View Full Version : selling magazines to get points to go to college . . .

Lynwood Slim
12-20-2006, 07:07 PM
The third person came to my door in as many weeks: a roundabout presentation that they get points on how well they communicate, and if they get points they get a scholarship -- but by the end it boils down to magazine sales.

I can't seem to find out what organization is actually doing this -- they are clearly well trained, determined, but the last one came off much more than the prior ones as a con man, and when I finally got out of him he was selling magazines and that I didn't want to buy any, was rather nasty.

I'd love to find out who is behind this. How much of it is a con? Do you actually get the magazines? Do the magazine companies themselves approve of these guys?

12-20-2006, 07:22 PM
Odds are that you do get the magazines. I have a strong feeling that magazine sales are a lot like newspapers subscriptions, in that the subscriptions never actually cover the cost of the magazine, they just ensure that only interested people are really receiving the magazines. So that leaves the vast majority of the subscription price available to be used as a commission for these kinds of direct sales.

The "points for college" thing is a standard tactic of direct sales organizations that use young people. It's probably true, to some extent, although the points you get for selling a magazine probably greatly outnumber the points for not selling a magazine, and the baseline is so small that it's not worth it for anyone to continue if they aren't regularly making sales. Making it about college casts the whole experience in a more wholesome light, and getting points even when you don't sell makes the situation less adversarial than blind door-to-door sales would otherwise be. And it probably deludes some of the less bright salesmen, too, thinking that they're making real progress toward their education, when they're really just working a teenage kid job.

I worked selling Cutco knives for one summer after high school, and they used the same kinds of tactics.

12-20-2006, 07:27 PM
You do get the magazines so it isn't a con in that sense. Magazine publishers have a zillion different groups hawking their subscriptions so I don't think they care much.

The college student line may or may not be true. What is true is that they are selling subscriptions at inflated rates using a hard sell approach.

I fell for it once while I was in college myself. This young later knocked on my dorm room door and told me she was from Princeton and needed to raise money for college tuition. I bought one and should have been kicked out of college right then for general stupidity because we were 2000 miles from Princeton and it was the middle of the term. I received the magazines though.

12-20-2006, 07:51 PM
I've been suckered twice, never got the magazines, but boy did they cash the checks.

12-20-2006, 09:23 PM
The third person came Too many salesmen with so little of my time to waste. The most recent started his spiel and I responded.
"I'm not buying any. I installed a central system (vacuum) myself."
He then handed me a tract from a religious organization that perpetrates a fraudulent version of religion.
He left and the tract went to recycle. So much for a gang sales force filling a 16 passenger van working the area. :rolleyes:
The poor kids get scammed as bad or worse that the buyers of their questionable promotion(s).
"No Thank You," I'll take a pass.

Governor Quinn
12-20-2006, 11:00 PM
I was hit up in my dorm room once by someone using a similar scheme.

In that particular case, it was rather annoying due to the fact that the solicitor 1) should not have been soliciting, under the dorm rules, and, 2) the solicitor lied to me and claimed it would be help filling a survey until I opened the door and let her in.

Fortunately, I managed to summon an RA quickly enough to be able to get out of it without making a purchase.

12-20-2006, 11:07 PM
Yeah, we've had those kids. Typically it's a group that is brought into an area together, they then go hit all the houses or apartments in the area. It'll be college money, or points in some communications contest, or something like that. I've even been hit up at the mall by one.

One group was actually bringing people from other cities to hit up areas. They got the a city and Northern Ky and ran out of gas or something like that. They piled into a UDF and were trying to pool money. The police that were there got interested, found out they were from central Ohio. I left at that point.

You also see the same thing with some fundraising groups. I almost got suckered into working for one, supposedly raising money for the environment. They took us to the outer suburbs of Cincy in this van, told us what to do, then left us and said they'd be back in 5 hours. I quickly arranged a ride back to my car.

12-21-2006, 09:04 AM
The best pitch I have run into was when the young lady told me when she got enough points she would get a free trip to <desirable location>. I told her I would like to go there to and holding onto my money was the fastest way to get there.

According to Pliny
12-21-2006, 06:02 PM
It's often a con in the sense that they are usually just working for pocket money, not college money. No need to show a student ID to get those jobs.

I saw a recruiter in action one time. He had a boiler room and set out vague flyers about summer jobs at high pay.

But the con is on the young people, not you. You will get your magazines. She's a soft touch for those pitches.

The deal is that the boiler room guy gets all the profits. The young people will work their butts off for 2, 3, 5 days, and then die of sore feet and catching on that they will never make much. They quit before the orders are "confirmed" which means the check clears both your bank and the boiler room guy's. If they quit before that, they get no pay whatever. Zip. So he gets free canvassing help. Very sleazy.

Harmonious Discord
12-21-2006, 08:13 PM
A company was being prosecuted by Wisconsin because a number of years ago a van of students rolled and killed many, maybe all. I don't get how people think that a company they gather order's for, is responsible for them flipping the van. This may be something I can find a link to.

Harmonious Discord
12-21-2006, 08:24 PM
Here's an 1999 article on the rollover. (http://rickross.com/reference/ssg/ssg5.html)
Here's a site on bussiness doing subcription services. (http://rickross.com/groups/ssg.html)

I think you may be interest in the last link, even if you don't read about the roll over case.

12-21-2006, 09:12 PM
In my younger and more vulnerable years a guy came to my door just like you described. Being young and foolish, I invited him in because it was very hot outside. He asked for a drink of water, and when I went into the kitchen to get it (I found out later) he stole a Playstation game I had sitting on the floor (Jet Moto, in case you were wondering). I'm just glad I didn't end up buying a magazine, or I would have felt really bad.

Harmonious Discord
12-21-2006, 09:26 PM
I had a chance to read more articles on the site, and it explains what these groups and employees are like really well.

Thudlow Boink
12-21-2006, 09:45 PM
[Orlando Jones in Office Space]
I lied. All that stuff I said about being a crackhead just helps me sell magazines. I'm actually an unemployed software engineer.
[/Orlando Jones]

12-21-2006, 09:56 PM
I'm a total sucker for a sob story, so when a young man showed up on my doorstep back in early September, selling magazines because he'd been saved from street life in St. Louis (note my location!) by some religious organizaiton or other and he'd earn points, yada yada.

Sucky selection of magazines, too, with the things I had absolutely NO interest in being pushed by him as earning him more points. But I bit, and sort of figured I'd flushed $55 down the tubes.

The organization providing the subscription services was Worldwide Reader Services, with a Miami, Fla. address and phone number, and the receipt he gave me includes a statement that says he is an independent contractor, not an agent or employee of said organization. I got nuttin' about the organization by Googling.

Every once in a while, I'd remember I hadn't received the magazine yet, and I'd pull out the receipt and read the part about "Your first issue should arrive within 120 days." Four months?!??? OK, whatever.

Upshot: My first issue arrived a couple of weeks ago.

So, no harm, no foul, I guess.

Harmonious Discord
12-21-2006, 09:59 PM
I found out that it's illegal for them to tell you they're competing in a sales contest when selling this stuff in Wisconsin. Who'ld have thought that, since everyone of them always says that.

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