Do you ever wonder if the credit card companies talk to each other? I do. Some sort of insider trading. Chase bank sends a carrier pigeon to Discover with a note that says, “Katherine is maxed out. Send the offer letter.” Discover then sends out the offer letter and replies with a kickback bonus over to Chase. Said offer letter arrives in Katherine’s mailbox.
“Special offer just for you! 0% interest on all balance transfers for six months! Act now. This offer won’t last. Bonus – you’re pre-qualified for an [increased] credit limit!”
Ooh. Katherine fills out the form, puts the information from the Chase card on the form and sends it off to Discover. A short while later, Katherine suddenly has a shiny new card with 0% interest for six months, a zero balance on the Chase card, and extra spending limit on the shiny new Discover card. It’s like magic. Relief sweeps over her as she suddenly feels the weight of that higher payment get replaced by a slightly lower payment and the phrase “0% interest.” Like music to her ears.
Anyone else ever get caught in that trap? At first, I tucked both cards away and swore I was done with them. “No more!” I said. I had had enough of the stress and felt there wouldn’t be any more “emergencies.” I should have cut them up right then and there, but temptation is a strong beast. For the most part, I kept myself busy with work and school. At this time I was working full-time and going to school full-time in the evenings. Time for window shopping was less readily available. Or so I thought.
Enter the Direct Sales Consultant
On a routine trip back from my mailbox, there it was – my first invitation to a Pampered Chef home party.
I’m having a Pampered Chef party!
Location: my place
It’ll be so much fun, so I do hope you can make it.
We’ll learn a new recipe, and we’ll have a fun girls’ night!”
Hope to see you there!”
Hmm, girls night? I definitely needed a break from all the working and schooling, so I went. Thus a new addiction was born – direct sales shopping parties.
I have to hand it to anybody working or who has worked in direct sales. They have a tough job. No fooling around. I’ve done it myself for a time (more on that later). And, they’re good at their job too. I can’t say I ever left a home party without buying at least one thing. After my first Pampered Chef party, I was hooked. I do believe it was the can opener that got me. I still have that can opener, and if it ever breaks, I know where I’ll buy a new one. Alas, direct sales items are not so easy on the pocketbook as flea market items. I needed a plan to fund this new addiction.
It’s Party Time!
“Did you say hostess credit? Free stuff?! Why, yes, I’d love to host a party! Let’s set a date.” These were the words that began my age of hosting, hosting, hosting. Before I knew it, I had more than Pampered Chef consultants. And, more than a Pampered Chef addiction. Ever heard of PartyLite candles and candleholders? I am still looking forward to the day my children are old enough to get those green boxes out of storage and display those marvelous candleholders. Alas, library books, puzzles, blocks, and plastic tea party sets occupy all of my current table space. I’ll stick to my plug-ins for now – up high and out of reach of toddler hands, of course.
Through the Catalog Looking Glass
The writers and editors of these sales catalogs know what they’re doing. I get lost in those catalogs. You sit down at a house party, wine glass at your side, order form and pen – “to keep track of your wish list as you browse” – and start flipping through the pages. As you browse you begin to believe you’re someone else.
Looking through the pages of these catalogs, I was transformed into someone who could cook (not out of a box), and hosted elaborate parties where every detail was perfect. My house would be decorated for every holiday as my friends and I’d sit in the tea room drinking wine each with our unique wine glass charm, while discussing current events.
Yes, I definitely need the cake server and cupcake display for all the parties I’ll host. And, better put that cupcake decorating kit on the list as well. I’ll need the stoneware muffin tin for baking said cupcakes. Aaaaaand, better add a few of those measuring cups and bowls and cutting mats. Ice cream scoop? Oh yes, I’ll have to have that to help make my punch. I mean, one can’t be struggling with the ice cream when trying to make punch for houseguests! That just won’t do.
And, I’ll want the home smelling like a fresh, clean summer morning, so I’d better order candleholders for every room and pillar candles, oh, that holder on my wishlist takes votives, not pillars? Well, add a couple dozen of those. That scent is quite heavenly. I’ll need the Halloween candleholders and the Christmas ones. Why, I’ll decorate for every holiday!
“Ooh, that’ll be how much? Better take off the cake server and cupcake set.” I shake my head wondering how I could pass up any half priced items at such an amazing deal. I’ll just grab one of those cards I tucked away – just this once.
When the packages arrived and reality hit, I remembered I was still cooking out of a box, couldn’t afford to host any parties and had no tea room, so I’d sit on my couch eating ramen noodles out of the cup they came in and ice cream out of the carton. My house smelled nice for studying, though. Holidays passed without my remembering to decorate for them. But someday if I got a hankering to be the person I wanted the stuff to make me be, I had the stuff to make it happen.
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This was installment four of my Pocketbook Confessions series. Catch up on the others here.
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