A number of Front Porch Forum neighborhoods have lit up recently about door-to-door salespeople. In particular, young folks have been sweeping through local neighborhoods pushing magazine subscriptions and odd stories that raise suspicions. Hundreds, if not thousands, of local folks seem to be talking about this. Some people are afraid, others annoyed… a couple fathers even have a kind of vigilante approach in the works. In fact, some of these sales folks have posted their pitch on Front Porch Forum too. I had an aggressive kid at my front door in Burlington just the other day with a cockamamie story.
So I was keen to read Irene Wrenner’s post today. Irene’s an Essex Town Selectboard Member.
This is a follow-up to various messages posted on Front Porch Forum in recent days by those who wonder about young magazine sellers canvassing their neighborhoods. On the internet I found two sites that were informative and appear to be legitimate. They discuss the abusive living / working situations that some captive youth endure.
Parent Watch is a clearinghouse for information on child and youth labor abuse in the traveling door-to-door sales crew industry.
http://www.magcrew.com is dedicated to helping individuals who have sold or are currently selling magazines or other items for a traveling sales crew. It boasts a central area where people can come together and share stories about door-to-door magazine selling. Their aim is to help those who are being or have been abused by Magazine Crews.
The New York Times article by Ian Urbina, “For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews,” was published February 21, 2007 and contains advice for those of us who wonder what to do when approached:
“Ms. Williams, from Parent Watch, said her organization advised customers not to buy from the sellers or to let them in the house, but to offer them a phone to call home or her organization’s phone number to help anyone who might want to arrange a bus ticket home. She said her organization had lobbied for legislation to prevent sellers from being categorized as independent contractors and to provide them with minimum wage and safety and health protections.”
I hope the above is helpful to those who are concerned, as I am, about these solicitors.
UPDATE: More and more neighbors are posting stories about these young folks ringing their doorbells. Mara in South Burlington offered these links for tales…