DEAR MISS MANNERS: It seems like every time I turn around I am getting an invite from a friend to attend an in-home sales party. I personally despise these parties. I think the merchandise is overpriced, the products are not that great, and I cringe when I get the invite from a friend because I feel obligated to attend and buy something.
I put these parties up there with going to the ob/gyn.
I know this is a way for people to earn extra income and that times are tough with the economy, but I keep getting invited to these parties, and frankly, I don't want to get invited. Period.
How do I gently and kindly let people know that I appreciate the invite, and I think it's great they are starting a business of their own and I value their friendship, but I do not want any part of these, and to not include me in the future? I am running out of excuses not to attend, and some people just do not take the hint!
GENTLE READER: No excuses are necessary. Miss Manners assures you that there is no kind and gentle way to tell people that you approve of their choices in general, but do not care to socialize with them.
"I'm so sorry that I'm not going to be able to make it," is enough. To preserve the friendships, and incidentally to set a counter-example, you might invite them to visit you without having to bring their wallets.