It seems that the age of the Tupperware party is well and truly over, and has been replaced by an elite, high-brow, middle class range of parties, that want you to part with huge amounts of your cash for stuff you just don’t want. This may seem like a mainly female phenomenon, but there’s much to learn here lads, so do read on, if only to arm yourself with good reasons why you shouldn’t let the missus go to that exclusive jewellery party at the neighbours next week!
Now you could argue that a make-up party sounds no different in principal to a Tupperware party. You go along to an awkward social gathering, where you only really know the hostess, and feel obliged to buy oodles of products you don’t really need. But because Sandra hands you a complimentary glass of Lambrini and a handful of dry roasted peanuts, you feel obliged to flash the cash and spend like it’s burning a hole in your pocket! The difference being, that this stuff is really going to set you back a bob or two, unlike five or ten quid for a lifetime supply of microwaveable soup cups (really handy actually!). If you have to consider remortgaging the house to come away with just one item, you have to ask yourself if this is a party, or daylight robbery! One make-up party I went to claimed its facial oil had fantastical healing properties. Well, at thirty quid for a thimble full love, I’m hoping this stuff will take my wrinkles back to 1985!
The hostess normally hands over proceedings to an assigned sales person employed by the company, who dazzles you with facts and figures about the products that are so beguiling, you just nod in agreement, if only so you can speed things along and get another glass of Lambrini. Of course at first you feel flattered to be invited to such an event, only later to find out that even the hostess is on commission, bagging herself a hoard of free products as well as a cut of the sales. You’re told “there’s no pressure to buy”, but are then subjected to a sales pitch that is so aggressive, even Alan Sugar would blush! You don’t want to appear to be the only guest who’s as tight as a ducks backside, or come away empty handed, so you make some vain attempt at finding the cheapest thing on offer, like finding the tea towels on a John Lewis wedding list.
An even trickier event is the charity-slash-jewellery party. I mean, who could turn down the opportunity to purchase a £100 tin bracelet that’s going to turn your wrist purple and bring you out in a rash, if it means a small percentage is going to charity? If you try and get out of buying something at a makeup charity evening, not only are you labelled “still ugly”, but you can add “selfish” and “heartless” to the list too.
You wouldn’t feel so bad if you felt these parties were genuinely to support someone setting up their own business, to feed their kids and keep a roof over their heads. But you start to feel that the fifty quid you’ve spent and worked so hard to earn, is just going towards their pocket money! The hostess will be out on a shopping spree the next weekend, whilst you stay in, skint, because you spent £150 on some miracle foundation that you’ll never actually use and makes you look like you’ve dived head first into the Rimmel reject bin!
Don’t get me wrong, I like to get together with the girls as much as the next person, but I’m not sure that friendship goes hand in hand with the pressure of the hard sell. It would take a really steely resolve to go to one of these parties and have the balls to say “no thanks, I’m just looking”. That resolve is especially needed when you are asked if you’d like to host the next party. It’s like the poisoned challis or that nasty bottle of plonk that keeps getting passed around at Christmas as an unwanted gift. “When can you host the next party?”
“…errr I’m really busy”
“name a date in the future”
“I’m busy in the future, sorry…” (awkward silence ensues!).
These sales reps are seriously pushy, so you’d better go armed with a bag of excuses as to why you can’t host the next party. And as for me…guess I’d better get a few bottles of Lambrini in and a bumper bag of dry roasted peanuts then….