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Thread: Beware of teens selling magazines door to door!

  1. #1
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Beware of teens selling magazines door to door!

    Okay, not exactly related to the writing business, but kind of close.

    In case anyone out there doesn't know this yet, do not buy magazines from the kids who come door-to-door selling subscriptions. They'll get into this whole very charming spiel about how they're earning "points" to buy books for college, and they're there to learn better communication skills and be inspired by people in the community. But they're there to sell magazine subscriptions (that may or may not ever arrive) at inflated prices, NOT for any charity or college fund, but as a for-profit venture in an extremely seedy industry.

    You are not helping these "sweet" kids by buying into their lies. You're perpetuating the problem. So don't feel at all guilty about saying no, closing the door, and calling the police to ask if the crew has a permit to solicit in the area.

    The kids who just came to my door (all adorable wide-eyed smiles when trying to hook me, and abusive and cursing when I politely turned them down) were from American Community Services, Inc., but there are many such organizations that function like gangs and ensnare kids into a truly horrible lifestyle.

    Some links:

    http://www.travelingsalescrews.info/

    www.parentwatch.org/

    http://www.magcrew.com/

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  2. #2
    here for a minute...catch me? P.H.Delarran's Avatar
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    I'm glad to see this get some media coverage. I've been suspiscious of a few local door to door sellers in my area. I've seen shady looking cars trolling the neighborhhod while some kid goes door to door. Not just magazines, but candy as well. (some candy sellers are from legit organizations like local soccer teams).
    Not always kids either. There's one that touts itsself as helping homeless people get off the streets, but upon asking further questions I realized those guys weren't much better than slaves. They actually go door to door selling their stuff as a requirement to get a bed and meal in a 'homeless' facility, (which also takes donations to support their 'cause' BTW) they sell for hours and hours a day but they get no wage or commission and there is no program in place to get them out of the cycle.

    I learned to always ask who they are selling for.
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  3. #3
    Geek Unique LeslieB's Avatar
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    Jenna, don't be too hard on the kids. They might have been cursing because they weren't going to get fed that day. Those groups have a long track record of keeping kids practically in bondage, cramming them into tiny rooms at the end of the day, and refusing them food if the day's sales weren't good enough. Some have even gone as far as to take away kids' phones and wallets so they had no way to escape or contact their parents. I'm not saying that's always the case, but it happens often enough to be disturbing.
    Not doing anything with my life is surprisingly time consuming.

  4. #4
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Leslie, yep, I know. That's what I was referring to about the "horrible lifestyle." The links I gave have some terrifying stories-- the magcrews.com one is all first-person tales, whereas the travelingsalescrews.info one has collected several news articles about this industry. Seriously scary stuff.
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  5. #5
    lover of fonts zarch's Avatar
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    I'm glad I've always said no. And in my area, they arrive in batches. Like two or three kids a day, two weeks straight. Then nothing for a month or two. Then another wave of high school-looking kids selling crap. Once, I almost bought a subscription. But I didn't.

  6. #6
    Still Happy to be Here. Or Anywhere Kate Thornton's Avatar
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    Always call the police. Our local cops found some of the children tied up in the van, others were being molested by the crew chiefs. None of them had eaten all day.

  7. #7
    lover of fonts zarch's Avatar
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    Holy crap.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Peggy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate Thornton
    Always call the police. Our local cops found some of the children tied up in the van, others were being molested by the crew chiefs. None of them had eaten all day.
    !!!!! I had no idea it could be so bad. My normal reaction is to say "no" to door-to-door salespeople, no matter what they are selling. This just reinforces that that is the the right way to go.

  9. #9
    I Pride with my Grandson! KTC's Avatar
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    People who come to my door have about 3 seconds of my time. In that three seconds, I don't give them time to speak. I simply say, "I'm not interested."

    While I'm shutting the door, I hear all sorts of interesting things. "You mean you don't want to save money on your...", "You don't like chocolate!", "You're not interested in keeping your family safe...", "You don't ski?", "You don't even know what I'm trying to...", "You don't vote?" The list goes on and on. Sometimes they storm off immediately. Sometimes they stand there indignantly for a few minutes first.

    Do yourself a favour. Open the door just long enough to say you're not interested...magazines or otherwise. I can find whatever I'm looking for without people bringin' it to my door, thank you very much.
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  10. #10
    cloud watching September skies's Avatar
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    I only buy from the neighborhood kids (very few) that I actually know live on my street.
    But where I live, are a lot of undesireable people -- so I keep my gate locked. When I forget, I get so many solicitors - selling everything from strawberries to massages to used CDs with no covers.
    But I've bought magazines in the past from kids from "down the street", some of them never arrived.
    You just can't trust anyone anymore.

  11. #11
    The only place I buy my magazine subscriptions is from the Girl Scouts. Every year, they do a huge magazine sales fundraiser -- along with cookie sales, it's the only organization-wide fundraiser they do. I renew my subscriptions each year to the same four magazines, and that's it. Never had a single problem getting one delivered either.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
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    Get a Saint Bernard and tie it in your driveway.
    Works wonders.

  13. #13
    Absolutely Fazed
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    Quote Originally Posted by cree
    Get a Saint Bernard and tie it in your driveway.
    Works wonders.
    Be sure to feed and water it on occasion, though.

  14. #14
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennaGlatzer
    The kids who just came to my door (all adorable wide-eyed smiles when trying to hook me, and abusive and cursing when I politely turned them down) were from American Community Services, Inc., but there are many such organizations that function like gangs and ensnare kids into a truly horrible lifestyle.
    I was so glad to see this post. When I was in my early 20s (and looked younger), a young guy approached me in a shopping center and tried to sell me a magazine subscription. He chatted me up and gave me the spiel about how if he sold one more subscription, he would win a vacation. I was about to sign up (to get Omni magazine, which should tell you how long ago this was), but then, I started to think twice about the price, so I backed out. Suddenly, he got short-tempered and tense, and I just gave up and went to my car. I don't remember exactly what he said, just something lame like "Well I could sign you up to get a magazine you wouldn't like, like Sassy." Which didn't make any sense at all, but maybe he hadn't eaten all day.

    Anyway, I learned from that. I quickly guessed there was no vacation. Later, when I saw a news story about how badly kids who sell magazines are abused, I wasn't surprised.

    What really upsets me about this whole "industry" is that whenever you hear about these cases, you hear about the kids getting abused, or hurt in an accident (usually the fault of their so-called "supervisors"), or arrested. You never hear about the jerks who abuse them getting arrested. And in the cases where they really are selling subscriptions, what's with the magazines that allow this sort of thing? Surely they could refuse to allow themselves to be listed with these services.
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  15. #15
    Bored fanatic Scrawler's Avatar
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    Sort of related but maybe not?
    What about those kids selling the oddly named chocolate bars outside of supermarkets? The dang things are $5.00 a piece or something and the kids appear to be under some pressure to sell sell sell.

    "Travel. Make lots of money." I remember seeing those ads in the help wanteds.


  16. #16
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTC
    Do yourself a favour. Open the door just long enough to say you're not interested...magazines or otherwise. I can find whatever I'm looking for without people bringin' it to my door, thank you very much.
    I've gotten to the point where I can look through the peephole and guess what most of them are selling. Oh, and speaking from personal experience, if you are wearing a Dracula T-shirt when you open the door to LDS missionaries, you will get some interesting looks, and then they will say some real nice prayers said for you. I guess they thought I really needed them.
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  17. #17
    lover of fonts zarch's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's the trip thing..."if I sell a gazillion magazine subscriptions, I get to take a trip to Cancun" whatever. That never made sense to me. I understand why a teenager would want to go to Cancun. But I always wondered what sort of orginization would fund such a weird thing...instead of, say, scholarships? Books?

    Speaking of missionaries. A few months ago, the doorbell rings, and I go look through the little peephole...I thought it was some JWs, and I almost turned around and hollered to my wife and sister, "It's just the J-Dubs," but I didn't...it's a good thing, too, because it turned out to be my cousins.

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW
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    interesting experience

    When the person on my doorstep is someone I don't recognize, and especially when said person is holding a clipboard, I just shake my head at them - through the storm door separating us - or at most mouth "not interested" and close the main door. Many years ago I was such a nice guy, to use the parlance of our times, listening to their spiel and then acting like it was a very hard decision for me to say no, even though the whole time I knew I wasn't going to buy anything. I just didn't want to seem rude and cut them off. Now, I view them like I view the telemarketers calling my home (yep, I report 'em to FCC since I'm on Do Not Call registry) or people on the street asking me for money. The less said the better.

  19. #19
    in a van down by the river eldragon's Avatar
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    I have given in to these types of salespersons on at least two occasions and regretted it. The first time was in Vegas and I never received any magazines - the second was here in MS.......I did receive the magazines but the price was three times higher than it should have been.

    Both times I was alone and related to the young people at the door.

    Knowing that they aren't in college and there is no trip to France for them to win : I would never fall for that now.

    Is that the "rock n roll atmosphere" job you see listed in newspapers all across the country?
    Pam

  20. #20
    Dreamer of dreams, teller of tales Absolute Sage Susan Gable's Avatar
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    The local middle school here does a magazine drive fund raiser. I like to get my magazine subscriptions from those kids. It beats them selling overpriced giftwrap and cookies and stuff.

    I know that Jenna is refering to a different sort of kids selling magazine subscriptions, but be aware some of your local schools may be doing this as well.

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  21. #21
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Katherine Dunn, author of the acclaimed Geek Love, wrote about her experiences with a cult-like magazine-selling crew in her first novel, Attic. (Warning: I haven't read either book, though I did want to read Geek Love. Also, everyone agreeds Geek Love is much better than her earlier novels, and that it's too gruesome for some readers.)

    She also mentions her experiences in an interview here. She was going through this in the 1960s, so I'm sure it's worse now.
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  22. #22
    Absolute sagebrush Ken Schneider's Avatar
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    I hadn't realized that there were scammers in the publishing industry. :>)

    I don't buy mags, and if I do, I get them at the local bookstore. lucky me.

    Thanks for the Info.

    Ken
    J.D. Salinger told The New York Times in 1974. "Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

  23. #23
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldragon

    Is that the "rock n roll atmosphere" job you see listed in newspapers all across the country?
    That would be it. (Don't get a job for its "rock 'n' roll atmosphere" unless it's with a genuine rock band. Get a job with benefits, a pension plan, regular hours, and paid vacation.)

  24. #24
    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Get a job with benefits, a pension plan, regular hours, and paid vacation.
    You mean like as a writer?

    My wife is a first grade teacher and we have neices and nephews. We usually by our magazines, cookie dough, chocolate, or candles from one or both of these sources and turn down anyone that shows up at our door.
    --Roger J. Carlson

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  25. #25
    in a van down by the river eldragon's Avatar
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    On a related note: my 9 year old daughters school is constantly sending home fundraisers : magazine sales, cookies, gift wrap ........you name it. I mean once a week!

    The school is in a small county - probably there are more students than there are taxes to pay for everything - and they are having such a hard time making their monthly bills that they announce over the intercom to watch the thermostats because they cannot pay their electricity bill!

    Instead of sending home packet after packet of value-less crap to sell - I wish they would just be honest and send home a letter asking for a check. I'd rather send a $500 check to the school every semester than have to deal with these stupid fundraisers every week.


    Just venting.
    Pam

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