Am I the only one who finds it disrespectful when my family and friends relentlessly pursue me as a customer for novelties that 1) I would never use, and 2) I could never justify buying, even if I thought they had value?
In the last few months, I have received a barrage of messages from family and friends who have entered into a variety of direct sales business, selling everything from anti-aging cream, to natural products, to tiny sticky films to put on my nails. Through social media and even individual texts and phone calls, these family members and friends send messages that offer free samples and ask me to “like” their business Facebook pages to meet a quota. There’s always a guilt trip involved “I only need one more customer to meet my quota, which will really help my family” or “Do you want to learn about a really amazing, life-changing business opportunity? Call me today.”
Some have even mailed my son gifts for his birthdays and then solicited my business to replenish the supplies (that went largely unused) just a month or so after. We appreciated the gifts and found them thoughtful at first, but that feeling was quickly replaced by disappointment when it became apparent that the thoughtful gesture was based on ulterior motives–to get us interested in the products and buy more.
I have tried to firmly express my intentions not to buy, but when people are drinking the company Kool-Aide, they can’t understand why I don’t want to spent $84.00 on a baby care set with four bottles of lotiony substances. My son doesn’t use lotion. He doesn’t use bubble bath. I can’t afford $32.00 for a 6 ounce bottle of natural sunscreen. Even if I could, I wouldn’t because that’s a total fucking waste of money. I can get natural sunscreen for much cheaper elsewhere. “But it isn’t as good,” one relative would likely retort. “Nothing matches Arbonne’s quality and safety for children. It’s vegan and gluten free.”
Recently when a long-time friend kept soliciting my business for Concoria anti-aging cream, I came right out and said (in response to her sales text), “I want to be your friend, not your customer.” I shouldn’t feel guilty for saying this, but I still do. Maybe I should have let it go and kept my frustration to myself, but I was on edge from the frequency of these types of group texts, Facebook messages, instant messages, emails.
I love this friend. She is a SAHM. Her hubby is a school teacher. They have two beautiful children. She’s trying damn near everything to make ends meet. I would absolutely help her in other ways that didn’t turn me into a blinking, glowing dollar sign in her company database. Need a date night with the hubby? Let us babysit. Need help cleaning your house, no problem. Need me to pick your daughter up from pre-school so the baby can sleep longer? That’s what friends are for.
I don’t want to buy lotions or hand bags or overpriced baby clothes at a “pop-up boutique.” I just want to hang out, talk about life, let our kids play together, grab a bite to eat like we used to.
I want a real friendship, one where the value of our friendship isn’t connected to monthly sales figures and bonuses.