Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Selling Amway in the forest

As an observer of "mom culture", I've seen and heard a lot of silliness, from disgusting conversations about sex (carefully disguised as chats about NFP) to cloth diapering madness. (I myself used a diaper service until we moved to Texas, but I never felt inclined to put the girls in embroidered diapers. I bet that embroidery doesn't look so cute when you're rinsing the crap out of the stitches.) But here's the latest thing on the mom scene here: multi-level marketing.

Feverish activity in a closed economic system is a phenomenon that Darwin's father terms "selling Amway to each other in the forest". If you sell tupperware to a friend but turn around and order makeup from her, have either of you made money? If you invite the same people to all your shows won't your customer base dry up? I'll buy something the first time to support a friend, if there's something I need. But I can't be dropping Darwin's hard-earned money on items I neither want nor need. Heck, I don't even buy things I do want most of the time -- it just doesn't make good financial sense to be constantly spending. We don't live at the poverty level here. However, we can only keep from carrying ugly credit card balances by carefully reviewing expenses and curtailing impulse purchases. I may be part of the circle of friends, but I really don't want to be included in the tree-side Amway festivities.


Amber said...

Yes, this is one part of the whole mom sub-culture I understand. I have refused to ever attend any "party" where stuff is being sold. I really wonder if after factoring in the cost of the party and the amount of time spent setting it all up if they really make anything at all. And then there's the cost you mention of buying stuff from everyone else too... just seems pretty ridiculous to me. I don't really understand why they bother. I know some of the parties are just excuses to get together and drink and gossip, so perhaps selling stuff is all just part of the justification for doing so?

I do find it rather impressive the sheer diversity of junk being sold in this fashion this way by various people in my local mom's group - party stuff, candles, cooking gear, tupperware, etc, etc - although the one that really took me aback recently was an "intimate apparel and equipment" party. Yeesh.

mrsdarwin said...

But then why not just have a party for eating and drinking and gossiping?

I'm not opposed to people wanting their own businesses; Darwin himself has two gigs on the side. But it's not like these businesses involve fine handmade objects or things I couldn't buy for about the same money or quality elsewhere. Besides, I like to spend our disposable income on fixing up the house, and nobody has had a paint chip party around here.