Have you been invited to a Tupperware party lately? Didn’t think so. You can buy all those dandy snap-and-seal containers on the company’s website late at night while dressed in your leopard-print lounge pants.
How about The Pampered Chef? You already have enough martini glasses and cherry-almond sauce? I thought so.
The trendy party invitation these days is to buy Stella & Dot jewelry, which uses the tried-and-true formula of a hostess inviting guests to her home for a trunk show. The guests (let’s call a spade a spade: prospective customers) chat and socialize, try on the stylish necklaces and, ideally, of course, pull out their credit cards and checkbooks. The sales rep receives 25 to 30 percent of the sales and the hostess gets a cut of about $250, according to this article in The San Francisco Chronicle. (The headline is “Sip, nibble–and buy.”)
Why am I even mentioning this in an organizing blog? Because the pressure to buy in these situations is intense, and “guests” rarely are capable of leaving empty-handed. The Chronicle article says that the typical party results in $1,000 in sales. That’s great for the rep and the hostess. But items that you didn’t intend to buy and therefore don’t need too regularly wind up as clutter.
I’ve seen this time and time again with Pampered Chef gadgets such as checkerboard cake makers and tub-sized ceramic roasting pans. Both were items a client purchased at Pampered Chef parties–and never used. Ditto for Tupperware. During a recent kitchen organizing session, another client recently parted ways with a plastic pickle container. “What was I thinking?” she said.
Ever notice that guys never, ever are invited to or attend these types of parties? Most are lousy shoppers, if shopping involves buying what you don’t need or want. But put a bunch of women who are friendly with each other in a room with appealing items, and they’ll chat, nosh and spend. Because they want to thank the hostess. Because their friends are all buying earrings and charms. Because Stella & Dot jewelry is cute and, at $28 to $228, it’s an affordable indulgence.
I’m not calling for a boycott of Stella & Dot jewelry. I’m merely saying that if you’re looking to keep clutter to a minimum, you might want to think twice about RSVPing yes to a “party” where you’re not viewed as a guest but as a prospective customer. It’s hard to walk away from a situation where you’re expected to buy, and what you do buy often winds up being something you wouldn’t have chosen otherwise.