New Stories 2004 part 2

C

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.

B

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.

K

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.

D

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.

J

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.

T

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.

S

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.