I have always taken a dim view of pyrmaid-scheme-like companies (e.g. Mary Kay, Tupperware), wherein people host stuff-buying parties.
My wife recently returned from a local community fair with a sheepish expression, and when pressed, admitted she had signed up to host such a party for an outfit called “Discovery Toys.” (Discovery had a booth at the fair, and as we have a 16-month-old, my wife has a keen interest in kids’ toys. )
She knew I’d be skeptical, and I was, but in discussing it afterward, she was able to deflect most of my criticisms:
Me: “It’s high pressure sales on your friends! That sucks!”
Mrs. P: “How is it high pressure? My friends know what’s going on, and they don’t have to come if they don’t want to.”
Me: “But the stuff is overpriced!”
Mrs. P: “How is that different than buying toys in a boutique? Or would you rather have that money go to buying cheap toys at Wal-Mart?”
Me: “But Discovery Toys is just using you as a cog in their money pyramid!”
Mrs. P: “So? If we have fun, and my friends end up buying toys they like for their kids, who loses?”
At some level, despite my wife’s protestations, I still feel like it’s pressure-sales on our friends, which just seems wrong. Isn’t there some hard-to-define peer pressure to show up and buy, even if you don’t really need more toys for your child? And might not our friends always, from here on out, wonder if we consider them as marks for our marketronics?
I dunno. It bothers me at an emotional level, but I’m a creature of logic, and it rankles that I can’t come up with logical reasons to distrust this kind of commerce. As long as the toys are properly priced for their quality, and people only buy what they want, should I care? Am I wrong for being so suspicious?
What do my fellow Dopers think?
p.s. Mods, I considered both GD and IMHO for this, and decided on GD because I suspected that a debate might well break out on the subject. Feel free to move it if you disagree.