Dear Crabby, When Did Everyone Become an Independent Consultant?

Dear Crabby,
These days when I open my Facebook page, I am inundated with invites to either a virtual or a physical party for whatever the latest direct sales phenomenon is. I want to support my friends, but if I buy something from each person, I’ll go broke! Any thoughts on how to handle the situation?

Thanks,
Missy Dependent,

Dear Miss Dependent,
Are these independent consultants anything like the ladies I remember growing up that sold Tupperware and Avon? I don’t think my mom ever sold anything, but I seem to remember her hosting a party at our house once. In fact, I’m pretty sure one of my siblings has the original Tupperware set my mom bought at one of those parties. It was pale yellow and she used them to hold the sugar and flour. Anytime she let us help with the baking, I knew what to look for when she said we need flour and sugar. It may sound silly, but some of my fondest childhood memories are attached to that Tupperware set. Hmmm. I may need to search my sibling’s houses to see which one is in possession of the sacred Tupperware set. Anyway, since guys don’t host or attend those sorts of parties (at least I don’t think we do) I went to the ladies in my life—Mrs. Crabby, my daughter, and granddaughters to get some answers, and boy did I get an education! When I innocently asked if they had been invited to any of these parties, they all rattled off a list of companies longer than the Mackinaw Bridge! According to my focus group you’ve got companies selling jewelry, meal prep, cooking wares, shakes and pills, health products, essential oils, skincare, haircare, and makeup, and so on. And with most of these companies, the goal is for the consultant to build a team to help ‘grow the business,’ which will lead to financial freedom and untold riches. That last part may be overstated a bit, but gosh; that’s how it sounds. Heck. It sounded so good that I was almost tempted to sign up for something! But the direct sales company that really stopped me in my tracks is called LuLaRoe. Have you heard about this one? Like the other direct sales companies, it promises flexible schedules and the chance to make extra cash for your family. Or if you’re single, I suppose so you can take a trip or whatever. As a ‘Fashion Consultant’ you’ll be living the dream while wearing and selling clothes that make you and others feel more confident and empowered. Sounds perfect, right? So what’s the catch (because there’s always a catch)? They only make a limited number of each pattern, which isn’t available in all the styles. So this creates a feeding frenzy for women who are desperate for a certain pattern, which is how ‘unicorns’ are born. ‘Unicorns’ are the most in demand patterns and let me tell you, women are willing to pay BIG bucks to capture one. My granddaughter showed me a pair of ‘unicorn’ leggings she’d been watching on eBay. Normally, leggings start out at $25 (!) and the leggings my granddaughter was bidding on were already up to $60, but she assured me that $100 was the highest she was willing to go. For leggings! When I told her that was ridiculous, she showed me another pair of ‘unicorn’ leggings that had sold for $300! For stretchy fabric that probably took less than $10 to make in the first place. DearCrabby

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against women wanting to be with their families and make a little extra money; or anyone having fun while making extra money. But after listening to the women in my life, good grief, I totally get your dilemma. Where does it end? How much are you supposed to buy and how often? Is there a saturation point? And then there’s the social etiquette landmine you ladies have to navigate if more than one of your friends is an independent consultant for the same company. The horror! If that’s as awkward as it sounds, then I’m glad men don’t take part in this ritual. So, to answer your question, you can’t buy something from all the independent consultants in your life. And honestly, they shouldn’t expect you too. If there’s a product you love or know you’ll use, then by all means buy. When another friend tries to sell you something from the same company, politely tell her you already have a consultant that owns your soul, I mean checkbook. Oh, who are we kidding? It’s practically the same thing. If that doesn’t work… just inform your friends that you’ve moved to a remote area where you can’t get Wi-Fi… or FedEx.

Hope that helps and good luck!
Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at [email protected].

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