Older Agent Stories

Another B

I traveled with the company involved in the crash in Wisconsin. The driver in that crash was my good friend for the whole time I traveled. We had some found memories together. Luckily for me I quit the business in Florida about a month prior to the accident. Two of the people in the crash I knew very well. Fortuantly for them they were among the survivors. I also worked for another company about a year later as i was stranded in CO.

I can for surely say I would NOT recommend joining a magazine crew or any traveling crew for that matter. The promise of tons of money are very far-fetched, unless you have a knack for it, and move up into the management very quickly. You most likely will spend your days going door to door stressing over sales, and constantly hiding from apartment managers and the police. (Due to soliciting rules in practically every place you go). All in all, I can say it was an experience, I met alot of people, still keep in touch with some, but do not advise it, no matter how bad you think you have it where you are.

There is little help to get back on your feet, because once you join and then decide to quit, you are going to be put on a bus back home with little or no money. They will tell you they have to wait for "bad business" before they give you ALL your money. Again, not recommended.

As for the fatal crash in Janesville, hmm.. tears come when I think about it. My good friend is now responsible for the death of 7 people. 7+++++ families changed forever, because of one irrational decision. I feel very lucky that my girlfriend and I quit in Daytona Beach when we did, otherwise both of us most likely would have been involved in that accident. In closing, IT IS NOT WORTH IT and all the talk of traveling and getting to see the country. Thats just riduculous, you see different doors of apartment complexes all over the U.S. Thats not traveling. And honestly after awhile everywhere seems the same because you are running constanly 6 days a week from at least 8 in morning until 8 at night.

 

 

AM

My story is really long and it kills me to write it all out..and it would take awhile to tell you everything that happend in detail. In only 3 months..the longest 3 months of my life I have seen way to much. My first month was cool. we had alot of agents on crew so there was money being made..only if you made your quotas. Afterawhile memebers left and it went down hill from there. No one was really making any kind of money and they money that was made was used on Drugs and Alcahol. Every single night and day. Yes you heard my right..carhandlers would be driving agents off during the day and picking them up while they were drinking and smoking pot in the car.

Some agents would be also. I always feared for my life. My manager never did this though. She never did any drugs.. Just drank occanisonally at night. The other managers that we joined up with were really bad. Taking the agetns money to go get them pot and spending it on there crack habbits

Once I was driving for one of the managers cause me and my friend from home were the only 2 with liscences..my manager didnt even have one..well he made me drive him down to the gettho in crack town so he could pick up some weed. This is insane..I hated it but was affraid to leave. Me and my friend almost got raped out on T(territory). People listen to me..dont join any crew..they dont give a shit about you..it's like a sweatshop..they sit back while you bust your butt to bring in the cash for them. I've seen agents get verbally knocked down and physically. When you get hurt it doesnt matter, they dont give a damn. If your not dead then your expected to work. No matter what. I really hated this..yes I made some friends..but very few and I hope they have left also.

These people harbor criminals wanted in differnt states. Shit the managers are criminals themselves. Parents please do what ever you can to keep your children from joining one of these "crews"..they brainwash you and to this day I'm still messed up from it. I'll never forget everything that has happend on "MAG CREW"

 

 

Toni

My nephew just joined a crew. His dad asked me to write down my advice. Here's what I told him:

I did it for a 2 years, and was good enough that people all over the country had "heard of me." I was, temporarily, somewhat of a legend. Here are "the things that they do not tell you."

BAD STUFF

  • Living will be absolutely communal. You will be in a room with 2-3 other people. You will have to share a bed. Anything that is valuable will be stolen if you do not keep it on you and/or well hidden. There will be absolutely no privacy. I recommend super industrial strength condoms; magazine crews are notoriously promiscuous (even though there is nowhere private to have sex).
  • You will be paid daily, in cash, just enough to eat. I got $10 per day at the beginning. That was 16 years ago, but you get the idea. As you get better, the daily draw will rise significantly, but it takes a while. If they are making you think you will eventually have a draw good enough to afford a private hotel room, forget it.
  • Your "earnings" are on paper. You can, theoretically, cash them out at any time. But the crew boss will charge you for part of your hotel expense, and anything other extra they claim to have to spend on you. I don't know anyone who left with more than a couple of hundred dollars. I left penniless, and was one of the absolute top producers for the entire company.
  • You will work 10 - 12 hours a day, six days a week. You usually will not get a lunch break, and if you do, you probably don't have any money to buy lunch with. If you do not make quota, you will be required to attend an evening meeting after dinner break. Sleep will not be something you do much of. When I left, I weighed 120 pounds (I weigh 180 now).
  • This is not a good place to get away from drugs. There were lots of addicts on my crew at one time or another. The crew attracts people who want to leave town quickly. They were not, in general, an especially honest bunch.
  • You will be subjected to brainwashing. I am not exaggerating; I both was the recipient and the giver. And it is NOT all bad...when brainwashing is used to make you more confident and to avoid negative thinking, it's a good thing. But it is also used to make you less likely to dwell on the negatives of the living and working environment and call your mom to wire bus fare. You are "not allowed" to talk about certain things that they perceive as negative: whomever has "folded" recently, who's in jail, how lousy your day was, etc. It was the hardest part of it for me at first, although I became very good at it later.
  • When you quit (and you will, eventually) they will go to great lengths to talk you out of it. You will be made to feel worthless and weak if you walk away.
  • You will be operating on the edge of the law. Selling magazines is not illegal per se, but there are towns, counties, and neighborhoods with local ordinances against direct sales, or that require licensing processes that are too lengthy and expensive for most crews to bother with. These are usually the most profitable places to sell because they are less heavily worked! But people do call the police. I was never arrested or even apprehended by civil authorities (the MP's got me a few times, but they usually only send girls into military bases), but I am not 6'5" tall, and was able to become invisible pretty readily. I have hidden in dumpsters, stairwells, on roofs, in parking garages, etc. to evade police.
  • People who answer doors are mostly pretty nice. Even in New York City; I had record high days in Queens. But every so often you get a stinker. And I am not just talking about rudeness. Every crew member who has been there any length of time has seen a drawn gun. Everyone has had a dog set on them. Every girl I know who did this for any length of time received sexual overtures to some degree. Many have been raped. I myself was grabbed a few times and flashed a lot. The guys were often accused of coming on to the women who answered the door. Everyone has been accused of "casing the joint" for later buglarly, if not actual theft. Sometimes, no doubt, the accusers were right. If they've told you that you will mostly work business and parking lots, it may eventually be true. Only hot sellers become "stemmers," who work out in the open, and this is ALWAYS illegal and draws a lot of police notice.

GOOD STUFF:

  • I saw the USA up close and personal. I saw places and things I would never have seen otherwise. I got to know local people everywhere. I met celebrities.
  • I will never, ever be afraid of anything again.
  • I learned more about controlling a conversation, sales, and negotiations than 500 seminars could teach.
  • In between the miserable stuff, I had a lot of fun. When you are having a good day and everyone is buying, it's a great feeling.
  • I built up my personal self-confidence about 300%.
  • It got me to California. I never would have had the confidence to move 3000 miles without it.

MY CONCLUSION: If I had to do over again, I'd probably decide against it. I learned a lot and saw a lot, but to this day, I have nightmares about the crew. Bad ones.

 

   

Tabby

I jumped on in June of 1997. We saw a "Fun in the sun" ad and I had just been evicted from my apartment. I had nothing better to do, so 2 friends and I went to a hotel room to meet w/ the ad runner. It was like a whirlwind and suddenly I was on a greyhound to Detroit. I realized later that I had been "slapped".

The first night was wonderful! We went to a bowling alley and got tore down drunk. Someone was always coming up to say Hi or share a bowl. I thought I had found my calling.

My first day on territory was OK. I had a girl walk me around and show me the ropes. It seemed simple enough. The whole philosophy of the company I worked for was, "I'm just a kid in a contest!" I can't say who I worked for because of a stupid confidentiality thing they made me sign.

My first day on my own I had a working car handler get me my first sale and after that I just kinda took off and sold 9 subscriptions. Everyone was real psyched and I felt incredible. They kept saying I was gonna be a "power agent".

When I got back to the hotel, I got a tidy draw and listened to the manager belittle everyone in the crew for being outwritten by a new girl. That was my first hint something was not right. As time went on, I didn't get as many sales, but I always high-termed everyone, so I still made plenty of money for the company. Sales were everything on mag crew. Even down to where you sat in the van! The front seat was coveted, it meant you controlled the radio AND got to smoke. The 2nd row was the comfort zone you got to smoke there too, but the 3rd and 4th rows were the disgraceful ones. Some of the agents wrote "dirty" business. Which encompassed everything from performing sexual acts to lying and saying U were from the local college and/or high school.

Every morning would start with a "motivational" meeting. Which consisted of chanting different sales slogans like "Start the day off right" We were told it was to pump us up. But in hindsight it seems to more closely resemble brainwashing. You were to shun those not making enough and retire to your bed at 10 pm if you didn't get 7 sales. There were also "games" they played to keep us "sharp." There was this thing that if you said can't, the nearest crew member would give you a geeb, which hurt like hell.

There were a lot of drugs on crew. The all time drug of choice was weed, which was OK w/ the bosses. But a few of the members got into crystal meth and one 15 year old kid was actually hospitalized from use. There were people who got hammered every night, spent their entire draw on beer.

Women were very sought after on crew. The ratio was about 8 guys for every girl. Relationships were not forbidden on my crew. God forbid you get pregnant though. I remember a girl getting an abortion through managerial coercion and selling mags the very next day.

My heart stopped when I heard about the crash. I myself have driver switched on several occasions and I did not have a license either. I see now it could have been me.

There was a wreck on our crew in WA state. This girl I knew was driving people to their drop site and right after she dropped me she got in a pretty nasty wreck. She sent someone who was standing by to find me. So I spent the rest of the evening contacting the crew boss, and getting everyone to the hospital. And could you believe when the boss's husband got to the hospital (4 hours later) I was yelled at for only having 5 sales! He actually asked me why I didn't try to sell while I was in the hospital waiting to see if my friends were OK!

The 12 hour workdays and 6 day workweeks were rough but everything was OK until Utah, where everything began to fall apart. The car handler that started my first day and I got together. We were in love instantly and inseperable. The managers were happy about it at first. Until I started asking too many questions. I started to realize how little money we were making for the amount of work we did. Little bits were also disappearing from my books here and there. I was also tiring of having my self worth based on the number of magazines I sold. I began to share my concerns with my boyfriend. Turns out he agreed with me. We began making plans to save all the money we could and jump off together. As with all secrets on mag crew, the word eventually got out about our plans. That's when my manager turned on me completely. I was dropped off in the most hopeless, stomped neighboorhoods they could come up with. From San Fran they formed a jump crew which seperated my boyfriend and I. I was driven to quit in Fresno, just 3 days before I was to reunite with my man. He was supposed to follow me, but never came. A friend I had who was on crew with me said he was blackmailed into staying, and he never was the same after that. So I boarded a greyhound bus with 10 bucks in my pocket, nowhere to go and a broken heart, which still isn't healed.

I spoke to my manager on the phone about a month later about getting a check for my books, which were around $800. As of today I still haven't seen a penny, though it was promised.

To this day I am haunted by my experience. I still see those ads in the paper a few times a year, and my heart breaks for those who are going to go and go through all I did. I DID get to see the country which I would have not gotten to do otherwise, and fall in love, probably the only time I ever truly will. But it just seems to me the price was way to high, my spirit died on that greyhound bus, and I'm not sure if I will ever regain it.

You have my permission to print this on your "True Stories" page. I want others to know the truth!

 

 

Nicole

I started in texas where i live. they told me i would make so much money and travel. i thought it was cool. well i did realy good i made agent in 2 months and always made quota. anyway i had a few friends die back home in a car crash. me and the crew were in salt lake city, utah at the time. my manager wouldnt give me a ticket home. he left me stranded in salt lake city with no money and no ticket. needless to say i made it home thanx to a friend. but the point is i could have been kidnapped raped or killed. also i was bringing in so much money but when we took weeekend draws from our account i never saw more than $40 of it for the weekend. i made alot of friends and got to travel but walking around door to door for about 12 hours a day with a 20 min break the whole day is a crock of shit. exuse my language but i got so taken advantage of. and so are alot of other people that are still on the crew.its not the life for me and its not a good enviorment for anyteen. they had me scaming people for there money and its just not cool.
   

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