Thursday, June 01, 2006

Vector Cutco

This is all a subjective experience. Do not rely on this for fact, do your own research. This is not a very organized layout, I am just angry.

It was a Monday. I checked the mailbox and there was a letter from Vector Marketing. It basically said that they had some student work opportunities and to call to schedule an interview. I thought, why not, and so I did. The girl on the phone sounded nice enough, said it was a professional interview, I would be getting paid 15 dollars an hour, not many people get this job, I could get college credits, and college scholarships. (Notice that she asked no questions about myself, which is why I was surprised when she then said to come in at 3:30 which was only 2 hours later.) So I looked through my closet for some formal looking clothes and headed to the office in Schaumburg.
*note, I do not know anything at this point and the lady does not inform me at all.

So I drive my ass all the way to Schaumburg. When I get there I hear loud obnoxious screemo music (which should have been the first sign to leave), and I see there is a LOT of people filling out applications. I then started to get nervous, seeing that I would have to compete with all these people to get the job. So I sit down and start filling out the application. The application itself is pretty odd considering they don’t want any references, prior job experience, or most other things that normal applications require. It was like my name, school, and things about me. After you fill out the crap application, you get called by twos into the manager’s office. The manager intimidates you right off the bat by questioning you interrogation style. I had never been to a formal interview before so I was scared shitless and said a lot of “uhs, umms, and likes”, so then it was to my surprise when he said that he wanted me back for the next 90 minute interview.

Things I know now:
1. Everything they do has a psychological reasoning behind it and contributes to your brainwashing.
2. The deafening music they play is to assume an upbeat attitude.
3. The formality and “professional” way they conduct their interviews is a façade. They want you to think that it will be difficult to get the job because then you will want it more and appreciate it more when you do get it (and you will).
4. They make it seem like they do not hire everybody, and tell you that after the interview, saying “We only hire a SELECT few… blah blah blah”, but they hire EVERYONE and give them different training days so that we don’t see each other.
5. The only thing that was blatantly awful was the horrible music selection that shatters your eardrums.

You then go back into the room that you started out in with all the other college kids. Everyone is all dressed in their finest, so thankful for this opportunity and then the manager walks in. He then basically talks up the company, making it sound like the greatest thing in the world. “Fortune 500 company, all these celebrities endorse it, all these rich people used to work for it…..”. He then talks about the incentives. OH the allure of the incentives. “You can get college credits, scholarships, have a great resume, work with one of the 10 best companies in the country…”. At this point, I was praying to god to please, please help me land this awesome job. And guess what, I did. But it was the worst mistake I could have made all summer.

Things I know now:
1. A Fortune 500 company bought this company out 20 years ago.
2. They probably pay the celebrities and rich people that endorse it, and they have a LOT of extra money to do that.
3. What college credits?
4. What college scholarships?
5. It is one of the best companies because they make a lot of money. They make a lot of money by scamming poor college kids.

After the group interview, I enter the manager’s office all nervous and anxious. I am scared that I will not get this great job so that my mom gets off my ass for being a bum. I think about the $15 hour pay, then I think of all those other “qualified” kids out there. The manager senses my anxiety and starts off with “ You know, not many people are qualified for this job…only a select few get the position….we only hire people we trust”. By this point I was so scared I didn’t get the job that I almost passed out from my heart beating so fast and then the manager breaks out in a huge grin saying “Congratulations you got the job!”. I was delirious with joy. I floated out of that office. To think, me qualified over all those other chumps out there in the waiting room. Sadly, the only real chump was ….me.

What I know now:
1. What I should have been thinking about was, wait what the fuck IS my job?
2. The manager probably says the same thing to everyone.
3. The intimidation and pressure is all part of the brainwashing process. I felt so good when I got the job. I promised myself I would work hard at it (even though I had no clue what I was going to be doing).
4. Afterwards, you get a flyer with the training session times. 3 days, about 6-7 hours each. No Pay. But you’re so happy that none of this matters. Nobody is skeptical at this point. The only fact I knew for sure was that it had something to do with knives.

Now a smart individual would have done his research BEFORE the initial interview. I was stupid. I was gullible. I was like any other average college student that sees $15 an hour and cries tears of joy. It took me about 3 days into the job to do a thorough research of Cutco on the internet. By then, it was too late. I had already wasted 20+ hours of my life going to training sessions(brainwashing sessions).

Training is hell. But hey, its essential right? I didn’t even know what the hell I would be doing until the end of the first training day. That should have been a warning sign, but the $15 an hour definitely clouded my vision. TRAINING IS HELL. TRAINING AT CUTCO IS HELL. You have to sit in these hard metal/plastic chairs and get brainwashed on how wonderful the product is, how wonderful the company is, and how much money you will be making. All of this told by a good looking manager with a lot of enthusiasm and persuasion so we all just ate it up. Nothing about what we will be doing, just how much this and that kid made by doing this, basically a lot of ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ us about the company. They make you believe that the product is the best in the world. There is 3 days of long hard training that is as long but worse than school.

Things I know now:
1. They keep telling us that we are independent contractors with basically our own business. Wait, then who are you? You are my manager that makes me call everyday at 7 in the morning, makes me call after every appointment, tells me rules I have to adhere to, and work under him. So how am I my own boss?
2. On almost all the applications you fill out on the first day and there is also time set apart during training as well to do this, they make you fill out a recommendation sheet for all your friends who would be interested in the job. Clearly this best shows the multi-level marketing strategy. Cutco NEEDS new recruits because the recruit connections are the marketing campaign.
3. You make $15 per Appointment, not $15 an hour. There is a HUGE difference. You think, "Goddam, $15 dollars an hour? Wow, I can work full time and make $600 a week! No. My god, full time? 40 hours? That means 40 appointments a week. That means you will be bothering 40 of your friend's parents a week. People will want to start hurting you with your own knives.
4. DO NOT GET ENTICED BY THE FAST START. Coming into this job I thought, wait eventually, I will run out of people to make appointments with. No shit. That is the point. The fast start is basically a sales rep’s first week out and there is HUGE incentive to do really well. They have all these prizes including other cutco products, limo night, gift certificates, and lastly a $1,500 voucher to Cancun. Trust me when I say you probably will not sell $17,000 worth of Cutco no matter how much they say it is possible. There is only a top 1% of people who actually do well but probably still do not sell that much. The fast starts are how Cutco make a lot of money. So since there is a huge incentive to do well and there is only one fast start, everyone goes out and harasses everyone they know right away. There are probably over 10 teams in my office (I really have no clue but probably more than that) with 25-30 sales reps in each. So about 300 + fast starts, not to mention this is only one office. So there are fast starts happening all over the country. And now we know why Cutco is the 10th best company in the country.
5. Also the music. They will not stop playing music. They tell you to start memorizing certain parts of your manual, but how the fuck can I concentrate when I am listening to “Dance Dance” for the millionth time? Seriously this irritated me the most. They would tell you to start studying the manual and then start blaring the music. The music does have meaning behind it though. They play music so that you won’t talk to your team members. They don’t seem to like it when you and your other team members are talking. In the beginning, I would be asking the kid next to me a question and an assistant would rush up to me and ask me what my problem was. This happened a lot. I just thought they were being helpful then I realize that they just don’t want us to be asking a bunch of questions that actually have to be answered truthfully.
6. They give you a bunch of comparisons to different high end knives. I did some research on Henckels price comparisons and kept finding the 18 piece set to be $499.00 on a bunch of sites including Amazon. This is strange because I have been telling all my family and friends that the Henckels 18 piece set was $1,562. So one of the world’s best set of knives is actually cheaper than cutco’s set which is for $899. So they are lying to me and I am lying to everyone else.
7. They never tell you that you are a door to door salesman, they use euphemisms like “independent contractor” and “sales representative”. You basically become the person you slam the phone down on everyday.
8. If you see too many people, they try not to pay you by saying that you didn't fit the certian requirements in the contract. They hve to be married, have kids, own house, be over 25. Alright, most of my close friend's parents are divorced. You know... divorced people eat too, they also don't cook with sticks and rocks. A lot of my friend's parents just had the sense to not buy a hundred dollar knife no matter who was selling it to them.
9. I now have reason to believe that all the stories that they tell you, no matter how enthusiastic or persuasive, are lies. I think Vector hires a team of people to come up with funny little anecdotes and past experieces for the managers to tell all of the trainees. The stories are what got me. The manager tells you, looking straight into your eyes, that he was doing the exact same thing you were and succeeded, and look now he's the District Manager! ' I am making a 6-figure salary, all by sticking with Cutco!', ' Some people are even opening their own offices next summer, it could happen to you!', ' I make my money 17 different ways; I don't even know half of those ways ha ha ha'. He probably went to business school, got hired by Vector to be a manager because of his credentials (no way in hell did he work his way up from being a trainee), memorized a script that all the managers use, and now makes his money 17 different ways! Oh, I think I know all 17 different ways he makes his money...

Two days before was the day I had researched all of these things. I still then decided to go to the training to see what other bullshit they might pull. Here is where the show us the “secret weapon”. The secret weapon is basically cutting a little over $130.00 off some of the sets. OK. It’s still fucking expensive. Anyhow, the manager had stopped talking and stepped out of the room for a bit. I had overheard one kid telling another kid that he was going to this conference but he didn’t have the 20 bucks he was supposed to pay for it and was going to pay for it later or something. Now they were making kids pay for their own brainwashing??? I had to do something. So I nudged the kid with my foot and asked him how he heard about the company. I then told him really quickly about the Cutco complaint sites on the web and told him to do some research tonight. He looked at me suspiciously and then IGNORED ME! For fuck’s sake I am trying to help you. But he was too far gone in his brainwashing. A lot of the kids were. A lot of them thought they were these professional sales people will their ill-fitting suits, sunglasses, and gelled up hair. I tried to help as many people as possible before I quit urging them to do some research, but I think they thought I was trying to sabotage their chances of doing well. And almost none of the kids I talked to did any research about the job beforehand.

The reason why cutco is doing so well, is because YOU do everything. You drive your car (gas), make the phone calls (phone bill), bother everyone you know, and THEY get the money. How sweet is that? Granted you are getting 15 bucks an hour, but think of all the money you are spending doing this shit. So let’s say I do 15 appointments a week, which is still a lot. At first you’re like oh I can do 20, easy. No. It is not easy to convince people to let them see you and fit everyone conveniently one after the other. People are busy at different times. So anyway, 15 x $15.00 = $225. Ok now just split that in half for gas. That is $112.5 a week, which is about minimum wage, except now your phone bill has gone up and all your friends hate you. Is it worth it? I had made about 6 appointments for the week before I realized all of this so I just did 4 and cancelled the last 2. So that’s 4 x 15, which is 60. Great that pays for a full tank of gas that I used up driving to the damn office. Obviously they are going to be like ‘you didn’t make any money because you were lazy and didn’t make a lot of appointments, blah blah blah”. Listen, bitch. This job speaks to lazy people. 1. make your own hours 2. get paid 15 bucks an hour. 3. get paid every week 4. drive to the office once a week; don’t have to come in everyday . What you forgot to say during all the trainings is that everything you say is COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC!!! There is no way the average college kid is going to have 50 appointments and make millions of dollars. There is no way I can just keep calling people up, they have shit to do. No one wants to buy knives for a thousand dollars right now. They basically just hype up the job and the incentives so much that it clouds reality. With this job, it’s inevitable that you are going to run out of people to see and then quit. Wisconsin surveyed 940 people and on average the workers earn less than $3 a day selling Cutco. (I read off a cutco complaint site) It’s not that big of a surprise once you know the facts.

So during the week, I would wake up to my manager calling me at 8 asking why I didn’t call at 7. So aren’t you my boss then if I have to check up with you at insane hours of the morning everyday? My friends don’t even call before 12. Are you sure this call isn’t just some more reinforcement to go call up some more people and annoy them until they make an appointment with me?

These are some sites I read about to come up with the conclusion that Cutco is a piece of shit.
or basically just type in Cutco Scam into google. There are a lot of really thorough sites, unlike mine.

Anyway, yesterday I quit. It was quite an ordeal. I think the people at the office knew I was going to quit because I just stopped wearing nice clothes and was not responsive or productive in the last advanced training. All the assistants just sort of shuffled out of my way as I walked in. My real manager wasn’t there so I waited for his assistant manager in her office. And waited. And waited…. FINALLY she came out with this mousy looking girl who was beaming, (obviously she had just become another cutco whore) and she then told me to wait some more. As I was waiting some other assistants walked in and out of the office not looking at me, just cleaning up. They didn’t say one word to me. They knew why I was there and probably didn’t want me asking them a bunch of questions they didn’t want to answer. So then, my manager walks back into her office and calls in her assistant and they are both whispering furiously as I am waiting, waiting. I hear bits and pieces, no doubt they are talking about me, but they are also shit talking some other girl who came into the training session. But WHY are they doing that NOW? Is it to stall me? Do they think I will change my mind? Anyway, she finally comes into the office and asks me what’s up. I tell her that I am going to quit because I did some cutco research and cannot work for a company that uses Multi-level marketing or pyramid schemes to make money. She is a terrible actress. “US??!? A Pyramid Scheme? I am so insulted you would think something like that. You know the internet is not always true.” She seemed pissed at me for even thinking something like that. Look, I basically made your company $300 in 4 days at my expense, YOU should be thanking me! Don’t try to lie or cover it up, be fucking ashamed that you are working for a company that preys on college students knowing full well that the average kid is not going to do well. You worthless bitch, I fucking hate you. If Cutco is blameless than why is there a petition online with about 5,000 signature of students’ horror stories of working with Cutco? She was then just like ‘you shouldn’t say things without knowing for real’, which was just too ironic that SHE would be telling me to not talk about half-truths. And then I left. I considered putting flyers with some real info on all my team members’ cars and maybe I still will.