ED Magedson – Founder
Combined Insurance2301 W. Meadowview Greensboro, North Carolina USA
Combined Insurance Combined Insurance of America USE YOUR HEADS, PEOPLE!! Greensboro North Carolina
I hope at least a few people take the time to read this because not only is it a funny story, it's a good example of the type of people that are (or at least used to be) in management positions with this company.
Back in the early 90s, when I was fresh out of college, I was contacted by Combined Insurance and even at the time, I never understood how they got my name, telephone number, or any information about me. These were the pre-internet days, so it's not like they found my resume on CareerBuilder. I might have replied to a newspaper ad without knowing which company posted it, but I doubt it.
Either way, it was a company contacting me about a full time, seemingly professional position, so I listened to what the man had to say and scheduled an interview for the following morning at an office in a mall. If anyone from Greensboro, NC reads this, the location was the old "Forum 6" building at Friendly Shopping Center, where K&W Cafeteria is located.
I arrived for the interview 5 minutes early, dressed in a suit and tie, carrying a copy of my resume and a letter of recommendation from my current supervisor at UPS, and I expected to meet the man I had spoken to the day before. I walked into an office that ended up being one of those conference rooms. There were maybe 30 "applicants" sitting in folding chairs and two guys in suits standing at the front of the room with a projector, a portable screen, and one table. There was one adjacent private office and no restrooms. The restrooms were out in the retail portion of the building.
This was definitely not what I expected, and I asked whether I had mistakenly walked into the wrong suite, I wasn't going to a meeting, I was looking for a job interview. One of the suits assured me I was in the right place and directed me to take a seat. I sat down at the back of the room where I could see everyone else, looked around me and wondered what in the h--l was going on.
Once the guy started talking, I was immediately turned off by what I had been suckered into. The man was selling a job to everyone in the room, basically. They showed a video of person after person saying virtually the exact same thing, how great their life was, they made a ton of money, how easy their jobs were, and how they owed everything that was good in their lives to Combined Insurance.
There was a brief pause in the video between each "employee testimonial" and every time there was a pause, about half the room would applaud for a few seconds until the next person showed up onscreen to say the same thing. The room wasn't filled with applicants, it was filled with employees who were trained to applaud and say "Oooooh!" and "Aaaaaah!" when some d****ebag showed a picture of his house, his Porsche, or his boat.
At this point I wasn't mad, but I was, let's say, mildly aggravated. I knew this crap was a waste of time and I didn't want to be involved in it. I thought I had been invited to a job interview, and what was happening seemed more like a high-pressure sales pitch. I felt more like a customer being asked to buy something I didn't want than a job applicant.
So I stood up quietly after watching about 8 or 10 minutes of the video, walked across the room to the door to leave, AND IT WAS LOCKED!! I literally could not walk out of the room because the door couldn't be unlocked without a key. One of the two suits at the table walked over to me and whispered for me to return to my seat (the video was still playing, and apparently he felt like if he whispered, no one in the room would notice me trying to leave). I said something like "I really don't think I'm interested in this company and I'm ready to go."
He said no one could leave until the presentation was over and the one-on-one interview was completed. Being new to the whole wearing-a-suit-and-applying-for-a-fulltime-job situation, I didn't want to cause a scene, so I remained polite and friendly, kept my voice low and repeated that I wasn't interested in hearing anything more about this company, and told him to unlock the door. He turned his back on me, walked back to his seat and left me standing there at the door while he attempted to ignore me, watch the rest of the video and applaud on cue. As soon as his butt hit the chair, I expected the other guy to stand up and come unlock the door.
This didn't happen, and I realized that these idiots thought I was going to go back, sit down, and complete the process. Oh H*LL NO, I'm leaving, no doubt about it. So I started LOUDLY asking if I was being kidnapped. I told the two guys running the show they had about 10 seconds to unlock the door before I started screaming "FIRE!!!!!!!!" and breaking it down. Neither of them actually stood up to do anything until I stood in front of the video screen and made enough noise that no one could see or hear the video. For real, they did nothing until I interfered with the group watching the video.
One guy started apologizing to the group, saying apparently I was having a bad day, perhaps was mentally imbalanced, and he was sorry for the interruption while the other suit went to unlock the door so I could leave. As he ran to the door he bumped into me, one of those real hard, solid, shoulder-to-shoulder bumps where I knew he did it on purpose. He unlocked the door but didn't step aside immediately. He stood between me and the door and I think he actually wanted to fight me. I can't remember what I said to him at that point, if anything, but I'll never forget what the guy behind me said....."Step aside Sir, me and the white boy's leavin." (I was the white boy)
Before I could make up my mind whether I wanted to punch the guy in the mouth on the way out, I was pushed out the door by the dozen or so people that were leaving also. All the applicants left. Every one of them. Several of us stood around talking about what had just happened, and after about 5 minutes everyone else in the room started leaving together (about 15 people), carrying the chairs, the table, projector, and screen out to a storage room. We watched them lock up all the stuff and walk out of the mall together.
None of them would look at any of the applicants, and none of them said even one word to each other as they walked out. We called the police on them, explained the situation and they took a report. I got a phone call a couple days later from a police officer that said the DA's office wasn't interested in pursuing the case for attempted kidnapping, but if I was interested in filing a misdemeanor assault charge, they'd prosecute that. I declined because that seemed stupid.
So, yeah. That was my experience with Combined Insurance and I wish this site (and the internet itself) had existed at the time so I could've posted this years ago when I still remembered the people's names.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/10/2014 01:50 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Combined-Insurance/Greensboro-North-Carolina-27407/Combined-Insurance-Combined-Insurance-of-America-USE-YOUR-HEADS-PEOPLE-Greensboro-Nor-1160927. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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