Traveling Magazine and Direct Sales
Many scammers start out their career on the road as part of a traveling
sales crew while still in their youth. Many reputable salespeople
also start out in this high turnover industry hawking their wares
on a door to door basis or accosting people at shopping mall lots.
Direct sales products range from magazines to disability insurance,
cookware to vacuum cleaners, electricity contracts to phone plans.
Students seeking summer employment or recent dropouts lured by the
freedom and unlimited income opportunities presented soon find themselves
packed like sardines in vans bound for remote towns, the residents
of which are unprepared for the fast talking enthusiastic youth.
One group of sites is dedicated to the senseless and growing death
toll which appears to be endemic to this trade.
MagCrew ParentWatch Traveling
I myself sold encyclopedias, as a youth and before computers collapsed
the industry, in towns so remote the residents would invite you for
dinner just for the company. One person even insisted on buying a
set for his neighbour who was away at the time, in addition to his
own purchase. This was in stark contrast to the cold rude reception
one would get in a larger city.
Single and living from sale to sale, teenagers are willing to endure
the endless travel, greasy fast-food and challenge of sneaking six
into a motel room for two. The freedom of working outside the confines
of what you perceive most jobs to be, the escape from parental torments,
the putting off the momentous task of deciding what you must do for
the rest of your life; all these things draw young rebellious individuals
to a life on the road.
Mind you, this phase for most, lasts from only a few months to a
few years. Then most people either leave the industry or at least
opt for a direct sales position requiring less travel.
Nightmares Are Also Considered Dreams
Last Fall, I was invited to interview for a "dream job" in
the suburbs of Chicago, IL.
Arriving at the location, I was audibly assaulted with the sounds
of the Dave Matthews Band, and other such modern music, which pounded
out of hidden speakers in a lobby filled with people just like myself:
college-age men and women, as well as a scattering of business-type
men and women.
We had all apparently been lured by an advertisement from International
Images which stated this was "The job you've always wanted",
and other such tripe. After filling out a pointless application (pointless
because everyone that shows up is hired, unless they're a real wacko)
and waiting almost 3 hours to be called, I was escorted by a dread-locked
young woman into an inner office and told to have a seat, the Manager
would be right in.
Well, the Manager, a pierced-and-tattooed young man of 24, told
me that "the average income of our associates is well over $100,000
a year, with a few exceptions".
Since I didn't know any better at the time (but had my doubts),
I proceeded to ask him an array of questions, all which were answered
with vague responses that were meant to keep one's concentration
focused mainly on the fact that "You COULD make more money here
than anywhere else!".
I still had doubts, but nevertheless showed up the next morning
for "training" (unpaid, of course), which consisted of
being driven around and shown the ropes of selling framed prints
by a 19-year old named Oscar.The going price for one of the
items they had in their warehouse, a reprinted 10x12 Monet with a
gold-spray painted frame, was $20.00.
This is where the reality of this type of work began to dawn on
me: Nobody in their right mind is going to purchase Monet paper poster
prints from some kid off the street, no matter how much you try to
convince them just how cool and hip Monet really is. In most
cases, the so-called "customers" just gave us blank looks;
in many other cases, we were told to exit the premises as quickly
I was all for exiting as many premises as possible, but "Oscar" decided
to push the issue over and over again by going behind counters and
front desks, even at the local DMV.
For my 8 1/2 hours outdoors that November day, I received not one
damn cent for my trouble. All I got was a pat on the back,
told that I'd probably do better tomorrow, and that the company was "pot
friendly". Needless to say, I didn't show up the next
day for "work".
I advise everyone to NEVER even waste your time with these types
of "jobs". When you call in response to an ad, always,
without fail, ask up-front if it's door-to-door sales, if the interviews
are conducted one-on-one or if they are group interviews, and if
there are guaranteed wages.
If anyone ever tells you that "Everything will be explained
at the interview", just hang up. Trust me.
Very recently, I also attended a mass interview for a so-called "Talent
Scout" job. Again, it was the same thing: promises of
huge payoffs, stock options, excellent insurance benefits, and
I thought there was a chance that this company was on the up-and-up,
but when I got back home I did a little research, my eyes were opened
to what was really going on: shady CEOs, rip-offs concerning men
and women that were promised the world on a plate for $495 (up front
and non-refundable, of course), and all that.
I was a little less sharp this time on picking up the vibe, but
by the second half of the group interview I could pretty much tell
which way the wind was blowing, because there are always major tells
that alert you to their scheme:
1. They won't give you any information over the phone; only during
2. They offer the POSSIBILITY to make ridiculous amounts of money
in short amounts of time.
3. The company will never compensate you or pay you in any way
for the required training; also, the training period is unbelievably
long (usually 30 days).
4. When questioning the Manager or Supervisor about any sort of
monetary compensation, base salary, or trouble you might have with
their way of paying their employees, their answers are vague; also,
they immediately either shift right back to "You COULD make
this much if YOU work hard; if YOU don't work as hard as you can,
it's your fault if you don't make tons of money", or they gloss
over their answer with something about stock options or "Probationary
5. If the Corporate Office is kind of bare and contains only a
desk, some thin carpeting, and a bunch of razzle-dazzle paintings
on the wall, or if the atmosphere is "Everything's cool, this
is the NEW generation of Corporate America", don't buy into
I've never seen any CEO or Regional Manager of a real corporation
that has a Megadeth poster in their office; plus, if this 23-year-old
kid is making "Over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR!!",
he wouldn't be driving a 1991 Honda Civic. Also, I've never visited
one honest, prosperous business office that allows their Regional
Corporate Manager to have purple dreadlocks.
I'm wise enough at 22 not to fall into these traps. I just
wish I knew of some agency that hired willing young men and women
to be moles, so that we could expose these companies for what they
Wrong Season for Sad Story Students
04/07 - Cary — At first, Wake County resident Jackie Craig
didn't think anything of it when two young people came to her door
and identified themselves as Florida college students trying to raise
money for a trip to Italy.
"I wouldn't even usually open a door for a stranger mid-day, but they kind
of looked like they could be neighbors," she said. "They looked like
they fit in pretty well, but I wasn't really suspicious at first."
But that soon changed when Craig said they asked for a glass of water.
"This is not a time of the year when colleges take a break, so that was
a red flag to me. They were very flattering, paying compliments," she said. "I
started to get suspicious."
Craig said she looked around, didn't see a car, and then they asked her
if there were other neighbors home that she thought would want to buy
Raleigh police say the so-called students are likely to be part of a
larger team involved in a door-to-door magazine scheme and are warning
the residents that if they are approached to keep their doors closed
and not to give money.
"It was a fraud -- a flim-flam -- and it was money collected for which nothing
was ever going to be received," Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
Police, last week, received a tip from law enforcement authorities in
Kentucky about the scheme, and authorities have received several reports
similar to Craig's.
Although there have been no reports of anyone trying to enter residences,
police are concerned that the sellers might be trying to case houses
or harm someone.
'There are very few legitimate door-to-door solicitations these days," Sughrue
Eric Dixon said that when he was in his 20s, he worked for a company
similar to the ones police are warning the public. He said, he was sent
to Virginia, drove to neighborhoods and told to lie to make a sale. He
was encouraged to get cash for any sales so that the transaction could
not be traced.
"It's a scam to the customers who think they're buying magazines," Dixon
said. "And it's a scam to the people who are trying to do the sales who
think they legitimately have a job when they don't."
After about a month, Dixon said he quit, gave back the money to victims.
He said he never got paid for his work.
"Each day, the lies became stronger and stronger and stronger, and I had
a real bad complex about it," he said.
Anyone who is concerned about the scheme or approached should call local
law enforcement immediately to investigate.
Scamming People Selling Speakers
Vector Marketing and
Cutco Cutlery Knives Opinion Page