I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Purchase Power

I recently read this post by The Neighbour's Wife where she laments the loss of a friend to the wonderful world of pyramid selling. Okay maybe nothing as dramatic as that, but basically her friend is now spending a whole lot of time pushing product, and a whole lot less time just being a friend.

Involving my friends in my business is something I sometimes struggle with - because while I know and love them, I don't want to abuse the relationship. So once in a while I'll ask for an opinion on a product, or on an idea I have. I might even get them to pack some cookies for me (notably Poppet's Mum, who was bagging cookies the day before she went into labour with 2nd Poppet.) Mostly I keep these requests very few and far between, and I'm fortunate that most of my friends are very willing and able to lend their opinion or professional advice.

I have NEVER asked a friend to buy something from me. NEVER. Sure, I might occasionally suggest that sending cupcakes is WAY COOLER than sending flowers - but I would never in a million years outright ask a friend to buy something of mine, no matter how good I know it is. Some friends choose to buy stuff regularly, and I'm grateful for the support. Others might buy only occasionally as budget or timing permits. Let's face it, I sell a luxury, expensive item and it's just not always in the budget. I don't take this personally AT ALL. If you want to support me and can afford to, great! If not, not. I still love you.

This whole friends-as-salespeople has come to the fore recently when DH told me he went to lunch with a former work colleague. Not to catch up on industry gossip, but to basically recruit DH and I to an Amway style of buying supermarket products. What amazed me is how DH was able to come home spewing all the facts. "We could be potentially earning thousands a year!" "Our groceries could be free!" and so on and so forth. Apparently he told this guy that we are skeptics (because we are) but then DH spent a good 10 minutes telling me how this scheme seems really good and we should at least listen to what they have to say (Um, NO.)

Anyone else ever had this whole friend-as-salesman thing? On the one hand I think it's great that companies like Avon and Tupperware and the like are empowering people to earn a living, work part-time, and basically carve out a career in between other commitments. On the other hand, they really rely on people 'farming' their friends and loved ones, and in some cases the salesperson chooses to continually farm the same people.

What say you? Tupperware lady - friend or foe?

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