feel guilty to write, as a thank you to your friend who shared her hospitality with you and fed you, and gave you that drink. You scribble the total on line one, plus shipping and handling, and you get the face to face pressure from the sales consultant, “Do you want any information to be a consultant?” Um, no. “Do you want to help your friend, the hostess, out by booking your own party?” (so I can leech on your friends?) Um, no.
I was at a home party where the sales lady was visibly angry at me for not buying anything, her true nature came out when I handed her back the blank order form. I have been at home parties where the sales lady yelled at our group of friends at the “party” for not being quiet enough to listen to her pitch. Is that how a party is supposed to feel?
There are positive things about being a home based business sales person.. It gives opportunities to many women to be their own boss, set their own hours, be able to afford to stay home with their children in the daytime. It also allows women to be part of something they feel passionate about, I think people with extra funds should certainly help support these businesses.
Sometimes the product the sales person is pushing on you is something you do not need. Something that if you really want, you can get way cheaper at Target or online without paying the percentage to your hostess, the percentage to your sales consultant, the percentage to the person who hired your sales consultant, and the percentage to their area manager, and then the profit margin to the corporate headquarters. That is a lot of percentages to a lot of people in that company pyramid. Is that pyramid any different than a big corporation who sells me products from the store? Not much, but the bottom line is usually less painful to my bottom line.
Show me a more high pressure sales situation that you encounter buying everyday things. When I walk around the grocery store on free sample day, I don’t have to buy one of the special products unless I want to! There is no consultant at Cub, Target, Macy’s that is sitting in front of the deli counter, the checkout lane or by the front door expecting you to help them make their monthly quota, no friend who you feel obligated to help to make this party worth their while by helping them to complete their collection of furry handcuffs.
I have wonderful friends who will come out and say don’t feel like you have to buy anything I just want you to come to hang out, so I am grateful. If you don’t have a friend who tells you they don’t expect you to buy something and means it, then don’t feel that you are expected to go to their parties. I know I am not the only person in the world who feels this way. I am not saying I wont go to a home party anymore but I have decided I have no desire to be a hostess to put this unspoken pressure on my friends, I also needed to come to grips with my own feelings about home parties.
Why can’t we just have real parties with no reason, no sales consultant there to pressure you into buying goods that she is so jazzed up about her cheeks are going to hurt from smiling tomorrow? Why can’t we get together and just sit around, play a game, try out the appetizers that we all brought? I like those kind of parties best.
I have been thinking about Internet safety a lot lately. I have a Facebook account and wonder if putting information on the web could put my family at risk. I don’t publish posts like I am at the lake, or I am in Omaha! I will instead post location information when I return like, I just got back from Omaha! I continue to respond to friends posts and comment on photos when I am away and make general status updates, but wait until I return to post pictures or post a comment where I was or what I did there. Posting from my phone could mean I am standing in my driveway, or that my son is using my computer right now, not a definite sign that I am not home. Not posting my location information immediately is way easier said than done. We spent 10 days on vacation this spring, I wanted so badly to post a picture of the awesome places we were visiting, and show everyone the view I woke up to each morning, but I controlled myself and waited until I returned.
Now there is the phenomenon of Facebook Places and Foursquare, you are telling the world that you are not home, you are also telling people exactly where you are at that moment if they want to find you in public. What if you are somewhere alone with your children like at a park or walking out to a dark car and someone has it out for you. You are telling them that you have your home unoccupied and go ahead and break into my home when I am at the Twins Game for the next three hours.
I am also vigilant about not posting my children’s real names on Facebook and especially vigilant about posting my children’s names and close up photos of my children on my momlifestyle.com site because that is public. I would never want someone who does not speak with me personally to know my children’s names. I only post nicknames because I don’t want a stranger to be able to call my children over to their car by their real names when I am not around.
I also try to protect my children’s privacy rights by letting them introduce themselves to the cyber world when they are ready and old enough, not because it is convenient for me. I wonder about the safety of blog sites that show photographs and full names of their children. It does not seem very ethical to me to sell your children’s images and experiences for others to read, there are plenty of mom related sites that do make a profit from posting their children online. It would be incredibly easy for me to write daily articles if I told everyone stories of my children in addition to showing cute kid pics of my kids. If you notice most of my articles are about parenting topics that reference my experiences with my children but not specifically focused on my children and their information.
I may be going over the top with millions of blogs and public information out there about peoples children but I would rather play it on the safe side. I am not going to stop blogging because I love being able to express my opinions on my web page and get feedback from others. But I will continue to keep my childrens names private and not tell people where we are on a moment by moment basis. I will continue to protect my children anyway possible including protecting their privacy on the Internet.