Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,
Spacefem
spacefem

buying crap

Yesterday I went to a pampered chef/arbonne party. I like pampered chef okay, there's food and stuff I need, that's what got me there, but the arbonne part was painful. Arbonne makes makeup and lotions and spa stuff but if you ever ask a rep to explain that, you can't get it in that simple sentence, you'll get a 30-minute dissertation containing words like "all-natural", explaining environmental toxins and the aging process, the company's history and business plan, and why you should host a show. It physically hurts me.

So yesterday at least HALF of this woman's pitch was dedicated not to lotions we should by, but why arbonne is such an incredible company. We heard her life story about how when her kids were born she wanted to take off but her and her husband couldn't live on one income so she got involved with arbonne sales and now she make more than she ever did teaching, there were CHARTS passed around showing the company's growth and number of VPs in Kansas from one year to the next to demonstrate how you can move up. By the end, I'd gotten the message that I wasn't buying lotion, I was funding some pyramid-type propagation scheme.

I'd never felt so great about my personal resolution to not buy junk I didn't need at these "women selling you crap" parties. Some of these companies are fun... I like pampered chef, I like slumber parties. Others totally exploit the fact that women have a hard time saying no to their friends. Early in my career as an engineer I was frequently invited to these things by engineer's wives, because The Wives felt sorry for me having to work with all these men and wanted to reach out, which was nice. Two issues: first, they ONLY invited me to social events involving buying shit. Second, I quickly got sick of paying shipping and handling for stuff that would never be shipped to my apartment, it was always up to me to track down the appropriate husband at my work who was delivery boy for the day, usually never one who worked in my building, always one who'd inevitably sit by another engineer who'd see me picking stuff up and say, "My wife is having a Treasured Memories scrapbooking party next weekend, I'll have her invite you."

Call me way insecure, but I've found my job as an engineer is a lot easier if I'm just one of the guys. Whenever my coworkers realize that I'm a woman, I feel like a freak. My gender is a subject best ignored. I do not want to be in any category involving their wives.

So I went to the parties to be nice but stopped buying the crap, and sooner or later I was invited to fewer parties (VICTORY) but the badness still happens, and still reminds me how much I hate the creepy pyramid schemes. I was at a jewelry party once where the sales rep handed each of us a little gold box with jewelry in it to hold for a minute, and then she told us all that anyone who agreed to host the next show could open her box and have what's inside, the rest of us had to give ours back without even looking. I practically threw mine at her.

Same with yesterday, when I basically had to beat away this arbonne lady who said she had to get X number of people to try this free sample of anti-aging stuff, and could she give me a sample and have my phone number to follow up with how I liked it? I said I liked aging. She told me that I'd be getting a lot more fine lines as I got older and it would be good to start some sort of treatment now. I thought about explaining to her that I was unlikely to buy anything from someone who tells me I'll be ugly without them, also thought about just telling her to fuck off, but instead I smiled, turned to another woman, and started a conversation about places we'd lived. I can't believe I was that nice, looking back on it.
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