Monday, December 07, 2015

When Your Friends Just Want Your Money

Last week, the always-funny Military Wife wrote a blog post about Young Living Essential Oils. When I saw the title, I hesitated. But then I saw that the first picture was this...



...and knew I had to read. I should have known it would be amazing. Military Wife could make a recap of an insurance convention interesting.



I was telling her about my 20s, when it seemed all of my friends were constantly selling something. One friend seemed to think life was a constant Tupperware party. Every weekend she was inviting her friends to learn about Party-Lite candles or Pampered Chef or whatever the latest trend was. Everything but one of those girls' night out parties where everyone passes around naughty gifts.



She would never do that. She was one of these.



(Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Anyway, she now sells Essential Oils on Facebook, but she does so cleverly. She isn't annoying about it like the Younique and Scentsy people are. I use both of those products, but I'll be darned if I'll buy from one of those people who turn every status update into an ad.



When I was in my 20s, I honestly began to feel a little resentful of the friends who only called when they were hosting a party. I felt like I was a customer rather than a friend. True, these parties have been an excuse for friends to get together since back in the days when women didn't work...



But now that they're hosted on Facebook, there's no shortage of people who will try to make money off you. From high school classmates you don't even remember to distant relatives to someone you met in the blogosphere, that invitation can come from anywhere. And it's great...because you don't have to take time out of your busy schedule to attend a party. However, is it me or did we lose something along the way? Instead of having an excuse to get together, gossip, have a few margaritas, and buy a few things, we're now just blasting each other with Facebook event invitations everyone ignores.



By the way, I think I just realized what was missing from all of those parties back in my 20s! My goody-two-shoes friend didn't have these...




Have you ever felt like a friend was treating you like a customer?

95 comments:

  1. Promise I'll never invite you to a Facebook party. And not just because I'm not on Facebook.
    It's like the friends who call on you when they need something. I'm good with computers so I get a lot of people asking me to help them or fix stuff, and it's not usually close friends. Except my father, who believes I can fix computer issues over the phone while I'm several states away...

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    1. I do attend parties when they celebrate the launch of someone's book. As for being asked about computer issues, I can relate all too well. I worked in tech support for 10 years and full disclosure: I lived in constant fear that people would figure out I was fully unqualified for the job. It was a state govt. job so they would hire me for one thing, then stick me on the help desk a year or two later. I was supervising the help desk at one time as part of my other duties and STILL ended up doing help desk tickets all day due to staff shortages. Mostly I just Googled. That's how I did my job for at least five years! Now people ask me to help them with computer issues and I get that same fear. I just really don't know enough to help someone else. I can handle basic issues and anything I can Google!

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  2. like a customer no, but as they being my free nonpaying customers when they need a translation YES :)

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    1. Ugh. That's more annoying than trying to use you as a customer. Every professional who has a specialized knowledge has that problem. Lawyers, doctors, IT specialists (as Alex said above)...even writers. We're often tricked into meeting an old friend "for coffee," only to find they just want us to help them get a book published. "Friends" will suck your soul out if it can help them get the information they need without having to pay for it.

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  3. I honestly don't like those fb invites. Unless, you are a close friend that I actually talk to several times a month. Anything other than that, and you're right- ignore! =)

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    1. I have had friends who invite people to in-person parties using Facebook. I've always been respectful and just clicked "No" if I wasn't going to attend but some people will do the "Yes" thing and then just not show up.

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  4. I think the only time I ran into that scenario was when a friend AND family member was hellbent on selling me a ton of Amway Products. (lol) It got so bad that I had to constantly duck them. Eventually, I just came clean and told them to stop bugging me, and there was a possibility I may order something. (lol) Awesome topic as usual, and thanks for passing on another cool blogger for me to check out. Hugs...RO

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    1. I don't know much about Amway...I know it's another Pyramid scheme, but they all are. The only people making the real money are the people in the top 1/100th of that pyramid, I think? There are people who make money with Mary Kay but those women could start their own businesses and make much more, I think...they're the type of people who aggressively recruit women and spend their days trying to motivate those women to sell.

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  5. Thanks for mentioning me! :)
    I know, I KNOW! I loathe all these pyramid schemes. I did the post as a favor and it was cool to try out the product. But yeah, like you, I've been subjected to much of the same. Omigod Pure Romance!! Lmao I've been invited to one of those!
    I'm so over bloggers who nonstop shill products on their blogs. It's boring as eff. I get they want to make money, but if I read "this post was sponsored by the collective bias" one more time I'm gonna puke. It's like these girls have no identity anymore. They are just here to write sponsored posts. And it's awful. "If you're anything like me you love vacuuming. And guys....Omg I just love this new Get R Dun vacuum. The hose connection is bomb.com. Only 5,000 payments of $39.99!!"
    Kill me now.

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    1. I just won't read those. It's sad, but true. And there are authors whose blogs are nothing but book reviews. Every day they review a new book. (How the HECK can they read all those books? I'm guessing they don't?) There are only so many times that you can say, "Sounds like a great book but I don't read anything but children's books, so I'm just commenting to be polite." Now when I comment a new blog, I will only comment if they have actual content on a regular basis. An occasional promotional post is one thing, but there's no reason to read constant promotional stuff.

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    2. Someone just offered me money to host promotional posts on my blog. I said no. I hate that shit.

      I used to love "Confessions of a Cookbook Queen" until it became a giant commercial. Now I don't read it anymore.

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  6. Oh yes! Geez, I always wondered what the thrill was having those parties. I still find excuses on the rare occasion I get invited to something like that. My mom did Tupperware and then Avon. I went to one of those "naughty" toys party and it was actually a really boring demonstration.

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    1. You were with the wrong crowd! Get the right, open-minded group together and add in some alcohol and they're awesome. I've been to good and bad. When the audience and presenter are uptight, they suck.

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    2. I do agree that the fun of the naughty parties depends on the participants (and alcohol helps, for sure!). The hostess matters, but really it depends on the group you get together. As I recall, the fun was more in the way the women were reacting to the various items.

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    3. Why on earth would an uptight person sell sex toys?

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    4. The first one I attended was a bachelorette party and it was OK, not great.

      The second was with work colleagues from a newspaper. We were all really close, open and fun and while one person "hosted," it was a plan we came up with together. We even invited our male coworkers and a couple guys actually showed. The woman selling was fun (though we exasperated her with our antics). It was awesome.

      The third one (same company) was with a group of really uptight women and the rep said outright if there was a male anywhere on premises (even somewhere he couldn't see or hear), she wouldn't allow the party to go on. We had no choice in it. When someone says that, you know she probably isn't especially open sexually even though she's selling sex toys. And they have products for men, too. That party was super dull.

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  7. "Everything but one of those girls' night out parties where everyone passes around naughty gifts."

    Those are the only ones worth going to! But it has to be the right group of people ...

    Be glad this stopped in your 20s. It seems to have gotten worse the older I get. I have lots of stories, but not the patience for them.

    As an aside, Dr. Young, the man behind Young Living EOs, has been prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license. He's a con. And the people who sell his stuff are usually obnoxious.

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    1. Interesting...I didn't know that about the Essential Oil guy. The last time I was invited to a real-life party was one of those scrapbooking product parties. That was ten years ago, I think? It all seems to have transferred to Facebook in my little world. But most of my friends drifted away once they had kids.

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    2. Scrapbooking was fun! I kind of miss it. But sooo expensive - ugh! It was just paper, glue and scissors. "Acid free," my ass.

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    3. Most of mine do online, too. I hated the parties, anyway. I begged out of the most recent one I was invited to. I just won't go anymore, anyway. It's a decision I made a while back. I don't enjoy them. They aren't a social experience because it's like being in class rather than just hanging out with friends. And then I feel obligated to buy something that's generally overpriced and I can get just as good or better elsewhere.

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  8. Ha, yeah. I've posted about being sick on facebook once, and a concerned "friend" (aka, person-who-was-friends-with-my-bff-years-ago-who-I-met-on-one-occasion) sent me a message recommending this and that essential oils and oh, she has them if I wanted to purchase them.

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    1. Isn't that just sweet of them? Ugh! There's no good way to do it. The posts about, "Look how I used essential oils to de-stress my kids on the first day of school" annoy people as much as the "Get 15 percent off essential oils" posts. As someone who buys Younique mascara, I just need to be able to remember the seller's name when I order. I might pay attention to a sale, but "Let me tell you about Younique" posts are just annoying...so I turn off notifications and don't receive anything.

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  9. This was funny! When I was young(er), these parties were going on all the time. From Tupperware to make-up to candles to stainless steel kitchen stuff, there was always an invitation. But most of the ones I attended were done by really close friends, so I didn't mind going. The most interesting one was a houseplant party. My old boss's husband was a high school biology teacher and he used to grow houseplants with his students at the beginning of the school year. By the end, the plants were all grown-up but homeless since most of the kids didn't take them home. So he did. And the house would fill up. So his wife (my boss) invited all the women from work over one Saturday to sell them (very cheap prices!). We had food and drinks and lots of laughs. She got rid of most of the plants and we had a blast. I think it was mostly an excuse to have a party!

    Now I get invites on Facebook from people I hardly know selling things I don't need, so I just ignore them!

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    1. I'm telling you--the drinks were the key! It's like joining a book club--people just look forward to the margaritas and cookies! I do feel that those parties gave women a chance to get together and that is something that is sorely lacking now. A Facebook party has all the annoyances without the fun!

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  10. Interesting these parties have spread to Facebook. I do remember those Tupperware parties. The last one for me was a jewellery party, ugh, but it was a good friend.

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    1. My mother-in-law still has quite a bit of her original Tupperware. I recognize some of it from my childhood. That stuff holds up well!

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  11. I just say no. I don't want any of these things. Leave me alone and yes I feel like they just want my money.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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    1. I guess on Facebook the "no" would be just unjoining the group when they add us without asking first? Because that seems to be the way it works.

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  12. I am very stern when it comes to buying things, because I do NOT like to be hounded, intimidated or pushed. And I am very verbal about this and tell them this. Friend or not! I used to work in retail for many years myself and I never hounded any customer nor did I push them into buying anything. I was friendly and helpful, giving them any information they needed, showing them the good quality vs cheaper, and let them make up their own mind as to what they wanted to buy. Because I have experience in retail both as a clerk and as a manager, (and as a customer, too), I know exactly what to say and how to say it to get a salesperson, no matter how persuasive, to back off!

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    1. I was the same way when I worked in retail. I remember getting in trouble because I refused to push the store credit card to every customer. We got $5 for every person we signed up for their 23 percent interest rate credit card and I still didn't do it. I felt like I was selling my soul to the devil. When it was mentioned in my employee review, I said I though they were ripping people off with that interest rate. The manager said, "Yeah, I know, but they really want to see that you're signing up at least a few people a week." I still refused to do it and I quit before my next review anyway, so it didn't matter.

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  13. Even worse than one of these friends is when its one of your family. Selling everything from books and candles (which I don't mind so much ... in moderation) to cleaning products and Avon cosmetics one of my relatives really does test my patience being all too keen to use the 'but you are family after all' card .... Aggghhhh.

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    1. I think for me it's the people who are always selling something new. They jump on whatever bandwagon is now. Most people sell one thing, either for a long time or short...but there are just a few people who will be selling Scentsy one week and Amway the next and then they'll hear that there's some new diet product that they can make money off of. So you're thinking, "How can I believe that YOU believe in any of this?"

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  14. Yep... and that's another reason I'm no longer on Facebook and I don't miss it it at all. It feels like a clean break from feeling obliged to buy or to like and I still have no regrets.

    Hugs,
    JB


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    1. I'm glad I'm on Facebook--there are so many friends from my childhood/high school/college years on there. It allows us to stay in touch even when we're spread out over the world. We don't really privately message anymore, but just seeing posts about their daily lives and getting to interact with them there is a huge gift. Plus, there are some great blogging buddies over there that I've gotten to know even better, thanks to Facebook!

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  15. Lately at my work people have been setting up these kinds of parties, but IRL - but they always send me a fb invite too, which I also ignore. I know I'm being anti-social, but I see enough of them at work. I always ignore fb invites now...I'm such a social person :).

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    1. Yep, I got a lot of that when I worked in an office, as well...although not so much in the last years of my time there, oddly. I remember someone doing a party where they made sauces of some kind and they brought in a bunch of things to dip in those sauces? And the scrapbooking supply party I went to was through work. When you're a writer and you work from home like i do, I guess you shouldn't be too surprised you don't get invited to random real-life parties very often!

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  16. You know, it wasn't only the past couple of years that I began seeing a rise in sales-like events (within my network of friends and family). I totally understand where they're coming from, but when it becomes so frequent I have a difficult time not feeling agitated.

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    1. I agree...I think it's that many of these companies have realized that social media is the way to reach people in the modern age, so they've started pushing their representatives to sell to their friends through Facebook.

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  17. My money is limited so I could care less who wants me to buy something. No comes easy.

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    1. I just answer with silence. They usually don't ask directly anyway, so ignoring them works well.

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  18. Passing by to say Hi and could not help being hugely amused by the insurance meeting convention photo and had a little chuckle about the naughty gifts . . .

    Best wishes ~ Eddie :)

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    1. Thanks! I'm sure there are interesting insurance conventions...maybe? Or at least one interesting session at one. If I were putting one together, I'd bring in a comedic speaker to lighten the mood and destroy the bad reputation of those things!

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  19. I want to go to one of those conventions where the chairs are comfy enough to induce comas. As to my friends, nope. I'm very fortunate not to have any of the Tupperware mentality. Thanks heavens.

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    1. I think Gladware hurt Tupperware's business. I know it's still sold, but why? You can buy Gladware for a fraction of the price and just toss it out when you're finished and buy more--still cheaper than what Tupperware costs.

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  20. Another reason not to be on Facebook. I've never had a Facebook account and the more I hear about it, the less I want one.

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    1. I love that it keeps me in touch with old friends and relatives, but there are negatives to it, for sure. Mostly it just takes too much time away from life!

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  21. I'm with Jo here.
    And a friend who only wants you for what you can give them (money is only one part of the equation) doesn't deserve the title.

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  22. This hasn't happened to me personally, but it did/ does still happen to my sisters. They are always supporting a friend, or event, but when my sisters wanted to sell cookies to raise funds for a charity, nobody was interested to help them. However, I have been invited to a few Facebook events, but they were all book release parties so far. I would really be uncomfortable if a friend only invited me, only for me to become a customer. Such a person would definitely not be my friend for long:)

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    1. Ugh. Isn't that the way it always is? You support them and then when you need help, they're suddenly quiet or they give excuses.

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  23. I agree, the "demonstration" parties are really annoying (especially listening to the consultant and playing her silly games). But at least you did get to see your friends, socialize, eat food, and drink some wine. Hosting them on Facebook removes the food, wine, and company and goes straight for taking your money. On the upside, we don't have to play games with the consultant. :)

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    1. I know--without the beverages and social interaction, it's just a sales pitch!

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  24. I was skeptical as to whether Facebook parties could be any more boring than actual parties. Turns out they're even more so! But it's easier to decline an online party than a social event, especially if you've no intention of buying anything. Associates are rarely hand-picked, friends should always be.

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    1. I think a party can be fun...just depends on the people involved. I've been to a few that were just awkward. The best story I heard was someone who held one of those candle parties and ended up catching the host's apartment on fire. Yikes!

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  25. LOL! I had to laugh about this. A gal who barely gave me the time of day when I was in highschool and never once even exchanged a Christmas card with me when I sent her one or asked about her family, suddenly had me on her friend list and I was getting blasted quite frequently about Tupperware.
    She's the only one that ever made me feel used.

    I've had many friends over the years who did home parties and most were just trying to help out when husband's job was gone or reduced or whatever. I did choose to attend parties and order items, to help. I even hosted a few parties to help. It was usually one time only or once a year or something. It never felt like they were abusing our friendship b/c they would have done the same for me.

    Two very different feelings for the same activity, but it really was all in the motive. I agree about the Facebook parties taking away the face to face. But then there is that fun aspect of 'meeting' people from all over the world. I have had a blast visiting some book release parties and even in being a co-hostess for a few. But then again, our focus was on celebrating and having fun. If folks bought the book, great. If not, no sweat.

    You have some of the most interesting posts and I enjoy thinking about the topics you bring up. Thanks, Stephanie!

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    1. Yep...true. People are trying to sell me things and I'm not even sure who they are. I look at their profiles and it looks like we went to school together, but it wasn't anyone who bothered to get to know me back then (or now). They should buy my book...then we'll talk!

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  26. I had a person who I knew from one of my old jobs invite my wife to a jewelry party. That's the closest I've come.

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    1. That's an interesting strategy...reaching pretty far to go track down a former coworker and ask if his wife is interested in attending!

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  27. Those parties were a mixed bag, but overall I think I prefer them to Facebook parties. I'm a no show at those.

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    1. I've only attended book launch parties and those were pretty fun. The sales pitch parties seem to be mostly an ongoing thing. There isn't a set time--they just post things over the course of an entire day or week.

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  28. I remember when the Tupperwear and other parties like that were quite popular. Sure, I knew my friends wanted me to buy something so they'd make a little money. Back then, times were hard for a lot of people so I usually bought stuff. Still have plastic cups, etc. What I didn't like was when I threw a party and my friends either didn't show up or didn't buy anything. Haven't been to a FB party.

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    1. That is my pet peeve...when you go to the trouble of supporting someone else's party and they don't bother to support yours. But isn't that the way it always seems to go? Takers are takers.

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  29. I'm hosting a party now but I posted a general post to let people know and told them to contact me if they wanted to join in. I hate when people add me to these parties without asking.

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    1. I love that you did that! You're selling Jamberry, right? I would have totally bought from you but I tried them last year and I couldn't get them to work right, so I went back to Incoco. I loved the options in styles, but Incoco just sticks right on. No hair dryer required. And it's real nail polish so it comes right off with nail polish remover.

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  30. I haven't been hit up by any friends, but it seems like everything I look at on the Web has a price tag.

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  31. Oh heck yes! I've been invited to way too many of these. And I feel terrible because I've never been able to afford anything. Oh well. Now at least I can just ignore them online :)

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    1. I would much rather not go than go and not buy anything. At the scrapbooking party, I bought something small even though I knew then I'd never, ever scrapbook a day in my life. Nothing against scrapbooking--but even ten years ago when I attended that party, all my pictures were digital!

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  32. Everything you have said I agree with - even though I used to sell items and post it, too. It lasted about two months. I just don't want to do that to my friends.

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    1. The sad thing is, if it's something I buy already, I would rather help out a friend...and it's tough to find friends who sell it if they don't mention it. When I used to buy Scentsy (before I switched to the Bath & Body Works plug-in bulbs), I was always having to search for a local person on their website to buy from. I never did find anyone I knew who sold it.

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  33. I believe that's a don't in the online marketing playbook. Yet everyone seems to do it. Luckily, my Facebook friend list is pretty short, so I don't get many of those. (I do see many of those sellers at my farmers market, though.)

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    1. I haven't seen those at the Farmer's Market. It must have been a while since I've been!

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  34. I have one "friend" who only wanted to get together in person when she started selling insurance. Thankfully, once she realized I was self-employed, I became a "bad risk." She hasn't wanted to get together since. And she made me pay for my own breakfast!

    Psst...wanna buy some Tupperware? I have the latest thing - it takes all the bullshit you see online and holds it in one neat, handy, biodegradable container. Available in five of the latest fun shades!

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    1. Love it!!! I don't get how being self-employed made you high risk for insurance. Was it some type of disability insurance? Self-employed health insurance is a hot area right now. So many of us have a hard time finding health insurance at reasonable rates.

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    2. It was insurance in case anything happened so I couldn't work - health, disability, etc.

      In Canada, insurance companies and banks view self-employed people as "high risk" because our income varies throughout the year. They're afraid we won't be able to pay our premiums.

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  35. Long gone are the days when paying the bills could be done by just the husband's job. I may have been a kid when last that was possible, so maybe it's a symptom of this problem.

    I don't seem to have this Facebook problem, but I only follow people who aren't doing annoying things. If they are, I stay friends, but un-follow.

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    1. Yeah, this latest one was someone who went to my high school. I don't even remember adding her but if she went to my high school, I would have accepted her friend request. (Pet peeve: women who drop their maiden names after they get married on Facebook and therefore are 100 percent unrecognizable to anyone who knew them before from that point forward!) She added me to the group without permission...I just turned off notifications for the group. It's my fault--I made the mistake of ordering from her, thinking she'd be like the other friends on FB who have sold me Younique. They say thank you and leave me alone. This woman is on turbo charge.

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  36. Oh boy have you hit the nail on the head. Yes I have been to these parties. One person I know invited us and we all felt like we should buy something to help the friend out only for the friend to get free gifts for inviting her friends and getting them to buy. When I hosted a party, she never came! I only did one party-that was it! I actually hate those parties because you feel guilty if you don't buy the crap you don't want. I have a couple of facebook "friends" who only contact me when they are doing a party and I have no problem in declining

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    1. I've joined a couple of friends' parties and they weren't obnoxious about it. Maybe for a day or two they posted a lot...but this latest woman was posting a video every single day of herself talking about her makeup. Yikes. The other friends stopped selling Younique, so now I'll be stuck when it's time to buy again. Plus--get this--yesterday the woman sent me a Christmas card with a coupon for ten percent off...she's taken marketing offline. Not that I'm complaining about that...as long as I don't start getting something in the mail every couple of days from her.

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  37. Oh yes, I have been to a few of these parties. I dragged my feet to these parties but now I am glad I have learned to say "No" like the lady in the first pic. Life has been more peaceful since. Lol!

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    1. I haven't been asked in a while to a real-life one but I do remember the friend I had in my 20s calling me directly and asking if I could attend. Talk about awkward. I recall going to two, then getting annoyed with her and turning down the Pampered Chef invitation. There's a limit...within a year or two she'd invited me to four or five different parties, all with different products that she was selling. Had she called occasionally and said, "Let's hang out and just enjoy each other's company" it would have been one thing--but when it's just, "Hey, I want to try to make money off of you. Come on over to my house Friday," that sucks!

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  38. I like to shop. I like to socialize. I like excuses to get out of the house. I will almost always come to some party or another. But I feel no shame if I don't buy anything. I buy what I want, when I want. If I don't love it, I won't buy it. But yea, many of these consultants treat most people like customers instead of friends. Not all though. Some are good.

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  39. I remember Tupperware parties, and I used to enjoy them! Then again, I was too young to have my own money yet anyways. Haha I did host an adult toy party years back as a joke. I couldn't believe it when at the end of the night I racked up $1300 in free credits! Hahahahaha

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  40. I used to get very obligated to buy from friends , but now I just do not (only since one month) I feel its wrong to buy just cos I want to not be in the bad books!

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  41. I remember them too. It was a thing I've long forgotten about. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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  42. Great post. Yeah, me too--remember them with fondness. They did turn into a gossip session which was so much fun.

    Then I grew out of gossip. Hmmm...

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  43. Off the top of my head, I can't recall ever feeling like a customer. Maybe it has something to do with being a guy? The feeling I've observed is when I tend to be a "convenient" friend. You know the kind. They are always going out and doing things with other people you know, but you never receive the same invite. But when they need a favour, guess what? You are suddenly their friend again. How convenient. See what I mean?

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  44. Oh, dear. I was going to invited you to my book launch party for Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creatives on Dec. 14. https://www.facebook.com/events/930542817024539/ I promise I won't try to sell you any Tupperware or underwear. But I am giving away a ton of prizes!

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  45. ugh..YES...I get SO MANY e-vites for all those pyramid schemes, and then when I say it's a pyramid scheme they give me the whole song and dance how it isn't (it always ALWAYS is) drives me completely insane. I've deleted "friends" off my FB b/c of it. No such thing as get rich quick! Arbonne, Pampered Chef etc etc. I love Scentsy but I don't buy the wax cubes through representatives, I get them on amazon or walmart!

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  46. Just stopped in to say hey. Hope your day was productive and your evening pleasant.

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  47. I haven't had this problem too much. I have a few acquaintances who'll ask me to buy or donate something once in a while. Anyone who's excessive or annoying I'll readily cut out of my life. I do have strangers who follow me on Instagram who are always trying to sell me wraps and other beauty/diet products. They're annoying.

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  48. Stephanie, although I sometimes refer to myself as a shameless self promoter, it's all in fun and games. I simply raise my product up a flagpole, and if people stop and salute then I'll pitch them.

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  49. Mostly with supporting fellow authors. Can't tell you how many books I've bought from them, yet they can't be bothered to reciprocate. A little kindness goes a very long way.

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  50. I feel your pain! I have one niece on FB constantly pushing Younique and another pushing cleanses!

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  51. I know exactly what you mean. I feel like half the people I went to school with are selling cleanses and I see posts about it all the time. I used to go to a lot of dems to support my friends, but now I only go if it is something I really like.

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