We can all agree that it’s important to have a job so that we can pay the bills.
But some people are way more invested in work than others would like, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor etsyaita was proud of their wife for having a successful and profitable Etsy shop for her small jewelry business.
But when she networked every chance that she got, including with friends and family, the Original Poster (OP) was concerned her business would impact their relationships.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my wife that nobody cares about her small business?”
The OP’s wife had a profitable home business.
“My wife (27 Female) owns an Etsy shop where she sells handmade jewelry.”
“She has some real talent, and the jewelry she sells is genuinely very nice and high quality.”
“She gets a surprising amount of sales on there too, and has great reviews.”
However, the OP was concerned about her networking skills.
“The issue is that EVERYWHERE we go, EVERY conversation she has, she slips in something about her shop and tries to promote it.”
“Talking to a friend? She’ll casually mention a big sale she made or a custom order she got and not-very-subtly mention that she’d give her friend a coupon or something similar.”
“Talking to our waiter? She’ll mention that she has a pair of earrings on her shop that would compliment their eyes.”
“Talking to someone online? She’ll somehow manage to say, ‘As the owner of a small business…'”
“She literally cannot have a conversation anywhere with anyone without trying to sell them her jewelry.”
The OP was particularly bothered by this at a recent family gathering.
“The other day was a family member’s birthday, and they were having a decently-sized get-together with just other family members and a few close friends.”
“I went with my wife, and she’s a pretty social person even outside of promoting her shop, so she was quickly making conversation with my family.”
“Of course, not five minutes later, she was showing someone the bracelet she had on that she made and mentioning that she sells them and talking about how since they were family, she would happily give them a 25% discount.”
“She probably had that exact same conversation with at least five people during the two hours we were there.”
The OP tried to talk to their wife about her approach.
“As soon as we left, I spoke to her and said she needs to quit doing that.”
“I told her if people were actually interested, they would ask her about her store, but not every single person she talks to wants or needs to hear about her art.”
“She got upset and said that she just wanted to spread her product and didn’t see what she was doing wrong.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“She hasn’t spoken to me much since.”
“I feel like I’m the a**hole since I will admit I had a pretty harsh tone and could’ve been a lot nicer during that conversation. Plus, I get she’s just trying to sell her products, even if it gets obnoxious.”
“The issue is that the places she’s doing this at *aren’t* networking events or conferences. She is trying to sell her work at family gatherings, outings with friends, etc.”
“It’s obnoxious not just to me, but to the people she’s constantly trying to sell to even though they clearly have no interest.”
“I’m worried about this. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife, she’s a great woman! But I can tell some of my family dreads seeing her at gatherings, and I’m getting progressively worried that they’re going to ask that she and I stop attending or that they’ll stop inviting us altogether.”
“As much as I care for my wife, I don’t know if I could stay with her if our relationship was going to put a large strain on my relationship with my family and friends, much less if it was going to prevent me from spending time with them.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some criticized the OP for being so critical of their wife’s business.
“YTA. Bruh, your wife is hustling.”
“Have you never been to a networking event or conference? This is literally how you recruit people and market your products! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your product is software or a bracelet, marketing is marketing.”
“This is what it takes to make that product succeed and not taking those opportunities, not telling people your name and your product, is why small businesses fail with no one even knowing they existed to begin with. She has guts!”
“Just because you don’t get it or have the capacity to understand basic marketing doesn’t mean she’s the problem here.” – ThisIsTheCaptain
“YTA even the way you talk about her shop when she isn’t promoting isn’t nice…”
“You said, ‘She gets a surprising amount of sales on there too.'”
“Why? You admitted her work is good, what’s wrong with you? Have you done anything to show your support for her? Word of mouth is the best for small businesses. She’s networking with the resources available. Authenticity sells. With a faux supportive partner, someone has to do it.”
“You are correct in feeling like TA. You s**t on her passion.” – PresenceOk8314
“I do feel YTA for the harshness. It’s understandable she is proud of her growing business and wants to continue its success.”
“However, you could have asked her more gently to ensure it’s done at appropriate times and places and not taking up too much of every social occasion.” – Single_Age8874
“YTA. Who the h**l do you think you are that you can tell her what kinds of conversations she can have a family gatherings? You are a major control freak and you owe her an apology. And you need therapy for your control issues.”
“Are you just jealous that she’s at ease in social groups and knows how to promote her business? Did you spend the entire event following her around monitoring her conversations because nobody wants to talk to you?” – hierofantissa
“YTA. As an artist, it’s very good to feel this way about your art and have a desire to share and show what you made. She seems like she is being nice about it and not dragging it on for too long.”
“Just showing off a bracelet she made to the family is innocent and sweet.”
“If she was hogging the whole conversation and arrogantly boasting that would be something else but from your description, it seems like she’s very passionate about her work and has a desire to share it with the world.”
“Where is your hate coming from do you think? What’s making you think her being passionate about her art is inappropriate behavior?” – dizzyav8r
“I HATE the type of salesperson you’re describing here, where their conversational well is dominated by their work/product related. It’s like their job becomes their entire personality. And what’s more, there are a lot of people like me, who do not appreciate or welcome someone pitching their business every time we get together or at non-business-related events.”
“It’s like the crazy women who handed out their Lula Roe cards to anyone who’d stand still long enough back in their heyday.”
“A conversation needs to be had, and what’s more, boundaries need to be set. She is alienating people, including you.”
“All that said? Yes, you know the answer. YTA. There are better ways to have a mature conversation that sets boundaries while still being supportive of her goals.”
“Apologize for the tone and the way you put things, but explain how you feel. Use I statements. I feel X when you approach my family at family events with your jewelry.”
“Perhaps you should suggest she invite the family to a jewelry party she can host, or to a local craft fair she has a table at. She can personally invite every person on the family tree, and if they don’t come, that’s okay. Maybe set a max of three invites a year. Then she’s giving them the option to participate.” – PerlinLioness
“There’s a middle ground here, but I’m going with YTA because of your delivery.”
“She has a right and, if she’s really trying to make a go of the business, an obligation to promote herself. She chooses to do it informally, person to person, which is just fine.”
“I can see, however, that the two of you probably need to have a ‘no business hats’ night where the focus is on each other.”
“Maybe bring that up (gently) after apologizing to her for being the AH here.” – KaldaraFox
But others admitted that they would avoid her once she started selling.
“Do they make Real-life Ad-Blockers yet? I don’t fault her for promoting her business, or you getting annoyed by it.”
“If all someone did during social occasions was hock their wares, I’d stop inviting them to outings. Maybe you should have softened the blow and followed up with that you like her jewelry and dedication to making her small business successful.” – campuska
“NTA and I would actually go out of my way to avoid her. I hate pushy salespeople. She can promote her jewelry on Instagram or even set up a special Facebook page and invite people to join. But every conversation, that’s a ‘no’ from me.” – LowBalance4404
“NTA. She is doing it over and over.”
“I sell on eBay and have for 23 years. I make d**n good money. I never bring it up unless someone asks; then, I give a few vague responses.”
“She needs to stop. There is a great divide between business and socializing.” – My_igloo_is_melting
“NTA. My SIL has done every pyramid scheme ever invented and is constantly trying to sell me her crap. When we announced we were getting married, she tried to sell me weight-loss body wraps.”
“When my cat died, she wanted me to buy a custom water bottle she was selling with the cat paw prints on it. At my bridal party, she tried to sell me kitchen gadgets.”
“I am not saying Etsy is a pyramid scheme, but when every conversation is about selling things, it comes off as tone deaf and insensitive.” – Snowconetypebanana
“Seriously! NTA. It is INAPPROPRIATE to try and sell stuff to YOUR SERVER who is 1. a captive audience who HAS to be nice to you, 2. is WORKING and probably not going to spend the money you tip them to buy jewelry, no matter how nice it is.”
“I get it, she’s proud of her work, and it sounds like you value it as well, but there’s a difference between appropriate and inappropriate places to advertise.” – TheyCallMeSuperboy
“I’m going with NTA because it’s not so much a middle ground as it is realizing that social events are not times to make sales pitches. People don’t want to be sold things when hanging out.”
“OP can talk about her business and big sales she’s made and how busy she is, etc… but asking waitresses to look in her shop for earrings or offering relatives coupons is a whole different thing.” – Zap__Dannigan
“This is ridiculous. She is going around trying to force people to buy her jewelry every chance she gets. Even to the same person on multiple occasions. More often than not, people will be annoyed. She needs to keep it more subtle and let people express interest. NTA.” – Ravager55
The subReddit could understand how frustrating it was to hear about someone’s business all the time, but they were torn on whether this was actually inappropriate or a good strategy.
They did, however, want the OP to smooth things over with their wife because a change in their tone and approach could have made all the difference.