Well we have gotten to magazine crew, the point I am dreading more than any....
As I said, I saw this ad in the paper about a job where I could travel and get paid cash every day. To a 19 year old with serious emotional problems and no real ties this sounded like the perfect escape! So I went down to a motel room at our local Ramada and talked to Sabrina (real names here as I am sure no one will know them) I brought along 2 friends SH and Andy.
This girl was a natural born saleswoman. She spoke of making tons of money, winning trips to Cancun and an amazing sense of camaraderie. As you can imagine, it was music to my ears. One catch, I had to leave that very night.
I went to DA's folks, said goodbye, and went back to the motel. Next thing I know I'm in a van on my way to Michigan.
I cannot even describe to you how wonderful the first few days were! Everyone was so cool! All the girls were my new best friends, all the guys hit on me. There were parties every night. I mean we were 30 kids living out of motels.
My first day alone I sold 10 subscriptions. The bosses praised me like you wouldn't believe. I was floating so high that I didn't really notice how much they were yelling at the other ones who had been doing it for a while. A big red flag should have went up right then. Things were great through Wisconsin and until we got to Colorado. That's when sales dropped off for me and the abuse began.
Are you familiar with how cults work? Well that is the best parallel I can draw. They start by bombarding you with love and giving lonely people a sense of family. Then the drilling begins, we would meet every morning at 7 and get "pep talks" (read-veiled threats) and do strange cheers about selling magazines. Seems bizarre now but at the time was totally normal. Then if things did not go their way the yelling started. If you had a bad "drop" (the hour they left you in a neighborhood to sell) they would take you to the worst neighborhood you can imagine and leave you until they felt like coming back. The weird thing is, those people in those places were nicer than the rich ones.
It was financial abuse too. You would get a $20 payment if they were displeased. Considering you worked from 7 am till 9pm, it doesn't add up to a good hourly wage.
That's just a bit of background on the living situation. Next post we will get into drugs, overdoses, and murder. As always thanks for listening and God bless.