A few years late, but couldn't resist...
As far as the money and business end of getting into pockets, I had an idea that was how it worked. My view of Direct Buy is focused directly on the owner's.
It wasn't only the people who didn't buy into the club that was 'talked' about. The member's themselves were talk of the day, taking turns as they called to check on their order, or called to ask if the parts to repair their merchandise had come in, or called to check the status of the repair work, and so on, and so on.
Members would be dealing with these people, sometimes for months, and years trying to get satisfaction if their was an issue such as damaged or defective. Two examples stand out, a young couple had not been satisfied with their bedroom set so the procedure to communicate with corporate offices and the manufacturer begins.
A conversation is started, responses and instructions were given, then nothing...for months. The parts to repair their product had been delivered, and stuffed in a closet, oh, this closet had it's own phone and it was Direct Buy's 'furniture repair business.'
This repair business was simply one of the employees...who submitted an official estimate, and invoice for the cost of repairs, reimbursed by the manufacturer if defective. This money went into their pockets.
This closet was full, full, of members repair parts or replacement product which is why they were calling-satisfaction. This young couple would contact the owner's atleast once a month...they became the 'problem', not the club. They were 9 months getting the finials for the bed posts, the finials were delivered 6 weeks after they were ordered from the manufacturer.
Another member had to deal with issues for 3 years, 3 years, for the correct front piece to the bottom drawer of an oak file cabinet. The drawer piece was in the 'furniture repair' man's closet. The UPS label was dated 4 weeks after he received, and complained about the defect. This member, however, was wealthy and ordered often, so as long as he keeps placing orders, he's not considered a 'problem.'
Another gentleman kept coming or calling to check on the repairs to his leather sofa. Each time he came to look at it, he was looking at the same thing as the last time, . No repairs were ever made, yet each time the member and the 'repair man' agreed to send it back for 'repairs', the 'repairman' was lining the owner's pockets.
Members were one level above employees, whom were treated as though they were the ### on the bottom of the owner's shoe.
This mention of being a 'private' business must have meant they had their own 'employee rights' policy book. If a member called in sick, they demanded a doctors note the next day. No insurance, no sick days, didn't dare think of coming in late, and needing time off for personal reasons, well...prepare for a long lecture about how you need to take better care of your employment.
They were you're bread and butter, they paid your bills, you work for them, you have no time for family, they 'OWN' you. The only issue with this is: when it's payday, and they are on the lake- in the new houseboat...they're not driving all the way to Springfield to hand out paychecks. And they didn't.
Everyday, there would be an employee who didn't dress right, their hair was not right, the shoes weren't right, lipstick too bright, walk too slow, talk to fast, if it wasn't this one today, it was that one. There was not another human being alive that was or ever would be as good as the owner's. They all drove Cadillac Escalade's or Mustang convertibles, lived in big brick homes with 3-4 car garages. Some employees done well if their car got them to work that morning.
Some employees, who were friends of the family, done nothing. Others had to work their ### off just to keep from getting a reprimand. A supervisor would consult with an employee about whether or not some one should be fired, whether or not they're doing their job, are they doing it properly?
When a shipment would come in, it took 3-5 employees to process and recieve it. This was because the tiny warehouse was stuffed floor to rafter with merchandise that had one of two dispositions: donate or destroy. If it was a nice peice, it stayed right there until the owner's could have a gigantic yard sale in their neighborhood. The damaged junk, was donated to various charities and the owners were given blank donation receipts.
The manufacturers were always satisfied receiving those donation reciepts, it was the correct item listed. But the actual item was sitting in the warehouse, waiting to be sold, to profit the owners and line their pockets...again.
To put it simply, in terms most folks can understand: these people were getting away with alot of stuff us common folks wouldn't, they were high class, way above any pee-on who worked for them, they were wealthy-because the pay was pathetic, they were greedy-because there are numerous ways to haul in the profits, without uncle sam knowing anymore than needed.