I’m often invited to those parties where you take a bottle, have some nibbles, sit through a sales pitch then get your purse out and spend all your hard-earned dosh.
It’s called home selling and if you’re unaware of these suburban goings-on, what happens is this: ambitious, confident Alpha-Mummy types buy into a franchise and then cash in on the goodwill of their friends by bribing them to host a party in their home. It’s a win-win for the consultant because she gets a captive audience without any effort. It’s also an ideal opportunity for the hostess-with-the-mostest to show off her big house and her entertaining skills to all the ladies of the estate who come along wearing a bottle of wine, linen trousers and matching accessories. The trouble is that these guests find themselves stuck in an endless round of the same party, buying useless token products out of a sense of obligation.
I think it all started with Tupperware but now anything and everything can be home-sold and there’s rarely a weekend goes by around here without one of the linen ladies hosting Party-Lite, Virgin-Vie, Body Shop, Pampered Chef or Jamie-at-Home parties.
Well Slummy Mummy here was invited to a chocolate party last week and for as much as I hate these things – – AS IF – – I could refuse a party that involved the passing around of and much tasting of heavenly chocolate. Hell, they couldn’t pass the stuff round quick enough. I had to focus really hard to stop myself from snatching. My only distraction was watching (not without some amusement) one woman’s crisp, white linen trousers rapidly turning into a deliciously smudgy chocolatey colour.
Anyway, while the chocolate was going around the room, the consultant was doing her sales pitch and when she asked if anyone had any questions, me being the self-righteous pain in the arse that I am, I felt an urge to fling my arm up and ask her where the chocolate was sourced. So? There’s a real issue here – a lot of forced labour out there, much of it involving children and I couldn’t help see the obvious wealth of these ladies and wonder how aware they were of the dire conditions that people were going through to bring all the luxuries, including chocolate, into the homes of these pampered women. So shoot me! It’s the way I am!
But get this, I didn’t dare ask. I strongly suspected that the question would put the consultant on the spot and I didn’t want to cause her any embarrassment. Well I just hate those tumble-weed moments so I kept my mouth shut and endeavoured to check out the kitchen later in the hope of finding a jar of Fair Trade coffee so I could at least think nice thoughts about the host.
I’m not suggesting that all these women are shallow, unaware or don’t give a toss. I’m sure many do. But many don’t. You can call me as judgemental as you like but from my experience many of them are happy to turn a blind eye to how and from whence it came their way so long as they can live in their marshmallow world and basically have it all.
So, like it or not, responsible and ethical purchasing is important in the fight against slavery and exploitation and although we can’t be perfect all the time, there’s nothing wrong with being aware or raising awareness . . .
. . . and if you’re brave enough to approach a dozen suburban Alpha Mummies about it, you have my utmost admiration.