Archive for Thursday, May 9, 2002

Dinner invitations can come with strings

May 9, 2002

As I was eating at Annabelle's last week, I overheard a conversation between two women at a nearby table. One of the women was talking about a home-marketing party she was planning.

I want to warn the men of Eudora to carefully screen any dinner invitations.

I speak from experience.

Several years ago, I was the editor of a newspaper in Sabetha. As it happened, a woman I once worked with lived in the same county. She invited me to her rural home on several occasions, but for one reason or another I declined. Feeling guilty, I finally accepted a dinner invitation.

A mutual friend picked me up. I told her I felt guilty I wasn't bringing anything to the dinner. The comment earned me a strange look.

I learned why as soon as I stepped into my friend's house something was terribly wrong. The dining room table was crammed with all manners of kitchen utensils, some still packaged. In short, the table was set for some sort of home-marketing opportunity rather than dinner.

Near the door, my friend greeted me with a self-satisfied "Got you!"-look. There were about 20 guests, all women with the exception of the father of the woman who brought me. Misery loves company, so we sat together just barely in the room as a woman produced all sorts of potato peelers, cheese dicers, turkey roasters what have you.

The pitch woman went on about how valuable and indispensable we would find the products. But over the years, I've noticed this kind of kitchen gadgetry is the stable of garage sales and flea markets, where they compete for floor space with dusty exercise equipment purchased during a moment of life-changing resolution.

At the start of the woman's presentation, we were given pads on which we were to list the products we wanted. I felt like I should order something, but with my bachelor lifestyle at the time my needs were as limited as my culinary expertise. It doesn't take fancy gadgetry to pop a frozen meal in the microwave.

It was fresh tomato season, and for the last month I'd been using a razor knife for slicing tomatoes and other kitchen chores. The purchase of a paring knife was on my to-do list, not to the point of writing it down, but definitely on my mind.

I was ready to pop for a paring knife, but then I was told I could select a door prize. I quickly grabbed the one item I needed. I should have felt guilty, but I remember sleeping well that night.

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