I worked for a company under the name Ocean Promotions, Inc this past summer it is located in Riverside (East Providence) Rhode Island. Come to find out after it was previously named as Tradewind Promotions, MPS Marketing, Kjp Advertising Partners, Maximum Impact Advertising. (The company is now silvalining Marketing! ) I wish I had searched this website for these reports before I went to work for this company because I definitely would have run the other direction to say the least. I was a junior and was looking for a good summer job in marketing that would be a good experience and look good on my resume. I applied for the job that advertised:
Immediate Hire! HIGH PROFILE EVENTS, PROMOTIONAL STAFF, & PUBLIC RELATIONS ENTRY LEVEL, MARKETING, MANAGEMENT, CUSTOMER SERVICE, MANAGEMENT, PUBLIC RELATIONS, EVENTS Ocean Promotions, INC., is Rhode Island's fastest growing promotional advertising firm . We have just signed 2 new national accounts launching this year. We are opening several new locations throughout the South and Northeast areas! Due to our expanding client base, we are looking for ambitious, hardworking individuals with great attitudes to join our team of professionals. Our advertising and marketing firm is the leader in the event marketing industry . We represent our clients at sporting events, festivals, fairs, trade shows, malls, car shows, major retail locations, and department stores.
I wanted to research the company to find out about it before the interview and figure out what the company was about since that is what I like to do before interviews.. Their website www.oceanpromotionsinc.com says NOTHING basically. It is a website created from some sort of flash template that says where it is located but has no details on what the company actually does: which is go to grocery stores, coffee shops, bookstores, etc. set up tables and sell items to 'support' the DARE program (only 20% actually goes to the program). They make it seem like it will be a great career opportunity making $30, 000-$45, 000 per year.
Sounded like a great opportunity right? Making good money marketing entry level... I call the number they left on my voicemail a lady answers and asks me which company I am interviewing for Ocean Promotions or AMP Distributions. I get confused how is this number 2 different companies? So i ask well what are the 2 companies.. The lady answers by asking me what day I want to come in for an interview I tell her a day (don't remember) and she says well Ocean Promotions has interviews that day. So basically she ignored my question. I figure it's 20 minutes away why not go in and see what it is about. I get to the interview and there were about 5 people in this waiting area. They had no sign on the building it was written on a piece of paper taped to the door. Both of these companies were located in that same suite.. Weird.. Go in and the lady asks me who I am interviewing with I tell her and she has me wait.. and wait.. for an hour I had to wait because apparently she was on some kind of conference call.. Why would someone schedule an interview when she had a conference call going on. So i finally get in there and the lady is about my age and she tells me that they promote programs like DARE, Toys for Tots and racing companies at events. She draws for me a diagrams saying after 1-3 weeks what I will make ($400-$500 per week) after 4-6 weeks I will be promoted to a team leader will be making more I believe it was $600-$800 then I would be promoted again to an assistant manager and eventually I could be a manager of my own business if I was willing to work hard enough. Sounded great. I asked her why there was a range $400-$500 she said that it depended on if I chose to work Saturdays. I figured that was good I had an opportunity to work Saturdays but it wasn't necessary if I had something going on. She also said they only hired within and that everyone who works there goes through the program.
I thought it sounded great they called me back for a 2nd interview and since it was all day I had to wait a few weeks (classes) and I went back in and they gave me information about the company and the companies that work with (Toys for Tots, Dare etc.) saying they promoted them at various events in the area. They told me that I was going to be going to an event so I was excited thought it would be fun. I got there at 7:30am and I waited until 10:30am. During this time I heard loud music and lots of shouting coming from the other room. The lady finally came out and introduced herself and said that she was sorry they were running late. She said that she was going to take me out for the day and that another girl was going to be coming with us. She says she is starving and wants to go to breakfast. She takes us to Dennys where we sit for about an hour or so and eat. I am wondering why am I doing this I thought I was supposed to be seeing what the job is like. So we go to get in her car and she tells me we are going to a Wal-mart. Unfortunately it was raining out and so she said that she would call the manager (Sequoia Livingston) and have her send us somewhere that was under some kind of an overhang or inside so we wouldn't be getting wet. So we went to a beauty supply store and walked around then proceeded to sit in her car for 3 hours until the lady calls back and sends us to a K Mart. I am wondering this is what they call an 'event' I call this a store. So we set up a table with various things like coloring books, paints, water bottles, etc with a DARE banner on the front. We stood around for about an hour before the lady decides she wants to go shopping and that the other girl can watch the table. So we walked around K Mart while this girl bought clothes, shoes and spent about 100 bucks on stuff. We get back to the table and she is trying to get people to 'stop on by real quick.' We probably sold 5 things.
Then we drove back to the office where she 'broke down my day' told me what I did well and what I could improve upon. She went over a few things that I would have to know for the questionaire. Like what are the steps in a sale what does juice mean various useless knowledge. She had me fill that out and then I proceeded to wait.. and wait.. for 45 minutes... At this point it is about 7pm I had been there since 7am. I am exhausted from doing basically nothing all day and waiting around for nothing. Finally the manager is ready to speak with me. She offers me the job and asks me when I can start and I tell her when I am done with school. Even though I was discouraged about my day I was determined to do this I thought (naively) that it would be great.
When I came in for my first day I had to fill out paperwork and sign documents. When I was filling out the top of the paperwork it said you will make __ % commission. It was left blank and I was told that it was salary at $400-$500 a week so I thought it didn't apply to me. I was greeted by everyone everyone was super nice and friendly (a little too nice). We went into the 'atmosphere' room and went over different strategies in selling the products. We did this for about 3 hours. Talked about JUICE what it stood for, the steps in a sale, how to keep a positive attitude blah blah blah. Little did I know this was time that I wasn't being paid for. I drove to a Seabra supermarket and we stood outside and tried to get people to buy these items all day until about 6pm. We sold basically nothing. Then we went back to the office where she broke down my day again and we counted out how many items we actually sold. I left at about 7pm before alot of people had left yet and that was a 12 hour day. That was the last day I worked with that lady who was supposed to be my 'leader' she went back home the next day and never came back.
Every day we basically did the same thing I went to a few K Marts, Wal-marts, Starbucks, Seabra's I even went to a White Hen Pantry. One day they had me and some else drive all the way to a Starbucks in Natick which was about an hour and 15 minute ride to find out that we didn't have permission from the property manager to be there. This was all supposed to have been coordinated beforehand with the event coordinator so that things like this wouldn't happen. So we then sat in the car until they decided they were going to send us to a place in Somerville which was another half an hour up by Boston. At this point it was 2:30 pm and by the time we got there it would be 3pm and it would be an hour and 45 minute drive back to the office which would have meant we could only be at the event for a 45 minutes since we had to be back by 6pm. Not to mention you wouldn't get gas money unless you sold through everything in your bin which was anywhere from 30 items-40 items.
I stuck it out for about 2 weeks until I got my first paycheck it was about $45. The manager tried to tell me it was because the week started Thursday. I started on a Wed so it was missing one days pay. She told me when she handed it to me don't look at it now it will be discouraging this is your first week and you will improve so much you already have I can tell. Of course I looked at it when I got in the car and was completely baffled. $45 for Thurs-Thurs... I didn't work the weekend but I had worked Thursday, Fri, Mon, Tues, Wed. 5 days and I was working 12 hour days.. That is slave labor seriously.. I didn't go back to work after that day. I was completely disgusted that a company could tell me that I would make $400-$500 my first 3 weeks and I made $45 that didn't even cover the gas money that I was spending driving all over the place. I was basically working for free. Actually I was probably losing money. I proceeded to write the manager an email about how dishonest she was to me and how i felt screwed and she never responded.
My family was skeptical about the company to begin with since they gave me a range of pay and a few other factors like I couldn't find out anything about the company but they wanted me to do what i wanted and learn for myself. My mother contacted my manager and was told by my manager that I filled out and signed paperwork that stated it was commission. I told my mother nothing said it was commission and so she asked her to fax over the documents. They had filled in 12% on the blank line. It was written in after I had signed the document!! The manager said that I was offered a salary position but I said that I wanted the commission based position. That I said no thanks I don't want to make the $400-$500 position I wanted 100% commission!! I was outraged. Nobody in that office made salary we all made commission and to say that I was offered salary but turned it down is a complete outright lie.
How can this company get away with what it is doing is what I don't understand... It is completely illegal and they should not be able to get away with this!!
Riverside, Rhode Island