I try to avoid voicing opinions here that might step on someone's toes but today I am venturing into that possibility. Today's topic isn't religion or politics. It isn't about Coke versus Pepsi and it isn't about the right way to hang your toilet paper on the spindle. That is a silly debate anyway. Everyone knows it should over the top of the roll and down the front.
Today's topic is direct sales parties. We've all been to Tupperware parties and I bet most of us have been invited to Mary Kay and other cosmetic brands, cooking parties from Pampered Chef to Tastefully Simple, jewelry parties and let's not forget PartyLite. All present nice products, some have individual items that some of us might even swear by, and home sales presents a way for many women to work part time to supplement an income or perhaps even full time in a job they prefer over all others. I have no problem with any of this.
I'm not naive about business. I know that the hourly labor charge at a car dealership or your local repair facility doesn't all go to the mechanic doing the work. Built into that fee are his wages, worker's compensation insurance that his employer must have, perhaps medical coverage that his employer hopefully offers his employees, rent and utilities. Clerical personnel and maintenance people have to be paid also, and the corporation itself has to make a profit or why be in business?
Why does this bother me when it comes to home parties? I choose where to have my car serviced or where to buy my next refrigerator, pair of shoes or haircut. The nature of home parties is to encourage the hostess to invite her friends, relatives and coworkers into her home, have a snack and some fun while the demonstrator does her best to convince us to buy ABC's gizmos. Most of us feel obligated to buy something after being in the hostess's home for a few hours. I can live with this concept and often decline parties if I know I truly can't use anything in their line or if the hostess is a neighbor who otherwise doesn't speak to anyone on the street until she is hosting an Exciting Opportunity to Shop!!!
Years ago, the demonstrators encouraged us to shop or to book a party so that our dear hostess could earn the Gizmo Deluxe. If we were interested in exciting sales opportunities, she spoke to us afterward or called us within a day or two. Now the financial breakdown is often given during the main presentation. THAT is where my mind starts clicking away and not in a good way for the ABC company.
It is a given that the hostess will receive products or a percentage off of products based on sales. She should earn something, that isn't a problem, but we all realize that the company has to pay for that somehow, and it does so in pricing the items we buy. If I spent $75 at the ABC party, I could get a $40 for free. Huh? By the time you figure out all the cuts taken out of that $72 item, including corporate profit whose percentage was never mentioned, the item itself was probably produced for well under $10.
I do most of my shopping in stores where my purchase comes home with me right away. I know that the clerk's wages, the distributor of the product, the manufacturer, insurances and store utilities are all built into the price but I am not looking into the face of someone making 50% and feeling bothered by it.
Maybe it is just me. Maybe I've reached the age of Curmudgeon-ness.