Older Agent Stories

JB

I started selling magazines back in the late eighty's at the age of eighteen. I remember reading the ad in the newspaper and it said "rock n roll" atomosphere entry level,travel,great pay.Well i had just turned 18 and needed a job because my parents where about to throw me out of the house.I interviewed at a hotel (quality inn) on brookpark in Cleveland.

The company had been in the business since they were teenagers.They where very flashy people who flaunted alot of gold,cars,vans,and boats.I thought this was the greatest opportunity for me to become successful.I was hired on the spot and was told to be back the very next day with my luggage.

I met the crew and we all went to dinner that night. Everyone had a go getter attitude.The next day the owner took us out in his boat to go waterskiing, I thought to myself this is the best job in the world.

magazine crews work a 6 day work week monday through Saturday.The work day begins by everyone waking each other up, oh by the way if you are a new guy you get to sleep on the bed for the first 3 days, after that it goes by your production.If you are the low man then you get to sleep on the floor.I spent many nights on the floor.Usually we would have 3 to 4 people in a room.We generally would spend 2 to 4 weeks in a city.

After everyone wakes up we all go to breakfest together.Everything was always done together.After breakfeast we go back to the hotel to have a motivational meeting which involved practicing are pitch to one another.This would last for about a half hour.One my first day I went out with a trainer he handed me a pitch that I was to use as a guideline to sell magazines.It went something like this: Hi my name is ____ and im going around your neighborhood to get all your neighbors to vote for me in this years communication contest.

I was trained not to sell magazines but to act like a kid in a contest and this is the last week of the contest and all i need is 3 more people to back me up with votes and ill win 1000 dollars and a trip to Cancun.Well we all load up in 2 to 4 vans and every carhandler is given a territory to work.Everyone heads into a different direction.When we arrive at the territory they tell you and another person that this is your territory get out of the van 1 person works one side and the other works the other side.The carhandler will be back to check on you every 2 hours.On my first day I went to 3 doors with a trainer then he cut me lose to do it on my own.I had never gone door to door before i was very scared.He told me to tell them that it was my first day and to bear with me.Well i did not get any sales my first day but i basically had to develop my own pitch so i could sell these darn magazines.I am now 35 years of age and I can tell you that it literally screwed up my life.

I sold mags for 4 years, and then chemicals for 2 more.The money was not great.They give you just enough money to keep you there and prevent you from leaving.I had no other place to go so I was stuck. It made me become a con artist,and a bullshiter.I become very good at it though.I became a very good acter that I would run from house to house(cause all the neighbors are watching you as you go from house to house) Running from house to house got my fired up.I would knock on a door out of breath so Miss Jones could see that I was very motivated in winning this contest.

I used many tactics for getting in people's house.Once a person let me in their house they where sold,especially a house wife.I craved over young housewives because they love to buy things when their husbands are at work.I also got arrested about 30 times.usually I would get arrested for soliciting without a permit.I have probably been stopped by the police 500 times to ask me what im going and present id.Talk about imbarrassing.

 

 

MB

I worked on many magazine crews back in the late 80's and early 90's and nearly been to all fifty states. I started off working door to door then after I got good at it I became a stemer. A stemer is where you work strickly parking lots, and malls. I also consider College dorms as steming cause I could pitch a entire group at 1 time. I also would con my way in military bases.We always worked no matter how bad the weather was.They always told us that rainy days are quota days. I encountered many situations while working in magazines. If I got arrested the first thing my manager would ask me was how many did you get? If it was not satisfactory then he would leave me sit in jail for a couple of days.

Once i got bailed then we would pack up and head to another city, so therefore I would have to skip bail. I left a huge trail of warrants for my arrest. I have been experdited by airplane 3 times, arrested 30 times,spent 3 years in prison. Left to be homeless a few times. My manager was a raging alcoholic who did not tolerate non productive days. My quota was 20 sales a day, which most of the time is impossible to do.There just wasn't enough time in the day.

We would work from 9 am to whenever.I would have to knock on doors at night time if quota was not met.I watched many people come in to this business,and leave after the 3rd day.I can't say i was ever given a bus ticket, but I was left on territory many times.I would have to walk back to the hotel.This would usually happen when i was having a bad day,or I missed my pickup.There where many days when i would not get a draw at night or maybe i would get a 5 dollar draw which I would have to eat on till the next night.3 meals 5 dollars will not happen.You where treated as a postitute.You could have a good day and you still only get a 10 dollar draw because everyone else had a bad day, and they would tell us that we need to pay our bills.My manager spent his day on the golf course, or at the hotel to recieve phone calls from the carhandler to bitch him out.

Their was alot of verbal abuse, and physical abuse.They knew I had no other place to go so they had me by a rope.There was alot of partying and sex on crews.Every crew had different rules.One of the managers I worked for sent me money while i was in prison for a year, then the day i got out sent me a bus ticket in Florida to get right back to work.I could not get away from this it was my life.Everytime I tried they would influence me with money,or a vacation, or give me a crew.I never liked working as a car handler it was too many bodies to keep track of.Once I got pulled over in a neighborhood with expired license they ran a check on me and i was wanted in 3 states Virgina,Florida,Ohio all for failure to appear in court, and fraud.Thats why I liked to work parking lots, and Malls. I could run around and lose the police, or mall security.When your in a neighborhood their is no where to run, except Miss Jones house.

There were many times when I would forget about the contest and just con my way into someones house just to avoid getting arrested.I got to the point where I could tell you what kind of people lived in a house by the cars they drived, the condition of the house,color,lawn,and so on.I had many fallouts with different managers that I would jump from company to company.I do have to say that i would run across people a year later, and they actually got their magazine.And of course some didn't.The ones that didn't where the ones that the salesman pocket the money, and did not write up the receipt.If I knew someone was going to pay by cash and they where dumb or young I would just pocket the cash.Young girls in the parking lot would be in a hurry to go shopping that they would hand me cash.By the time they figured that they needed a receipt i was long gone.This is what this business pushed me into doing.I needed to eat.If someone told me they did not want a magazine I would ask for a small donation.

I have probably logged a million miles on foot.Saturday night was always payday.You would get the remaining money that you did not take a draw against.My pay would be anywhere from 5 to 200 dollars for the week. Sometimes I would work all week and get 5 dollars.Your money goes strickly to food,cigerettes,drugs.

I never really had a money to buy clothes.We always borrowed each others clothes.Since their where so many people coming and going you would get alot of your stuff stolen.everyone carried trunks with their belongings.It was like living in the circus.

I had many sexual encounters going door to door.I had many encounters with females, and housewives.There were times when i gave my pitch and in 10 minutes was having sex with a complete stranger.You never know who's behind those doors.

I had many men touch me and put me in a situation where I was unable to leave the house unless i would fight back.There are alot of crazy people behind those doors.I watched many girls on our crew get assaulted by men.Ive seen girls get raped in the hotel rooms.

My manager did not care if you slept in a girls room,as long as you produced.I found that couples on crew would not produce well.If you lived in a apartment chances where we where going to hit you hard on Saturdays.Are manager liked us to work apartmens on Saturday cause usually there was not a manager on property,and you could get your quota early and be back at the hotel early.You had pickups every 2 hours and if you where not on the corner by that time they would just leve yo their in the neighborhood.There where times that i would knock on every door on the street and not get a sale they would make me knock on the same doors again till i got a sale.You have to stay motivated 10 hours a day.You have no private time.Everything is done as a group.Even on my day off I had to take new people under my wing and talk magazines.You live and breath magazies.Usually we would hop to another city on are only day off, never on a week day.We even worked on holidays except for Christmas, which was usually are vacation.We would stay at a nice resort for Christmas.This was the money that we put into the kitty all year long.It was kind of nice cause people would work for a couple of months and quit so the money would stay in th kitty.Of course th money disappeared many times.Or if someone needed to get bailed out of jail they would take the money out of the kitty.Sometimes we would go to a city with multiple crews and there would be alot of competion.

Our crew ranged from me being the only person to 40 kids on crew.That was crazy cause then they would sleep us 4 to 6 in a room.It was like one big slumber party.I never did get alot of sleep when we got back in the evening we would all go as a group to diner and then practice are pitch at the hotel.If you where a top seller you had to take a group of people to practice your pitch this would last sometimes till 10 or 11.

I would not recommend anybody to try this type of work.It is very stressful.You are also not allowed to bring your car caus they don't want you going off somewhere by yourself.

 

 

M

magazines and chemical sales go hand in hand. Chemical sales is the same type of business. I found it was easy to sell chemicals cause you had to deminstrate the product. I worked for a company by the name of Hypro chemical corp.We would carry a small water bottle of a concentrate mostly water and go door to door demenstrating this chemical.I believe 1 gallon would cost 20 dollars. We tried to sell it by the case a case would be 6 gallons.We would work the territory and then every 2 hours drop the stuff off to the costumer.It was better than magazines because they didn't have to wait 90 to 120 days to recieve product.It worked the same way as magazines same bullshit.I have read all these stories an I can relate to all of them.I walk away from this business without a nickel to my name.I am 35 and finally getting my life together.
   

J

my story begins in ashville nc,where everything was cool I actually thought I would make lots of money only to find out I started at 20 dollars a day, and if you didnt have quota you only got 5 dollars a day.

The day after I got there we jumped to tenn,where we were expected to work in rain,snow,and sleet,it was terrible. I had places on me from where the hail had hit me so hard,and once in ohio,my manager dropped me off in a assisted living neighborhood,and I thought i was making a sale until things went bad the man invited me in then slammed the door,threw me against it,and unzipped my clothes,I got out fortunatley,my manager came and got me and told me to suck it up and move on,and he dropped me in another neighborhood,i cried 2 days straight,then all of his agents were laughing,and all they could do was sit there and experience their drugs. I told my manager I was fed up with it,so he told me he had a bus ticket and go home,only thing is he dropped me off at the bus station with no bus ticket,its a scary thing to go through!

 

 

GN

I worked on a magazine sales crew. I found the "Opportunity" when two of my friends called me and invited me to join. I figured they have been doing this for about a month and they liked it alot.

I spoke to the manager for the first time the next day. I was told how to pickup my bus ticket to get to where they were staying and I arrived the next day.

That week we were told of a hop to Ensenada, Mexico for a celebration of the new "Contest" and to announce the winners of the last one. The trip was very fun and I thought that I was going to have a great time based on talking to the other 1,000 people there.

I noticed the general idea was work hard all day, party all night, no matter what night it was. As long as we brought in sales and were at the meeting in the morning everything was OK.

A little different than most crews, we were given $20 a day to live off of. This counted for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and of course it came off your "Books".

In the morning we would all wake up and had to be at meeting at 9:00 AM sharply. We would all take bets and have competitions using your spiel to outdo someone elses. Around 10:00 AM we would go to breakfast and we were out selling magazines by 10:30.

Usually I was alone, however, once a week I could convince the driver to let me go with someone else. There was about 6 drops a day. 3 before lunch and 3 after. No one in our crew was every denied lunch (Unless they had no money). When we arrived back at the hotel we got to check in our daily sales with the manager and the owner. The owner of the company used to drink alot of hard alcohol and was addicted to pills so if you had a bad day you got yelled at for about 20 minutes. We called it an Absolut ass chewin because he drank only Absolut Vodka. I was one of the best on crew so I never expericened on of these but I got to watch about 50. If the crew all had a bad day we were sat down in a room and the manager yelled at us one by one over the loudspeaker. One day on "T" or territory I developed an ingrown toenail and had to go to the emergency room. I got a prescription for Vicadin after the visit and my boss told me to give him half of the bottle for paying for the visit. I came to find out that he never paid for the visit and I was charged for it after I got home. There were good parts about traveling though. We got to see both oceans, and all the good parts in between and there were new girls coming in and out of crew weekly. The fact is that the attitude of people towards you on a mag crew changes daily based on the sales you bring in. I finally decided to quit my sales time after 11 months and was told I got $200 for a 4 day bus ride home. The manager told me after all the cancellations and the fees I had to pay thats all the money I have after 11 months. I am now 21 years old and the memories of my venture will always be with me but the constant memory that comes up is how bad the whole magazine sales lifestyle is. I know that my story may not change someones mind about joining crew but I will let you know that when you return home (And you will return home) you will fell like you have accomplished absolutely nothing! Thanks for reading my story.

 

To the parents that have kids selling magazines. Please, I mean PLEASE let them know that the ONLY people profiting from this is the owner of the company. Please help your kids come home!

 

-My hopes and prayers go out to the families and friends that had to go through losing a loved one to a mag crew. I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL.

 

   

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