Jess - Sold Magazine
Well, it began one summer. a friend and myself wanted to do something different. For me though i was really in a bind at home. I quit school and needed a good job to feel somewhat glad that i quit school.
We answered a ad in the paper. I didn't have nothing to lose so I said what the heck and signed up to leave the very same day. I didn't even get to say bye to my folks or anything. Before i knew it i was in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The very next day we we're already on our way to our first city.
We ended up in Illinois. I forget the name of the city. The very first thing i did when i got there was to call my folks and let them know that i was alright and what i was up to. They were very hesitant of me doing this. But told me that it was alright and to be very careful. The first week was slow. Mainly because when i went up to the doors i was so nervous i could hardly talk. As weeks went on i got to know my crewmates. Eventually igot more comfortable and started selling more mags. The first day i made one sale, the second i made two and up and down for awhile. I started to do a lot better and the first month i was selling the amount of mags that the rest of my crew were. To make a long story short. After the first couble of months i was making between 50 to 100 dollars a day. Some days it would be less and some more, but on an average that is what i was making. I think the most I ever made in one day was 150 to 200 dollars. The most i made in a week was 1300 dollars.
We worked six days a week and usually packed up and traveled to the next city on sunday. Some times we got lucky and got to stay in the same place two weeks. Which then we would go and see stuff. One thing i didn't like is that we didn't always get to stay in the best of hotels. Actually they were pretty raunchy at times. I had gotten split up with my friend. He went one way and I went the other on another crew. I was usually on a crew form 6 to 12 people and would have to share a room with 2 or 3 other people i hardly knew. After the first year i was pretty much an old timer so i would get the respect from everyone in the crew and i would always get my own bed. After the second year i was promised my own crew and alot of other stuff.
I started running out crews once and a while and running ads to hire new people. After the third year i wa sa top producing agent for the company and started getting restless for my own crew. Which never happened. Finally the boss was giving me shit about going on vacation. He told me that if i wanted my own crew that i would have to skip my vacation. That's when it went down hill. For one thing i only took a week of vacation a year. So, I decide i had enough of promises never kept and nothing be awarded to me for my effort. So i left the crew on my 4th year to the date. I guess i got lucky be cause i never got beat up. on the other hand my boss made an agreement that he woould send me a 1000 dollars a month until he paid me off my earnings. yes, I did get some of the money back. But, he still owes me 2000 to 3000 dollars. In total i saved up 12,000+ dollars in a so called expense account which i didn't have access to, except asking my boss for it. I kept in touch with him since i quit in july of '97. Now i think he's ignoring me, because he won't even return my calls and not to mention the 3000 dollars he still owes me.
So in the end my advice is if you got nothing to lose go for it. I got lucky an ended up on a good company. On the other hand if you have nothing to gain either go for it. Then my advice would be to anyone who wanted to join a crew. All your going to get out of it is some adventure, because you are not going to gain anything or lose anything.
Duane - Sold Magazines in 1963
When I was 18 and just out of school, I wanted things I could not afford working at what I was doing. I saw an ad for travel and adventure and a chance to make a lot of money. I responded to the ad and was hired on the spot with plans to leave the next day for northern Wisconsin.
We arrived at a small hotel some where north of Green Bay with about six other teens and met the rest of the crew there. That is when we found out exactly what we would be doing. We were tutored by another older crew member as to what to say and how to say it. The next day we where taken out in the country and given a section or area to cover. I felt right away that I did not belong there but I decided to give it a fair shot.
I tried for three weeks to make it work but I didn't have the ability to lie like the others. I also saw the mistreatment of crew members and the lack of any personal care for the workers by the leadership. I also had several scary times with bad driving and poor equipment that was provided for the crews.
One morning I made the decision that I was not going back to the motel that night and as soon as I was left off for my area I started hitchhiking back to WI. They had left me with about $5.00 and I was in southern Minnesota at the time. With God's help and good weather I was able to reach Wisconsin Rapids by about 8pm. I had a couple of uncomfortable experiences along the way and to this day I will not hitch hike or pick up a hitch hiker.
By the time I reached Rapids I had $2.50 left. I stopped at a truck stop and called home to the Milwaukee area and was able to get my parents and my uncle to bring my car to me in Rapids. I had left all of my stuff at the motel in MN and needed to go get it. As it worked out I was able to get back to the motel and retrieve my belongings before the crew moved on to the next area. I was also lucky that I didn't run into any of the supervisors when I arrived at the motel. Not that it would really have mattered because I was a big guy and could take care of my self all right.
This all happened in 1963 but after reading about the latest problems, I see that nothing has changed. My prayers go out to all the young people that are involved and I pray that they will all return safely each day.