Many people have had the opportunity to meet these young adults. They pose as college students trying to win a trip or some other fantastic item. They tell you that they are from the area to make you think you would be helping someone local get the prize of a lifetime. Unfortunately, the only thing you are really helping is the people who own the company for which these kids work. The kids sell magazines door-to-door. These young adults are targeted by the company because the kids have no job, no place to live and are often hungry because they simply don’t have the money to eat. When a member of a “mag crew” approaches the young adult, it is difficult to pass up what is painted as a way to make a huge amount of money.
One such company is Alliance Service Company. Visiting their web page will give you some idea of the promises made to the young people who join their crews. Don’t fall for it. The company has a known reputation for being abusive to the kids who join. There is a great deal of verbal abuse and physical abuse that goes on behind the scenes. Purchasing magazines from these kids assures only one thing. The company they work for will get richer and the kids who work door-to-door selling magazines won’t ever get ahead or be able to break away.
It is important that people are aware of what really goes on with magazine crews. If you have a missing child or young adult, the magazine crews are a great place to begin looking for them. There are a few things that you should be aware of before heading down this path though. First and foremost, be aware that if you call the main office, it is likely that you will be told your child is not with any of the crews. It is wise to push the issue even if you aren’t sure your child is with them. This will at least get them to look into it.
Many of the young adults who are with the magazine crews want to get away from it. This is difficult for them to do once they are in for several reasons. Some kids have missed court dates because the crew leader promises to make sure he/she is back for the court date but then doesn’t allow him/her to go back when the time actually comes around. Now the young adult has the fear that if he/she returns home, he/she will be arrested for not going to the court date. This is often held over their heads.
These young adults are told that they will receive bus fare home if they ever decide to leave the crew. The reality is that they will not receive the fare back home. Instead, they will be stranded in an unknown place far away from home. The abandoned crew member will not be able to retrieve their own property, to include clothing. What they are left with is no money, no clothing, no food and no way home.
Jeff Hawkins and his friend Jordan recently had this situation occur in their lives. They were left stranded in Dayton Ohio by their boss, William Woods of Alliance Service Company. The crew name is Thoroughbreds and the name of the game is getting sales no matter what you have to do to get them. If the performance of the crew member isn’t up to par, the crew member will get what is called a draw. Jordan stated that he only got a $1 draw one day. The draw is the money the crew member is given to live off of for one day. In this case, Jordan had $1 to buy his breakfast lunch and dinner that day. A high draw is about $15. Consider the fact that these kids must eat at fast food restaurants because they live in motel rooms.
The money the kids are promised when they begin the adventure never happens. Money for the motel is taken out first. The kids are charged for a motel room. The total cost of one room is taken out of the pay. Four to five kids share the same motel room each night. That means that Alliance Service Company is making a lot of money by stealing from the very people that make the company work, their sales representatives.
Jeff Hawkins and his friend Jordan were lucky. They ran across some very nice people. One lady purchased bus tickets for them to get back home. She couldn’t afford it, but she helped them anyway. The police department in Dayton, Ohio was very helpful as well, giving the boys a ride to the bus station two towns away. These boys lived on the street for four days in a strange town in order to get away from the crew.
These boys were just trying to make something of themselves as the advertisement states they will. They were drawn in by the promises of big money and travel. It turned out to be a scam, not only for the customer but for the boys.
If you have a teenager or young adult who is missing, start looking for them in these magazine crews. It is highly possible that they are with these people. The company puts ads in local newspapers for kids. Even the newspaper ads claim great things if you join them. The crews will often recruit kids who enter stores such as Wawa and even Wal-Mart. They are like vultures waiting to swoop down and snatch up our young. The problem is very real. If you have a missing child or young adult, he/she could be selling magazines door to door. He/she will have a place to stay, but they won’t be safe.