Need Advice About How to Possibly Decline an MLM Party

Updated on September 04, 2018
E.N. asks from Winter Park, FL
20 answers

Help, I need advice! My friend is throwing a pampered chef party and I don't want to go b/c I do not like MLM companies.

I'm not going to buy anything. Do I tell her I'm not going to buy anything, but I can go just to socialize? Or just go and not tell her I'm not going to buy anything? It's an uncomfortable position for me to be in, because in the past I ended up making a “pity purchase” to support my friend. What should I do? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for your replies. I politely declined the invitation.

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answers from Dallas on

I hate MLM parties as well.

You do not owe anyone any explanation. No, is a complete sentence.

Just say no thank you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I'm thinking it's a good idea to tell her that you won;t be able to buy anything. Maybe it would soften the whole issue if you bring some kind of a snack for her to share with the guests.

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answers from Washington DC on

you give her a delighted smile and say 'oh, i hope it goes well! have fun and make lots of sales! i won't be able to make it, but i'll bet you have a blast.'

the best way to avoid discomfort is to be positive and honest.

it's extremely unlikely that she'd be rude enough to say 'why can't you come?' but if she does, you just remain firm. you don't owe anyone details. 'it's not going to work for me' is usually plenty. but if you really WANT to be even more clear, 'i don't enjoy MLM parties and choose not to attend them' will leave no doubt, and you'll still be on the side of angels.

i quit doing pity purchases back in my 30s and have never looked back.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

“Thank you for the invite, but I won’t be able to make it” .

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

“I can’t make it”.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Just decline the invitation.
You don't have to make any excuses.
Just a simple "Sorry but I can't make it" - that's it.
It matters not if you do anything else, see a movie, take a bath, or read "War and Peace".
It gives her a chance to invite someone else who might buy something - which is a better way to support your friend.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

A simple "sorry I can't make it, have fun!" should be enough, there's no need to explain.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Really easy, E.. You just say thank you for the invite. I can't make it.

I personally love Pampered Chef! I don't go to the parties, but I typically buy something from the book.

If you don't like the products and don't want anything - tell her upfront. I'm not a Pampered Chef fan and won't be making a purchase. Just tell her the truth. It's REALLY easy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have tried the "can't make it" excuse in the past, but that often leads to them asking again in the future. I decided to just thank them for the invitation, but say I don't really care for such parties and will not be buying any merchandise. I keep it short and simple and say no. I have been invited to crystal parties, cookware parties, makeup parties, and on and on, and I don't want to be stuck on an invite list and certainly don't want to feel pressured to make purchases.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I hate MLM parties too. I made the mistake in my early 30s of going to them and making a small "guilt purchase". I no longer go. I now always say sorry I can't make it, but have fun! I turn them down 100% of the time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I started getting so many of these "party" invitations that I made a blanket policy that I don't attend any of them. Therefore, no personal hurt feelings for anyone. I just tell people the truth when they ask me "I don't attend sales parties anymore, but thank you for inviting me." If they say "you don't have to buy anything, just come" I say "It's sweet of you to say so, but no thanks." And continue to repeat the "no thanks" as often as needed. The first few times, when I first started saying it, people were surprised but now they know that it's true, I don't attend anyone's sales parties. Most people have even stopped asking, which is perfectly ok with me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I find if I go to them, I end up buying something. I do even if they say "No pressure".

What I have found is - the host/friend will say that you don't have to buy anything, but there will be someone else at the party who will come around and pressure you. They will say that they only need so much to make an amount, etc. or let's help her out to make it to the next level ... it's a sales tactic.

I also find you get put on Facebook lists, group text lists, etc. so then you also have to ask to be removed from those or try to block them somehow.

So it may be easier to decline in the first place and just say kindly, sorry but i'm not interested.

I've learned my lesson and will now be saying no.

However - I once said no to a neighbor (selling scented products which we can't have in our home) and she never spoke to me again - not really a loss I suppose if going to be so petty.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I sell (not Pampered Chef) and occasionally have a party. I guess I always hope that my friends come to my parties because they are fun and I never expect them to buy a single thing - ever. I have plenty of business without pity purchases.

If she is really a friend, she'd never expect you to spend money on something you don't need or can't afford. If you are really a friend, you'd be able to attend and be honest if you don't need anything.

There are many ways to support a friend that do not involve spending money :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

If you feel your reason is valid, why wouldn't you just be honest? If it is that important to you, you should stand by your convictions. I would think a friend should know this about you, and why not be honest even with an acquaintance? "Thanks for the invite, but I make it a point not to attend and support MLM companies." If you weren't able to afford to buy anything, but wanted to go to should definitely go! If you aren't planning to buy anything out of principal - such as not liking MLM companies, why would you go to socialize and snub the whole point of the party? Socialize elsewhere.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Just say you can't make it. There's no nice way to say "I don't like MLM companies" because that trashes her business acumen, and there's not really a nice way to say, "I'll come by but I won't buy anything."

Perhaps you've had bad experiences with people who were not well trained by their company or who picked a bad one. MLM is like anything else - there are good companies and bad ones, good compensation plans and bad ones. There's nothing inherently wrong with discount department stores, for example. I go to some, but I refuse to go to Walmart. But if a friend says, "Do you need anything at Walmart?" I don't tell her why I don't value them - I just say "No thanks." There are good restaurants and bad ones - if I have a bad experience at one or if I think another is overpriced, I don't write off all restaurants. If you don't like live theater, don't go if someone invites you. Very simple. Anything you purchase puts money in someone's pocket, so putting in the hands of someone whose company doesn't have a big overhead or a big physical plant isn't necessarily a bad thing.

There are ways to evaluate any company, who owns it and how they treat their distributors/employees. That doesn't mean you have to buy Pampered Chef products or attend an event of any kind. I think you can just keep this much simpler than you're making it now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Skip the party. I used to be a consultant for another company and I hated when people came to the party and didn't buy anything (even though I understood and expected it, it still feels bad). Plus, if guests see one person not buying, they might decide not to buy too, since they wouldn't be the only ones.

Tell your friend you're really sorry you can't be there and you hope her party is a success. you don't need to give a reason.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Say, "Friend, I just wanted to let you know I received your invitation, but I'm not feeling up to attending your Pampered Chef party, I won't be able to attend" (the truth but softened since you honestly don't want to go). If she asks you why, or presses you, I'd just say "it's just not my thing" (a softer version of telling her you don't like MLM companies). If she says "you don't have to buy anything" I'd say, "oh thank you but I'd just prefer to catch up socially another time. Are you free for lunch on Friday?"

I admit that I reluctantly attended a few of these parties a few years ago. But after not liking the whole sales environment feeling, I decided to stop going to any of of them. It's just so obvious if you're not buying and everyone else in the room is ordering. Sometimes I really felt like I should buy things to "help" the hostess get to a certain bonus gift. Another time my friend hosting the party wasn't the actual one doing the sales pitch, that was from another representative brought in. I got asked several times by her if I would be interested in having my own party and because I didn't say no firmly enough (trying to be polite) I was also called up later and asked again if I could host a party. So my friend wasn't even the pushy one, but that was the last straw for me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with MilitaryMom 6. I have been a part of MLM's or Direct Sales in the past and I am one who is just not good at selling; couldn't sell a dog to a flea. However, sometimes friends will ask other friends for 'support'. So I know exactly how you feel, because I have felt the same way.

I go to parties to support my friends, but respectfully leave my checkbook, credit card, etc at home. If I did see something of interest, I can always call back later to make a purchase.

No one is looking for pity purchases. My last and final company;15-years now, is not MLM. They manufacture products of necessity; not luxury items. I open accounts and the company does all the work. Never done a party and will never do one.

I say, go and support your friend. ~~That's what Friends Are For.~~

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Please be honest with your friend. Tell her that you don't purchase items at MLM parties because you just don't like them. If you want, you can tell her that you are happy to go and help her manage the guests, hand out booklets, etc, but you just don't buy at these parties. Tell her that if she feels that people who come need to purchase, that you will absolutely be happy not to come.

If she wonders why you feel this way, just tell her that so many of your friends have them that you end up feeling like you have to make "pity purchases" and you just decided that you were no longer going to do it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I disagree with simply saying you're busy that day because that's not the issue - then she'll send you a catalog!

Also though, you don't need to broadly declare a stance on multi-level marketing to your well-meaning hostess friend.

If you are really hoping to attend the party to socialize, just say: "Thanks for the invitation Suzy, but I am not going to be buying any Pampered Chef items right now. Do you mind if I swing by to say hi to you and the group anyway, or would it be easiest for you to keep the party focused on shoppers and catch up with me another time?"

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