DEAR ABBY: Your column has been a fixture in my life. Thank you for the smiles and the tears.
My dilemma: I received yet another invitation to someone's home for a "product party." In the past year, I have been considered a prospective buyer of cookware, candles, makeup, toys and vitamins. While I have at times used all these products, the invitations to sales parties that come from friends and sometimes friends of friends, irritate me.
When I phone to decline, the hostess invariably says, "Oh, you don't have to buy anything." Of course that's not exactly entirely true because it's a sales party, and "guests" are pressured in various ways to buy the product. People often buy things they don't need or want because they fear they'd be disloyal to the hostess if they didn't.
When I was growing up, my father said, "You don't invite friends to your house to sell them things." Maybe Dad was on to something.
Abby, how should unwanted invitations be handled? -- IRKED IN INDIANA
DEAR IRKED: Continue to decline the invitations. Tell the hostess you have "a conflict" and cannot change your plans. (You don't have to give any details.)
P.S. To ease your conscience, your "conflict" can be your plan to watch your favorite "I Love Lucy" rerun on TV.