It’s tempting for every student. Those ads are on the Internet, on the flyers in the hallways, and in the newspapers. It says that the work will earn them $10 per hour (really, it’s only $10 per appointment and a commission, if any) and that they can choose their own working hours. There are a lot of things that aren’t true in this scenario.
A student calls the number and the secretary will say that the student will be selling housewares and will rattle off a huge list of items. While the secretary says this, there are much fewer items to be sold. The items that will be sold are kitchen knives, hunting knives, garden tools, an ice cream scoop, and a few other kitchen tools.
The first interview is simply filling out an application and giving it to a manager. There is no more to the interview. There is no more to the interview, either. It is not exclusive. There will be a group of people sitting in a small office filling out paper work. Then, if the student is chosen, they will get a phone call.
When the student goes in for an Interview, it really is not a formal interview. Again, a group of people will be there and the manager will talk all about the products that they are to sell. The manager will then pick people on how well they paid attention to the details. For what may be the first time in their lives, the students will be introduced to CutCo products.
CutCo is a company located in Olean, New York. They make high quality cutlery that is on par with both Wusthoff and Henckels. There is not a problem with CutCo’s facts. Every thing that is stated by CutCo is perfectly true.
However, the marketing company, Vector, teaches those who are selling the knives to lie.
After the second interview and being chosen, a student is then asked to attend several training seminars in a row. At some point they will find out that they are expected to buy a set of knives that costs over $400. Thankfully, there is a 75% discount for representatives, so it isn’t too bad for them. However, there are some branch offices that will charge the full price or more and some students are still suckered into buying the knives. If they office charges t his much, that means that the manager is either putting all these towards his or her own sales or is keeping the money for himself or herself.
Vector will give each person a prompt and insist that they are teaching them to be honest. However, there are very few honest things in this script and what a person is to say about the products. CutCo’s facts are presented, and that is perfectly fine. A person who is seen for the first time is entered into a sweepstakes. I do not know if anybody has ever won a shopping spree or if this is a hoax. I cannot verify or disprove this claim.
Students are often told about the special handles on the knives. When they are told to say that they are made from the same material as the inside of a dishwasher, this is true. However, when they are told to say that the handles are made of the same material as bowling balls, that is false.
The facts about the construction are true. There are no problems with talking about planned obsolescence, a full tang, three rivets, and the the Double-D edge blade. These claims are completely true.
However, when it comes to the pricing and the deals, this is where students are told to lie. The Henckels set that is show in the handout is a very nice Henckels set of knives. However, it is not the one that is more expensive than the CutCo knives. If anybody does research on the Internet, they will find that set of Henckels knives to be cheaper than the CutCo knives. There are sets much more expensive than the CutCo set, but the one pictured is not more expensive.
Then, when it comes to the first time buyer deal, this is also a lie. A sales rep can always give a discount at any time. It is just a way of using words to manipulate a deal that is made to people many times over. It is stated a different way if a customer is actually a repeat customer.
With these deals, the knives do seem like a good value. However, a buyer would be more impressed with a less expensive price for a single set than a more expensive price for a single set and some extra items that they do not need. A representative should be able to tell a person that they can either have these things for free or that they can take so much money of the purchase of the product.
Then, when it comes to the payment options, a representative is also taught to lie. There are payment options of paying full, paying in two installments, paying in three installments, and paying in five installments. The representative is not told to tell about the charges that occur with the installments. They are just supposed to add them to the purchase price. A representative is also not supposed to mention that sales tax is added to the price. The sales tax of wherever a knife is sold is always added to the purchase price. However, a representative is just supposed to add this into the price without notification as well.
Then, Vector lies to the representatives because they are told that they will not be making cold calls to people. It is not considered a telemarketing job because of what they do, but it is still making cold calls to people and is worse than having a script to read over the phone. A person first has to ask friends and family if they can do a demonstration. So, they go over to houses at appointed times and do the demonstration with the sample knives they had to buy.
At the end of the presentation, orders for any knives are taken. After orders are taken and payment is received, a representative has to ask for people who may be interested in hearing about knives. The customer now is to provide five to ten names of other people that may be interested. The representative is to go home and call these people and make appointments. There is a script to follow on the phone letting the person know that their friend referred them. Sometimes this works to get an appointment. Other times it fails miserably. Sometimes an appointment will be set up, but the people will purposely leave the house or building where they were supposed to meet the representative. There is never a guarantee. If an appointment is made, the whole process is repeated.
Vector tells representatives to not only call at night, but to call their clients and 7am and 8am, sometimes even as early as 6am. Managers expect representatives to have “phone time” every night or every morning and in some cases, at both times.
At the beginning, reps are also told that they will be able to return their sample knives for a refund. This isn’t true, either. Many small offices will close down without a warning and suddenly a rep will be assigned to an office that is way outside of the city where the rep lives. It is not worth the drive as the representative never got paid for any mileage as it was. It was all done by oneself.
Every single time a Vector office has opened in Lake Charles, it has closed within three months. There are myriads of training classes and team meetings being held, but they are really only covers for Vector’s lies and deceptions to make the all the representatives feel as if they are a team.
Students can do themselves a favor and look for a different job during the summer. They can abandon Vector and hopefully CutCo will get the message that they are doing business with a deceiving company. I have nothing against CutCo making money for a quality product, especially when they stick by their forever guarantee. I only have a problem with how Vector markets the product and the cold calling and labor intensive work that they make students perform.