PJ ENTERPRISES Mike JOiner PJ enterprises john futrell
Do a google search on scentura. they act and look like a scentura office. just read and look at it for yourself.
Like almost every report on this website, this company drew me. Called the ad (unlike most of you, though, the ad in my paper was incredibly brief and non-descript...all it said was "receptionist position for new office, no experience necessary"). The phone was answered by an enthusiastic, young sounding individual who rushed to make an appointment with me for just an hour and a half later. I didn't mind going because, amazingly enough, the office was in my town, five minutes from my house, in fact. I figured they were desperate and had a slot to fill--little did I know that it wasn't really an interview at all.
Arrived at the unprofessinal, poorly furnished office. I was surprised that there was only one computer; that the "manager" himself didn't have one; and that the one computer's single purpose was to play music very loudly with its Windows Media Player blocking the screen the entire time I was there. There was also only one set of rooms occupied while the rest of the rooms outside the offices and down the hall (bathrooms and storage rooms were completely falling apart) were untouched.
But I just graduated from a great four-year college with a BA in a liberal arts field that, while an accomplishment, doesn't guide me to immediate work. I'm desperate, so here I am, selling myself as hard as possible to this slick guy who doesn't ask me a single question about my experience, identification, skills, or education, who doesn't even ask me for a resume or proof of address. I just thought I was lucky. Finally, a job that accepts people based on personality and not employment history!
Of course, I knew from the start that it seemed too good to be true. How easily he shifted from offering me the non-existent receptionist position to saying they had entry level management positions and was I interested in that? Of course I was.
I received a flattering call two hours later at my home telling me that they'd like me back for a second interview. When I arrived and there were nine other people there, I got nervous. Are we all competing for the same job?
The relaxed atmosphere of the "Gateway Management" office was nice at first. Laura (I forget her last name) and Sam Mull, the two "branch managers", seemed very nice. The way they would curse and act unprofessional and toss around crude jokes full of slurs at first seemed fun...or at least seemed to be a way to loosen everyone up.
After two hours of it, though, my guard was up. They hadn't answered a single question about our actual employment but instead had gone on for hours about attitude and the company and the fragrance industry. They didn't give us anything in writing or ask us to fill out any paperwork. They kept saying they'd answer all payment/paperwork questions at the next meeting--but they'd said the same thing during my initial interview and so far I hadn't gotten a single straight answer. I didn't even know what I'd be doing or the name of the company. All they had told us was that the company's president was Larry Hahn and that the divisional manager was Donny Zinkin. They also mentioned someone named Holly--I believe she's one of the managers at the Middlesex office, which they claimed is the regional office for NJ. Finally, they'd "rejected" four of the ten and we were now six. They told us we were the "cream of the crop" but meanwhile one or two of the four who'd been "rejected" were there the next day with us!
Still, I was excited. I wanted to believe it was true. I had stopped looking for other jobs because of this opportunity. They told me that after 6-8 weeks of training I would become a manager/keyholder for a perfume distributing office with 5-6 people working under me. They said I'd be making a guaranteed, contractual $576 a week during that time and an average of $300 a week during training. They said I would be responsible for managing, motivating, accounts, inventory, and hiring & firing my staff. They said they were with Dun & Bradstreet (insurance or finances, I don't remember which). They told us what they were looking for, what the training schedule was and contained, and then explained the fragrance industry and how they were different from the "big name" companies. They told us the story of Marc Larecy and his "Opium" perfume and went into all that about patents and why they could do what they did, and so on.
I went back for orientation that following Monday, saying to myself that the moment they asked me to sell something or buy something I was gone. I expected, at least, to get my questions answered and to walk out having signed something, or agreed to something, or to have been briefed about my job training.
But we received none of that. In fact, the only thing they taught us was how to accept a good check and avoid a bad check, and told us we could not accept credit cards. This sent warning bells off like nothing else before--I wasn't in this for sales. I was going to be a manager. Why did I have to learn this first and foremost? The "an employer must know what the employee does to be successful" line only made sense to a certain extent. Especially when we doubled back and thought, "But wait. I thought we'd be managing an office. Why do I need to learn to train people to do sales? To train people as this woman is apparently training me? I thought NO ONE did sales? I thought we'd be hiring administrative assistants?"
And then EVERYTHING started to not make sense. The stupid abbreviations for us like FNP (f***ing new people, indeed), the nicknames, the badges, the "we make you kneel and sing a song in front of the group if you're late so you'll never do it again", the "attitude checks" during the orientation where she'd make us stand every five minutes and shout and yell, the fact that there seemed to be no BUSINESS ever going on in the office, only loud music and endless interviews, the quick-talking and slick nature of these young managers, the way they harped continually on the riches of their superiors in an incredibly unprofessional and materialistic fashion, the too-personal questions they asked us, the lack of respect, and indeed the lack of an employer/employee relationship at all...
I could go on.
None of it added up. At the end of orientation Laura gave us a three-page packet that included a side-by-side comparison of "our" (Scentura's) perfume vs. "other brands". At the bottom was the slogan, "Changing The Way The World Buys Perfume". Indeed!
The second page was a list of fragrances. What seemed really fishy was that the perfumes didn't have "rendition" names...they were simply CALLED by the original, expensive brand name. Didn't they say something about so long as you didn't use the NAME but just the ingredients that you were okay by law? So why were they attaching the patented names to their perfumes? Couldn't we get in trouble for that? The third page was an order form. I stared at her and the enthusiasm went out of my face.
She said she'd "just been thinking" up ways for us to "have fun" our first day and so she drew up a contest. She put $50 on the board every time we stood up and shouted during the "attitude check" and so by the end of the time we were there, there was something like $800 on the board. She then proceeded to lay out a very complicated contest in which the person who sold the most would get the jackpot, with individuals also getting paid for each bottle they sold over 5, and anyone who sold over 21 could skip a week of training. There would also be a prize if the group reached its goal of 100 units sold.
Prizes? Cash? Skip of week of training? Becoming a manager in six weeks seemed daunting enough, how would we learn to do our jobs in four or five? Why throw away a week so carelessly? "You're never going to feel as if you've got something totally. You're always going to feel unsure. But we'll move you on to the next level anyway." At this point I reckoned that she had to be kidding.
Of course, we all knew this contest was impossible. None of us had friends or family that would be willing or even able to buy so much perfume. I had no intentions of having ANYONE I knew write out a check to this company until I had received pay from them myself. When I tried to ask her if not participating in this "contest" would affect my training or the way I was treated in the office, she assured me it was "just for fun" and "had nothing to do with training".
I bit my tongue. At this point I just wanted to leave. The music blasted up loudly yet again but this time I was not excited. I had received no paperwork. Nothing in writing about benefits, medical insurance, or pay. No definite explanation of what exactly I'd be managing or doing in the capacity of manager. All I had in my hand was an order form, instructions to do a "contest", and instructions on how to accept a good check.
Ridiculous. No legit company makes you sell things when you're in training for management, or in training period! No legit company will ask you for a check or money order or cash from anyone in your life before you've even signed a contract or shown ID or proven that you're not some psycho off the street. She didn't even give us samples! How could we sell perfume without samples? She claimed that this was a way of making it challenging. A way of breaking us into the difficulty of the business. But that just made no sense.
She was a real con-artist, much more so than Sam, and I think that's why she did most of the talking--she was good, but not good enough. All this bull about "great, no problem!" and "fake it till you make it" and "if you always do what you've always done you're always gonna get what you've always gotten".
She said we would get jealous of each other. She said we should be friendly but not friends. She said only one or two of us would be left by the end of the week. (To which most of the girls blanched, because many had quit their jobs once Sam had told us we were "hired". "What do you mean not all of us will make it?" But no one said anything.)
She made vague references to pairing up, working with successful managers, going on satellites, and all other references that made sense once I'd read the reports here.
She made us write at the bottom of our notes with initials, "I told Laura that I would have a great attitude all day every day."
She told us the dress code for training was casual--and I stared blankly again. Casual? Every day? And I'm going to be a manager at the end? She said that while we could dress casual, it was with the understanding that we'd get it that eventually as managers we'd have to dress up. Um? Huh?
From my notes:
"A manager is someone who can take a group of people and get them to perform to their maximum potential."
"There is a $2 check charge per unit of perfume sold. No starter checks and no checks numbered under #300. No credit cards. Money orders acceptable. On the check you need a name, phone, address, and driver's license number."
What was very suspicious about the checks, also, is that they were made out to "Gateway Management"--not "Scentura". So basically you were making out the check to your managers, not the company.
She warned us, finally, to not talk to anyone in any office that had a badge below our own. Well, obviously--if we only spoke to those who had gone farther in the scam we would be scammed all the better by their convincing talk.
As she explained the contest, she said the most important things she was looking for in us in regards to the selling we'd do were "greed", "motivation", and "to see how you deal with it".
Greed? What kind of company would even USE the word greed in reference to its employees?
As she insisted that we "not juice her" by giving her inflated goals for our selling, she also told us to "shoot for the stars". If we did that, she said, we'd land on a cloud, at least, if we fell, instead of aiming for the clouds and then falling down onto a tree and getting a branch up your a*s.
I couldn't believe the continual vulgarity and lack of professionalism in these people. It seemed altogether impossible they were managers of anyone or anything. The office had no filing cabinets, no papers, and no evidence of actual work being done, after all.
She said the contest would challenge us because we had no samples to even try to use to sell the perfume, and because we also had no pitch. She just wanted us to get used to the fragrance list and try selling on people who wouldn't judge us or get mad at us--our friends and family (the ever-famous FFAR). She said there were no refunds, and then instructed us to call her later that evening so that she could "help us" if we weren't doing well.
I thought to myself, "Is that really her job? I thought we were going to be trained to manage? Why does she care so much if we're doing well in a contest that supposedly has nothing to do with our training but that is just for fun?" Why has this whole darned thing been about sales and selling so far when it's supposed to be about management?
Needless to say, I went home with no intention of continuing. My plan was to go in the next day with no order form and no checks or money and see if I didn't get kicked out immediately, just out of curiosity. However, I had the sense to notice the company name (finally, a name!) was on the front of the order form packet.
I Googled the named "Scentura" and found this website. I could not be any more grateful for all of your reports. This morning I printed out copies of one of the original, concise reports I found here and distributed them to my "class" as they arrived at the office. I barely managed to get to everyone before a group of 4-6 shady looking "managers" I'd never met before filed out of the office and literally walked us into an alley asking us if we were "ready to start for the day". From the reports here I knew from there we'd be herded into cars and taken to peddle perfume somewhere--and there was no way in hell I was "ready" to start that.
I left many copies of what I printed with the girl that stayed behind. I've also spoken to a detective at my local police department who then got me in touch with business affairs; I'm going to file a report with them. I realize there isn't much, legally, that can be done, but I feel better that I was able to warn off the girls I was trained with, and that I'm filing a report on them. I can only hope that awareness will prevent people from investing their time and money into such a scam.
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