Northwind Promotions / Terrible experience!
I want to start by saying that if you type Quantum, Red Line, Nova 3C, or any of the other companies listed into the search you will find tons, possibly even hundreds, of stories similar to mine and much worse. You will find that the only people defending the companies accused are people who currently work there or those who acknowledge everything we are saying is true but think it is okay nonetheless.
I noticed a ton of advertisements for North Wind Promotions on careerbuilder.com and applied for a job as a receptionist by sending in my resume. The first thing that I noticed was a ton of ads that all said pretty much the same thing, such as 'EVENT MARKETING ENTRY LEVEL' and 'ENTRY LEVEL MANAGEMENT' 'PAID TRAINING' 'RED BULL ATTITUDE' 'SPORTS MARKETING' ect. I didn't really care, since I was applying for the receptionist job, but I did take note that each ad had a different name to contact, from Melissa, to Alexis Davis, to Stacy Walton. It often took me an hour or so to get someone to answer the phone when I tried to call on various occasions. One time, the phone rang and rang and it took four hours before someone picked up.
I received an EMAIL (should have been my first tip) to call to set up an interview with some cookie cutter speech about how I was a perfect candidate. I tried to call another non-existent name and finally managed an interview for the very next day. I needed business dress and a copy of my resume, which they already HAD, from my initial email.
I showed up and waited in a cruddy, tiny room for about an hour with at least thirty other people. The office had two rooms, a 'lobby,' and a bathroom. There were trashy tabloids on the table and an annoyingly loud radio, which struck me as unprofessional. The receptionist couldn't tell me any more about the position I was interviewing for. Finally, we started getting called into interviews by a woman named Shinnon (Shi NAWN). She took each person in for about ten minutes. I should have realized something was up when each person walked out with a giant grin on their face. My turn came and I went in.
Shinnon told me that she just moved with her friends (Tom was one) from Buffalo, NY, where she had been working for two years with North Wind and just relocated to open her own office in Savannah. She pointed to a degree on the wall and told me she had a BA in Marketing from a college in Boston (she would later say she went to Florida State and various other collges). She went out to describe the company in very vague detail. Any specific questions were answered with, 'Go home and check out our website.' (Which is really, really similar to 5thdimensionpromotions.com. Notice the same person designed both websites.)
Shinnon told me that the event-based marketing company worked for many charities and programs, such as the CPEA and DARE. I asked about the receptionist job and she told me that no, this was an interview for an ENTRY LEVEL EVENT MARKETING POSITION... one that I have never applied for.
Nonetheless, it sounded like a cool opportunity and I had no job, so when she told me that she was interviewing 50 people that day and would only call back about 10, I was hoping I'd be one of them.
I was. Only later did I find out that EVERYONE got a call back to set up that interview. 'Adam' left me a message on my voicemail telling me that my resume was great and to call back to set up another interview. I spent four hours trying to call through to the office and all I could think was how small the place was an how maybe ten people actually WORKED there. How could the phone never be picked up?
I went to the second interview after being told it was an all-day chance to experience the company. I showed up with about six other girls and we waited in the lobby for over an hour before someone came to talk to us. While waiting I heard very creepy screaming, yelling, and chanting come from the meeting room. JUICE was a common phrase.
I was taken out a second 'interview' by Shinnon herself. We (me, her, and a 'trainee') got into her really crappy car with a different color door than the rest of it and drove to a... truckstop. We set up a table full of products with the CPEA (child protection education of america) logo on it and began trying to convince people to buy the stuff.
First I noticed that Shinnon lied to each person she talked to, which I suppose is standard sales. Every time I asked her a specific question about a product or a charity, she parroted the same figures back to me. '2000 kids go missing a day' 'you have to hear 10 nos to get one yes' 'laws of average'
NOTE: She continuously told both me and the customers that CPEA received 90% of all their money through North Wind Promotions and they virtually had no funding without us. I looked at the CPEA website and found this 'CPEA has a royalty agreement with various marketing companies in which they sell selected products that contain the charity's name and logo and in return CPEA receives 20% of the retail sales price of those items. The charity and these companies are separate entities and are not partners or agents of the other.'
So. CPEA was getting 20% of the, what, two hundred dollars we pulled in that day? I very much doubt that adds up to ninety percent of their total funding. She also said to ME and to patrons that all these items we were selling went for a ton more money on the website, but the website isn't actually selling these items. The only item I was able to find anywhere else was some ID cards that we were selling for $25 bucks (and telling people that they cost $40 initially and $40 a year anywhere else) at this site. http://www.contemporaryestheticsonline.com/press_release.asp?id=10186901
'At the Amscot grand opening, the Child Protection Education of America, Inc. (CPEA), a national nonprofit organization for missing children based in Tampa, will also be available on site to provide free fingerprinting... An interactive child safety CD-ROM can also be purchased for $5 at the event with profits going to the CPEA for creating the CD-ROM.'
Yeah. We were selling those for $25. Telling people you couldn't get them for less than $40. There is a difference between sales and lying. I have WORKED in sales and marketing before, and we never flat out LIED to our employees or consumers before.
After an entire day of watching Shinnon con people out of money ('Buy this CD for kids,' she'd say, 'And we'll donate it to a needy kid in the neighborhood' but after someone bought a CD she'd chuck it back into the bin of stuff to take home) and answering ridiculous questions on a notepad, Shinnon sat down with me at lunch to discuss the business. She explained how there is no seniority (no higher pay, eh?) and I must have been not paying attention, because I could have sworn she said that I'd make a base pay and then commission from my sales. The more questions I asked about pay the more she threw out 'profit-sharing' and various other terms without actually explaining anything.
Did I mention that I had to sign a form at the beginning of the day saying I wouldn't get paid for my 'interview' but I would receive sales commission? I didn't get that.
She promised that in six weeks I'd be promoted. That it went
Â· Entry Level Marketing Representative
Â· Training Manager
Â· Assistant Manager
Â· National Manager
She told me that her National Manager, Harmony, was overseeing 50 offices and that she made a million dollars a year. Shinnon told me I'd make 350-400 a week while training and that when I got promoted in six months I'd make at least $1000/wk. She told me she banked 80K a year. All I could think was, 'and you drive THAT piece of crap car?'
After all this we went back to the office. It was nearly 7:00. They had told me that I would only be needed until 6:00. I sat in the office, filled out a meaningless questionnaire, and was invited in for a THIRD interview as I was the only person who had apparently made it through the whole day. Lucky me.
It was then, and ONLY then, that I was told I would be expected to work from 8AM to 6PM every day. Uhh. That's ten hours a day, five days a week. Then she asked how I felt about Saturdays. She talked about team meetings where everyone was 'STRONGLY' encouraged to attend once a week.
Then she said that she started out in the business with no education and no experience but they took a chance on her. Well, err, what happened to that BA you had in Marketing? I'd call that education. I could see the stupid diploma out of the corner of my eye, but she was sitting there telling me she had nothing when she started.
I was offered a position that I accepted, but then I went home and my husband grilled me. The more questions he asked the more I found I couldn't actually answer anything, especially about pay. A lot of things he asked were things I myself had asked Shinnon and she had failed to answer.
I attended work for a few more days but felt creeped out by the lack of information on base pay, the JUICE propaganda in the morning, and the fact that I was told I could write everything off on my taxes if I did them myself. This came after I asked how the company was going to compensate for my food and gas expense.
I thanked them politely and quit. After leaving I came home and tried to research the company that Shinnon had apparently been at for years. I found NOTHING. The closet thing I found was a company called Nova 3C Promotions that was based from Buffalo, NY, which is where she said she was from. (Her cell phone # and license plate were from New Hampshire, though)
Nova's website doesn't exist anymore, but I noticed that if you used whois to look at the North Wind website as well as the 5th Dimensions website I posted earlier, both are registered to the same e-mail address (anissaroth@provider Anissa made the website design for both companies) but have different contact names. Northwind was created in March of '07 by Shinnon and 5th by a Lindsey Barnes. That doesn't sound like a well-established company to me. Not even a year. Also, the domain is set to expire in '08.