What Mainstream Publishers Don't Want You to Know About Door-to-Door Magazine Sales

That kid at your door with a magazine order form will tell you a story -- part sad, part hopeful. The truth will be infinitely worse than you can imagine.

The following is a story of that collateral damage — of murder, rape, assault, overdoses and scamming — and the business decisions and lack of legislation that make it possible.
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In February 2000, Rick Senner, Crystal Mahathy and the rest of Senner's crew hit a rave party in Oakhurst, California, where they recruited an 18-year-old girl named Mandy Nixon.

When Nixon told her parents she wanted to drive around the country with Senner's crew, they were concerned. Nixon was a bit of a rebellious spirit. As a minor, she had trouble with drugs and alcohol and wound up on juvenile probation for a while. But Crystal Mahathy, who had turned 18 on the road, told the Nixons she'd look out for their daughter.

Love Technologies' MySpace says its agents "take whatever necessary steps towards quality and prosperous living." Indicating the rigorous background checks this industry prides itself on, the company promises: "Call today/Start today."
Love Technologies' MySpace says its agents "take whatever necessary steps towards quality and prosperous living." Indicating the rigorous background checks this industry prides itself on, the company promises: "Call today/Start today."
John Tork's company cleared subscription orders through the late Robert Spruiell. He served three years in a Texas prison for larceny.
John Tork's company cleared subscription orders through the late Robert Spruiell. He served three years in a Texas prison for larceny.

But a day or so after Nixon left, her parents read about the history of complaints online about All-Star Promotions, Senner's employer, and they grew concerned. They called Senner a few times to have him drop off their daughter wherever they were so they could bring her back home. But he ignored the calls. Deciding they needed more muscle, they had Nixon's former probation officer call Senner and tell him he had better get Nixon off his crew, so he dropped her off by a motel outside Medford, Oregon.

Although Mahathy said she'd look out for Nixon, Mahathy was having her own regrets about joining Senner Sales. She had called her Aunt Patsy a few times from the road, saying she wasn't getting the money she was promised, and she wasn't eating regularly. She wanted to come home. But Patsy never seemed to have the money for a Greyhound ticket.

On February 4, around the time Senner dropped Mandy Nixon off in Medford, Mahathy called Aunt Patsy from a pay phone outside a Wal-Mart. It had been a really long day; she hadn't made enough sales, and she felt really pressured. That time, Patsy told her to stay put. They'd get her a ticket. But the call was abbreviated; Mahathy had spotted Senner's rented Ford Explorer and she said he'd be mad if he found out she was calling home again. She'd call back later.

The next night, on their way to sell to Joneses in Eureka, California, Senner's crew was stopped by California Highway Patrol officers for driving 30 mph over the speed limit. Apparently unaware that Senner had a warrant for pot possession out of Phoenix, the officers gave him a citation and let him go on his way.

Less than an hour later, near Redding, Senner rounded an especially dangerous stretch of mountain highway running parallel to the Trinity River. With no guardrail, and with terrible visibility at night, the road had seen its share of accidents. Senner lost control of the Explorer and drove off the highway, falling into an embankment 80 feet below.

Passenger Scott Tarwater was ejected into the Trinity River, whose rapids carried him so far away his body wasn't found for three weeks. But a timely burial wasn't a problem for Mahathy's family, because she was right there in the passenger seat. Crushed to death.
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Whenever there's a tragedy tied to the industry, whether it be the death of one of the agents or of one of the customers, the industry mouthpieces issue impotent condemnations or reiterate the notion that door-to-door sales are just a sliver of the pie.

The Magazine Publishers of America will give a variation of the following, which is a statement it gave to the Press: "Magazine Publishers of America condemns any door-to-door business that preys on vulnerable individuals or poses a threat to the public. [MPA] has long urged its members to identify any subscriptions coming from these sources and recommends that its members cease doing business with any company that does not fully comply with the law. Our guidelines and relations with subscription agents are clear, and we encourage all our members to follow them."

Which, based on the Press's investigation, previous media stories and industry watchdogs, is complete nonsense. The object is to push subscriptions, and it scarcely matters how.

A customer is a "Jones." A sales pitch is a "spiel," and there are all kinds of spiels — a school-spiel, cancer-spiel, you name it. These lies are known as a dirty canvass, and they're quite successful. Of course, there are natural salespeople who don't have to dirty canvass and can write ten or 12 sales a day, but the agents who can't snow a Jones and who come back empty-handed are known as WABs, weak-ass bitches. A WAB occupies a stratum in the caste system right below circus freak and just above whore. No one wants to be a WAB, so sometimes you have to dirty ­canvass.

If the MPA is unaware of dirty canvassing, then its only other choice is to somehow believe that door-to-door companies are the country's single-biggest employer of college athletes in the marching band whose parents are dying of cancer and who are competing for a scholarship to study theater in London.

It's easier to understand the continued interest in door-to-door sales once you understand the financials.

Jack Hanrahan, a media consultant with three decades of experience in print advertising, publishes the CircMatters newsletter. He gave us a better understanding of how just a slight bump in circulation can mean serious money.

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*** WARNING *** Dedicated Memorial Parents Group: DO NOT ALLOW door-to-door salesmen into your home!!! LOCK Your Door And Call The Police!!! We have documented 89 deaths and over 400 criminal felony cases. www.travelingsalescrews.info www.dedicatedmemorial.org www.magazinesalescrews.info Facebook: Beware of Traveling Door-to-door Sales Crews https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beware-of-Traveling-Door-to-Door-Sales-Crews/100395130009145 Parent Watch: www.parentwatch.org www.magcrew.com The Scumbag Criminals: National field Selling Association President: Sandra Hall http://nfsa.com Magazine Publishers of America President: Nina Link http://www.magazine.org

 
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