Friday, September 26, 2008

Door-to-Door Magazine Sales

It hasn’t happened for a while, but today I popped out front to do a little yard work and wham, a young door-to-door salesperson showed up selling magazines. You’ve heard the story, a young person trying to earn points to get a job, or scholarship, or something else. To do this, they must sell magazine subscriptions. In this case this young person whose name was Jessica and was from Texas and was working for the firm http://www.dntconnections.com/. She told me that they send “kids” like her around the country to get “experience”. Why would they spend the money (and risk) to send a single mother (she told me she was) to live in a hotel in a far away city to sell magazines doesn’t make sense to me.

Type of questions I was asked: “Are you a generous person?” and “Do you believe in second chances?” My response to both was “no”.

So, I told her I would not write a check or give money, but would consider logging on to a Web site and ordering and trying to give credit to her. The company DNT Connections exists, but you can’t order anything that I could tell. Figures.

After a little more digging (see resources below), I realized that yes, these magazine crews do go around the country and that all not all is well in this little-understood industry (i.e. deaths and exploitation). The lesson I’m coming away with is that trusting your first instinct to be very wary is okay and if you want to help people in this age bracket do it locally through other more reputable organizations. Be on the watch for emotional questions like the ones given above. It’s rehearsed.

Resources

Government site that has some good information in case you did buy and need to know your rights
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/tmarkg/magzn.shtm

An exposé from the Portland area from two young women who spilled the beans:
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=115501199061804400

A site dedicated to exposing this industry:
http://www.travelingsalescrews.info/mainpage.html

True stories from people who worked on magazine crews:http://www.magcrew.com/

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