I had never attended a soiree/party-plan before I had a child. It might have had something to do with my being a hermit, but still… When my daughter was a baby, I received my first invitation, to a Tupperware demonstration. I grumbled and was cynical and quite frankly, a bit afraid. The demonstrator and I clicked, and she has become one of my dearest friends. She wasn’t pushy, and treated it as a bit of fun. I had no spare funds, so her benevolence was appreciated! Over the years, I have attended underwear, candle, jewellery, linen,makeup, body care, craft and many other parties. The invitations keep on coming. This past month, I have been invited to six candle parties. I can’t keep up, and therein lies the problem.
“You don’t have to buy anything.” You hear this when you say you are short of funds. However, I have heard women criticizing other ladies for having the nerve to attend their party without forking out cash. “You can browse through the catalogue online if you can’t attend.” The reason I am not attending is that I have no spare cash! It can be a minefield. I am cautious if I haven’t seen a person for a very long time and an invitation comes with an agenda. If I wanted a product, I would save for it and go out and get it without a party. Home schooling my child, these products now come with a debate in my head. ‘I could get a candle, or my child could attend a science workshop for a day with money left over….’ ‘I could get mascara or she could attend a term’s art sessions at the gallery.’ When I shop, I look for value above all else. I think most of us do. In my heart of hearts, I think giving girlfriends food and wine and giggles, then expecting them to make decisions on a whim is a little exploitative.
Then there is the ‘what did you order?’ question when you are looking through the catalogue. I usually try to find the cheapest thing in there. I am the proud owner of a useless potato masher (sold by a demonstrator who shrilly told me to ‘shoosh’ as I was trying to talk to a friend and she was eager to start her demo), useless kitchen items and dodgy products.
I wanted to be liked, approved of, and so I ordered more than I could comfortably afford in the past. I have put my hand up to host a party to help out my hostess. I received a round of applause and felt adored. Then reality hit. It is bloody hard work to host one of these parties. A thorough house clean, the buying of food and plonk, the catering… People would cancel at the last moment or simply not respond (I didn’t blame them). I have a tiny house, and am not confrontational so people knew I would understand. Awkward doesn’t cut it when describing a demo with less than six people in attendance. I have been quizzed by the demonstrator as to when the rest of the people would arrive. So, I spent more than I should at my own party- to make up for it out of guilt- on things I hadn’t needed a day ago. Often the people who I had helped out by hosting my own party were no-shows.
There are so many of them these days, it is dizzying. People only have so much time and money. I will go to something I am curious about or believe in, but I wont go to them all, not anymore. That is not real. I have only hosted three parties and I felt uncomfortable each time. I didn’t want my friends to feel that they needed to buy anything in order to see me. I didn’t want them to spend more than they had. I have a ‘no party plan’ policy now, and refuse to host. Please don’t be offended if your friend doesn’t want to attend your party. She is probably struggling with her budget as it is. She is being sensible. She is being honest and she would love to catch up with you without being sold anything. It is another expense, that some families can’t afford. Please be mindful. I think party plans have their merit, but when one is being hit each day with an invite, one has to politely decline.