I have recently been to a rash of Tupperware parties, and been reminded why I loathe them. It hasn’t always been this way: a few years ago I hosted Tupperware parties, went to every party brimming with excitement about new products, and even considered becoming a consultant myself. In those days, like many others, particularly women, I got excited about Tupperware and bought mountains of it because it was Tupperware. It is expensive, but it has a lifetime guarantee, and can save money in the long run. Besides, it’s Tupperware, it must be good.
Tupperware do make a good product, and there is a lot of it that I do love. The Modular Mates keep my pantry tidy and organised. The FridgeSmart containers really do keep my vegies lasting longer in the fridge. A few of the utensils - the spatula, corkscrew, vegetable peeler - do a fantastic job, though no doubt other brands make something similar. The quality of the plastic and the effectiveness of the seals on many of the plastic containers are second to none.
But for a year or two I went to a ridiculous number of Tupperware parties. A few friends had become consultants and would put on demonstrations to drum up business, and other friends would have parties to support them. Of course, I would dutifully go along to the parties. But the more parties I attended, and the more products I bought that didn’t quite meet my expectations, the more I began to see through the spiel and the pretty brochures.
This is the thing that I’ve learnt about Tupperware: they goal isn’t to make your kitchen more organised, their goal is to make money. Tupperware know that they can make money from women who want an organised kitchen, and to save time with their innovative products. Products come and go from seasonal catalogues, and limited edition products show up in monthly specials catalogues. Colours changed every few years, so that the Tupperware junkie just has to have the Rock ‘n’ Serve in that gorgeous new purple colour, even though they have more than they need in the previous blue, orange and black.
Some of the innovation, to me at least, is more gimmick than innovation. I bought a mixing bowl set from the Bake 2 Basics range as a hostess gift once when I hosted a party. It seemed a such great idea, with its ergonomic design to make it easy to hold with one hand while mixing and pouring and it’s splatter guard to stop bits of meringue or flour coating the kitchen when using handbeaters. Actually, I used the splatter guard once. It’s easier to just to put the wet ingredients on top of the dry, or to stir it all through gently first, and to pay attention to what I’m beating! The bowls are really just plastic bowls that don’t stack neatly, and don’t fit well in either my dishwasher or dish drainer.
I’ve sold some of my unused Tupperware on Ebay, where it can fetch a reasonable price. Some of it just sits in my cupboard. Some of it gets used regularly.
I can’t imagine a need to buy any more Tupperware for a long time. In fact, there is very little I can imagine needing to buy for my kitchen for a long time, short of a broken wooden spoon, and the Kitchenaid Mixer I have been drooling over.
And next time I get invited to a Tupperware party I need to consider whether the opportunity to chat with friends over a cuppa is worth the sitting through the demonstration, and whether to bother going at all.