Monday, September 26, 2005

Ovaries Only

This morning I sat in traffic for more than an hour during my what-usually-would-be-30-minute commute. So I strolled into work at a quarter after 8:00, which means that even if I don’t take a lunch break, I will be here until f-ing 5:15… what a fabulous way to start out your week. Let this be a warning, that what may follow will probably be some really annoying bitching and ranting, due to my quite sour mood.

I’d like to take some time today to discuss the drain on society I like to call the “Ovaries-Only Product Stumping Parties”. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I’m talking about those home-parties where women get together and listen to another chick talk about how life-changing her particular over-priced product line is, leaving them feel pressured into spending ridiculous sums of money on a bunch of crap that they don’t need.

Please Kate, don’t be offended by any of this, because I love you and your lovely candles, and have never felt pressured to buy anything from you. I am just a bitch who needs to bitch and you certainly shouldn’t think any of this is directed at you. :)

I have been to all of those damn parties… Mary Kay (make-up), Party-Lite (candles), Premier Design (jewelry), Southern Living (home décor), Longeberger (baskets), and of course Pampered Chef… I could go on, I kid you not. I go to these parties because I have no spine. I purchase countless products from these parties because I am very easily hooked by any form of advertising and direct marketing. I went to my aunt’s Longeberger party with a firm belief that those stupid baskets were so outlandishly over-priced and pointless, and there was no way I was buying a thing. I don’t really even like baskets and they most certainly don’t go with the décor of my home. However, sure enough, as I was watching that lady create cute little displays using a bunch of her products in different ways and listening to her talk about the new holiday line, I started to get sucked in. Horrible thoughts started to weasel themselves into my stupid little mind…

“Wow, that little 3in by 4in basket may be $49, but it is such good quality! Think of how cute it would be if I put post-its in there… or hair pins… or crackers!”

Seriously, that doesn’t even make sense! Fifty bucks for a tiny basket with no actual practical use? You’d think that an educated woman such as myself wouldn’t be so easily influenced, but I swear to god those ladies use some sort of voo doo or something that makes us poor souls think that we HAVE to buy something. I did end up buying something at that party actually, but it was a gift for Dan’s aunt (I drew her name for Christmas). This would be ok, but the limit set for Christmas gifts was $20, and the basket, with shipping and handling and tax, set me back $45 (it was really tiny, the cheapest one they sold). I think I ended up getting like 4 tea-lites as my gift from my secret santa.

Ok, I’m starting to get really off-topic.

One fateful evening late in July, there was a knock at the door. I was very busy flipping channels between an old re-run of Friends and an episode of the Real World that I had seen 4 and a half times already, so I couldn’t be bothered to answer it. Dan however, my other (less lazy) half, was kind enough to go see who it was. I heard the question, “Is your wife home?” and a feeling of dread passed over me… I would have to get off the couch.

It was the lady who lived behind us off the alley, and she was very nervous, and very awkward, and she told me about her new foray into the world of Pampered Chef. Oh. God. I told her that August was going to be a very busy month for me, and that I would MAYBE be willing to host a party in the fall sometime, and that she could call me then. Stupid, stupid, stupid Alicia, I can’t believe I actually thought that it would be easier for me to say no over the phone..

The end of August comes, and she starts calling me. I see her name on the caller ID and I avoid the call, but she leaves a message. My clever husband points out that she knows that we’re home, both our cars are in the driveway and all the lights are on. I of course feel terrible, but not terrible enough to call her back. Its two days later, Saturday night, and my friend Angela and my mom are over and we’re just sitting down to watch a movie. The phone rings and I see that it’s her, but since it’s a bad time, I guiltily don’t answer the phone again, and she leaves ANOTHER message! I couldn’t believe it. So I finally call her back a few days later, and there’s no way I can say no, the guilt is just eating me up inside. It looks like I’m having a Pampered Chef party.

Let’s just say this woman ended up being the most annoying person I’ve ever met. She left countless messages on my machine, reminding me to send out the invites, asking if people had RSVP’d yet, requesting that I call those that hadn’t RSVP’d (yea right), letting me know which recipes I had to choose from for her to make during the party, it was just one thing after another, always really rambling and uneasy, her voice cutting in and out as she’d get super quiet after a really long sentence. I was so happy when last Tuesday finally came, the day of the party. I couldn’t wait for it to all be over. I cleaned my ass off, did the shopping for the recipe she was making, and put together some snacks for my guests. It went just fine, despite the fact that the lady is extremely socially awkward and was visibly nervous the entire time. Last night we finally closed up the party and I ordered all my free crap, and I think it’s finally over. Through everything, I believe I have finally found the courage and strength deep in side of me that will help me to say “no” the next time I am put in a similar situation. I will never get guilted into doing it again, by anyone… EVER!

So the moral of the story is… don’t answer the door? No, that’s not it. I suppose what I’ve learned from throwing my very own party is that I shouldn’t complain about going to those parties anymore, because throwing them is way worse. I got a lot of free shit, yes, but it was free shit that I really didn’t need, or even want, and it certainly had its price. Nothing is ever really free in this world, is it?

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