The Smart Circle / Fraud and cheating
I recently wrote to CareerBuilder.com about these companies:
I have fallen victim to working for Dallas Edge (Arlington, TX) and Principle Management Group (Addison, TX); subsidiaries of the Smart Circle (enabling companies like the one mention nationwide). It wasn't until after I conducted more extensive research that I realized this was an elaborate pyramid scheme or multi-level marketing scam that takes advantage of individuals. The pathetic thing is that they've chosen to do so during economic turmoil.
These individuals (Jonathan Clarke and Associates) look for people who as they have put it are 'young, broke and hardworking.' Employees solicit business to business to sell products for the named companies. Not only are they kicked out of these businesses, but at one 'event' police were called to a 7 Eleven. Money was taken that unsuspecting givers thought they were 'donating.' Those that have been working there for much longer times and are completely brainwashed, will do any and everything to make money. I have heard their customers/victims being told that $15 more will help a kid get a free surgery. They fail to realize that only five percent of that helps children and even that is questionable.
The list of unethical, immoral behavior goes on. Other employees like my former self were trained to stand in front of retail businesses (rain, sleet, snow, freezing cold) for eight hours a day to sell cosmetics by leaning on a charitable organization called operation smile of which only receives 5% of profit. I trusted that this company I worked for had built legitimate relationships with these corporations. I later found out that this was not the case at all.
So they put me in risk of being told to pack up and leave, have the police called on me and much more on numerous occasions. The relationships are based on lies and manipulation. Someone from this company 'event coordinator' talks to a Starbucks, Chevron or Petco (to name a few victims) employee and convinces him/her to let them set up outside for this good cause. Little do these companies know, not only are their customers being taken advantage of spending money at these charity tables instead of in their stores, many are irritated and nagged with pathetic marketing/impulse tactics, plus their company brand is tainted. I was trained to say, 'I've partnered with Victoria Jackson and (fill in the unsuspecting company)...'
I was required to work six days a week, drive my car hundreds of miles for others and pay for my own gas, I was NOT given the $400 base salary that I signed paperwork for. And when I say hundreds of miles - the straw the broke the camels back was having to purchase two new tires and get front end alignment done on my vehicle. I spent two hours of my mornings listening to the owner blab about how horrible the economy is, how people are committing suicide because they're losing their jobs - scare tactics. People yell 'juice', the same garbage/training, and then spend 8 more hours 'in the field'. I'm not sure why at the time I didn't just walk away... wait I do: I needed a job, I needed money, to pay my bills and feed my family. They knew this and dug in their nails.
I worked 11-12 hour days six days a week for an average of $280 a week. Myself as well as others were hassled to stay as late as possible to help out. My commute was 45 minutes-you think they cared? Because 'the first one in and last one out was always most successful.' An old adage wasted on ###. I later discovered one of the 'big money making leaders' was living out of a hotel. Several didn't have cars.
Money was missing from my paychecks. After 41 days I'd only made $1800 after taxes, barely $4.18 an hour. And remember, I worked 11 hours days. These individuals are from other states, North Carolina, W Virginia, Ireland, New York. I make note of this because the name of the company changes so much since once they've saturate one area, they obviously move on to the next. They have conference calls with individuals all over the world - Florida, Boston, California.
The people that are named leaders are actually victims turned long time - desperate and brainwashed perpetrators. They learn the scheme, learn to teach it to others in hope that it sticks, make a little more off that person and hope that they can teach someone else. One guy claimed he left a position making six figures to do this. Absolutely laughable and sad. But definitely not true. I thought about this ... Had I ever been making six figures, I'd never move into such a position, selling cosmetics in front of a building hoping 'corporate' doesn't show up. Seriously, six figures is at least a downsize to something making $40k with benefits. There are no benefits by the way - well, except maybe a busted ### and dunce cap - lol. This particular individual also had some horrible characteristics like pocketing money during events, pretending it came of missing and hustling customers using all sorts of lies. It's obvious that their stories were elaborately made up.
The company principle management group is the same as dallas edge which will be changing its name again. After researching online I found that many had had my experiences. I wish I could kick myself for not digging deeper sooner or taking that other job. I wish I could sue. But instead the least that I can do is inform someone and I hope many people read this before being duped as I was. Careerbuilder should not represent this company on their site, not only are you too good, but they are NOT deserving of the opportunity and other people shouldn't waste their time, motivation or life on this crap. These people are vultures, heathens and liars.
Honestly, I felt like I was a part of a cult at times. A lot of it is simply psychological ### meant to lure vulnerable, desperate, gullible or at least easily influenced individuals like myself with strong work ethic. That's why everyone around me was young! We tend to be the most naive. I was used to lure in others, the more I believed, the more others believed because I was innocent and therefore even more credible then someone who knew what the hell was really going on. Did I mentioned that I turned down legitimate job offers for this? Now I am back to the drawing board. Smarter and tougher of course and always because I learn from my mistakes. The only difference this time is that I have a bone to pick. I came from a corporate environment and I've made some phone calls to people in high places. At the very least they will be deterred in this area.
Bottom line is this: This business uses deception and manipulation to make money off of others. If you think you're going to make it big - you're not. You have a better chance mixing some lipton tea and selling it in a baseball parking lot on a scorching hot day. They haven't made it big. It's all shallow illusion and deceitful ploy. And I'm sure had I stayed around longer, more would have surfaced - but then I might have hurt someone. While this may not be illegal for some absurd reason, I am here to label it unAmerican, immoral, unethical and wrong.
Oh and by the way I'm telling! Shame on Operation Smile, Victoria Jackson, DirecTV, Home Depot, Best Buy and any other company or sports team for being so desperate for exposure at the expense of others - since that's what it boils down to. These are million dollar individuals, reputable charities, big name companies that have established themselves to a point where they should be able to use legitimate marketing firms to advertise their products. When everyone begins hating your product - don't wonder why. Nobody likes ugly.
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