Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'd like your opinion

I've been invited to a Patsy Aiken party (like Tupperware, only with kids' clothes). The hostess is an old friend with whom I'd love to reconnect. She's a busy working mom, and we've never managed to schedule so much as a playdate at the neighborhood park. So what's a frugal friend to do? You know I don't need any kids' clothes! Should I buy the least expensive item and consider it a social cost, like I would for a lunch date? Or is it okay to make a brief visit, chatting for a bit and leaving with a catalog? I'm really unsure of shopping party etiquette, and I'd love your advice!

30 comments:

MicheleinNZ said...

I personally never feel obligated by the hostess to purchase anything at these parties. Sometimes the sales people can be a bit pushy, though. Often it's just a friend inviting other friends around for a chance to hang out and have a bit of fun at the same time. So, go, enjoy seeing your friend again, get some good ideas perhaps, and leave with a catalogue.

Amy said...

I agree! Don't feel pressured to buy things that you don't want or need. Just enjoy visiting and offer to take a catalog (or two) and share them with a friend. I am sure that your hostess is just looking forward to visiting with you- a sale would have just been icing on her cake...not yours!!

Anonymous said...

I have been in a similiar situation with a friend having these types of 'parties'. She knows that I am frugal and only will buy if needed. The first time I stuck to my guns was the hardest ever, but I made it and I felt great about staying with what I believe in and live. Stay true to yourself! If there is any negative reaction from others they'll get over it and your bank account will love you for it.

momxtwo said...

I would go and visit with your friend. Take a catalog and tell her you would like to look over it and think about it. If she knows you then she will know you are frugal and may not buy anything.

Blessings

Taleyna said...

I would just take a catalog. I don't think it will bother your friend-chances are she needs to invite X number of people anyway to get more hostess gifts/etc. so even if you don't buy you've helped her out.

Taleyna

Mrs. Linebarger said...

I heartily agree with the above, but would also tell you this. Do browse the catalogue in her home, but, if you really do not intend to buy anything, leave the catalogue behind. In another time, I did "party sales" and the dealers are charged a hefty amount for their catalogues. Most are savvy business women and will re-use their catalogues at another party (frugality there, too, you see!)

Anonymous said...

I agree. If you don't need to buy anything, then don't. Just go and enjoy the visit!

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

At things like this, I either buy something or agree to host my own. But that's just me and I think I do it out of guilt, so don't be like me. ;)

Marie said...

I'm a little off the reservation here but I'd buy something if only to use as a gift down the road. That's what I did at a candle party I attended. I don't use candles. But I bought some nice ones as a Christmas gift for my mom.

There's frugal and there's cheap; if you really know in advance you're not going to buy anything don't go.

I am not calling you cheap, please understand! It's just that if you know in advance the purpose of the party and you've decided in advance not to buy, I wouldn't go.

meangoose said...

I do agree with Marie. I think if you've pre-decided that you will not buy anything, a better option would be to call your friend and set up a separate date to see her. If you do go, and actually don't see anything you want/need/like, then you don't have to buy just cause you're there.

Meredith said...

Marie, I was kind of thinking the same thing. I mean, I've never seen this company's clothes before, so who knows, maybe I'd be swept off my feet--but the likelihood of my purchasing anything beyond a hair ribbon is slim. That's why I was curious to hear advice from people either attend or host these type of parties.

Alison said...

Thanks this topic Meredith and everyone for these answers, I too have often wondered how to handle these things and usually ended up not going but taking a catalogue...realizing now that maybe the reverse would be better!

Anonymous said...

I live in a very small rural town, so for me to go and not buy anything at one of these parties would be considered rude and hurtful. Around here, pretty much the unspoken rule is that if you go, you have to buy something. I used to go to them (any kind of these direct sales parties) a lot when my oldest children were little, but I almost never go now. Everything seems WAY too overpriced, and I just don't want to waste the money. Sometimes, when I have gotten an invitation, I go to the company's website and take a look around. If I don't see anything that I like at all, I just call and decline so that I won't hurt any feelings by not buying anything. If you still want to go, but are pretty sure that you won't buy anything, call your friend up and ask her if she would mind if you just came to browse, but not buy. Like you said, sometimes, there really does end up being something very special that you want to buy, and the evening out with friends can really be a fun time. Just some thoughts from our corner of the world!
Susan in Illinois

Anonymous said...

Another comment by me-
I just went to the website link you provided.....the clothes are very cute, but boy, they are WAY more than I would almost ever spend on something for the kids. After looking at the website, I think I would just call and tell your friend that it just simply won't work out for you. Speaking only for myself, I think that I would regret going because I most likely would end up spending money that I really didn't want to spend so that I wouldn't offend my friend, and then feeling angry about it afterwards. And not to sound unkind but....how is it that your friend has time to host a party like this, but can never get together for a simple playdate? I wonder if it's another example of a working mom feeling threatened by a stay-at-home mom? Kind of like the camping trip that you had with your husband's friends in the spring.....Just tell her that you'd love to see her, but that the party won't work out.
Susan in Illinois

Mom2fur said...

If there are only a few people there, it might be awkward to not buy a little something. But if it's a crowd, you can just mingle. There's no law that says you have to buy anything. Either that or you can honestly tell your friend you don't need anything, but you'd love to come by to say 'hi.' Nothing wrong with that!

Mom2fur said...

Oh, and I was thinking...maybe you could be a generic (boy or girl) baby outfit to put away as a future gift.

Anonymous said...

The more you go to these things (just to save your friend's feelings) the more you will be invited to future parties.

When you decline by saying something like "the budget is tight right now" or "I really don't need anything" they are trained to reply, "Oh that's okay, we're just getting together to have a little night out" but the reality is Impulse Buying and Peer Pressure usually kicks in and before you know it, you've spent $35 dollars.

Stick to your guns. Come up with a gracious response that will serve you for future invitations. Visit your friend at another time.

Debbie

dalemeri said...

I have been to one of these parties the clothes are EXPENSIVE! They are cute and I always get ideas on what to sew next!! I would plan on getting together with her some other time. Or just go and visit if you want, I don't think she "should" be offended if you don't buy anything! LOVE your blog by the way...read mine!

My Boaz's Ruth said...

Don't feel obligated.
Go, have a fun time, don't buy anything.

SuperMom said...

I couldn't find any prices, but the clothes were adorable.

Of course, we only buy from the clearance rack.

Don't go to the party unless you really want to. If you want to go, and end up going, then you should probably buy some small something.

But that's just me.

Kim C. said...

If the hostess is a close enough friend, you might consider asking if your presence will help her out. As another commenter mentioned, some of these home parties give the hostess extra credit just for the "body count." If your friend knows you well, she won't mind that you didn't buy - she'll just be glad you're there. Also, another guest can make the party feel more successful and encourage the real spenders to spend more. :)

Anonymous said...

If it were me, I would be thrilled if you stopped by just to say hi & pick up a catolog. $ should NOT come b/w friends. If there happens to be an adorable accessory on the cheap, then maybe you can get that. The plus is that she is just the hostess. If she were the salesperson, I'd feel obligated to get something if she were a close friend. Since you almost never see her (and likely still won't after this show) don't feel obligated. This has happened to me a lot; so I have thought a lot about it. Why let money come between friends? If this is rare for you to go to a party and you haven't been overwhelmed with them, maybe you'll actually find something worthwhile and have a blast there. I recently went to such a party, and there was a nursing mom there. When it got to the part where they pressure you to buy, she gracefully got up and announced it was time to go home and nurse her baby. You've got that going for you.

Anonymous said...

I ALWAYS take the catalog home even if there is something I'm sure I'm going to order. That takes the pressure off and allows me a night to think about whether I really need the thing. Then I go drop off my order in the morning. If the hostess says you have to pay that night, then tell her you're sorry, you'll put in an order next time. (Don't bring $ with you!). They will always wait for morning then. :)

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe that true frieds do not put pressure on their friends to attend these parties and spend hard-earned money on overpriced items. I am a good, true and generous friend, but my friends now know not to invite me to all these home parties! After you have declined a number of these, they will get the message, but the good this is that they won't hold it against you!

Slughorn said...

Anonymous said...
The more you go to these things (just to save your friend's feelings) the more you will be invited to future parties.

Maybe that's why I haven't been invited to one in YEARS!

Anonymous said...

I'm having a jewelry party in a few weeks. The only reason I'm hosting is because it seemed like a good excuse to have bunch of friends over and socialize. I wouldn't be the least bit offended if my guests didn't buy anything. In fact, I might be more hurt if they declined the invitation. Well, hurt is a strong word-- I guess I'm trying to say I'd rather have them come and not buy anything than **not** come at all.

The(un)PerfectMother said...

If she gets offended if you dont buy anything.... then that is her problem. When I host these parties, I dont know who has ordered what. I am not paying attention to that. I am mingling with my friends. The salesperson shouldnt say "Suzy and Meredith didnt buy anything!" It is a great opportunity for you to see your old friend, meet some new people, and relax in the company of adults for a while. Like someone else said, if she knows you, she knows how you shop, and she should know that you probably wont buy anything due to the cost.

Jodi said...

If you want to go over to have fun and socialize, do that! Don't feel obligated to buy.

The worst party I probably have been to was one of the candle ones, where the "sales consultant" constantly pushed the need to host a party or to become a consultant! It was awful -- she hardly spent any time showing the products, and worse, only those who signed up to host a party were eligible for the little door prizes! I did buy something (because we love candles here), and it was like my purchase wasn't even appreciated because I didn't sign up to host a party. Ugh!

Like the other poster said, page through the catalog for ideas.

Jodi said...

Ok, I just looked through the site -- you can definitely go to your local fabric store (or Wal-Mart) and find the patterns and fabrics for a whole lot less than the cost of one of those outfits! Ouch!

cdorsey said...

Hello. I'm new to your blog and have really enjoyed reading it.

I haven't read through the other coments to see what they have said, but as a Mary Kay consultant, I would NEVER want someone to make a pity purchase. Chat, enjoy, take a catalog and a few cards. You will help her out by passing her name on to someone who could use her product

Good luck!

Catherine
http://angelfoodcakeisntacandle.blogspot.com