It started a few years back when a friend (we’ll call her the “introducer”) very innocently invited me to a PartyLite that she was having at her house. I was never a candle person so I wasn’t worried. It didn’t matter how nice the stuff was or how wonderful the quality, I could control myself. Oh and I did – that first time I only bought a set of three candle holders and a box or two of candles. They were ridiculously expensive, but they would look lovely on the dining room table. Plus they were solid and heavy so the cat wasn’t likely to knock them over which was important.
But then my friend had another PartyLite. This time I listened more carefully to the blah-blah of the PartyLite representative (we can refer to her as the “pusher”). She carefully explained that when you host a PartyLite that you get a bunch of free stuff and half-off stuff. All right! I wanted in on that deal. So I bought a couple of things and set the date for my PartyLite with dreams of gorging myself on free stuff. I took my PartyLite catalogue home and drooled over all the nice stuff I would get for myself and started pestering everyone I knew to come to my PartyLite.
Now if you invite people over for a party where you are supplying food and drink, normally between 85 and 100% of your invited guests will show up. When you have one of these “buy stuff” parties, whether it be PartyLite or Tupperware or anything like that, the percentages plummet drastically. Oh everyone says they will come, but in the end only 25 to 35% of the people you are expecting will actually show up. And the excuses they give you will all seem very legitimate until you start putting them together – then it will boggle your mind. Sick kids, deaths in the family, car troubles, babysitters who don’t show up, toilets overflowing for no good reason, husbands forgetting that their wives needed the car that day, backaches, migraines, tummy aches (accompanied by violent bouts of diarrhoea of course), and the list goes on and on. It’s uncanny how the stars can align on the same Saturday afternoon and negatively impact so many people who just want to go out and do a little candle shopping.
So although I thought I would be coming away with loads of free stuff when I had my first PartyLite, I didn’t. The problem was that I had become attached to the stuff I thought I could get and now I WANTED all that stuff – I even knew where each and every piece was going to go. So I ended up buying a bunch of it, which then helped boost the sales of my party so I could get the rest of it for free.
Let the addiction begin.
Now once you’ve had a party, the PartyLite representative does what any good pusher does – she keeps you hooked. She puts you on a mailing list and every time a new catalogue comes out, she conveniently mails one to your home. The addict obliges by putting said catalogue into the magazine rack in the bathroom and innocently uses it to pass time during the daily bowel movement.
I did have a couple more PartyLites at my house with better results. To have a successful PartyLite you’ve got to spot the addicts. The hard core candle burners – the fanatics who practically heat their homes all winter on shear candle power – those are the people you want to target when preparing your guest list. Oh I would still go through the motions of making sure there were enough chairs for all the invited guests and making enough punch and little snacks to pass around. And true to form, 65 to 75% of those chairs would remain empty and I would have enough punch and cute little snacks left in my fridge to last me a week. But it didn’t matter because I had my little group of hard-core PartyLite addicts who would keep me in free stuff and half price items.
Now for the last couple of years when the Fall and Winter PartyLite catalogue comes in I don’t even bother having a party. The addiction has set in so solidly that I actually “pretend” to have a party. I basically go through the catalogue, salivating and scribbling down item numbers, then I put them all into a meticulously set-up spreadsheet that allows me to figure out how best to profit from the system. Sure I end up paying full price for a few items, but then I get a lot of free stuff and half price stuff so it makes the stuff I am paying for a lot cheaper – which of course makes it easier to justify. Then I call my pusher, give her my order (which I conveniently split between my name and my daughter’s – just to make it all seem uber-legit) and a UPS truck arrives a few days later and delivers my fix!
All the pleasure with no pain. I don’t have to pester my friends, I don’t have to clean up the house, I don’t have to drag every chair we own into the living room, I don’t have to make punch and slave over making snacks, I don’t have to drive all over the place delivering my friend’s orders – and the best part is I don’t even have to admit to my husband that I’m getting more PartyLite stuff!
But, now the thing is, see, in addition to my regular preparations for Christmas, I just spent two full days changing out my CANDLES. I keep all of the boxes and the original packing materials and the first day was spent carefully cleaning and putting away my everyday and fall candle holders. Then the next day was spent taking out, cooing over and placing all my Christmas candle holders around the house. The Christmas ones are the worst because I have no will power against them – I want them ALL!
It’s out of control. They’re everywhere! I need more furniture to put them on – I need a bigger house!
Realistically, the only thing I can do at this point is to move away. You know why? Because in less than 30 days a new catalogue will be put into the mail for me – my pusher knows where I live. I’ve got to get away from here, I’ve got to find myself a rehab – I need to change my name so my pusher will never find me again. And I’ll have to change my e-mail address too because she sends me an e-mail every month with links to the client and hostess specials, and other great deals on stuff that PartyLite is liquidating - Gah!
Uh oh. My husband just wandered in here, pointed to the table in the entrance and asked “When did you get that candle holder over there – I don’t remember seeing that one last Christmas.”
I am so busted!