I was 19, living at home after dropping out of college and looking for work. I was trying to achieve some sort of independence and my job of delivering pizzas wasn't paying enough. I was looking through the paper when I saw an ad for $500 a week plus bonuses. I wasn't too sure what kind of bonuses they were talking about but it sounded good to me. I called the number on the ad and they told me where to go and when to be there. I didn't even ask what the job was (dumb move on my part). So I go and fill out the application and meet with this guy named Eric who asks me some general questions about wanting a job or a career. So I answer the questions and he said I was hired if I wanted the job. So I took the job and quit delivering pizzas.
I went to the three-day unpaid training and learned what I would be doing. I loved the Kirby vacuum cleaner. I thought it was a great product that could sell itself until I saw the price...$1799. I went along with it because I remember my parents having a high-end vacuum that lasted for years and cost about that much. So I set up some appointments with a few family members and tell them about a contest I was in to go to Orlando, Florida on an all expenses paid vacation for selling 15 Kirbys in a month. I was showing it to my dad and called the office when he said he wouldn't buy it. I was told to what to say to pressure him into buying a Kirby. And he was mad about how I put him on the spot like that.
But I show up for work and we do some motivational chanting and I meet Jeremy who comes in wearing $500 dollar suits and driving an Escalade. I had to drive my beat up Caviller and wear some cheap shirts and ties that I got at Goodwill. But I didn't think too much about that and we all piled in vans and headed off to sell Kirbys. It was a pretty good time hanging out in the van. I was a little nervous and I asked where the appointments were and no one would tell me. I figured being the new guy, I was just being ignored. All of a sudden we stop in a neighborhood two hours from Muncie and everybody jumps out of the van with bottles of hand soap and knocking on doors. I asked about these pre-set appointments and again, no answer. I was told that some one had "knocked me into a house" and I had to show them the Kirby. These people barely spoke English I did the demo and pulled a bunch of dirt out of their carpet and they loved it. I told them how much it would cost and they said no, but I called my crew leader (the guy who drives the van) and he came into the house and put a ton of pressure on these people to buy this thing. So he finally takes no for an answer and says he'll be back in a few minutes to pick me up and to wait outside. I was out there for about an hour before he came back. It was after dark and I was a little nervous because he wouldn't answer his cell phone. So I get home about 11 pm after starting my day around 9 am. I was told that this wasn't normal. I was told we normally get off around 5 or 6 pm. I was lied to again.
Over the next three months I continued this under the pretense of being on the verge of success. Any time I expressed doubts or reservations about the job, I was reassured that there was something special about me and that I was going to be very successful. I somehow lost all sense of morals that I had. My dignity was pretty much gone too. So I worked my a*s off and made a few sales. I had several people sold at a certain price, but my crew leader would come in and drop the price so I would make about $25 off the sale. For some reason I kept going at this job against the wishes of my family who I hardly ever saw.
Some of the conditions I worked in go as follows: freezing weather, knocking on doors after dark in some dangerous neighborhoods in Indianapolis, I got to eat once a day, I had a gun pulled on me several times, I received threats for knocking on doors, and I guess that even dogs are programmed to hate salespeople too (several dog bites).
I finally had enough when I was told to knock on a door and get into a house and had a shotgun pulled on me by the owner. He took the free gift and said I had until the count of 3 to get off the property before he shot me. So I ran and fortunately my crew leader was able to get me back in the van. He then asked me what happened to my gift for the nice homeowner. I told him what happened. And this guy seriously insisted that I go back and get the gift or pay him the $5 that it cost. This was the last straw for me.
I never saw any of those people again. I now work a real job for a Fortune 500 company. But these people are somehow still in business. I still see their ads in the paper every week and this is criminal to me. All those people running the company should be in jail for what they put their sales reps and customers through.