Hello again all,
I have been describing the culture and deceitful recruitment practices of the company, which can apply to all DS-Max affiliated companies. I wanted to give a brief and more specific overview of how the charity division works and what one should expect as an "employee" there.
I. Charity and 'Merching'
Okay. So you have a charity such as D.A.R.E.
When you work at Child Safety (in the DARE campaign) you will be selling children's products such as plush puppy pillows, quacking ducks, Disney book sets (omnibus), ABC and 123 chalk books, remote control robots, safety board games, flimsy art sets, e.t.c.
You will also be selling some safety products such as DNA kits, ID cards and ID diskettes, and safety videos.
Lastly you will have some parapernalia branded with the D.A.R.E. logo, mainly T-shirts, duffle bags, bracelets and water bottles.
I came into this company believing that the charity gets 20% of all sales. What they don't tell you is that they only give the charity 20% on certain products, like the T-shirts and duffle bags, and supposedly the kids ids. This translates into roughly 5% or less of the overall proceeds, which is deplorable. You will not learn this unless you are paying very close attention at the opportunity meeting, usually held once or twice every month. By that point you are probably already somewhat lured into the company, which is exactly what they had planned. It is this "tugging on the heart-strings" that makes this company disgusting in my book. This separates them somewhat from offices that do straight sales. The fact that you think you are doing a good thing for society becomes a recruitment asset to them, one that they shamelessly exploit. The reps, often fooled themselves, come off as warm and caring individuals (not that they aren't) and fun! - so you want to be a part of what they are doing. Couple that with their confidence and vigor for their line of work, and you're in for a lethal combination. This is why many dedicated, good-hearted people get attracted to this company, often to find disappointment later on.
All of these will be sold on tables outside of stores like Walmart, Staples, 7-11, CVS, Petland, Pep-Boys, Kmart, e.t.c. The company will not pay for your gas expenses, which can add up to alot considering that many of their events are far from the office. There is no compensation other than your 35% commission on items that usually range from $5-$20 + tax. Every once in a while the boss will throw some money around to try to keep people from quitting. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo.
They will encourage you to overcharge for some items and then throw in some "free" items after the sale is closed. This is called a 'Backwards Rehash.' For example, the Disney book set is a $20 item, meaning that the rep is responsible for collecting that amount for each piece of merchandise. Often a rep will be encouraged to offer the books for $40 or even more, and then throw in some free items to make up the difference (like two $10 t-shirts).
This is a very shady operation. They have you charge a dollar extra per $10 of merchandise to cover tax (but last I checked the tax rate wasn't 10%). So where does the extra money go? In the rep's pocket perhaps, or another customer might be exempted from paying tax because it is an inconvenience to them. This is all about reading people. Sometimes, a rep will overcharge someone (say $30 for the disney books) and keep the remainder for themselves or to cover tax deficits later in the day. This technique is called 'stroking merch' and basically translates to ripping people off (not that it is a good deal for them to pay 10 dollars for a lousy t-shirt, when DARE gives them for free). Though the owner will not promote this a rep is likely to try this on a slow day, or to make some extra money because he/she is not making enough.
The customers are not told how much goes to the charity unless the rep is confronted about it. Many people, when they hear 20%, are appalled and walk away. Though 20% is really a lie unless you are only selling a t-shirt or something with the D.A.R.E. logo. Most of the products on the table are INNOVAGE products, where no money from the sale goes back to the charity at all. It is terrible how the public is deceived and taken advantage of in this way.
What are Events?
Events at Child Safety (or any Quantum company) are not what one who is looking for a job imagines events to be. When I first heard 'events' I was thinking of a charity banquet, or some big function, not setting up a table outside of Walmart and calling people over. This is something alot of people cannot get past. Many will hardly make it out of the parking lot on their days of observation upon learning what exactly they will be observing for the day.
It is low and demeaning, it is sleazy, it is something you might have seen on a street corner in times square. It is exalted and 'justified' by having the charity as a 'shield.' The company makes you wear a suit so that you feel more important and somehow better than your average street salesman, hawking your wares in "GQ-style." The "juiced" atmosphere in the office keeps you going and gets you high on this job.
How events are booked:
Events can be booked by the event coordinator (sometimes the asst. manager) either over-the-phone or in person. They go through the same 5-steps as the distributors do, as this is as much a sale as any other. They offer salutations to the owner of the store, tell their short-story, if in person they present a pamphlet or laminated document describing the charity. By this point they are either told to get lost, offered the event, or need to butter up the manager a little more and close the deal.
**One especially deceptive technique this company uses to get events is the shameful promotion of their "FREE ID AND FINGERPRINTING CAMPAIGN" - they use this to present the event ongoings in a charitable light, and often [store] managers will let events occur, not realizing that actual sales are going to be made. The field kits that reps go out with are equipped with these free id's (the fingerprinting is rarely done, if at all) though the id's are only used in certain situations to close a particular sale. These ID's are not freely offered to the public, as the main goal of the rep is to move merchandise, not to be charitable or give to the community, as that for them is not profitable. Most often, if a person sees something free they will snatch it, graciously say "thank-you," and move on their merry way. So it is not mentioned until the person has already came to the table and is considering buying something (more often than not, it is not mentioned at all).
The funny part about the 'free ids' is that they are the same as the ids that are for sale (as $10 merchandise) at the table. So, if a rep were to choose whether or not to tell someone about the free id who might buy it, obviously they wouldn't tell them so they would get commission on the sale. This is a despicable and deceitful practice that shames the company, the charity, and the distributor. Also shameful is the fact that often these ids have a dollar value on them which is much higher than their actual sales value. For example, the id card which is the same as the free id has a price of $29.99 printed on the front. The actual cost the rep must cover is only $10, meaning that this can be deceitfully promoted as either a great deal (1/3 of the price!) or backwards-rehashed at full price (you get 2 free t-shirts, a $20 value! juice by you!). Either way is wrong, because each family is supposed to be allowed one free id (if that is even a real "rule," which I'm more apt to believe it is fabricated). I have even seen a rep [rob "slam"] go as far as to pocket a donation and give a free id as compensation.
"5-Stepping" an Event:
Often times __it happens, and a rep will either lose an event due to a customer complaint, an unexpected arrival of a corporate manager (in places where 'no solicitation' is company policy), or some other mishap. In these cases, the rep cannot just decide to quit and go home (unless he doesn't want to make money or actually quits the job). He will either call the office and hope they have another event to give him, or fend for himself completely.
This practice of searching for an event mid-day is called 5-stepping. Basically because you are going through the same 5 steps to get an event as you are to make a sale. This can be very frustrating and difficult, and the average rep will be tempted to go to events that were held recently but given a chance to "cool off," so as not to drain the territory.
Going from store to store asking if you can set up your table is much harder than calling someone to your table in an attempt to make a sale. It is kind of like going B2B. The law of averages here is usually not very friendly. Often stores will give excuses like they have to check with upper management, and other times the manager is not even present in the store. Yet other times they will let you set up, but only for a very short time before they tell you to leave. If you haven't made significant sales by this point, you could be in trouble.
Sometimes one might have to resort to techniques like pitching people in parking lots or laundromats to make the requisite sales for the day. If selling stuff off of a table doesn't make you feel slimy, try doing that.