Plastic hero
25 November 2014

Opinion: Tupperware a mystery to me

Old-fashioned selling model still gets us forking out.

Tupperware parties. They’ve been taking place in homes since the 1950s and still appear to be as popular as ever. I’ve been to a few lately and I just can’t work out why the brand continues to be so incredibly popular when you can pick up good-quality plastic containers and kitchenware for a fraction of the price. OK, so it doesn’t come with Tupperware’s famous lifetime guarantee but you also haven’t paid an arm and a leg. So if it needs replacing one day, it’s no big deal.

If you’re unfamiliar with how a Tupperware party works, it starts off much like any other party – there’s wine, snacks and small talk. But before things get too rowdy, it’s time for a demonstration in which Tupperware products are used to play a game or create a recipe.

During the demo, much is made of Tupperware’s ability to save you time and money: you can chop an onion in seconds using the $74 Turbo Chef and should you invest $147 in a set of VentSmart boxes for your fruit and vegetables, you’ll never throw away another limp cucumber.

Much is also made of the “free” thank-you gift available to the host if guests collectively spend the required amount ($600+). If guests spend even more and make bookings to host their own parties, there are more generous gifts on offer.

Guests are then left to peruse the latest catalogue, check out what’s on display and, ideally, spend up large on Tupperware.

It’s widely known that Tupperware is expensive stuff. Yes, it’s good quality, but I suspect the prices don’t reflect the true value of the product but are a result of the “party plan” business model. I’d say it’s not just the demonstrator earning a commission on your hamburger patty press or microwave rice cooker! The high prices also provide an incentive for you to host your own party as it’s also widely known that the only way to get “cheap” Tupperware is by hosting a party or becoming a demonstrator yourself.

I should state that I’ve attended these parties willingly and never felt pressured to buy by my friends hosting (though inevitably, I always buy something). And although I’ve always been happy with the items I’ve bought, I find it hard to believe this style of selling is still so popular and, if you believe what the demonstrators say, a viable part-time career option.

Have you ever been to a Tupperware party? Did you manage to leave without buying anything? Let us know on our Facebook page.

by Libby Manley

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