Direct Sales Parties

[deleted account] ( 24 moms have responded )

A blogger I follow asked a question about if it was rude to attend a direct sales party (like Mary Kay) without making a purchase. A small debate broke out in the comment section of this blog.

So what do you think? Is it rude to attend a party/show and not make a purchase? Do you enjoy these types of parties? Have you ever hosted or attended one? Did you feel obligated to make a purchase?

P.S. If you "know" me, you probably know that I sell jewelry for a direct sales company. I don't talk about it a lot on here, because I don't want to appear to be soliciting. I love the job, not only for the extra income, but because it gives me a chance to socialize and meet wonderful women I wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. I promise, if your response to my questions are negative I won't get offended. Well, not much anyway. ;)


Practical - posted on 10/23/2012




Of course it is not rude NOT to make a purchase. You've been invited to a person's home, not a sales room. The hostess is the one who is being rude by inviting you to her house to take advantage of your friendship by pressuring you to buy items you don't need. Please understand that no verbal pressure or body language cues are required to cause the buyer's pressure. It is merely the knowledge that the hostess is benefiting from your purchase, and that you would be letting your friend down if you do not buy from her. Hostesses are taking advantage of friendship when they invite people to these parties. As you can tell, I hate these types of "parties". It is a sales pitch, not a party. Throwing a REAL party is an act of generosity. When it's a real party you invite people you enjoy spending time with, and you share food and drink with them without further obligation to the invitee (other than the possibility of receiving an invitation to their home in the future). You don't invite them to take advantage of the social pressure they will invariably feel at a sales pitch in your home. Direct sales "parties" are a horrid sign of the lack of manners in our society. I don't know one person among my many friends who is actually excited when they are invited to a sales party. But they still go, out of obligation to their friend who is the hostess. And after, they regret the money they've spent, and they wish they could have said "no" without hurting the hostesses feelings. Direct sales ruins many a friendship. I have stopped socializing with several ladies who repeatedly invited me to sales parties for crappy cheaply made and overpriced items (home and garden party), because i was so tired of turning them down with a fake excuse, to save their feelings.

Heather - posted on 10/29/2010




Oh geese! I'm a Mary Kay consultant and I've never pressured anyone to buy anything...if someone can't afford it or just doesn't want it, I wouldn't want to pressure them into being unhappy with the product or my company. You shouldn't feel bad if you don't purchase something at a party. IMO the whole point in having the party is to get your name out and help people understand the product, NOT to make as many sales as possible. That being said, I do wish people would come to parties with an open mind instead of preconceived notions of what they're going to see and hear. If you've already decided you don't like don't like something and there's no way you're going to change your mind, please just decline the invitation and save the hostess some trouble. :)

Michelle - posted on 11/25/2012




It is not rude if you attend a direct sales party and don't purchase never now the person attending could decide later she wants to host a party...or even become a consultant...Perhaps she doesn't have the funds or is just attending to show her friend support by being there for her. I do direct sales and if someone doesn't purchase from me at a party I treat them the same way I do as my purchasing clients with kindness and respect.

Tracey - posted on 10/23/2012




It is no ruder to attend as a guest and not buy than it is to invite friends as a host knowing you will get commission from their purchases.

Bonnie - posted on 10/29/2010




I doubt people go to these parties knowing before they even get there, they are not going to buy anything. I don't feel anyone should be pressured into purchasing because they may never want to return. I don't think people need to feel obligated to purchase. If it seems like everyone else is purchasing than I may feel pressured into it.
I haven't been to many of these parties. A lot of the items are expensive. I have been to a tupperware party, some kind of candle thing, and I almost went to a pampered chef party (but I was ill). It was my future sister in-law's friend hosting it at her house. I am an independent sales rep for Avon and was asked if I attended that if I wanted to set up a table. I was going to, if I had gone. I don't like being pushy. I just give out my catalogues, point out the new items or sales, and I will usually send out an order reminder. That's about it.

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Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010




i don't think it's rude, i've done it!! i think it's rude to expect people to buy something just cause they attend.
i don't really like those parties very much. i would like them more if i had money, lol!! i do like the socializing, and i love seeing new products, but without the cash it's hard.

[deleted account]

Again, most of you are pretty neutral! I'm surprised there have been no harsh words (not direct at me, but at the industry in general). I think Krista's second paragraph was perfect!

[deleted account]

Sara, no, I'm not against these parties at all. For one thing, people need to make a living and I've seen some girls who are really good at it. I have only ever been to parties like this because I was asked by a friend. My friends know I'm not a girly girl and they also know that I don't have a lot of money to spend of extras, so they just ask from time to time because they like my company, I guess lol I'm not saying that I NEVER buy anything, but 9 times out of 10 I don't. I was at a party last year (can't remember what it was stuff) and there was no way in hell I was gonna buy anything. The cheapest thing was a set of napkin rings that were like $20 for a set of 4. thank you. Maybe if the stuff wasn't so expensive I'd go with the intent of buying but I just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money when I can go to Wal Mart and get just as nice for wayyy less. Knowing the prices ahead of time would be nice. Or being given a catalogue when being I could browse ahead of time and then decide if I want to go or not. Ahhhh....and all of this is why I just don't go most of the time lol

Krista - posted on 10/29/2010




I have no problem with direct sales IF the person isn't pushy, and if they're honest about their motives. I went to what I thought was just a regular party years ago, only to find out it was a direct sales party. I was seriously, seriously pissed off that the person had hidden her motives like that. But if there's no pressure and if it's something I'd be interested in anyway, then I'd probably go. I usually enjoy Pampered Chef parties, and I went to a Fantasia party once, which was an absolute hoot and a half.

I don't think it's rude to not buy anything -- you might be going there with the intent to buy something, but don't see anything you like. That's life. Like in retail sales, just because a customer walks through your door, that doesn't mean you've made a sale. Saying that it's rude to go to a party and not buy anything is like saying it's rude for me to go to a shoe store, browse, not see anything I'm interested in, thank them for their time, and leave without buying anything.

Jenn - posted on 10/29/2010




I don't know if I think it's rude, but why go if you're not going to buy something?

ME - posted on 10/29/2010




I hate most of these parties, and I've been to several. Jewelry, home decorations, purses, mary kay, Tupperware, etc. I usually feel compelled to make a purchase because I know that it will benefit my friend or family member having the party. My mom used to sell mary kay and I love the product, but I hate those parties. In fact, I like a lot of the products sold at those parties, if a direct sales person wants me to buy something...give me the magazine and let me do my damage...just don't make me come to those parties!

Mary - posted on 10/29/2010




I tend to avoid these parties like the plague, because I do feel obligated to buy something, even if it's crap I don't need or want. I can't even say it's a result of being pressured by the rep or hostess; it's my own self-inflicted guilt. However, that bugs me, so for years now I've just politely declined all those invites.

The only exception to this is the Silpada jewelry parties...I do really like their stuff! A friend of mine will host one of their parties once or twice a year (her friend is a rep), and I do attend one of those, and sadly, I ALWAYS buy something. The difference is that I'm not doing it out of a sense of guilt, but because I really like and want it.

Johnny - posted on 10/28/2010




When I've been pressured to attend, by friends or co-workers, I won't buy. If I tell them that I don't need the stuff that is being sold and they pressure me to just come anyway, I figure that's their problem. If I was to choose to attend of my own decision, which I've done a sum total of once, then I buy. Now, I use my daughter as an excuse for not being able to attend. "I don't have babysitting." I am very big into not buying stuff I don't need, and I don't need any more makeup, spa stuff, candle equipment, kitchen stuff.......

Jodi - posted on 10/28/2010




And no, Sara, I am not totally against these types of sales at all. But I will say that SOME reps are VERY pushy and they need to back off. But not all are like this, there are a minority who make it difficult for everyone else.

Jodi - posted on 10/28/2010




For me it really depends on who is throwing the party. If it is someone I know really well who is the hostess, I don't feel obligated to buy anything, I know I am totally welcome anyway as a friend, but if it is only an aquaintance, yes, I do feel obligated to buy something. I actually don't often go to the parties. If I happen to like the products, I just ask to borrow a catalogue and put an order in directly.

Lindsay - posted on 10/28/2010




I can't bring myself to go to one of those parties and not buy something. For me, personally, I feel it's rude to the host. I just can't do it. But if I get an invite to a party that I know I won't be interested in the product, I RSVP that I won't be able to make it. I'm not wasting anyone's time thinking that I may be a potential customer if I have no intention of buying.

[deleted account]

So far everyone is pretty neutral. Is anyone outright against this type of sales? Some of the responses in the blog were pretty harsh towards direct sales!

Becky - posted on 10/28/2010




Well, I don't think it's rude not to buy anything, but usually when I go to those parties, it's because I know the hostess. So I try to buy something, because I know they get more free stuff based on the amount of sales. I did go to a Stella and Dot party once and didn't buy anything, although I really liked the jewelry. For one, I rarely wear jewelry anymore, and for two, it's expensive! I've banned myself from going to some parties - like Partylite, because I spend too much money at them!

C. - posted on 10/28/2010




I've been to a Mary Kay meeting (my friend's mom was trying to get the two of us to sell it). And all the while, these ladies were trying to get us to buy tons of products to up their sale count (even though the makeup was HIDEOUS. I'm fair skinned and this woman put orangey coral blush and lipstick all over me.. Yuck! And the makeup was sticky.. The foundation made me break out..) Anyway, if I went to a Mary Kay party.. I wouldn't buy anything. I find it overpriced and from previous experience, not very good in the quality department.

Avon.. That's another story. I don't think I've ever had a problem with their products.

Jewelry.. It depends on the jewelry. My sister held a sales party for a friend and I couldn't go b/c we were already all the way out here.. Anyway, she sent me a catalog and the jewelry was beautiful. If I had the money, I would have ordered.

Anyway, I try not to feel obligated to buy anything at sales parties b/c some of the stuff really isn't worth it. Then again, there are some that are good quality for the price. Just depends. Oh, and I think the sales rep's shouldn't be as pushy as they are. I'm more likely to buy from someone that's real and passionate about it instead of clearly just selling it for the money and not really caring about the quality.

[deleted account]

Those types of parties just aren't my thing. I always feel uncomfortable and obligated to buy something. That being said, in the past few years I have done a few friends a "favor" by going to their parties and didn't buy anything. I kinda felt bad for not buying anything but at the same time, I knew my friends were more trying to get me out of the house and into girly stuff. I'm just not a girly girl. I don't know if it's rude to not buy something at one of those parties but I do think it's rude to expect someone to buy just because they are there.

Jessica - posted on 10/28/2010




Alright I think it is rude to go knowing that you aren't going to purchase anything. I will not go to a party like that knowing that I don't have the money or I am not allowed to go to jewelry parties b/c my guy thinks that the only person that should be buying me jewelry is him! Well it would be his money that bought it!! but still a no go! I don't think that it is rude if you think you might buy something. I'll go to a tuperware party and whatever else b/c I don't know if I might find something that I want or think that I need. BUT I never feel bad about not getting anything b/c sometimes I don't find anything that I want or need or could convince myself that I need. I am pretty good at convincing myself I need things that I don't and end up having to return them b/c I really didn't need them! So I try to be really cautious about parties b/c I can't return those items. Now if I have a party and someone bought something at my party and then they invite me to their party I feel obligated to go to their party and FOR SURE by something! That is just me!

[deleted account]

See...I disagree. I strive to make my parties, "no pressure" and more like a fashion seminar/girls' night. But I'm going to zip it for awhile and see what everyone else thinks!

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 10/28/2010




If your invited I think you should purchase something…anything…

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