Midwest Management is a company that advertises management positions in the want ads of local papers and draws young, naive kids (and, surprisingly, some adults) into their pyramid scheme of perfume selling.
I was out of a job at the age of 20 and desperate for a quick fix to pay my bills and keep my head above water. The ad I saw seemed too good to be true, but I wouldn't admit that to myself because I was in need of money. The ad read something like "Have fun while you work/ Guaranteed $500/wk to start/ Positive, upbeat attitudes only!!!"
I became suspicious when I called the number in the ad and the man I spoke to wanted to see me for an "interview" within the next four hours. Upon arriving at Midwest Management, I saw that there were at least 30 people milling around this office and interviews were conducted in groups of 3. We were told that this was because this was the "biggest response" they'd had to their ad and our group looked to be the "most promising."
Once at home, I received a nearly immediate phone call for a second interview, which was basically the same process except that we were told that we were exceptional for having made it this far. I remember thinking that they hadn't even seen my resume or spoken to me one-on-one and already they knew I was what they were looking for? They offered me a position the next day and I started with a group of 15 to 20 other people. I only lasted 3 days.
Day 1 consisted of the manager of the office explaining that Midwest Management was part of Scentura Creations, which made "renditions" of designer perfumes and dominated something like 75% of perfume sales in the US and Europe. Then he proceeded to brag for 3 hours about his lavish lifestyle, and the lavish lifestyles of other office managers within the company. Then some weary kids who were apparently in training talked enthusiastically about what great opportunities lie ahead. Then they sent us home with order forms to "practice" selling to our parents. "After all, how can you manage an office if you can't even do the basics of what your employees will be doing?" said the manager.
Day 2 was spent memorizing the perfumes. For some reason the perfume names weren't printed on the boxes so we had to memorize the color schemes. There was tremendous pressure to memorize these quickly, even though we were being told that it was not our responsibility to sell the perfume, only to manage the offices out of which the perfume would be sold. Regardless, the manager said that the owner of the company (whose mansions and yachts were covering the walls in collages) had called and said that whoever memorizes all the perfumes first gets $500. This seemed so silly to me, but everyone else seemed to be taking it really seriously. Someone ended up being promised $500, but who knows if he was paid.
Day 3 was the day I got out. I was partnered up with a girl who'd been selling perfume for the company for 6 months and she spent the car ride to our "merchandising area" telling me that pretty soon the company was paying for her to move to Orlando where she could manage her own business and get rich and how fulfilling this job was. She took me to a strip mall where we went door to door attempting to sell this crappy knock-off perfume. By the time we got to the third business I realized that all of the owners of the businesses in the strip mall had told us to leave as soon as we entered. Obviously, she'd been peddling her wares here to the chagrin of the legit business owners for some time. I told her to please take me back to the office because I didn't think this was for me.
The car ride to the office was silent and when we got to the manager she told him I had "flaked," a popular derogatory term for everyone smart enough to get out of this scam ASAP. He attempted to talk me out of it, but when he saw that I knew that they were jerking these people around he went for another tactic. "I'm sorry you're not willing to work hard to get to the top" was just one cheap shot he laid on me, but I just took it, knowing that deep down in his heart he knew that I was on to him.
Since that day I've had no contact with the company but everything I've read here inspired me to tell my story. Midwest Management in Homewood, IL. is NOT a legitimate business. In fact, some of the same kids that were telling me they'd be getting offices "any day now" were hawking perfume at my new job over six months later. IT'S A SCAM AND THE QUICKER YOU GET OUT THE BETTER OFF YOU'LL BE!!!
I'd be interested to know of people in the Homewood area who got sucked into this and how you're doing for yourselves today. Are there still people from your training group that are there? How do we let them know that this is a scam? Or is it just another life lesson they'll have to learn. I think about those poor kids all the time, and if filing this report is the extent of what I can do to help them realize the truth, then I'm glad I did it.
South Elgin, Illinois
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Scentura Creations