DS-MAX Was A "Sales Cult," Says Former Employee

steve-o: OH MAN! IDT is DS/MAX?! I worked for them! Worst 4 days of my life. Thank god I got out before they made me buy my own product.They told me it was B2B marketing, when in reality we were driving around from strip mall to strip mall trying to sell Disney books, umbrellas that looked like a duck, and other assorted crap
steve-o: it works exactly like a cult, complete with the nonsensical chanting
benpopken: you were in product clearance
benpopken: IDT isn’t ds-max
steve-o: Midtown Promotions is
steve-o: and they send out the IDT ppl
benpopken: IDT contracted out to Midtown, which is assoc with DSmax
benpopken: apparently now DS-Max is called “Innovage”
steve-o: well if you ever wondered how they’re structured, all you have to do is look up the signs of a cult
steve-o: because they hit all the requirements
benpopken: tell me about your adventures
steve-o: My first day there was an ‘interview’ in what was essentially a warehouse…


steve-o: i was looking for a summer job and wanted to get into marketing, i was answering a classified ad
benpopken: where was this? and what year?
steve-o: in Maryland, 2003 or 4
steve-o: These guys were a subsidiary of DS/Max, I forget the name they used
steve-o: the beauty of it, they said, is that you could really work your way up in the organization
steve-o: So I interviewed there, then they let me know that they don’t accept many people but I had succeeded and should come in the next day
steve-o: on my way out I saw the chanting but didn’t think much of it
benpopken: what were they chanting?
steve-o: I wish I remembered the exact phrasing. They said it was Latin, it wasn’t
steve-o: it was just complete nonsense
steve-o: it was a call and response, I learned it on my third day but I forgot pretty quickly
steve-o: It did, however, succeed in getting you psyched up for the day
steve-o: So anyway I come in the next day and it looked like pretty much everyone that had interviewed the day before was there
steve-o: I went with my ‘trainer’ Nick, who would be showing me the ropes while I earned little over minimum wage until I bought my own inventory. He told me I wasn’t supposed to sell while training, but we all know we want what we can’t have, so I told him I was sure I could do it well, and started selling his product for him
steve-o: We were going to corner stores and parking lots in the poorer areas around Silver Spring. We would approach people and tell them about the amazing products that we had
steve-o: Steak knives and some toy were my first products, great combination there
steve-o: it dawned on me pretty quickly that this wasn’t marketing but being a sleazy salesman, but I was too excited to really let that sink in
benpopken: Were they Cutco knives?
steve-o: ha – no they weren’t, although i did have friends that were selling cutco
steve-o: thats leaching off friends and family
steve-o: this was going to complete strangers
steve-o: End of day, went back, they made a big show about who had sold the most inventory, then they chanted some more. I tried to follow along
steve-o: So I go home, but before I do Nick tells me everyone is going out for pizza later, would i like to come along.
steve-o: about half an hour after i get home Nick comes by to pick me up (as per our agreement)
steve-o: and we all spent the next few hours shooting the shit at a pizza parlor. I would have had beer but I was under 21 at the time
steve-o: so they tried to keep you around all the DSMax people so you wouldnt realize you arent doing anything else
steve-o: So my third day (second on the job) was more of the same stuff. Most people really didn’t appreciate us essentially door to door selling, without the doors
steve-o: went to different poor areas and tried to sell more schlock, I found I was pretty good at convincing people to buy crap
steve-o: they had a 5-step selling process, let me see if i can remember it
steve-o: Introduction is your name
steve-o: Short Story, where you’re from, what you’re doing there
steve-o: Presentation, you show them the product and tell them how great it is. It was key to get it in the customer’s hands
steve-o: once it was in their hands, people consider it closer to theirs.
steve-o: Close, you get the money
steve-o: and then Rehash, you offer the NEXT product
steve-o: the most important thing to do was close first, and THEN rehash, don’t offer another product before you have the money from the first
steve-o: otherwise people could change their minds
benpopken: so when did it start losing its luster?
steve-o: once i realized I wasn’t seeing any of my friends, and was wandering around trying to sell crap to people who didn’t really want it or could barely afford it
steve-o: Anytime someone said “Hey Guys!” you were supposed to respond with a loud “Hey What?!” kind of like a camp cheer
steve-o: so I talked about my job with my dad who wasn’t too keen on it either, it was inconvenient, and i never got to see my friends. I ended up taking a job as a Host at the Dave and Buster’s restaurant.
steve-o: wow, memories
steve-o: there were four impulse factors
steve-o: FIGS – Fear of Loss, Indifference, Greed and Sense of Urgency
steve-o: We’re offering a great deal, but we won’t be there in 10 minutes, you don’t want to lose out on it.
benpopken: So you were to try to instill FIGS in your prospects?
steve-o: exactly
steve-o: through the five steps
steve-o: I got quizzed on these at my interview btw. they gave me a sheet and had me learn it for an hour before I even spoke to anyone
steve-o: so that’s DS/Max. We passed by people selling deals for AT&T that worked for the same company, same rules, etc
steve-o: im sure whoever’s selling IDT et al are using the same “time tested techniques”
benpopken: Did you ever see any of those people say that they worked for those clients directly, instead of identifying themselves as working for another company?
steve-o: I only passed by them, we stopped and had a quick chat because my manager/supervisor guy knew one of the women that was selling to the businesses
steve-o: They’re salesmen over there (that was 90% of their work force) – they know how to sell you on the concept of a special team that you’re joining
steve-o: and you sign up and follow because they make it exciting and fun.
benpopken: Did they tell you anything about benefits for signing up more employees?
steve-o: it was so long ago, there might have been.
benpopken: What happened when you went to quit?
steve-o: i called in to quit
steve-o: they laid the biggest guilt trip on me
steve-o: talked about how much promise I’d showed, and that they had thought I was better than this
benpopken: I think everyone with an interest in sales ends up working for places like that once in their life.
benpopken: But then they slowly peel back the onion and you realize its rotten.
steve-o: except for the people that completely buy into it
steve-o: the guys that i met there were the epitome of salesmen
steve-o: the ‘regional managers’ and essential owners of the company were 26, 27
steve-o: worked their way up the pyramid to have their own mini-pyramid beneath
steve-o: HA! On completing the reading of the Job Interview saga from Brian, that line is exactly what they gave me!
steve-o: about the slots, only two being left, i seemed like a great guy, etc
benpopken: Yeah, it’s weird how they all have the same strategies
steve-o: because its all from the same manual
benpopken: Each office spawns more offices
benpopken: because up and coming managers who build teams are encouraged to start their own office
benpopken: and they run them the same way as they were trained
benpopken: (is what I’ve read)
steve-o: honestly, I read a book called “Coercion” by Douglas Rushkoff, and it discussed cults at one point. Point for point it was exactly the same as my experience with “B2B marketing.”

— BEN POPKEN

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Note: No definitive ties have been established between Midtown Promotions and DS-MAX/Innovage.

Comments

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  1. mantari says:

    I thought IDT was a long distance company?

  2. rmz says:

    That’s their main function, yes. IDT Energy is one of their “operating units,” though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDT_Corp.

    Fun trivia about IDT from Wikipedia! “40 percent to 50 percent of the 5,000 employees at IDT are Orthodox Jews. Yarmulkes and black hats are a common sight. The company cafeteria is kosher; according to Jonas, it is one of, if not the largest kosher facility outside of Israel.”

  3. Ben Popken says:

    @mantari: IDT has their fingers in several pies. Based on their SEC filing, there’s IDT Energy, IDT Capital, IDT Entertainment, Ethnic Grocery Brands, IDT Carmel, Call Centers, Wholesale Telecommunications Services, IDT Telecom, IDT VoIP, and so on.

  4. Recury says:

    What the hell do they need FIGS for when they have ABC? A-ALWAYS B-BE C-CLOSING

  5. supedve says:

    I had an interview last week with a company call Scanno Advertising. They constantly have adds listed on Career builder, etc. re: Entry level Marketing Jobs. I knew it was crap and just wanted to eliminate it from my options.

    I meet the guy who says he is the “Owner” of the office, there are no bosses and everybody knows how to do everything.

    I was most interested in seeing what they “Market”, which really means sell. They sell excess stock of Sport teams tickets, amusement parks door to door. The hours were 8:30-10 in office, then go out and sell until 5:30, come back to the office and settle up. The office walls are lined with photos of Celebrities that look like partners of Scanno Advertising, as if I was impressed with a letter from the Yankees on the wall, literally in the shadows of Anaheim stadium. I don’t think this office sells Yankee tickets in Orange County. As I peered into a few offices they looked as if new people are moving in, including this guys office, which had big mounted pictures everywhere.

    What I found most interesting is that he had a HUGE “power” desk, but no computer or any papers anywhere in site. Like he just cleaned off his desk just for me! If I had made it past the screening interview, I would be called back to come in for a full day of training to see if I would want to do this. Damn!! I didn’t get a call back, perhaps I have too much legitimate sales experience and I asked too many questions that made him nervous.
    Be aware of Scanno Advertising all across the land and especially in Southern California. The girl running the office was really cute and very nice, I hope she gets out and doesn’t become part of the CULT!

  6. JPropaganda says:

    @supedve: That’s the same company! You can always know DS/Max by the cute receptionist in the front. Seriously. That’s also probably in the rules.

  7. ohayorisa says:

    @supedve:

    Same set-up a a company called Synergy Promo group in Dallas, TX. I interviewed and went on a 1-day training session. It’s seriously a cult. I went home excited to quit my salaried w/benefits job until my mom knocked some sense in my head.

    They had chanting there too…I heard it going on in the morning when I arrived for the training day. they said they started in New York…pretty sure they may be a branch of DS-Max.

    Oh yeah, one scam a sales guy told me about involved going to restaurants that are supposed to have certain ordinances posted (liquor one perhaps?). If they weren’t up, the sales guy would threaten to report them OR the restaurant could pony up some cash to buy a nice framed version of the ordinance on the spot. Niiiice.

  8. tvh2k says:

    @mantari:
    You must be new here??

  9. jeffj-nj says:

    Oh, c’mon… A cute receptionist isn’t a clue towards anything… Almost all receptionists are cute. If anything, it’s a rule in business, not just this one.

  10. The_Truth says:

    Same thing except different company here in Phoenix, AZ.

    LJE & Associates.

    Just after I moved here I was lookign aroudn for a new job, and applied for a postion with them. Got a call back for the next day, Sweet!

    Turned up had a brief interview and was told that I would get a second call back fi they liked me.

    Got a second call back and was asked to come in for a full days interview, odd, but oh well.

    Showed up in full black suit and leather dress shoes. I got partnered off with 2 other ‘senior associates’ and then we drove off into Phoenix.

    And got to spend the full day walking around some poor area of Phoenix trying to sell some dumbass coupons. All day walking in dress shoes, drenched in sweat from the 100+ heat.

    Apparently everyone starts out selling and then after 6 months (or maybe more, it depends on how earnest you are) you get to become a manager and move up to manage a bunch of people. The sales guys are convinced that the selling is jsut a temporary milestone until they become managment with 6 figure incomes and owning their own business.

    Lunch time im given a dumbass list of things to remember (10 selling points or something), and get to ask questions etc, all over a quality Arbys meal.

    When we got back at about 6, they go through this chant and have us (There were about 10 applicants who had been split into multiple groups witht he senior guys) fill out a questionnaire asking about the 10 Q’s (I have no idea what the answers were). At teh end I have a ‘serious’ talk with the main manager, who wanted to know whether im serious about the position as they were mixed on whether I was willing to put in the work.

    I said “No, its all a scam”. and left, pissed that I had wasted a full day there (I couldent get back to my car until we had finished the day out I was told, and I wasent risking getting left in downtown phoenix).

    So my warning, watch out for LGE & Associates, and any other company offering marketing positions that are plastered all over the job boards.

  11. suburbancowboy says:

    I had one of these jobs for one day, right after college.
    “Marketing, Advertising PR”
    “Sorry, we don’t have any marketing jobs open right now, but we have this great manager trainee program…You have to work in the field for a few weeks, just so you know what the people do whom you will be managing….”

    I show up early my first day, and everyone is there already, hanging out, drinking coffee, music blasting.
    Time for the morning pep rally. Everyone is chanting, and saying the word “Juice” a lot.

    We are selling AT&T door to door to businesses.

    I spend my first day traveling with a guy who used to make prosthetic limbs for a living. Very bright guy, very nice guy, and I have no idea why he is so into this job. It is a bit unnerving, and I feel like everyone there is brainwashed.
    I decide that I must quit. If I stay any longer, I will be brainwashed as well.

    I show up even earlier than I did the day before, so I can just quit, and not have to see anyone, and explain why I don’t want to join their big happy family. Everyone is there already. I see a kid my age, around 21, and ask him why he is there so early.
    “To hang out.” he says.

    I go in to meet with the boss and tell her I don’t think the job is right for me.
    She wasn’t fazed at all, as if she is quite used to it. And then she tells me that if I ever need to, I can use her as a job reference.
    Reference? For a guy who quit after one day on the job.

  12. dohtem says:

    This all sounds like ACN. I went to one of their meetings with a friend a few years back out of boredom. I was working a summer job at the time and had no intentions of joining but these guys tried really hard to convince me. They bragged about the people I would see at the convention next week driving expensive luxury cars, wearing designer clothes, etc. My friend had to sell long distance phone service to his relatives and friends who in turn could sell it to their friends, etc and how I could start making that kind of money easily. It all sounded really nice till you leave think it out alone. Then you realize its just one big pyramid scam. They preyed on younger people, high school and college aged kids.

    I remember them telling that I would have to pay for my own training materials to join and if I proved myself, I’d get reimbursed. They also sold a lot of motivational books and tapes and they made a ton on them. They had materials you could only buy from them to join and they were pretty pricey.

    Years later, I saw a 20/20 (or was it NBC Dateline?) exposé on a similar company where insiders claimed that the real business was selling those motivational tapes and books to the people they had suckered in.

  13. Sasquatch says:

    I loved seeing the Cutco reference in this article. I worked for them for a summer and can honestly say it was the worst job I have ever had. I barely made a cent and all I have to show for my time there was the demo set of knives my parents shelled out for (which they still use to this day).

    I never really understood their business model. They had an excellent product, but also had a cult-like sales structure.

    Here’s a caveat: if you see a “sales and marketing” position stapled to a telephone pole, you’re better off learning to wait tables.

  14. McWatt says:

    I was approached by a man selling a duck umbrella once. It happened in Little Tokyo in downtown LA. It was a strange sight because the heat was blasting, it hadn’t rained in months, and he was wearing a suit that was way too big. The umbrella looked rather flimsy and he was failing miserably – who wants to buy an umbrella in the scorching heat when there isn’t a cloud in sight? I watched him as he walked around and when there were no potential customers, he would hide behind a wall and push the duck umbrella around the corner as if it was a puppet. I guess he was hoping to catch some kid’s eye (I wonder if that move was in the training manual). He definitely had some sort of learning disability and I felt really bad for him but there is no way I was going to get suckered in buying his wares. If people wouldn’t buy the stuff, no matter how sympathetic you are, there’d be less of these salespeople around. You’d actually be doing them a favor.

  15. dohtem says:

    Found it. Quixtar was the name of the company and it was on NBC Dateline by Chris Hansen.

    Here are a few links.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4375477/
    http://www.rickross.com/reference/amway/amway78.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quixtar

    And here is their bs response:
    http://www.quixtarresponse.com/

  16. zolielo says:

    Can the Consumerist do Primerica mext?

  17. swalve says:

    I think part of the multi level thing and the encouragement for managers to go out and start their own company is to insulate whoever is at the top of the pyramid. (No doubt an evil triumvirate of the queen of england, dick cheney and PBS).

  18. laparka2 says:

    Worked a day one Summer for Maple Leaf Marketing, an odd name for a company based in a Chicago Suburb. Place was just as described; Huge, Empty Power Desk in the Manager’s office, people in the backroom chanting “JUICE! JUICE!” (which I learned stood for Join Us In Creating Enthusiasm), Fashion Model at the front desk manning the phones.

    This particular place sold inch-thick coupon books for local businesses. A buck off Burger King, 10 free tokens in the local arcade. My radar really went off when me and my “Management Trainee Trainer” walked up to a local business that had a No Solicitors sign on the door. When I pointed it out to my Trainer, I was informed that it somehow didn’t apply to us, and only Losers let a piece of paper Block Opportunity. Needless to say, 20 seconds later the store’s manager was threatening to call the police and we were high-tailing it out the door.

    8 long, hot hours later, we arrived back at headquarters and I was escorted into the Manager’s Office. Many praises were rained down upon my head, I was the Best Salesman they’d ever seen, and I could start tomorrow! This despite the fact that neither I or my Trainer had sold a single book all day. Needless to say, I said No Thank You.

    Small footnote; Many local businesses in the following months had xeroxes of the coupons from these books taped to their registers, with a note “Not Accepted Here!!” attached. Seems the place promised to only print 1000 books, and instead printed up 100,000. Oops.

    Similarly named place a few months later was looking for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Specialists, No Experience Necessary!!”. Applied at an almost exact clone of the Coupon Place, and got the old “Call Back This Afternoon To See If You Passed The Interview” routine. I passed, and reported the next morning at 7AM to find out….I’d be selling vacuum cleaners door to door. Apparently, the HVAC connection was that you could put a special attachment on the canister of the vacuum and use it as an Air Cleaning System. Uh huh.

    Day after I hired was the 4th of July, and I got a phone call at 6AM from the store’s Manager. In the background, I could hear the familiar “JUICE!! JUICE!!” cry as the Manager asked me why I wasn’t out Selling. I replied that 1) it was 6AM, and 2) it was a national Holiday where chances were very good that people weren’t going to be home, much less willing to sit still for a 2 hour In-Home Demonstration. I was lectured on how Making Excuses was easier than Making Money and told to get my Lazy Self out on the street NOW. Drove straight to the Office and turned in the vacuum, where I got a new lecture on how ashamed they were of the fact that I was Giving Up On Myself And The Office’s Expectations Of Me.

    And zolielo makes a good point, Primerica should be the next place in the crosshairs. Always beware of places that 1) ask for 200 bucks to “Cover The Cost Of Your Training” and 2) ask for the names of any friends you have that might like a new job.

  19. benchman says:

    I spent two days at similar company in San Diego a few years ago called The YASNY Group, YASNY standing for: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (which is true I had never seen such a sleezy organization like this before). I found the listing on Monster.com. At the time I just finished college and was somewhat naive and so was suckered in by the promises of “management training” and “unlimited earning potential”. After feeling so confident about passing the interview I was quite excited for my first day.

    When I arrived on my first day of work I sat in the main area of the office while about two dozen kids my age (22) walked by in suits. Instantly, the movie Boiler Room popped in my head; now I realize I wasn’t that far off. I was told I would spend the day shadowing my trainer on sales calls. The main product was getting people to switch long distance carriers (don’t recall which one) and signed people up for bottled water delivery. The day was spent wandering through industrial parks in the poorer part of town going from business to business.

    Over lunch I found out that my trainer had been working for the company for several months, and was impressed that I finished college (he had not). He went on to say that he liked the idea that he could become a VP in 8 years according to the company development and training program. By this point the alarms were going off in my head and that something wasn’t right.

    At the end of the day my trainer was happy because he got three people to sign up for long distance. He said he made about $150 in commissions. When we got back to the office he went into a back room with all the other “management-trainees”. When I peaked my head in I just saw them in a circle chanting and shouting while each person said their daily sales goals. I was called into the managers office which looked like Michael Douglas’s office in Wall Street. They said that my trainer told them I did wonderfully and they would like to offer me a position starting the next day. When I asked if I could start in a few days they went off about how disappointed they were in me, that I showed real potential, and they were short staffed and needs more people. They also vaguely hinted that if I didn’t start the next day, I could not have the job. So I said thanks for the opportunity but I would have to decline and left. I was called several times in the next few days but just ignored them.

    Epilogue: A couple months later my trainer came into the company where I later began to work. He took one look at me, knowing that I knew what he was gonna sell, just smiled and turned around and left. He knew I was gonna shoot him down.

  20. 3ZKL says:

    i got sucked into a two-day interview by this same group during the summer of 2002 in tallahassee, florida!

    it all started by answering a classified ad for something vague. the woman who answered the phone said they were having an ‘open call’ the next day & that i should come wearing ‘business casual’. she gave me an address that i immediately went to go scope out. creepy rented office space on the edge of town, very much in the middle of industrial slash trailer park central.

    first day was a weird sort of group interview very much like boiler room, but when all was said & done the ‘manager’ took you into his office to explain what potential you had, etc. i was then invited back for an ‘on-the-job interview’ @ 8am the next day. when i asked what we would be doing he diffused it with some crap about ‘business to business marketing’. i still had not bought into it, but assumed we would be selling office supplies to a predetermined route of businesses or something along those lines.

    the next day started with a bunch of dudes (and one african american woman dressed like a dude) getting stoked, ‘cheering’, & splitting up into groups of four. i was the only sucker unlucky enough to get stuck in a ‘pair’ rather than the ‘foursomes’ everyone else wound up with. why? because the skeezy guy i would be spending the day with only had two seats in his pickup truck. GREAT! we stopped for gas & some drinks around the corner when i started grilling him about what exactly we would be doing. that is when he busted out what equated to a cult handbook & showed me the cheap garbage we would be trying to hock on unsuspecting people. ‘german cutlery’, ‘childrens books & toys’, ‘watches & jewelry’, et cetra. the entire bed of his truck was full of this junk!

    within seconds i told him this was not for me & asked to go back to the ‘office’. however, he was quite a salesman & convinced me to give it at least a few hours to ‘see what its all about’. we spent the rest of the day going to construction sites, doctors offices, gas stations, & everything in between. the most important lesson of the day — if the door says ‘no solicitation’, they are likely to buy the most product! oddly enough it turned out to be entirely true.

    i sucked it up, spent the day acting like the most excited idiot in the world, & we cleared out most of the product from the bed of his truck. at the end of the day, this guy talked to the boss about me in private. then they both called me into the office to ‘welcome me to the family’. i was invited back to purchase my own product for sale in the morning & to ‘start my carrer’. i gave an excited ‘see you then!’ and never looked back.

    it was a painful exercise, but remains a good story.

  21. 3ZKL says:

    see also:

    OHWA
    TEGU
    SIAM

  22. tadiera says:

    I interviewed with the same exact people. Quite possibly the same office in MD around the same time (early 2004, IIRC).

    I walked out before the interviewing was done because, ew, pyramid scheme.

  23. Ben Popken says:

    Kathryn writes:

    “I cannot stop laughing at this article. It hits close to Home!
    In 1999 I was an out of work person looking for work-New mortgage bill, family to feed etc when I applied for one of those “companies”. 3 months and a LOSS of several hundred dollars in my own gas money, I quit a found a real job! I am never on to quit anything but that was the BEST QUIT OF MY LIFE!!!!!!

    Cult like is an understatement. It was the worst thing I have ever seen/experienced.
    After working there a few months, I know how to spot em in the want ads.
    One thing 4 sure, I warn any one I know that is job seeking to AVOID these types of companies.

    I have seen DSMAX on the inside and it a place to RUN from. Their Christmas parties are like brain washing seminars and creepier still is the magazines they publish that resemble watchtower mags…no offense to JW’s. “

  24. Alexander says:

    Anyone know anything about Arbonne? They sound much like a MLM but I can’t get concrete information. My friend wants to join them. First they told her she didn’t have to buy her own inventory, but now they changed their tune after a meeting. She does have to buy her own inventory and she has to work on making her own team. I’m warning her but she won’t listen and is going ahead with buying the stuff.

  25. dohtem says:

    @alexander: Sometimes the only way to prove to someone that they are wrong is to let them have their own way.

    Let her get burned. Hopefully it won’t be too bad and she’ll learn a valuable lesson.

  26. JPropaganda says:

    @alexander – it seems that Arbonne is pretty much the same thing as Mary Kay or Avon – network marketing for young women and housewives. Tupperware started in a similar manner with their tupperware parties – these arent as necessarily cultish as DS-Max, but she will be selling overpriced makeup and skin care.

    I hope she does well, and @dohtem, I should hope that noone will ever get burned, and alexander’s friend is one of the lucky ones.

  27. Marko_Vulvic says:

    As much as it pains me to say this, Toronto seems to be the central repository on Earth for all these MLM / DS-MAX cult schemes.

    Don’t EVER look for a job in “Marketing” or “Sales” online. Ever. Period.

    I dodged a few of these while going to school and directly after (knives, Day Spas and general crap), and each and everyone was exactly like what has been described here, right down to JUICE JUICE JUICE! and the “Power Desks”….EXCEPT:

    AND THIS IS IMPORTANT FOLKS:

    I got snagged by one that was veeeerrrrryyy clever. Here’s how it went.

    1.) See job on Workopolis (online job site a la Monster.com, Canadian only)

    2.) Job is listed as: Entry level marketing graphic design. Skills needed: Sense of colour and style, Photoshop, formatting for offset printing, etc. Seemed legit.

    3.) Call for interview: Say “we need someone to be kind of a gopher while you learn the ropes”. Told I’d be working in the marketing dept for a company that worked in the Health and Wellness spehere doing print advertising design. Oh. Kay. Fine, every sector needs advertising, right?

    4.) Go to interview in middle of nowhere creepy industrial park surrounded by Vietnamese Rub & Tugs and featureless warehouses. Ask about this, interviewer says that this office space is cheap and nice, and since they do all their work by phone and email, why not. Get there, immediately, creep zone:

    - Power Desks
    - Chanting from “Sales Floor”
    - Tons of young guys and gals milling about waiting for “Interviews”

    5.) Have 1st interview with nice enough guy. Says resume looks great, checks some work online in front of me, says yeah, nice stuff, you could pull this off. Asks technical questions: Ever worked with colour offset? Ever worked with foreign clients? Illustrator?

    6.) Feeling good, say yes to interview with “Marketing Manager”. First guy says “Im just the design manager, I don’t hire anyone, but I need to see if you’re any good before big boss works out your hiring, and I think you’re great!”

    7.) Meet the boss. Desk is conspicuously absent of computer or any paperwork. Has poster behind desk for miracle health food products.

    8.) Boss says “You’re aware this is entry level right? But that’s okay, we all gotta start somewhere” I say sure

    9.) Boss: “Before you get into the design stuff though, we need you to get familiar with the clients products, so we can work with them to figure out how to sell them. I want you spend a while with our sales guys to see how its done and meet some customers”. Big red flag.

    10.) Boss: You can start right now if you want, he says. So I go to the sales floor, which is one open classroom style space with desk-chairs, a whiteboard and tons of multi-vitamins, day spa coupon books and other such shit lying around on tables. JUICE was written on the board.

    I left for the bathroom and never came back!

    WATCH OUT!

  28. curlyheatherg says:

    Now I have this mental picture of a legion of well-meaning-but-naive man-children, who should be in trade school, wandering through the industrial parks and run-down strip malls of our country, trying to sell duck umbrellas in 90 degree heat. I want to laugh and cry at the same time.

  29. DeadlySinz says:

    reminds me of System 7 marketing here in WPG, damn that was a nightmare. made it look like it was training to become management, which alot of certain companies do, which is legit to do but System 7 wasn’t doing that, thinking it was ok, i never quit my previous job just took a week off to look at it and after the first day on the job i quit cause it was long exhausting work and it was not marketing, it was sales, i did sales by phone at the job i was at already and knew what it was. there was no chants at system 7 but the “manager” of the place Phill something got everyone in a room and got everyone hyped to go out and sell cheap crap.

    This place looked professional but it was a small building and a garage turned warehouse spot, retarded. scamming me out of alot of money too, made $250 in sales and just got less then $50 in return. some 30% profit rule, the rest went to the boss i guess.

    horrible.

  30. arlac51 says:

    Steve O what is everyone talking about a cult and said being lied to going to strip mall to strip mall. i work there in Pittsburgh,Pa in 1996 and they told you up front what you would be doing and you rode with someone for the day so you know what was at stake by the end of the day. So there were no surprises about going door to door. and as for cult there isnt one its sales pep talk rally so to speak to get excited for the day nothing about cults. and you didnt buy your products was on consignment. Only thing i didnt see was told after 3 leaders on your team chance to run pwn warehouse didnt see that happen