Older Agent Stories

New Stories 2006


Lets just say that i worked for a company in a crew that made national news one horrible day, i was 16, my buddy found the ad, and i wanted 2 go 2 this 'interview' jus to tag along, well this 'infamous' manager took 1 look at me and practically begged me 2 hire on, with my smile & looks, i'd make a killin.. that and i think i might have made girl #2 at that moment in time, i called my mom frm the hotel, told her what i was doing and she called the police & said 'over my dead body' the police came & arrested me 4 runaway, i got out the next day, my mom agreed to sign a letter saying i had permission 2 travel, so we left state (the crew) and c, the boss told all the guys no1 was 2 touch or try n hook up with me, my first day out, my trainer let me knock a few doors and i scored 7sales which is great, i had my good days (usually if i got stoned, pot, with a customer) and i had my bad 1s, i left a few times being told id flip burgers or stay sittin in the ghetto where i came frm, but i went back several times over 2 yrs.. 1ce this guy on crew liked me & i was not interested and the guy got upset & wanted 2 'fold' (leave) and c came barging into me & my roomates hotel rm in the middle of the night fired up angry screaming and yelling at me 4 "leading a weak man on" and he grabbed my arm took me to his room and said we need to talk. he made me lay in his bed and asked me (very mean) if this was what i was wanting,i was scared i told him no, but he calmed down, i was maybe 17 @the time and we wound up sleeping together.. we had done it a few more times thru out my stays with the crew. us girls were FORCED to sneak onto millitary bases dressed sexy to sell in the barracks, we were bailed out of any trouble we got into, we were given 15$ a day 2 eat, & whatever else we needed and was told our commission was put on2 'the books' which i later found out didnt exist, the books was his pocket, all in all there is so much more to tell but to sum it up, it is a very dangerous job, especially 4 the girls, u never know who is behind a door u knock on, i once had a door opened to where i was looking in2 the barrel of a shotgun.. its not worth it, the traveling was the only fun part aside frm meetin a few awesome ppl along the way.


I joined back in 1994 while in Huntsville, Al (the first time).  I was desperate for a job, but I really didn't have any idea what I was getting into. My old college roommate sold encyclopedias for a more reputable company, but I thought I was getting into the same thing. Disaster! My story is much like everyone else's...$10 a day, marijuana if possible, sex if possible, and long hours in neighborhoods that we didn't know anything about.  One of my most memorable experiences (considering we were a predominantly all black crew) was when our manager dropped us off in a predominantly white (and racist) neighborhood outside of Miami, FL as punishment for something. I actually cried when I realized I wasn't getting any sales and realized what was going on. However, I was a lucky one. One of our managers overheard me on the phone trying to get back home (with the help of a Jones...who is now a friend in the ministry) and took me to the bus station, bought me a ticket and gave me food money. After reading these accounts on-line I would never recommend this to anyone like I used to.  I often tell people that selling mags was how I learned how to "bullshit" people. This is scam and I don't like scamming people.


i was out selling magazines one day, i was doing really well, it was still early and i already had 8 on the day. I had gotten dropped off in a bad neighborhood and i saw a kid on a bike, the kid asked me what i was doing, i told him and he claimed he wanted to by one, he was getting ready to sign the order phone and he took off with the 300 something dollars tbat i had and all my orders. i started crying, i knew my boss was going to kill me, i saw a man in a truck he stopped me asked me what was wrong and i told him, he said he would help me find him, it was natural for me by this point in my job to get in a car with a sranger, i did. we drove around tried to find this kid and we couldn t find him, i asked him to drop me off and he asked me what he could get for 50 dollars i told him you canm take me to my pick up spot, that was when he grabbed me, i tried to get out of his gri, i opened the door and strated screaming a lady outside heard me scream, i can t even remember how it happened it was all so fast, but i rolled out onto the grasss, i got up shaken and the lady asked me if i was ok i scream bloody murder as i fell to the ground, i wasn t a girl who this kind of thing happens to i thought,how coulkd someone do this to me, i knew my boss wouldn t believe me, the lady called him for me and told him what happened, his response was what do you want me to do about it. the cops came i filed a report and they took me to my motel, i saw him and he immediately started screaming at me, are you stupid how could you let this happen, i couldn t do it anymore, that was when i went home. it happened to me and it could happen to you, their are just as many bad people as their are good in this world, god helped keep me safe, i could have easily lost, i m one of the lucky ones.


Allthough for a young girl I was able to see so many things a KY country girl would've never seen.  However, I also saw an outweighing amount of things that an 18 year old shouldn't have to see or should anyone else of any age.  I experienced both good and bad and the freedom of being on my own was fun until it became reality too fast and then it became overwhelming.  I've seen some disappear and never heard from them again.  You really do not exist when you are with these people.  You are a number, a paycheck, and no matter how much you feel you are "part of the crew".  You are NOT!  Anyone that is a maggie..RUN AWAY!  It will prove to be worth more to go back to the crappy life you ran away from than to die without anyone knowing you are gone.  Just like a gang these crews only have one way out if you get in too deep.  Please!  Get out while you can!  See the world on YOUR terms.  You are the hookers and the Managers or Crew Leaders are your pimps.  GET OUT NOW!!  I give permission for you to use anything or contact me for further questions via email.


New Stories 2005-2006


I was 19 years old. Working a dead end job and getting no where. One day, a had a knock on my door. A knock that changed my life forever. A yound male, by the name of James, was at my door selling magazine subscriptions. My parents weren't home and I invited him in. After talking to him, I asked, so is this your job? And just like a hungry curious fish, i was hooked. He told me to pack some bags, and we'd be leaving that day.

I informed my parents, who came home quickly. My mother being the guppie she was my very first sale, and I'd only worked there for 10 mintues. She wrote a check to the clearing house for $660.00. I was told that I would recieve a large payout for that sale. I never did.

SO we left later that day and headed to a hotel in New Jersey. I was one of 25 crew members. After my first day of training, I realized how incredibly easy this job was. So i opted to go out my second day by myself. I wrote agent (62 sales in a week) by my 5th day on the job. I wrote Power Agent and earned my gold Ring supplied by the manager by the end off 2nd week. (power agent has to have 100 sales in a week). I quickly became the star of the crew.

I would soon find out that Mag Crew was not a job, it was a lifestyle. A very dangerous lifestyle. Two months into the job, we ran about 40 crew members deep. I was now a trainer. I was the guy who took newbees door to door selling magazines, teaching him all the tricks i had learned. How to lie to people and tell them one magazine cost 72 dollars for 3 years, when really on his reciept I had sold him 2 magazines for one year each. We did this because it kept you high on the wall chart of sales. a good place to be. I had earned my spot at the top and would do ANYTHING to stay there. Lying, cheating, stealing, and manipulating were practically job criteria. I was trained this way...I trained others this way.

Drugs and Alcohol we're more common than food on a mag. crew. We'd smoke weed on the way to work, and if the day went good, we'd smoke on the way home. There were times when you'd have a good sales day, which for me, meant 15 or more sales, and your manager that you would check in to, would give you your nightly draw of 20 dollars or two dime bags of weed. Which ever you decided. Also If you had over 8 sales that day, we would drink the night away. Since our hotels were usually in rough parts of town, the liquor store wasnt hard to come by. And for those of us underage, I was at first, another agent, or usually your manager would buy the alcohol. I remember my highest week of 134 sales, my manager spent 230 dollars on alcohol for me, and a few other power agents.

I moved up quickly. Before long, I was given the title "working car handler". which meant i still sold magazines, but also drove one of the vans. SO with this title, i was in charge of my van full of agents.
I was strict, and only because I was a power agent who expected nothing less from my agents. This strickness caught the eye of my managers where I was given the worst job title yet. The enforcer. I was not the only enforcer. I would learn that night i was one of 12. this was a very violent, "make it happen" crew of guys and one girl, who were instructed time and time again by our managers to jump or beat up crew members with no sales. there were times we were instructed to go into opposing crews hotels and fight them so they could not work. One enforcer, by the name of Nick, started to hate this role and tried to quit and refused to go along. Our boss had us jump him...one of our own. My boss also joined in. We beat this kid till he could not move. The sick part was that everyone seemed to enjoy it. We fired him the next day. I learned rightthere, that an enforcement unit was more of a gang. Once you were in, you stayed in or you got jumped like nick.

One time, a new kid whose name i wont mention, because of the severity of the incident, came on crew, mouthed off real bad, according to the manager. a few managers pulled him into a stairwell, and one manager came to get us. the enforcers. We beat this kid too. My head manager kept sticking a hot lighter to his back. It was torture. I had tears in my eyes and i hated my job. I hated what we did. I hated who I had become.

I had thought of suicide. Time and Time again, and hated the man in the mirror. This wasnt me. I WAS an honors student. A good son. A good salesman. not a hitman. Many nights i'd lie awake and just wish i hadnt joined. but i knew i couldnt ask to leave.

Everyone came to know me as the head of this group. I know now that I am scarred for life. I would take my anger for myself, and my hatred for the job, out on every assigned target we were given. I had become a monster.

One day I snapped and asked to go home. They gave me 1000 dollar bonus on my books and convinced me to stay. Money, changes emotion.

Some many times we had driven home drunk. This scared me to death. Mostly because the manager would always randomly pick who we thought to be MOST sober. There were times i'd pray. We'd all heard the stories of mag crews dying in accidents, but yet we continued.

One day I was sold. Literally Sold. To another crew. I was there acording to them, to fix thier agents, because apparently, according to managers, thats what I did.

this disgusted me, but it wouldnt be my last time. i was sold to again another crew months later.

One day, I was arrested for a crime a manager commit. he had robbed someone and i was the only crew member police could find. the entire crew left me there. while they jumped to another city.

i was falsely accused. when i was let go, i called home. and cried. and cried some more. the tough guy. the strong one. the enforcer. i was weak.

I have no devoted my time to saving mag agents. no matter the sacrifice. Its not right. If you're thinking of joining a mag crew...dont. Things WILL get better for you, no matter what it is your trying to run from. Stay home.

To this day I am afraid of myself. I will never be the same.
I have more stories, and this is just the tip of the iceberg for me. but right now, i'm glad to be home.

I'm 22 now. I've been home for a month or so. I've been to 38 states, fought over 50 agents, and made less money than i had been making at home. and i will forever be ashamed of who I had become.


I was there for a year in magazine time that is pretty long. I remember the one thing that disturbed me the most was that I witnessed one manager SELLING a girl to another. She was happy about it and I thought that was sad.They encouraged inter-crew dating. I hooked up with a top sales person who was very abusive towards me. I tried to break it off several times and they always encouraged it to go on. When I did break it off I left the crew.


I was living on the street in San Francisco when i was picked up for mag crew. One day when me and my friends (the people i was camping with) were spare changing. a guy came up to us and asked if we wanted to "take showers, make money and travel around with a bunch of other 'kids" of course we agreed. what about that wouldnt sound appealing.

Before we went to the hotel with him we asked if they would seperate us (I was with 3 guys and one other girl) they said no of course not, theyd even put us in the same room if we wanted. the first thing they did when we got there was let us take quick showers. the 2nd thing they did was put us on seperate crews, then they put us in separate rooms. We all had a uncomfortble vibe from the begining but the first night they gave us money to buy some beer and cigarettes and we just partied and started to relx a little. the first cuple days were easy enough but then they sent us out on our own to go door to door and lie to peoples faces and try to talk them into buying magazines that im not even sure they recived. I had trouble lying to people and felt guilty taking their money. One women even tried to offer me money to put in my pocket for my "trip to Europe with my art class from SF state" (what we had to say to the poetential buyers.)I couldnt take it. I felt to guilty. the 5th day working i only made 2 sales and my boss told my "boyfriend" that if i didnt make more sales then he (my "boyfriend") would get his ass beat. He even threatend me, not saying that he was going to hurt me but implying that he could. I tried to save a little money, but we got paid on commision and the boss sold beer, cigarettes, weed and food, so most of the money went back to him. my last day there i blanked (didnt sell any mags) and my boss kicked me out in oakland at midnight. (If you dont know Oakland, its not somewhere a little white girl should be wandering around in the middle of the night.) I ended up getting picked up by pimps and i was never able to find the people i started mag crew with. Long story short. we should have trusted our gut instincts from the beggining. It was an overall horrible experience. It was shady, decietful and eventually scary. to anyone thinkin about joinin mag crew: i know it sounds appealing on the surface. but trust you instincts. its really not worth it.


When I was 16 yrs old, I saw an ad in the local paper. "Teens 16 up to 25" Transportation provided employment with local company. I called the number and the next day, a guy about 25 showed up and gave me something to memorize and told me I would be selling newspaper subscriptions. I thought it would be easy. After school the next day, he picked me up in an old beat up van with 10 other teens in it. We arrived at an apartment complex and they sent us all out on our own to sell subscriptions. It was raining and I had no idea if it was safe but I needed the extra money so I did it. The first weekend we traveled to another part of our state and got dropped off in a neighborhood. The two crew leaders spotted me and decided to pick me up. I rode with them to a gas station where they stole gas. The one crew leader that came to my house the first day started asking me all sorts of personal questions about my body and sex. I was really uncomfortable. On the way home that day we stopped to get beer for everyone. It was a long ride back that day and everyone drank the whole way. I don't know how we made it alive. I stuck out the job for a few more days. Each day was the same ritual, stop get beer, smoke some weed if anyone had it. The last draw was when the crew leader was drunk and drove through someones yard , hitting whatever he could on the way. I never went back. I never got paid. I still see the ads in the paper and I wonder when this company is going to kill someone. Maybe I was to young and dumb to realize how serious it was at the time . Something needs to be done as far as regulating these type of companies.


well i have to start saying that i thought this was the coolest thing in the world till my best friend got pergant and they told her that she had to work (let me say it was snowing outside and 13 degrees). at that point i chose not to go home because i had a bf on crew... nice ya that is what i thought, he was addicted to drugs and we thought all us were helping him but we found out that our mangers the one we trusted were the ones giving him the drugs...

then lets not mention that we were only allowed 20 dollars a day to survive... that was nothing! we ate only fast food and never got to sleep, for my manger use to bust into your room and make us do yager booms. i have so many horrible memories and then i have some good ones... i have made a best friend that i will never forget she is wonderful.. i love her.


Well where do I start - I was 18 at the time, And had just been fired from a job. in Michigan I joined a crew in Michigan and went to Iowa. I was on a crew for training for a few weeks, after that I joined a different crew. The first few weeks with the new manager was ok but after
a few weeks I was getting slapped around at least once a week. because I was not producing any sales. I was really scared of the manager. This went on for about 3 years, until I started producing sales. Most of the people we hired had nothing and were uneducated.

I was with the company for 8 years. I was really brainwashed into thinking that it was my life.

I am now 51 years old that was 25 years ago. It wasn't until 1980 that my mother called the company and said my father was dying and I still didn't want to leave. I finally did leave in 1980 things are better now. while I was on the road I have been in jail, have had guns pointed at me, attacked by Dogs, molested by another crewmember. Physically abused by a manager, and mentally abused by different managers. one manager took me out to a cemetery and told me to pick a tomb stone out. the manager once beat me and said he would kill me and shove me under the hotel bed. I have seen people physically and
mentally abused and thought it was normal. I know of one person who had his jaw broke by the manager.

I still keep in contact with one of my fellow sales men that left 2 years
after I did. I find out a lot of stuff that happened that I didn't know about. We are one of the lucky ones we got out of the business. I am now a computer programmer, and life is good. I keep telling my son not to get into any magazine business.

New Stories 2005


I started working for a mag crew in Oct. of 2000. I was only 18. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but had always wanted to travel and see the country. I thought that this was the perfect oppurtinity to truly be on my own. I was actually approached at the bus station in Dallas by a man who tried to sell me a magazine. When I explained that I was broke and on my way home, he told me that if I was looking for a job and was personable and liked to travel that they would send me a bus ticket. He wanted me to come with him right then, but I decided to make the trip home instead.

After deciding that I could try it and talking to a manager several times, I got on a bus in OKC, Ok and stopped in Amarillo. There, I was picked up, fed and then taken to the motel where the crew was staying. By this time I was terrified. I was assigned a room and then told that there was a sales meeting at 10 am and would be further instructed on what exactly I was going to be doing. There were probably close to 70 mag agents and about 6 managers staying in this hotel. That night as I walked through the halls, I realized that alot of these kids were just like me, and seemed to be having fun. It was a big party....
I had always been blessed with the ability to talk to people fairly easily, and caught on pretty quick. A girl took me under her wing and taught me the ropes, and within three months I was one of the best agents.
All the stories of long hours and horrible working conditions are true. I worked in freezing cold temps, rain, and 100 degree heat. And worked many 12 and 13 hour days trying to meet quota. You were paid on commission. If you didn't sell, then you didn't get paid. It was pretty cut throat. There were many competitions for a bonus. Usually money. I became very close with my crew. I worked very hard, and wasn't getting paid much at all. After a couple months of this, I decided that I deserved a raise. I knew that the money was not in selling door to door, but being a manager and having your own crew. So I demanded that I get a promotion, and after having a writing thirty orders in one day I recieved the promotion. The turnover in the business is very high, and finding new recruits that were willing to endure the long hours, and the high pressure atmosphere was difficult.

After a convention in Waco, where all of the crews came together and tried to outsell each other, I heard a story from the girl who took me under her wing. In Indiana a couple years before, a man had been beaten and left for dead. The crew that I was traveling with was involved and several of them were implicated. I later learned that the man had died and that several of my crew members were wanted for further questioning, including my boyfriend, who was a manager as well. No one really talked about the incident. It was kept very hush hush. In July of 2002 the owner was killed in a boating accident, which was very tragic for the company. I soon realized that it wouldn't be long before the company that I was so loyal to, would soon, I feared, go under. My boyfriend had worked for the company for six years, and was very loyal as well, but we both felt that we needed to find a different company to work for. So in January, we got on a bus with our agents and headed for Arizona. It was there that I found out that I was pregnant. I was also very tired and exhausted. I thought that it would be best for me to go home and start planning for the baby. My boyfriend stayed behind to try and get some money saved.

There were alot of kids who probably endured much worse than I. I learned very quickly that most of the sales that the company made were bogus. I personally wrote very good business, and never mislead any of my customers. I trained my agents in this way too, and if they were caught stealing, or being dishonest, they were fired. I always made sure that they were bought a bus ticket and given plenty of money to make it home. There were several times while I was an agent, that I was attacked. I started to carry pepper spray to protect myself. I had to use it three times. I think that it was a godsend that I got pregnant.
After being home for a couple of months my boyfriend came home. While going to pick up a check, he was pulled over and arrested. He was wanted in connection with the incident in Indiana. It was then that I learned that he was involved as well. After hearing his side of the story, I realized how much of a dangerous situation I had been in. My daughter was born without her father there. He was incarsarated in Indiana, and I haven't spoken with him for several years. As far as I know, the company is no longer in business.

I just want everyone to know that I am not defending any mag crew. There are always a few bad apples in every bunch. And by no means was my experience wonderful. I felt trapped most of the time, but had to much pride to tell my family that I wanted to come home. Coming from a broken home, I also felt these people were my family, and that I had no one else to turn to. Now I realize that in a way, I had found myself in a cult of some sort. There are some decent magazine agents out there. I worked with them. There are also some who abuse these kids, and are very greedy. So please don't be so quick to judge. And if you do have a child, or friend on the road, make sure that they know that they have a choice.




It almost seems like a dream now as i think back on the days i spent lingering in the murky world of the magazine crew.

FUN IN THE SUN! FREE TRAVEL! Those are the headlines you see every now & then in your local newspaper catching the attention of young adults everywhere. But as i and many came to find out nothing is free in this world not even friendship sometimes on the magazine crew.

I started out traveling with a sales group that was based somewhere in the mid-eastern part of the united states. I saw the ad in the local paper & quickly called the number. I had been searching for employment in my hometown for months & so far came up with nothing. The man on the phone asked if i could come to the interview today because they were leaving town that same evening.

At the interview i wasn't asked if i had any prior sales experience only if i had been on a magazine sales group before. It wasn't until later on i found out that these type of crews dont like to hire what they call "ex-agents" because they are aware of what they are getting into and they don't like anyone spreading a "negative" vibe to others. In my experience being with more than one crew i found this to be one of the golden rules, not to be "negative" which means your not allowed to complain at all or the consequences will be severe.

That evening i met back up with the individual who instructed me to put all my belongings into the white van because he was in a hurry to get back to wherever the rest of the crew was which was in another state close by. I remember that feeling i was experiencing at the time
that this was the beginning of a very long journey, to where i had no idea.

When we arrived at the hotel i was pleased to find that almost all of the other crew members were my age, ranging from 17-23, both guys & girls. At first it seemed like this was going to be the most awesome experience ever, however my feelings soon changed as the days went by & my experiences with the magazine crew grew.

I'll sum up the daily routine. You wake up rather early most of the time around 8 a.m. Your expected to be awake, alert, (never caught yawning), & ready to leave the hotel. On most of the crews i was on the "agents" (which are the main sales people not the managers) are given a "draw" which is usually about 10 bucks. The agents are split up & put on separate vans & each one leaves out to different towns most of them miles away from the hotel. First they stop at a resteraunt (sometimes a gas station) so everyone can get something to eat & drink. As you know 10 dollars doesn't go very far after a meal & a drink. Then after everyone has had a chance to eat something each individual is dispersed out of the van in different locations & told when & where to be picked up. I remember a few individuals who didn't heed this & were left behind. I always tried to remember where the hotel was in case this ever happened to me.

An average day usually consisted of four "drops" which were around 3 hours a piece. After the driver picked you up the first thing you were asked was "How many did you get?" If your response was zero sometimes you were verbally abused, sometimes physically, & even sometimes made to sit in the back of the van on the spare tire. This was humiliating & often if you returned to the hotel with no sales your draw the next morning would be revoked. I remember an individual who went without a sale for almost three days, they refused to pay him & he went hungry until another agent gave him some french fries from his McDonald's.

I remember a time when one of the managers in the van persuaded another manager with marijuana to leave an agent. I think at the time we were in new york somewhere & the agent was from Ohio. The manager pulled up the individual in the grocery store parking lot where he had been soliciting and asked him for his "ducket" which was the wallet like carrying case for the receipts each agent carried. He asked the agent how many sales he has & he responded with "nothing". The manager physically struck the agent with his fist & then drove off. I remember seeing the agent as i looked back out the window with that horrified look in his eyes. I never saw him again.

Getting sales sometimes seemed like a life or death situation on the magazine crew. Being left out in the hot sun for three hours with hardly little or no money or sometimes not even a store around turned into a quest for survival. I remember several times i didn't even care if the people at the door bought a magazine or not as long as i could get them to give me a glass of water or if i got lucky i'd get a cold can of pop or juice. Sometimes resorting to tactics like lying & saying you were raising money for college was encouraged. I've never spent a day in college in my life.

Often agents are dropped off in places where its posted that its illegal to solicit which alot of times brought the police. I myself went to jail three times for soliciting. Each time i spent two to three days in jail until my time paid the fine. Not once did the owner or any of the managers post for my bond. Some individuals were left behind due to the fact they wont wait on you while your in jail if they are planning to "jump" to the next location.

To sum it all up the phrase "if it sounds to good to be true it probably is" fits perfectly to this very true story. "FREE TRAVEL" means exactly what says which means they're not going to pay you hardly anything to help them get rich. Most of the owners are very wealthy & some even have limos & fancy cars. The only thing i ever got out of it was street smart experience & a strong desire to come home. The reason they pay such little wages is to keep the agent on his or her toes at all times. If you want to eat you have to sell its the only way. I just hope others can learn from this & think twice before leaving home. Sometimes problems at home don't seem so bad after going through an experience like this.


New Stories 2004 part 2


I was down and out in my home town of Chattanooga, and these 2 girls knocked on my door to sell me magazines. I told them I was broke and they offered me a job. My mom had just remarried for like the 4th time in a couple years, and I had no money, got kicked out of school, and on the road to be killed in Chattanooga. So I said OK. I walked around Chattanooga with 1 of the girls for a couple hours then decided 'what the hell', went home and packed my bags. I left then. They told me they would take me to the hotel to meet some of the other crew and that if I didn't want to stay they would bring me home in the morning. "LIE!" The hotel was in Nashville (a 3 1/2 hour drive) and the next morning at like 6am we jumped to Arkansas. I was on the crew for a long time, and made some of the best friends I've ever had. Our manager would bribe us with Ectasy, acid, peyote, coke, crank, weed, What ever he could get... We would all take it, then go to work the next day at 7am and get back to what ever hotel we were staying at (in what ever city we where in most of the time I didn't know where we were), about 9 or 10pm and spend the rest of our 'free time' either sleeping (which none of us ever did) or just getting messed up on drugs, and alcohol.

I lost my license over "the Crew" our manager had me drive b/c he didn't have a license, and we were "jumping" from Texas to Colorado... Needless to say I wasn't driving "fast enough", and was told to go faster... well I got pulled over in Post, TX and all of (18) got pulled out of the van and searched... They told me I had to go to court the next day, and the manager said he would "take care of it". Well about a month later some stuff went down, and me and 5 other crew members quit. The manager took us to the greyhound station in Denver, dropped us off, sped off and yelled "find your own F**king way home". That was it... There we were 5 17-19 yr old 5 guys, 1 girl... stranded... in November in Denver, Co in 1998... There was about 2 feet of snow on the ground, and we did what we had to to survive. I'm still here, 1 guy went back to crew to find "the love of my life", but didn't find her. He stayed on crew. The other 3 just left one day. I don't know where they went. Haven't ever heard from them again. I stayed in Denver, got my shit together, and am now doing great... own my own web design company, have a wife (whom took me in off the streets in May 1999), and am happy. Would I do it again? Probably not! Am I sorry I did it? NO WAY! I wish I knew what happened to the crew I was on, where they all went, what happened to them. If they need help I wish I knew so I could help them. $20 a day for 14hrs of work is not right. Hell there was a 14 year old girl on our crew. MAGAZINE CREWS ARE CORRUPT! They prey on misguided youth, and use them to get themselves rich.


I worked for a crew and got left until midnight in the ghetto... had guns pulled on me... and never got the money I was promised. The guys actually got a underage girl drunk one night and all waited for her to pass out. Starting with her boyfriend they all took it upon themselves to violate her in any way possible. The crew leaders constantly put you down and called you a "peice of shit". One representative actually told me on the way back to the bus station they "were like the military..." He said they break you down into what they want you to be. This just coming from the guy constantly begging me to watch discusting movies with him, and making me go to "porn shops" with him. It was sick and demented. Working close to 85 hours a week, with little pay, and 5 minute lunch breaks. No chance to even purchase a beverage unless you walked there after being dropped off at you "T". The crew leaders said if we were thirsty we could get a "Jones" to let us in and accomodate our simple needs. IF we were inside it was a guaranteed "Slap", (sale). Sick sick stuff.


I saw an add in the paper so my friend and I decided to apply. We were both hired (not a big surprise) We left the next morning. I was 18 and I knew it all. We left from Del Rio and went to Victoria. My friend and I were immediately split up. Who knows why. I had no idea what we were going to do. The next morning we hit the streets by 08:30 AM The first door we went to, the girl I was with started her speech. She was trying to open some business and I was, to my surprise, also trying to open a business, a daycare center actually . So this poor lady buys a magazine subscription from her. So now its my turn, well I caught on pretty quick. Say what you have to say to make money. Pretty much everything I've read about is true. The sleeping arrangements (lowest sales on the floor) The pay $7.50 a day, the drugs, the alcohol abuse, and the sex within the group. I knew I wanted to get the hell out of there. I knew I didn't belong there. Nobody does. Living like that is disgusting. So many people had STD's and athletes foot. Girls getting pregnant and then forced to have an abortion. What kind of people force you to have an abortion???

I was once taking to the ER for a migraine headache. I spent a few hours there. I was given a shot and told to get plenty of bed rest. Yeah right, We drove from the hospital to a near by subdivision and I was dropped off to make my sales. I can remember days of eating just 1 meal (meals like a burger and fries)

What I want to say is remember the saying if it sounds too good to be true it is!!! Run, don't walk from these people. I finally left after two months. A week after my friend. I was in Cincinnati OH and decided to go home. They tried so hard to get me to stay. When they finally agreed to let me leave they searched my stuff and took back anything I had accumulated in the two months on the road. Strange!! They dropped me off in a bus station at 2:00 AM with no money. It took 2½ days to get home with no food. Just water.

No one should live like this. I have been very successful since my return from the road. I think that was a wake up call for me. I wish I could talk to some of these young people who are thinking about a job like this. It's funny how the managers would make fun of people working at fast food restaurants flipping burgers but those people flipping burgers make more money with benefits, a future and a place to call home!! My prayers are with the families who lost loved ones. God Bless you.


I sold magazines a few years ago. Alot of crazy things happened. My crew leader beat a guy with a tire iron and had one of the agents take the blame. He promised to pay him for doing time, in the end I don't think he got a thing.

The manager who apparently owned the company would rent limos and take all of the (underage) girls out for drinks. He always had a large amount of coke which he freely gave out. Alot of girls got pregnant and were told that they wouldn't be able to survive outside of the crew and were talked into having abortions.

A guy got shot in the head during a bad drug deal in virginia.
There was alot of fighting, underage drinking, ALOT of drugs. Alot of sex, std's went around, everyone slept with everyone. I was so scared to leave, I had to sneak off in a cab real early in the morning. My crew leader came looking for me at the bus station. I was so scared, I hid. I feel really bad for taking peoples money now that I know they probally never received them.


Not sure even how I came to your web site but I guess everything happens for a reason. It is pretty interesting to me how so many people went through the same situations that I went through. As I read through a lot of the stories of things that happened to young people on magazine crews I wonder why there is not more being done to stop the companies that run them. I also wonder if the people who ran the crew I was with are still out there running the same scam they were when I was with them.

I joined a mag crew in 1997 and worked for around a year traveling around California, Oregon and Washington. Luckily when I was ready to go I was in my home state.

I worked for 2 men. Both men were terrifying and violent. Both men also carried thick stacks of cash on them at all times to encourage us to work harder.

I saw many horrible things, the same things you have read in all the other stories. Alcohol abuse, drugs, sex...
I was lied to to join, to stay and to work, and I was taught to lie for the same purpose to keep others around. I ended up attaching myself to the top sales person of our crew and he and I had a relationship for a great part of the time I was on crew. When he broke my heart I left the crew and later found I was pregnant with his child. He left the crew a few weeks later and is now in Prison for DWI related homicide. The ironic thing is the company that supported and essentially turned him into an alcoholic appeared against him at his trial calling him a "bad worker, drug addict and alcoholic". All of those things being true, the men them selves were no different and only testified these things because he had abandoned the crew after steeling what was owed to him on his books.

I now am the mother of an awesome 5 year old girl. I had to be on the crew to become her mom, but otherwise have only horror stories of times I was beaten and pretty much tortured by both managers as well as other crew members.

I wish that there was something I could do legally to help prevent these things from continuing to happen to others.


I answered an ad in MO, (the usual sales pitch, travel and money) and they had a bus ticket ready for me in 4 days. I rode out to california, and there was noone from the company to greet me early saturday morning. The number I called said they won't be open til monday 8am. I'm stuck thousands of miles from home with 20$. I stored my bags for a day and walked the street until I found a golf course to loiter in like a bum. The next day I got money transferred to me from a friend and found a hotel for sunday night. I finally reach them, apologies given, and we went to another hotel where i was debriefed. SOAP. I had no idea what they did before now. I'm not going door to door to sell soap. Everyone there looked shady. The same day,while the crew was still out, I took my bag and walked all the way back to the bus station. I had another job lead with similar promises that I found at the bus station, I tried them because they were much more organized. Within 2 hours I was on my way to san diego. It was a more relaxed, clean, comfortible environment. It was more racially mixed. Out of 13 of us 3 of us, 2 latino, 1 navaho,and 7 caucs. We made money, but not enough to ever be self-sustaining. We worked 10 to 12 hours a day, partied til 11pm and did it all over again for six days. We got paid daily depending on what we sold and can never withdraw over a max during the week. You can get all your money on saturday night. The work sucks and it's dangerous. Popping up at people's doorstep at 8:30 pm can get you messed up if you don't play your cards right. I've gotten into numerous conflicts and thank god he was with me and I got back to MO unscaved. We all knew it was a scam. They'll tell you there is a future if you become a team leader. Yes, they do make money, but those openings are few and far between but they'll still dangle the carrot across your nose. When we were going burb to burb, I ran into at least 6 other groups of people do the same thing. Lot of competition. Don't even do it unless YOU have access to a clearing house!!! Not worth it.


I saw an ad one day for a traveling sales job. I went to the interview and it sounded awesome. They told me how much money I would make and all the famous people I would make. Yes, they said I would meet celeberties. It sounded fun and they kept telling me how sharp I was. The guy also told me how I could win a trip to Europe and $1000.00. Apparently I would get $15/day and get paid on my books every month.

Once I joined I had fun meeting new people but that soon stopped once I was pressured to sell more and more books. I couldn't talk to certain people in the company that were on different crews. Then I started to see all the drugs they were using. Even the owners of the company were using. The nightly meetings weren't pleasant either. If we didn't get a certain number of sales that day we had to attend this meeting and it wasn't helpful. It was the manager yelling and verbally abusing the agents who didn't get enough sales. The managers would be violent throwing agents against the walls and throwing office supplies at the heads of the agents. I've seen a lot of stuff happen while I was on the road from people overdosing on drugs to girls getting raped by other agents or managers.

When it came time for me to stand up for myself and tell the managers I wanted to leave. All they do with people who fold is degrade them and tell them how much of a "weak ass" they are and how easy the job is.

My biggest mistake was joining another crew with people who recently branched out and created their own company. I ended up taking care of a 3-month old baby of one of the managers. While her mom was out getting high on drugs or drinking I was taking care of the baby. She was still breast feeding at this time and refused to buy formula. The road is no place for a baby!!!!! Meanwhile the owner of the company was sleeping with all the female agents. He basically used his power over helpless girls to get what he wanted. Come to find out this company wasn't even associated with a publishing company so we were selling magazines that would never be sent to the people.

When I wanted to leave this crew they told me to "pack my shit and get out of the hotel". They didn't provide me with a bus ticket or the $2600.00 they owed me. I was 2300 miles away from home with no money and had gone hungry for four days already. I ended up selling my stereo and some dvd's along with the dvd player so I could get to a friend's house in the next state.

Also, if you are lucky they tell you that you are an independent agent. Many people don't realize that the company will file with the IRS but not take out the taxes. The agent has to do that. Within the past month I received my tax form from this magazine company and they are claiming that I made more money than I received. These companies are taking advantage of people and are making literally a fortune off overworked agents. These agents work at least 6 days a week and most of the time 12 hours a day.

While I learned many lessons on this trip I do NOT recommend this for anyone. NO ONE should have to go through this abuse. I hope these companies someday will be stopped so agents will no longer be guinea pigs for these millionares.


New Stories 2004


I joined the crew to get away from my home life. ( I didn't relize how good I had it) The crew I was in was tight, if we didn't sell enough we got in big trouble. It seemed to me that we were always changing boyfriends and girlfriends. Working 6 days a week, from 7am to 8pm. Only getting $15 dollars a day to eat with. alot of bad stuff happened on mag crew to much to go into. I left in the middle of the night. didn't look back. I wonder about some of my friends sometimes. Now I am a married mother of 2, who is blessed to be able to stay home. These kids come knocking on my door and I try to slip them $10 bucks and I tell them to call home.


I was 18 yrs old and was sick of being at home and listening to my parents. I saw an add in my local paper and thought hey a chance to leave great! I called and the next day I was on a bus to Phoenix. I thought life would be great. I got to the Hotel and thought hey this is neat everybody seems pretty nice. My first day I got a five zing ( I sold five magazines to one person) My crew boss made it seem like I sold a million magazines. I had a good dinner and a good nights sleep. The next day I did sell one magazine. I went back to the hotel and was already having a bad day, my boss took me into her office and began yelling, I started to yell back. when I walked out of the office 25 minutes later I had one black eye and a broken nose. I also left her with a broken nose and one black eye. The next day the same thing, she also took my cell phone - she said that I didn't need it because my parents didn't care. She obviously didn't meet my mom. The next night while out on the streets
I was badly assaulted and raped luckily I passed out on a phoenix police officers front porch. he fixed me up and took me back to the hotel. I told my boss that I was assaulted and raped. she told me that it happens all the time. The next day I was on a bus back home. thank god my life was spared


I was out of work and read the "fun travel and make money" help wanted ad. I met with the Rolex wearing suave "manager" in a local motel. He spoke of money and travel. Two things that sound good to any 20 year old kid. My first day on the "Job", I went out with an " Agent" from chicago, not five minutes into the day he sits on a porch and smokes a joint. That should have been the first red flag. These crews are fueled by drugs and alcohol. Our manager would reward success with beer. My "Trainer" was the biggest pot smoker on the crew. The manager would threaten us with his raised fist. He would scream at us if we had not sold enough. Being our own boss and making hunderds of thousands of dollars was held in front of us like a carrot. The only thing that comes from these "Jobs" is empty shells. It has taken me years to heal from the abuse I've suffered. If one kid listens to anything, I would say, These people will only show you the worst in life. GO HOME!!!


My significant other and I were needing a job and a way to get out of the city we were living in. We were homeless and penniless. We saw the ad in the paper for "A Cool Travel Job." My significant other had been on a crew before for a week and hated it, but she said they guarentee our way home if we don't like it. We called and talked to this guy we latter called "the keebler elf." He didn't know that we were together, he just said he had to do background checks and call us back. He called us back and said we could be on the way to San Antonio Tx by the next day. We were and when we got to TX we waited in the bus station for 3 hours before getting picked up. Then it took us another 2 hours to get to the hotel. Finally getting there, they found out that we were a couple and they couldn't split us up on different crews. They gave my girlfriend $20 to eat, but forgot to give me any money. The next morning at 8 am we were to go get breakfast. It took us 2 hours just to get breakfast because our driver got lost. Then our managers gave us 30 minutes to get back or else we were going to get 100 off our books. In the rush of things, we ended up getting into a wreck, where everyone was injured but my girlfriend and I. Instead of letting us rest that day, they picked us up from the scene and taking us to change to go to work. They seperated us each day, and tried everything in their power to break us up, because they did not like having couples on crew because there was more of a likelyhood of people leaving together. We stayed on crew for a month before leaving the first time. We were in Baton Rouge, LA where it was raining all day and freezing. We had to work 12 hour days and walk about 6 miles a day in that weather. We couldn't take it so we decided to leave. They took us back to the hotel to pack. Our car handler simply dropped us off, and left. Our managers were not at the hotel, and our keys to our room had been deactivated. We decided to demand our keys be reactivated and go up to our rooms to pack. We waited in our hotel rooms from 12 pm till 6 pm to go to the bus station. When they came back, they loaded our stuff in the back of the "Navi"and took us to the bus station. "Keebler" gave us this lecture about never amounting to anything because we never stick to anything. Finally, we got to the bus station and had to wait another 3 hours for our tickets and bus to leave. When we finally got back to Roswell, we were stuck again, so we decided that we had no other choice but to go back to crew. We called up and they said we'd be able to come back. They sent us tickets to Atlanta GA. We took a 23 hour bus to GA. When we arrived they were supposed to be there, but they forgot we were even comming. Finally they arrived and took us to the hotel, where they seperated us from the get go. Next day we had our normal morning meeting, and off to work. After 12 hours apart, we come back to find out that we were to head out on a SPUR CREW. I was to go on the all girls spur and my girlfriend off to Nashville, TN. Our boss was from Nashville and he was going to take his crew to his parents to go shoot guns and stuff. I cried and felt like going home so soon again because we knew they were trying to break us up. I was gone from my girlfriend of 2 years for 5 days. Finally we got to Nashville and I was so excited to see my girlfriend. Our boss had bought her new glasses and she had her first 10 sale day. By the end of the week she made agent, but I hadn't. We stayed in TN for about 2 weeks. Everyone on crew got along and we were all friends. We occasionally had spats, but nothing too major. The main deal that they cared about was making sales. If you ever came in "blank" or without at least one sale, you got fired.

Everyone tried to get at least one, but one sale didn't pay your bills. The way it was set up was that in your first two weeks they don't charge your books for anything. After your 2 weeks, they give you a 500 dollar bonus. That's when you get 500 dollar start up on your books. Every sale that you made, you got approx. 50% of the "front" which is the amount after the company gets their part. So if your mag costed $53.00 for a one year term and the company gets 45.00 of that, you're left with 8 dollars, which your part is 4. Once you do all the math, if you sell 6, which in terms, pays your bills, then you made 24 dollars in a 12 hour period. Which is the amount you needed to pay for your 10 dollar room charge and the 15 dollars a night they gave you to eat on for that night and the next day. If you don't make enough money, then it gets taken off your books. You are allowed to take anything over 300 dollars off your books, to keep. Also, any cancelation that you have, your charged the amount of the subcription plus 5 dollars. That also gets taken off your books, plus your cancelation print out gets posted on the wall of shame in the manager hotel room for everyone to see. It's humiliating. Then, if you do anything to the managers disliking, he can fine you and take any amount off your books.

They pressured us all to sell so many magazines. They praise you with bonus' and applause when you do well, it makes you want that, because they down you so much when you don't. At one point, I was tired of hearing all the negativity, that I started to make up orders. I would make out phony credit card orders, so I could simply pay my bills every night. While my girlfriend, on the other hand, was selling 10 a day, 6 a drop and so many other wonderful things! . She was able to take 100, 200 sometimes 300 off her books at a time. We managed to save 600 dollars in a month. Our plan was to save as much as we could before we could leave crew again. That's when I got caught on the phony credit card and was fined 200 on my books, which is barely what I had. I basically had 0 on my books, but they didn't fire me because they knew my girlfriend would come with me, and she was bringing them in the most sales.

Finally, we just got tired of being slaves of the head honcho, his fiance who was a psycho puerto rican, and "keebler." They all did nothing all day, but drive around, chill and play video games. We decide to leave, and so did a few other people we knew. We tried to be secret about it, but some people over heard us. So they, the managers, told us that we had 15 minutes to pack everything we could before we had to be out. Plus they refused to drive us to the bus station, because it was only a block away, so we had to carry all our luggage to the bus station in the snowy Columbus, OH weather. Then they refused to give us our bus tickets. I got furious and stated that if they didn't I would call the police. They then processed them. We had 600 dollars to eat and be able to start off back home. They knew this and it upset them. Plus they still had some of our belongings in the room, which they locked us out of. We had so many people, who seemed to love us the morning before, say things like "they should have booted ya'lls asses out last night, in the middle of the night, so no one knew you were gone and couldn't leave with you." They tried to threaten you and intimidate you. Plus, once we left, they never sent us the rest of our money that they owe us. It has been since March of 2004 that we left, and all they have sent us is a holiday picture of the crew in Long Beach California.




My story, well, where to start, i joined a magazine crew because i met this guy waiting at a bus station with my friend, we were going to texas, and he said that we should just go with him, and he asked us if we needed a job, he said that we would make a lot of money,so we decided to go with him, to tacoma washington, from southern oregon.

When we got their we met some of the managers, and got settled. everyone came home from working that night, we met them all, its a long story, to make it short, i worked eight months, fell in love, got heart broken, did a lot of drugs, was abused, in more ways than one, had a misscarage, stranded, ripped off, went to jail for their faults,etc. Everything and more that could happen to anyone person was pretty much compacted into 8 months and i will have to live with it the rest of my life it was a horrible experience.

I have just recently been out, and its just as bad,i dont know if i could say that i regret everything, i think about it all the time, the ending thoughts are never good, it was definitely a page in my life that i will never forget, but my advice to anyone, never ever, join a traveling crew. They are liars, theives, nothing good will come out of it, nothing, i dont really have anything else to say, i would love to tell someone my story, someone who will listen, because no matter how stupid it may seem, being on those crews had really changed my life,, and no one really understands what goes on in them, so, maybe sometime, when i have more time i will write my story,in more detail and you can post it, i think that it will really have an effect on anyones decision to join a magazine crew


Was stranded but have recieved transportation thanks to Parent Watch.

I recently lost my job and needed a place to live and some money, so I joined this "rock-n-roll" job I saw in the want ads. this guy sent me bus money to get to Atlanta Ga, where I joined the crew. I worked Atlanta Ga, Monroe LA, and finally Abilene Tx. Which is where I was stranded. my boss left me outside in 30- degrees weather for 3 hrs PAST my pick up time. and when he finally came to get me he cursed me out for not meeting my Quota, keep in mind this is my 2nd week. So he told me to pack my bags. The next day he drops me off at the greyhound station, refuses to buy me a ticket and tells me to find my own way home. I called the Runaway Switchboard and had them help me out to get home. thanks to them and Parent Watch, the police called the company and the manager showed back up at the greyhound station to buy my ticket. But not after he cursed me out and made threats toward my personal safety and my professional career. Pardon my use of language, but this manager is a dickhead and his company is one big scam. He paid for a trip from here to Florida with 11 transfers and the last stop is still 50miles from my house, knowing I only have $4 in my pocket. I will do whatever I can to bring this scumbag down.







It was fun at first. But the managers were freaks they slept with the mag kids. Thats how some people survive out there. Always was sexual harrasment going on especially towards me. There's this two week period where you don't fraternize so you can focus on business. I was scared of getting raped. They have no respect for women.


Well as usual you know it sounds like a perfect thing to do travel, sell mags, and meet new people. but thats not what it really is. i loved it at 1st i was the new girl. they took care of me the 1st 2 weeks i was there, but after that i was fending for myself. it wasnt what they make it out to be.

When i got hired, it was out of "T". so when i went there it looked good when u get hired off of "T" you become a powerful seller. well i guit my job about 10 times the whole long 9 months i was there. but i couldnt even get out of the hotel. they needed me bad even when they say ur replacable. ha yeah right, but so my plan was to wait till christmas so i could get my money off my account, and come back home. i was gonna sneek out and buy a bus ticket. somehow my manager found out and i was really negitive that morning, he was yelling at everyone and shit, but n-e-wayz we were jumping to a diff. hotel. he drops me off @ a hotel???? who knows where??? tells me to find a ride, and my own bus ticket home. bus station was about 45 mins away i got there tho. best believe he bought that bus ticket for me too. mag crew is crazy, sex, drugs, rockandroll, road rules without the camera


Basically it all started out as an ad saying "cool travel job". Well, to make a long story short, I decided to do it, and they asked me about some info, like how tall are you, what do you look like, and how outgoing are you, then gave me a conformation number. I got on the bus the next day, then got to Idaho 3 or 4 days later.

Within my first week, people were hyping it up like they were making massive money, but had nothing to show for it. (Obviously something told to do by the manager) Well, just like every other story I had heard out there, we worked long hours, in strange parts of town, not knowing where the hell we were. If cops showed up, we were told basically blow them off and keep selling after they left. After about 12-14 hours, we would go back to the hotel,and we would figure out how much money we made, and what we made for the company. We only got $20 a night, which was taken off our "books", and then more was taken off for the hotel, and we also got "fined" when we were late for meetings, or if we didnt sing a crew song, or even if we didnt tell them what they wanted to hear. We went to Idaho, Las Vegas, New Mexico, Washington, Arizona. It has been 3 months since I have worked for this company. They claim the money I made is still on the "books", and they will send it out when they feel like it. That is NOT an exaggeration, those are exact words. Using the way they figure things out, I have figured out that I should have at least 500 or 600 dollars coming my way. Let's see if anything does. I pulled about $6,000 dollars total off the streets in about two months, not subtracting commission or ANYTHING. Six grand, by just going up to people's doors and making them like me. I feel bad for anyone who falls for this:
"COOL TRAVEL JOB.MAKE LOTS OF $$,TRAVEL.TRAVEL AND LODGING PAID FOR.$500 SIGNON BONUS.1-800-WE-RIP-U-OFF" Oh, and by the way, the signon bonus is what they use to get you there, and pay for your first two weeks of "paid training". Good luck to anybody who decides to pursue this route. You are going to need it.


I hate where I live because theres no Jobs. One day I was looking in the paper and saw this ad that caught my eye so I replied to it as a joke really. I went to it and I was hired on the spot I had 2 in a half hours to pack my stuff up and say my goodbyes. When my parents dropped me off I got in a car with the guy who hired me and left for Chicago. He told me what I would be doing and also assured me if I wanted to go home or needed to go home I would be able to so I was alright with it of course.

When I got to the hotel in Chicago I met everyone it was cool the next day I was on "T" with another girl who had been there for three months. I loved it for the first month in a half because everyone was awsome. Then my "car handler" started being a jerk, I have actually seen him pull girls out of the car telling them to get back on "T". I also saw him pull males out of the van and push them around till they fell. I can honestly say I only sold as many as I did because I was terrified of my car handler and boss. after two months of this I told my boss I wanted to go home he said okay go pack your stuff so I did. He had someone else take me to the bus station at midnight and leave me after they bought the ticket I was at the bus station for 12 hours waiting for my bus.


My experience with a mag crew is both positive and negative. I started when I was 17 and my boyfriend had left to travel with this crew. He called me and said he missed me and wanted me with him. Little did I know they (management) paid him to recruit me. They split us up almost immediately.

I met the recruiter at a fast food restaurant while my parents hesitantly let me go to "travel for the summer." The Jr. manager that drove me on the hop to Texas was sweet and taught me a lot. She "stemmed" or picked up orders at gas stations and I was amazed at how she could sell like that. My first couple of days were interesting. You said things that you didn't know you couldn't say, talked about things you weren't allowed to talk about and the older agents instructed you as to what you could and couldn't do. For example, you could not talk about your families or friends back home. Their reason, you might make someone sad and then they wouldn't be able to focus while on "T" or territory they were working. Another example was not being allowed to go anywhere alone or being able to call your family unsupervised. This I was told was for my own safety or to protect me from my family who might bring me down.

I quickly became the top sales agent on my crew, never coming in without quota for the week. I was making a lot of cash and also money on the books. I ate at convenience stores and fast food all over the country and started smoking. Where you went, when you ate, where you slept was decided for you. Everything was decided for you and all the time you were told you finally were free and in charge of your own life.

I remember a lot of "Joneses" I met and their interesting ways of life. I met a Polygamist in Utah and talked to his multiple wives as to how they lived. I had a couple of really dangerous experiences also, one that almost caused me to "fold" or quit. I had gone up to the door on this long country stretch and found an old man inside. I thought he was a grandfather by the toys in his front yard. He was not. He locked the door behind me and the turned back on the video he was watching. It was pornography. He started trying to get me to watch it with him while I kept trying to give him my pitch. I was scared. I broke through his screen door and ran from the house while he chased me with a shot gun. I ran down the road and then through the woods. I could hear him looking for me. After a while I got up and went to find the other agent who was working back towards me on this country road. When we were picked up by the car handler, I told him what had happened. ! I was told not to tell anyone else and that he would take care of it. About 3 of the guys went to the old man's house and I can only imagine what they did to him. I didn't want to know. Come to find out this guy was the town pedophile.

After this happened I was really upset. I wanted to leave and wasn't allowed. After those kind of experiences I couldn't sell, I was sick and scared. They would put you under a 24/7 watch, which means there was an agent assigned to you 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week until you were back to normal or "got your head out of you a**". It would have been fine if they were there to support you, but most of the older agents were abusive "for your own good." I learned that you can't beat them, so you might as well join them. It only took a couple of days for me to get my head straight and back to the top I went.

A couple other incidents remain significant to me... a drive-by shooting in Compton where I had been dropped off the day the welfare checks came in. And also while knocking doors at around 9pm one night, I found two little girls crying and scared, they didn't know what was wrong with their dad. I came in to find him not breathing and called the paramedics. He had had a heart attack.

Soon after joining the mag crew, I became a trainer and an older agent and later a car handler. It's hard not to take out the pressure you are under on a newer agent. You are responsible for their training and for "putting them across in the business." If they don't do well or are weak, you push them until they fold. I saw kids beaten up, left on the side of the road. Agents would also get in fights with "the Jones" all of the time. Then we would all be picked up by the police for not having a permit and put into a holding cell and picked up by management later. I had a fake ID and media credentials.

Your status on the road is measured by your quota. You don't sell, you sit in the back, sleep on the floor and have barely enough money to eat. You sell, you are treated with respect, could have car privileges, were allowed to party. I went to the fights in Vegas at Caesars, spent my 18th birthday in Tijuana, Mexico. They bought me clothes, jewelry, took us out to nice dinners, etc. I met really interesting people. I saw the most beautiful cities, the desert, the mountains. I saw most of the country on foot, the way most tourists never see it. I enjoyed that. We even had a crew house in San Diego. We would always come back to the crew house and it was like a reunion. The crew was your family.

The focus was always on positive thinking and the chain of commands. Drugs were not a part of our crew whatsoever. We weren't even allowed to take aspirin. We were brainwashed by long sales meetings that lasted until the middle of the night and then had to get up early and sell for 12 hours a day. It became an obsession with getting quota. It was so stressful at times that I would literally pull out my hair and smack myself.

The longer I was on the road, the more I was exposed to. I found out the my manager, whom I looked up to, was sleeping with some of the girls. Luckily he never attempted this with me and the other ones he saw as daughters. He had wives and ex-wives, alias' and a lot of children of all ages. When you are new to the crew, everything is kept secret. We even had our own language. You begin to see everyone in the world as an outsider who wouldn't understand your way of thinking. The crew was your family and you saw people or "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" as nothing more than targets. We laughed at those "stupid" people who had the white picket fence, the 2.5 kids and the dog. We didn't want to be anything like them. They were inferior to us, our way of life and we used them. This way of thinking along with motivation and control by fear is what keeps most people in.

Also, the way they spoke of "folded" agents made you never want to be one. It was drilled in your head, they were pieces of sh*t who would never amount to anything in their life, while we were going to have our own crews one day and be rich. Group think ruled the crew. You were scared to not agree with everyone else, so you faked it.

Finally while betting horses in Vegas one day, another agent told me he wanted to fold. They were forcing him to marry a Jr. manager because management had decided they were a good match. They had also decided this with me when I first joined and had instructed an older agent to "put me across in the biz." Basically make this girl feel special and tell her you want to build a life together and be managers together. Again, everything was decided for you, while you were busy thinking you were in control of your own life.

Of course you were never allowed to show any public affection and other agents could not know who your boyfriend or girlfriend was because sometimes we were told to flirt with newer agents and make them feel special so they would have a really big day, sales wise. Sick, I know... Also we had a saying "out of sight, out of mind" which meant you were not to think about anything in the past or anybody you were not with at the time. People would just disappear randomly and you were not allowed to ask about them, the answer was always the same "out of sight, out of mind..." And as soon as management realized you were "with" someone, unless it was a management instructed match, they split you up for good. You maybe saw them occasionally when we hopped in to the crew house, but you never knew until we got there if that's where we were going. Then if both of you had your quota in for the week, your significant other could ask management if you could "Plan X"! or leave in the middle of the night with the other couples and sleep in your own hotel room with your partner and then return early enough so the other agents didn't miss you.

At times there was physical and mental abuse, I will say that it taught me respect for authority and made me stronger. I was very lucky that nothing bad happened to me and I was able to sell magazines by my childlike enthusiasm and nothing more. We did have some fun times living like a weird sort of Brady Bunch, but all in all I wouldn't want my children in this environment. I was really close to the other agents and "folding" was a really hard, depressing time as I had to get used to being alone and not with 20 "family" members everywhere I went. Even today being alone is often a struggle.

Luckily when I folded I had the other agent with me and if it weren't for him who knows how I would have gotten out. He had been there a lot longer and knew what to do. I didn't get all of my stuff or any of my money on the books, but I was glad to be out. Of course at first you wonder if you did the right thing, but if you go back they would have moved us to another crew and I didn't want that. Also, once you decide to leave it is amazing how you cannot sell anymore. I would have come in "blank," or with no sales, if I hadn't folded that day and that would have been a first for me.

That's my story. I have been out for 9 years and am 28. Have 2 kids and am a mortgage broker. I always buy magazines from the people that come by, because I swore that if I ever got out I would never say no to them. Everyone thinks you are just a kid in a contest, no one has any idea how much depends on your sales and in a lot of cases your safety. Finally I felt writing this would give me closure to this chapter of my life. I miss some of the agents I met and regret some things that I did and things that were done to me. I am happy for some of the experiences I did have. I learned a lot. It changed my life.

More Articles...

Page 1 of 14