First of all, let me say that I NEVER answer the door--I hate talking to strangers and also just don't like to be bothered, even if it's someone I know, unless I've invited them. That said, I was expecting someone at 5 pm so, when the doorbell rang, I didn't hesitate to answer it. As soon as I opened the door I had a strong instinct to just say "thanks, not interested" and shut it, but of course I didn't.
Instead, I allowed myself to be charmed by the guy at the door--a very, very personable black guy--honestly the guy should have been an actor or a comedian--he was sharp as a tack. I honestly have to say that I was just so impressed with him I just felt like throwing money at him--he was just likeable.
He introduced himself and the young woman he was with, saying that they weren't political campaigners and know I'm busy and don't want to take up much time, etc. He then started the "Let me ask you--what do you do for a living?" and just generally was very engaging--what do you do, how did you get into that, sounds so interesting--I've never met a writer--this is such a beautiful neighborhood, etc, etc. Somehow in there he worked in that he and this girl are selling magazine subscriptions for some program--but by that point I honestly was so snowed I wasn't even paying attention to what he was selling; all I knew was that he was hilarious and I just felt sorry for him having to walk around selling magazines door-to-door).
The whole time I was half rivited by the guy's personality and half terrified that he was going to pull out a gun or something because he was just chatting on and on without telling me why he was at my door for at least five full minutes. Half of me wanted to just say no thanks and shut the door, but half of me thought I should give the guy a chance, help him out, etc. FINALLY he stops the small talk and cuts to the chase: they're selling magazines. He hands me this dog-eared packet of papers--all creased and written on and, not to be gross, but reeking of tuna or something--and tries to explain some random thing about how if I buy this many subscriptions he gets this many points, etc. etc. There were no prices or anything--a bunch of handwriting scrawled all over the place, thumbnail pictures of the different magazines, etc. I had to ask him a few times "how much does it cost?" and even then he was super vague. All I can say is that I was totally brainwashed--it was like I didn't care what he was selling or how much it cost--I just wanted to help him out.
There I was in my big fancy house and there he was pounding the pavement trying to make an honest buck: this wasn't how he presented it but somehow this is how he managed to come across, and it absolutely worked. I just wanted to hand the guy some money--it didn't even matter to me how much the magazines cost. Or maybe it was because I had a bad feeling and just wanted them to leave so just wanted to pay him and be able to shut the door. So I quickly selected two magazines--Working Mother and Fast Company--and every time I asked "How much is this one?" he did some fast talk "the cover price" or something vague, then of course it turns out that the minimum subscription is 2 years at the cover price per issue. EVERYONE knows subscriptions cost less than the cover price, but for whatever crazy reason, even knowing this, I agreed to purchase two subscriptions.
He then hands me a bill--for $119 and I just scribbled out a check and basically threw it at him so he'd leave. Everything in me was screaming that it wasn't right and I shouldn't be talking to him at all, let alone writing him a check, but I just went right ahead and did it.
Long story short: luckily this just happened yesterday and the minute I closed the door I turned the sales slip over and realized I have 3 days to cancel so I'll be mailing the cancellation in tomorrow. I just hope that I don't have the same problems other people have written about in terms of getting their money back. I have half a mind to stop payment on the check, but, to be honest, I don't want my husband to know how stupid I was to write these strangers a check for $119 for two year subscriptions for two magazines I didn't even want.
As someone else reporting about this company's scam said--these kids selling magazines are either the most talented liars in the world or the company has totally snowed them and they are actually sincere. Either way the whole thing just makes me sick--from having my privacy violated by strangers walking up to my door to having to now worry about getting my money back--I hate that this happened to me in the safety of my own home. Sure, I could have said no and slammed the door, but honestly, it was almost like I was scared and just wanted to get them to leave in the easiest, quickest way possible, and if that meant buying into their obvious scam, I apparently was fine with that.
Keep your fingers crossed that I get my money back and please spread the word: If someone comes to your door, charming as hell, telling you a sob story about how he's working to make money to go to school to become a computer technician or something along those lines, tell him sorry, I don't have time for this and shut the door in his face.
Oh, and by the way, the thing that tipped me off that this was a scam was when I looked at the receipt to Google the company, it isn't even clear what the company is! It says, in bold, "SECOND to NONE, Inc" then, on the next line, "Participating in the American Cash Award." So I don't know if you'd classify this as Second to None or American Cash Award.
Sucker in maryland