Editorial Unexpectedly Updates Common Stereotype

When I began reading Lori Penner’s piece “Why We love Our Tupperware” that appeared in a Canadian publication today, I could feel the Letter to the Editor forming in my head. “The patronizing stereotypes reinforced in this piece do not do justice to the millions of women and their satisfied customers who enjoy direct selling,” I would say.

To my surprise and delight, though, Lori’s description of her mother’s home parties as shallow and uncomfortable took an unexpected turn when she said: “Being at one of these parties recently made me keenly aware of just how much fun you can have when you throw a bunch of enthusiastic women together. Yet, there was a casualness about this get together I didn’t remember from the parties my mother and aunts used to throw.”

Like Lori, many women certainly have childhood memories of clanking tea cups and polite conversation in their own living room. I remember the tiny lipstick samples a fragrant perfume vials my mother’s friend would leave for me each time she visited. These memories certainly form the basis for the particular feelings evoked in each of us, now as adults, when we imagine those same parties and demonstrations in the first person instead of as the small child sneaking hors d’oeuvres from the table.

If your last experience with direct selling didn’t have you in the starring role, perhaps it’s time to update your memory bank with an experience in your own living room – or that of the next friend who sends an invite your way.

Lori sums up her first-person experience this way: “To say we didn’t feel a pressure to purchase would be lying. We all felt a certain urgency – after all, we wanted to make our hostess happy,” she states.

But in the end, Lori happily purchased several items – “the two consultants had done their job so well – none of us wanted to go home without these amazing products,” she continued.

I’m glad Lori was able to write her own ending – how about you? 

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