Some names and stories popped up repeatedly in our discussion. These reader experiences are not exactly scams, but the work might make you uncomfortable if you aren't prepared going in.
- Cutco - Our Facebook friend Marla shared her story with this company.
Olean, NY-based Cutco lures job hunters promising a great opportunity selling its top-line knives. The company and others like it who employ mostly college students earned a positive write-up in USA Today. Selling Cutco knives through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vector Marketing, may look to a job-seeker like a great opportunity to handle sales between major retailers and Cutco. But that's not how it works. Instead Cutco will add you to its sales force and you'll go door to door selling knives at your own expense. Upon orientation, you'll have to purchase a set for demonstrations, which can run about $100. At least one student newspaper has questioned Vector's sales and recruiting tactics.
On the other hand, assuming you can buy products at a wholesale price, this is one way retail sales works. If you have a solid plan, and know a target market that will use these products, starting a business may be a good option. However, beware of pyramid schemes, which are illegal and involve heavy selling and recruiting that can exceed the duties of actually running a business. One red flag for a pyramid scheme is if there is no product to actually sell. Another rule of thumb while looking for a job: Never pay a fee up front.
- Receptionist, or telemarketer?
"An ad in the paper said they were looking for a receptionist. On my first day, what am I doing? Being a telemarketer - making annoying calls to people bothering them! I was so livid, because I was lied to! I quit the next day." -- Nicole
- Northwestern Mutual