Here's another tale which can be linked to from here.
"Like most everyone else here, I too answered the vague ad that promised a wonderful advertising/marketing management-training program. Like everyone here, I was mislead- whether everyone here has realized it or not.
Having just moved to a new state, and looking for something different than what I had previously done, I answered the ad. I was excited at the prospect of learning a new business, and found the people in the office to be very pleasant. I was not disillusioned at what I would be doing.
I grasped the concept that it would be door-to-door, but like so many others thought it was just the first step of many towards achieving the goal of your own office- and then some. However, I did see others who entered the process at the same time who were not as fortunate, and had no idea what they were getting into.
They were not business savvy, and were confused at what was being told to them- but were too interested in the promise of all that money to come to ask what was really going on. Being the daughter of a President of a Fortune 100 company, I did ask questions. Looking back, I am surprised they even accepted me. I guess another warm body was needed that day.
The office was called Competitive Concepts Inc, and it was based out of Middleburg Heights, Oh (which is a suburb of Cleveland) and run by a man named Mark- who had come out from Chicago and was a product of the Kernan-Damanski-Holmes line. The office was nice enough as were the people, but I knew there was more to it than they were letting on. I won't bore everyone with the details of how I was hired.
I think by now the practices of DS Max and its children are well know. I did the 12-hour day, the three interviews, and I was "lucky" (as I was told) enough to be one of the two applicants chosen to be hired- the next day. So I came back, and to my surprise saw almost everyone interviewing the day before back for work (the only people not in attendance were those that decided once they got home it wasn't for them. (I guess the customary phone call from their leader to make sure they would be back didn't work!)
I went through the first day orientation. I was told what I could and could not say, wear, and how to act. I was "Juiced" when introduced to everyone, and honestly it reminded me of the movie "Requiem for a Dream". For those of you who don't know, it's about various addictions. What a coincidence, since this company is addicted to lies, scams, and anything to make a quick buck at anyone's expense.
The atmosphere also reminded me of "Boiler Room", and when I mentioned this, the people around me got very quiet. I was later told not to say that again (especially around a day of O.)
So I did the pitch circles. I learned the history, and how the money works, how to work the numbers. The whole time I was looking around at the wealth of potential that was throwing it away. These were nice people, but misguided. I was lucky to go in knowing what to expect- but I shouldn't have had to be "lucky". You should know what you are in for at any job. That's just good business practice, and a way to retain your employees.
I went out on my three retrain days. Honestly, it seemed a little pointless and redundant (I'm a fast learner), but I guess in retrospect it was their way of getting cheap labor. I got to ring the bell every day. I did a Saturday half day in a pouring rain (only day I did not ring the bell). But still I was not discouraged.
On my first day I got my bonus. I rang the bell and saw how sinister the business can be. Everyone who didn't ring the bell glared at me with hatred- hatred, because I succeeded where they did not. Competition is good, but this company forces people to compete so much that people wind up hating each other- which does not make for a happy work environment, no matter how much up beat music you play. Of course nothing was said directly, because that would spoil the image of one big happy family. But I was still determined to succeed, because that is how I was raised- to try your hardest and do it. To not give up.
But the next day, I had to stop. My leader drove me to my area, dropped me off and drove off. I was in an unfamiliar area that was secluded, and there was a ton of snow on the ground, but I got to work. The first couple of houses I went to there was no one home. Then I got to a house with a middle-aged in a bathrobe. I pitched, and he said yes. I was standing just inside the door (which I hold been trained to do) filling out the form when he came back with his checkbook. I started to explain the fine print of the campaign (which you do after you get them interested in it, and more than once cost the sale- but I was not about to be dishonest to anyone) when he grabbed me and started fondling me. Being a strong girl (three older brothers) I broke away and ran as fast as I could. I dropped my crib sheet and the form I had been filling out, but somehow managed to grab the merchandise (which is a good thing because I feel sure I would have been charged for the merch otherwise.) After a safe distance, I walked to the nearest gas station (about a mile) the whole time looking over my shoulder to be sure he was not coming after me.
It was then I saw my leader, driving down the road. She looked confused when she saw me, but when she saw the tears I think she knew what was going on. I got to the gas station as she did, and she asked me what happened. Being in a state of shock, all I wanted to do was call someone to get me out of there. (It is frowned upon to make your leader drive you back, since then they lose a half of the day.) She let me use her cell phone and I got a hold of my father, who thankfully was in town that day and not away on business. He was P***ED, and rightfully so. How would you feel if it were your daughter, sister, girlfriend, or wife? What if it happened to your mother?
My father came to get me, and the whole time the leader questioned me over and over as to what occurred. She called the owner for damage control. I told her I was done, that I didn't need a job where I was attacked, and that was it. She actually tried to talk me into staying. She was a nice girl, BUT COME ON! She told me that this had never happened before in the whole company (don't buy it), that it didn't happen. But I am proof that it does and it did. My father arrived, and I left knowing that this poor girl who relocated from Wisconsin was actually brainwashed enough in this company to not believe what happened, even though she could see the tears and how upsetting it was to me. I left the merch with her, and my car at the office. My brother got it later for me so I wouldn't have to go back there. That is the last I saw or heard from anyone in the company. They can call me every night to make sure I will be there the next day, but not to see if I am ok after being attacked.
I talked with my father and his lawyers about getting the police involved, but unfortunately by the time I could bring myself to go back, I couldn't remember which house it was (and I had dropped the crib sheet)- they are the cookie cutter houses that all look the same. Unfortunately, I could not do anything to the jerk that attacked me. But I can tell my story about the people who put me in that position. By myself, with no means of transportation, no way to contact anyone, and no way to defend myself.
The good news is the week after this incident I got a much better job. I am the executive administrative assistant to the president of a company. I work the 9-5 that people seem to complain about (better than the 12+ hours a day at DS MAX) but only have to work once or twice a week when my boss is in town (he has five other offices he travels between) and yet still get paid for 40 hours. I make ten times what most people at DS Max make (even the exaggerated figures we have all heard about). I have excellent insurance (covered more than $25,000 for the birth of my daughter- didn't pay a penny), which covers my husband, my baby, and myself. I got time of to get married and later have her. Wouldn't have gotten any of that with DS Max. Benefits are nice, and without them- I mean any benefits, it's like you are a slave.
I could go on forever about the things that were said and done by this company. But it's not too different from what everyone else has to say. To anyone who wants to slam me by saying I wasn't tough enough, or good enough to make it, I say this: I was making it. I was tough. But no one should have to put up with what I did to make a buck. Which is about what I made when you figure out my expenses versus what I actually made. But I can't feel sorry for myself, because as horrible as it was, I came out on top.
I do however feel sorry for the people I met in the company. I saw people move a thousand miles away from their homes, quit college, live five in an apartment- all to be broke at the end of the week. But they keep living the dream, and sinking more and more into debt. If you think it's worth it, it's your life and you live it how you want. But I offer this as a cautionary tale to others. What would have happened had I not been strong enough to fight and get away? What would have happened had I then stayed with the company? The answer to both questions is the same... Nothing good.
A side note- the office I work for has since closed. I guess the business wasn't as profitable as the owner led all the applicants to believe. I'm not surprised.