Chaos Attraction


2003-09-17, 5:35 p.m.

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So, on Monday, Heather had one of those Party Lite parties. This is apparently quite different from Candle Lite (I'm guessing on the spelling of that one), but who knows. Anyway, it's candle sales, along the lines of Tupperware/stamp/sex toy parties and the like. A friend of hers is doing them, in addition to her two other jobs, and college at the same time, oy.

I will say this for the merchandise: not bad. Some stuff was whompingly expensive (mainly the huge candleholders), but most of it was not badly priced, the candles smell even when you burn them, and there were some unique items that I got that I thought were cool. *sigh* I ended up spending a fuckload, of course, but when don't I. At least one or two things are presents, so I've got that excuse. I have been to stuff like this before with my relatives (the PITA side, if you were wondering- my aunt is a regular stamp party hostess and practically blackmails people into attending regularly, I hear), and while there are annoyances with regards to sales, at least the products I've ended up with were good. So you can't argue that, and I suppose that's why I am generally okay with having to attend them once in a while.

I have to say, though, I have my doubts as to this being a great way to make yourself money. It's all very peer-pressure-pyramid-schemy in its own way. I felt sorry for the poor girl doing it, as I found out more behind-the-scenes stuff I hadn't heard before.

(a) Starting out, she had to hold 6 of these parties within two weeks time. After that presumably things improve from there, but still, with school going on, yeesh.

(b) There is a minimum amount of money that has to be made per party (I think it's $100? Maybe $200?), and if that amount is not made, the party presenter has to cough up money (I am not sure how much). Big frigging OUCH to that.

(c) The party hostess is supposed to drum up at least 10 people to come to one of those, because they have to make $200 before the hostess makes anything off the deal ($50 in free or discounted goods, I think).

You may see a problem here when I tell you that there was a whopping five people at Heather's that weren't Heather- me, Dave, and two of her friends, and a friend of a friend. And two of them (FOAF and Dave, who'd just found out that was charging him for a Palm he no longer had and thus couldn't do anything with his money) didn't get anything. Of course, Queen Fucking Shopaholic Me steps in and ahem, goal was barely met. You can take a guess how much of that was me :P While I did want a lot of stuff, there was some definite pressure to er, not economize on the shopping here, which annoyed me a little.

The part that shocked me was that at some previous party this girl had had, only ONE person bought something...and it was a $6 order. Imagine the cow-throwing that had to have gone on after that one. I have to admit this baffles me a bit, because shouldn't everyone know that the entire purpose of these parties is that you HAVE to spend money? It's kind of a social contract- if you say you will attend, you have volunteered to spend money on at least one thing. It's not socially acceptable to go and not spend and generally treat it like wandering through the store browsing in a mall like buying is optional. I never understood why this was, until now- if the poor chick trying to earn money for school gets screwed over if no one buys, oy. Not fair, of course, but still.

Oh, yeah, and you were NOT allowed to say that you would never host one of these parties. The least affirmative answer you could give was "maybe." I was all, "Uh, I wouldn't mind per se, but there ain't no way I could dredge up more than one person to attend, which would be useless, so..." Someone else volunteered, fortunately.

Not a pool I'd want to play in long-term, I don't think.

I seem to have buggered it up with regards to picking out clothing, once again. As you'll recall, I acquired five new pairs of pants on Saturday. Most of which are low-riders below the waist, as my new fat middle doesn't like having anything touch the belly button. All fit fine and dandy on Saturday.

Today at work we had this Fall Welcome Gathering thingie here, which involves one hour of free breakfast and outdoor socializing at 8 a.m. (the latter of which is dull as hell because no one I know seems to go) and nametag-wearing (which I ahem, "forgot", because if I'd wanted a job where I had to wear my name on my shirt, I would not have gone to work here) and one hour of watching a free performance. And today? It's fucking COLD, fiftysomething degrees with lots of wind. And they want me to stand outside?! For an hour?!

Naturally, I wanted to put on pants, and grabbed my new cargo pants because I could slip my Palm Pilot in 'em for entertainment. But before I even loaded up my pockets, well...there was a big problem. if I move even a little bit, the pants SLIP WAY DOWN. Hanging off the hipbones, barely. I can pull them off me without even touching my fly. The hell?! I canNOT have lost some drastic amount of weight in four days, certainly not an entire fucking inch, to not have these fit any more all of a sudden. And of course, I find this out right after I cut the tags off.

However, I didn't have the time to well, go try on all those pants again, and I own no belts, so I grabbed a long shirt and hoped for the best. I have been amazed all day that my pants haven't come shooting down, they fall off me so fast. Old Navy must tend towards the large in sizing or something, but YIKES. I spent a while trying to take a paper clip and make it into an impromptu pants-holder, but of course that didn't work. I got home and started looking for Dave's belt, the only belt in my possession, so as not to embare-ass myself. When I have free time tonight, I need to go play Cinderpants and see if they're all this bad.

It has been cold and blustery all damn day today, but at 8 a.m., well, it was so cold out there that I grabbed food and came back to the office, where I was promptly caught returning early and had to answer questions about why. Whee! I went back again for the performance part of the gathering, which wasn't nearly as perform-y as last year, unfortuately. I sat around the front because when I got in, NO ONE was in that area and I figured I'd be alone and could whip out my Palm Pilot if things got boring. Ironically, I end up sitting where all the people going on stage are sitting...oops. Right between the student assistants to the chancellor, even.

The vice chancellor that is in charge of this gathering is a cool chick, and certainly funny, though she was kinda long-winded and went way over time this time. Oh, the joys of discussing budget cuts... She told this story about how she lives next door to the owner of the Sacramento Kings. She went on vacation, and she has a tendency every year to injure herself and end up in the ER every time she goes, but this year she hadn't yet, and it was her last day know where this is going. Anyway, he has these two little yippy dogs that are always pushing their faces through her fence and yapping at her. Well, she and he are both out in the backyards one day and he apologizes to her for the yappies, and she says that's all right, they're so cute, what are their names? (Betty and Sweetpea. Or something like that, anyway, very girly) She sticks her arm through the bars to pet them, and OUT OF NOWHERE, his big old guard dog that she had never seen before in a year of living there, runs up and chomps on her arm and won't let go. Her son, the med student, insists she go to the ER, and takes the opportunity to ahem, get some free Kings tickets for this.

She told us this story because it reminds her of budget cuts. Ahem.

At the end of her speech, she told this story about somebody or other throwing starfish one at a time into the ocean, and when someone said "You're not going to get them all thrown in! This isn't making a difference!", she said "It makes a difference to this one." Cornball kinda thing.

Anyway, after all of that and some other stuff, the two student assistants to the chancellor have to introduce the performing acts. I get the feeling that instead of picking a student group to perform this year herself, the VC had the two assistants pick one each. The Filipino guy introduced a student dance group that he's a member of, and they did a good job- one dance involving well, girls dancing with wine on their heads (no spills!) and another dance involving two large bamboo poles being used kinda like Chinese jump rope that was damn cool. They had couples dancing and twirling and going back and forth between dancing poles. I had to restrain myself from yelling out something stupid like "I miss Chinese jump rope!"

However, the African-American girl must have had a harder time finding someone of her cultural group to perform. She introduced a few frat boys, who uh, didn't seem to have practiced all THAT much, relatively speaking. They seemed to be undecided as to whether or not to do hip-hop or Stomp. They played music when they entered and left, but not during the middle, danced onstage slowly (kinda hidden by the podium, unfortunately), stopped to say something or other about their frat, went back to dancing, one of them buggered something up and they both stopped dancing to laugh about it. They had random interjections that were kind of mumbled. I was trying not to laugh hysterically in front of all of the bigwigs.

Later on, I overheard this conversation in my office, when my neighbor was griping about the idiots that were screwing up her work to someone else.

Person A: "Well, just remember the starfish."

Person B: "I AM the starfish!"

(Person A pantomimes throwing a net) "I can't do them one at a time, I have to throw them all in one big bunch."

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