Morris had an encounter with two different DS-MAX type places last December when he was looking for a job. In both instances, he was lured in through postings on Monster.com advertising entry-level marketing full-time jobs with full benefits.
As graduates are looking for their first job out of college, or high-schoolers are looking for a summer job, watch out these scammy outfits. A pretty good sign is if the company office is located in a warehouse or a rented trailer on the outskirts of town….
Just wondering if you guys would be interested in drumming up a piece on these little offices that seem to pop up on every corner in almost every neighborhood around the country without getting too much notice. I’m not sure if this really applies to consumerism, but in regards to helping other people, it should be able to help deter people from ruining their lives when desperately looking for work. I’m writing in relation to the DS Max line of supposed marketing/entry level positions. More info can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DS-MAX
They try to pawn it off as a legitimate job until you find out that it’s really door to door sales and 100% commission. The thing is, when I was looking for a new job last December, I actually scheduled 2 interviews with 2 different DS Max offices that seemed unrelated at the time. The interviews were on the same day… and both employed similar, if not exact hiring strategies. After I left both interviews, I decided to do a little online research and lo and behold, after googling a name of an office manager, I came upon this messageboard: http://groups.msn.com/DSMAXTheAftermath
Then everything made sense and I refused the follow up interviews. However, I know for a fact that people out there still get sucked in daily. When I waited in the offices for my interviews, loud music was playing, employees were acting all rowdy even though they were poorly dressed and looked like they had been through the wringer a few times.
I actually found both places through monster.com, which continually lists these positions as full time salaried jobs with full benefits, which irks me.
The first location was in Malden, MA in a run down part of town. The office was called SJS Promotions and surprise, the office was run down too with mismatched furniture and the such. The interview was no more than 5-10 minutes. The female who interviewed me said she had just come from her own office in Denver, how she moved up the ranks so quickly, and how much fun she’s having. To be honest, I didn’t spend very much time talking about myself. I was told that they sold coupon books and tickets to local shops and the like and how big names like the Chicago White Sox and LA Dodgers wrote them great letters stating how they’ve increased ballpark attendance. I’m not even sure if those were real or not. Then she told me that they would be holding a second round of interviews and if all went well, I would receive a call that night. The second interview would entail an all day field trip with an executive or whatever. I was told to dress professionally. I smelled something fishy since when I first scheduled the first interview, I was told they were almost done with the interviews, but when I went into the office, I overheard the secretary schedule interviews for the following week. All in all, I thought something was strange, but didn’t give it too much thought. I received a call from them a few hours later stating that I had won a second interview. I accepted and then asked about the parking situation since I would have to leave my car somewhere for the entire day. She then told me that I could park behind a CVS around the block. How nice.
Then I headed off to my second interview of the day in Woburn, MA. This time, it was in a much nicer office complex. This office was called Nova Marketing. Same deal here. All young people, music blasting, everyone looking enthused. Sat down with a male interviewer, and then I noticed the same map of the country on the wall with pins showing where all the offices were located. Again, the man told me that he had just come back from some other state where he just opened up an office. Talked about how he moved up so fast and if I did the same, I could be doing the same thing as well. However, this time, he made note of the college I graduated from and said that the office manager (Kate Malone) went there as well. I didn’t really know her, but figured that I could probably dig her up online or on Myspace to see if I ever crossed paths with her. That’s when I found her on the rip off report, and then, discovered the entire underworld of DS Max. Also, this office seemed to focus on what they called “event promotions,” which basically means that they set up these tables in front of stores like Bestbuy, Target, and Walmart squeezing people donations. What’s odd is that they associated themselves with some reputable charities like Toys for Tots and D.A.R.E. The big scam I guess is that they push you to buy their crap toys to donate instead of bringing in your own toy so they make their money off those sales. A few hours later, I got a call from them telling me that I was selected for the second interview. This time I declined and would later cancel the other interview.
So I didn’t get too deep into it. At some point, I realized that graduating from Boston College meant a little more than joining this nonsense, but I’m afraid there are people out there who haven’t had that moment of enlightenment yet.
Hope this helps even though I’m my story is probably not too different than other stories out there.
Here are the emails both companies sent me:
From: “job” firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: December 27, 2006 11:57:00 AM EST
Subject: Re: CareerBuilder Job Application
SJS Acquisitions, Inc.
14 Dartmouth St. Unit A
Malden, MA 02148
Thank you for your response to SJS Acquisitions’ online job posting. We are definitely interested in learning more about you and how you might fit in with our company’s expansion. We would like to sit down with you in person, tell you about ourselves and our positions, and get to know you as well. Interviews are conducted here in our Malden office please make a note of the address listed above (directions are at the bottom).
SJS Acquisitions develops and executes innovative Sports and Entertainment Marketing Campaigns for clients throughout the East Coast. Primary responsibilities of the position:
Promotional Sales and Marketing
Development of Marketing Plans
***We do NOT have any openings in graphic design***
Please take a look through our website at http://www.sjsacquisitions.com to find out more about our firm. Contact our office at 781-333-3632 as soon as possible to schedule your personal interview. Thanks again and we look forward to speaking with you soon.
SJS Acquisitions, Inc.
(If coming from the Northshore)
You want to take 93 SOUTH TO EXIT 32 MEDFORD SQ. / MALDEN.
(If coming from the Southshore)
You want to take 93 NORTH TO EXIT 32 MEDFORD SQ. / MALDEN
(If coming from the Waltham area)
You want to take 95 NORTH to 93 SOUTH EXIT 32 MEDFORD SQ. / MALDEN
(If coming from the Peabody area)
You want to take 95 SOUTH to 93 NORTH EXIT 32 MEDFORD SQ. / MALDEN
Follow RT. 60 EAST off the rotary for 2 miles. When you come to a set of lights where Walgreens and Cingular Wireless are on your right and a parking garage is on your left, you want to take a LEFT at this set of lights onto MAIN ST. Proceed down the street and at the second set of lights (there will be a Citizens Bank on your right) take a LEFT onto PLEASANT ST. You then want to take your first RIGHT onto DARTMOUTH ST. Our office is located on the LEFT side of the street, we are # 14 and our Boston office name is SJS ACQUISITIONS, which is on a blue sign outside.
Date: December 27, 2006 12:09:26 PM EST
Subject: Re: Monster Job #51790726 Management Training management Monster Resume #[redacted]
Congratulations! After considering several candidates, we would like to invite you in for a preliminary interview with one of our managers.
Thank you for your general interest in our company. After reviewing the resumes, we feel as if yours exemplifies many of the qualifications that we are looking for in our team. We would like to meet with you within the next few days to begin the formal interview process. Prior to an initial interview we recommend browsing our Boston office?s website at http://www.novamarketingpromos.com to find additional information concerning our company?s innovative marketing concepts. Below, you will find our contact information and directions to our office.
Please give Erin Donahue a call @ 781-376-1400 in order to schedule a definite time to meet with you and discuss the opportunities that are available at our firm. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
The Management Team
Nova Marketing & Promotions
80 Tower Office Park
Woburn, MA 01801
Directions from 93 North and South: Exit 37C Commerce Way. Take a left onto Commerce Way. At 3rd Light take a left onto Mischawaum Ave. At 1st light take a right onto Washington Street. At the first light take a left onto Tower Office Park. Nova Marketing & Promotions is located behind the car dealership at the Office Park. We are Suite # 80.
Directions from 95 South: Exit 36- Washington Street. Come off the exit and take a right. At the first light take a right onto Washington Street. Next light, left onto Tower Office Park (behind car dealership) . Suite #80.
Directions from 95 N: Exit 36- Washington Street. Come to the light at the end of the ramp and go straight through onto Tower Office Park.
— BEN POPKEN