. . . product party, that is.

A friend from church invited me to her essential oils party.

My reply, “I don’t know anything about essential oils, but I like to hang out with friends. I’ll come, but I don’t plan to buy anything.”—Famous last words.

She seemed okay with that. Having more guests adds to the party atmosphere, right? It’s not like I’m a moocher or anything, right? So, I went to her party. I ate her food. Played her games. And, of course, bought stuff. It always goes that way. I should know better.

Sometimes I use these parties as an opportunity to shop for family birthdays and Christmas. Why not spend my gift giving budget at my friend’s party? Then I’m not cutting into money that I plan to spend on myself. Certainly, my mother, sister, or daughter will enjoy one of these items. Apparently, I’ve purchased too many products for my daughter.

Before I went to the party, she said, “Don’t buy anything for me.

If she’d seen the sales pitch, she would want something.

What is the history of product parties? How long ago did they start? Colonial America? Ladies selling items to each other at the well or washing clothes together? Middle ages? Bible times? Lydia was a “seller of purple.” She could have gathered her friends to show her wares.

Nothing so exciting as that.

I wasn’t until the 1930s. They say, “there is nothing new under the sun.” But the 1930s is pretty recent. A door-to-door salesman for the Stanley Home Products Company increased his sales by demonstrating the products to a group of housewives—a “hostess” and her invited “guests.” An idea was born. Perhaps it has to do with mass manufacturing and affluence.

Tupperware was one of the early adopters of this sales technique. Click on the picture for a fun little time-trip.

This type of marketing targets women. What about men? Are there companies that create product parties for men?

In 2009, a company appropriately named Man Cave Products entered the marketplace. They sell meat, beer, and grilling tools. They call their parties “Meatings.” I promise it’s not a joke, here’s a link to their promotional video:

YouTube also has some actual video footage of Meatings—a bunch of guys standing around someone’s garage. Not nearly as exciting as the promotional video.

I asked my husband if his friends would like to attend a meating. He said they’d rather hunt for their own meat. Perhaps if he mentioned the grilling supplies . . . Or the free beer. The company actually offers free beer for their parties. “Hold my beer while I fill out this order form.”

I don’t see him attending a Man Cave party anytime soon. Maybe parties to sell power tools would interest him more. Drill and radial saw demonstrations.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s best to have only one family member spending money at parties.

I’ll go for the food and companionship and might accidentially come home with kitchen supplies, jewelry, and health supplements.

Hope my daughter has room for some essential oils.