Do I Have to Buy Something From a Merchandise Party?
Q: If I’m invited to a merchandise party at a friend’s house, do I have to buy something?
A: The first question is: Should you go at all? If you know there’s no way that you’ll buy another piece of Tupperware (check out the company’s website beforehand to determine what merch might be available), skip the event. But if there’s a chance you might buy something, the only rule is to attend with an open mind. “If you go with the attitude ‘If there’s anything I like, I will buy it. If not, I won’t,’ that is very different than if you go with the intention of not buying anything,” says Marianne Jennings, a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University in Tempe and the author of The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse (St. Martin’s Press, $26, amazon.com). You are not obligated to purchase anything. If you choose not to buy, simply thank your host for her hospitality—no elaborate apologies about budget tightening or overcrowded cabinets required. It’s not always comfortable to be the only one not pulling out a checkbook, but you have no reason to feel guilty.