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 Vector Marketing

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Roger Jolly
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Joined: 08 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 7:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

For those of you who've never heard of it, Vector Marketing is a company that markets Cutco, both part of the parent company Alcas. The main ploy of Vector is to post really deceptive ads around college campuses or websites that state in bold: "EARN $18/BASE."

The allure sounds appealing. $18.00 an hour base pay? What does the job entail? Well, when you apply you learn that there are very limited positions (despite the fact that they post an ad EVERY DAY) and you may not be called for an interview. Well, a day later they call to schedule you for an interview... at 6:00 PM Saturday night. You try to get any information about the job over the phone but they simply urge you to ask at the interview. Next, they ask you to arrive on time and wear proper dress, because apparently this isn't a widely practiced standard for most job interviews.

You arrive in some back alley of the ghetto to a really decrepit shithole that they call an office. You enter the must smelling dung pot and learn that you are one of several applicants for an extremely limited amount of positions. The interview is the biggest joke one could imagine. You spend about fifteen minutes filling out preliminary paperwork, and are then called into the "Office" where the manager asks you your hobbies and how much family you have in the area (Red flag should be going off at this point).

So, after this waste of five minutes you have to sit an hour in a really uncomfortable chair and watch some moron slice ropes with kitchen knives. It's so impressive that the straight edge knife does not cut as well as the Double D edge Cutco uses. Well, yeah... could somebody please inform this idiot that straight edges are used for chopping, not slicing?

This is obviously Vector's ploy to "sell" you on the company. They try to enamor you with lucrative articles that you aren't allowed to read, probably because they have nothing to do with Vector at all. You then learn that your job requires you to meet with contacts and you are going to sell their knives. Sounds cool, right? Well, not really. That $18.00 an hour that was so appealing turns out to be $18.00 per appointment. But whatever, they obviously are so backed up with customers that they will practically flood you with appointments.

Vector tries to buy you by tossing around this extremely flexible schedule, vacation perks and the potential to make a lot of cash in front of these naive high school and college students. And you look around and yup... there's rarely anybody over 21.

So the manager calls you into the office and says you're one of the few that he is going to hire. Great! You're pumped, and convinced you've got a bright future ahead of you. So you're required to attend the 15 hour training seminar the following week. You're reminded to dress professionally again... because that's obviously not a given around those parts.

You return to the same cesspool to find everyone from your interview is there, plus some. Hmm. I guess their extremely limited number of positions was around 15. You're then forced to sit 6 hours straight in these ass-raper chairs WITHOUT a break. You learn about the history of Cutco and the knives, and you're basically not told squat about the job yet. When do I get my appointments? How many will I have during the week? Hey, where's my W4 form?

It's only until the very end of this brutally boring training seminar that you are given an assignment to help practice networking... You are to go home and write a list of every person you know, from 150 - 1,000.

So you endure this tedious assignment and return only to wait another few hours before you find out that appointments are not pre-set for you. You are expected to pitch your sale of these ridiculously overpriced knives to your family in an attempt to help you earn scholarship money, so they're almost obligated to buy on impulse. You have ten days to sell as much as you can in order to get promoted and the potential for scholarship opportunities. What they DON'T tell you is that the manager gets 25% commission off your 10%, and the more you are promoted the less he makes. But if you ARE one of the few lucky individuals to sell that much, you are forced into a promotion where you're compensated even less for work not even as appealing. If you AREN'T that lucky, which will be the case, you will be exhausted of family to hawk $1,000 knives to and so you are forced to pester them for referrals... whom you need to call and try to set up an appointment with. But remember, Vector said this is NOT a telemarketing or direct sales group... yet, what do you call calling total strangers trying to sell them crap they don't really need?

So, you're just like... whatever... at this point. You figure you'll just give it a try for a few days. If it doesn't work out, what's the cost to you but time? Well, how about $150? Because that's what it costs to get started. Yup. You've read correctly. You are required to purchase a sample set for $150 before you can start. This is refundable initially, until you try to return it and find the office has closed down or they make up an excuse why they won't take the knives back. So at that point you're like, whatever... again. I have these cool knives. Best in the market. For only $150. Not a total loss.

Not really.

Turns out you did some research and found Vector was LYING to you and teaching you to LIE to your friends and family. They claim Cutco uses 440 A surgical steel... which is the best money can buy. Wrong. 440 C is the best. They also say their products are 100% dishwasher safe, again a load of bollocks, as you find out when the manual you receive with your knives urged you to only hand wash the blades. What's even worse is they downplay their competitor, Henckels, by making the customer believe their knives are inferior and priced more. Again, not the case. Henckels has no set to compare. Cutco simply adds up each individual knife and adds in a wooden block, which will naturally be more money. What they also don't tell you is that Cutco makes stamped knives while Henckel's makes forged... and as any steel expert knows, forged is the better quality.

This should get your red flag flying, if it wasn't already shady enough that the manager was teaching shady sales techniques, such as teaching you to nod and smile when offering a product, removing the ability for a customer to say they don't need the product by asking them what they'd use it for, grossing them out by telling them how their old knives have maggots in them, and forcing you to leach referrals out of them by making them believe you will earn scholarship money. Hey, dangle the poor college kids in front of their sympathetic family.. they'll buy. What a joke.

What angers me the most about this company is the fact that they specifically target college students because of the likelihood that their family will buy from them to support them and they can get away with claiming them "independent contractors" so they don't have to pay them for training, phone calls that need to be made every morning and night, mandatory meetings, travel, gas and other expenses. They are predators in every sense of the word.

So I did my research and felt inclined to inform my fellow co-workers about Vector... because they're only high school students. Well, the manager didn't seem too happy and the guy won't quit calling me. Sorry, but you're not going to get $150 out of me.

Any ideas on how to bait this scum? I've already passed out fliers to some of the students and that seemed to rile them up, but I want to make them suffer.

You can find more information about these scumbags here:

<a href="">Acme Enterprises</a>
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 8:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This is an old scam in the United States, going back to at least the 1960's.

In the US, it usually involves door-to-door magazine subscription sales.
again teenagers are targeted by the "pimps".

I live in an apartment and we have these people come by occasionally.

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 8:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The most pertinent question has to be whether it's baitable. It appears not, as far as I can see anyway.

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Roger Jolly
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 9:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Even if it's not baitable, somebody needs to expose these guys a bit more. They've already admitted to fraud in three law suits. That needs to count for something.

But I guess not in our society, otherwise they'd have already closed down.

What helps them is that despite their lies, Cutco is a fairly decent product. Certainly not the best nor is it worth $1,000, but it gets the job done and that probably has given them some leeway. It's just their business practices are unethical and deceptive.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 11:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I had a similar experience with Stores Online. They sell web space/hosting/site maintenance services. The six-hour sales pitch is familiar. They were selling services for thousands of pounds which can be obtained by little more than careful use of free SEO tools and someone else's web hosting/authoring packages. Their on-the-day special cost £18,000 and was only refundable if you cancelled the package within 2 days of ordering - a swindle, since 2 days is no time at all to evaluate a package like that.

They also target retirees and web-illiterate types, which is quite unethical. run a google search for "stores online" and "class action lawsuit"...

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 11:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

is there some way you could waste the managers time?
tie up the phones?
pose as a restaraunt owner and offer to buy several sets, but only if delivered personally by the manager?
i dunno. theres gotta be something.
you could always flatten his tires, in some paralell universe where such a thing is legal.
you could walk around campus tearing all thier posters down.

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Yeah, I almost fell in head first into that Cutco crap years ago. I was young, stupid, and desperate for a job at the time. I don't know if it was Vector Marketing I spoke with at the time, but probably the same offshoots of the same assholes. They operate the same way now as they did back in the '80s, target high school and college people. They wanted $40 at the time to be bonded, which I did not have at the time, so I don't know how much the starter set was then. I also remember them touting that the handles are made out of the same material as bowling balls.
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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

When I was kid I fell for a similar ploy in England. The bottom line was that we had to go house to house, cold calling, telling householders that we were doing a survey on how they heated their homes. The reality was that we were being paid a pittance for doing the hard work of setting up appointments for their reps to sell double glazing.

I was lucky in that one of the people on whose door I knocked, a Greek Cypriot family, took pity on me, invited in for dinner, and told me what a filthy scam it was. Later when the area 'rep' picked me and the other guys up I told him what I'd been told and that I wouldn't be working for them any longer, I was verbally abused and then literally thrown out of the car, slightly hurt, and went to the police who charged the guy with causing bodily harm.

Are these people baitable? ..... I don't see how, without putting yourself on the wrong side of the law, but giving them a maximum of bad publicity, as you are doing, is certainly helpful. How about sending your very well written piece to college magazines, local newspapers, etc, or trying to get onto a local radio sation for an interview.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 6:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I actually worked for Vector in high school, just to make some money, but I eventually got burned out on it.

Not only do you have to pay for the sample kit, you ALSO have to pay $150 to go on a "conference" (there are 2 during the summer) which everyone from around the region goes to, it's two days, out of town at a hotel, with sessions from 7 AM-11 PM each day where you learn how to sell better/get more referrals/etc. They have a big stage in the hotel ballroom where they have award ceremonies for people who get promotions and stuff, lots of loud music to get people "pumped up", and people promote their offices with goofy slogans. It's like World Wresting Federation but with knife salesmen.

In addition you have to check in with your manager at 8 AM every day and let them know how many appointments you have that day, and you turn in an appointment sheet after ten appointments, with the appointments' contact information, then the secretary calls them to make sure that you went to the appointments and aren't BSing.

Also knew someone who managed an office and she got burned out on doing that after about 2 months, the upper level managers kept harrassing her on why her people weren't selling enough knives.

FWIW, I did end up making about $4,000 but when I found out the facts about the steel and the other misleading stuff, that was the tipping point to make me stop doing it. Also, I just got tired of doing it.

The office I was out of wasn't in the ghetto, it was in an office park.

I do agree with you that their advertising should be clearer on what exactly you'd be doing for the company, but I ended up enjoying it and making friends doing it.

I actually ended up dating the secretary at my office though, so I did get more than just money and a set of knives out of it. There were also a bunch of hot chicks around my age working there too, so I spent as much time as I could at the office. Good times!

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 12:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top


I, too, have been an employee of Cutco/Vector Marketing. I never found anything real shifty about them, though.

I didn't like the mandatory "team meetings" on my Friday nights or whatever it was. I sold a bunch of knives one summer, then got tired of the peppy manager running the place and left.

A friend of mine has recently become a regional manager for one of their stores and seems to be doing I have to warn her she's involved in something? Confused I'm not sure there's much of a scam here.

I went through the same training - but it was hardly worse than any other job training I've been through in the past. Also, I didn't get the spiel about the steel or whatever. They also didn't "downplay" the competition in my session. Sounds like you just had a crappy manager doing your training. And telling you to smile and "push" the sale.....that's just people teaching sales.

I also didn't expect my appointments to be set up for me... I'm not sure what the shady business practices are here, sorry.

They're just asking you to invest in knives so you can sell, if you know you're not going to sell, don't invest in knives. They're a high-pressure sales company -- that's not illegal. A little annoying Wink but that's about it.

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 3:52 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Was involved in similar outfits here while at Uni and desperate for money. Of course this was in 1991 so we all know what happened to jobs then and there was just nothing about.

I was suckered into selling some sort of educational programe to parents door to door, setup was was similar to the double glazing with the survey. first time out i ended up selling a couple of dozen of things worth several hundred bucks each in about 4 hours (guess I had a lucky street).

This was a pretty good outcome on a number of levels. Firstly they paid by the hour (about 25 bucks and hour), secondly were woefully disorganised, thrid where I lived was a long way from the office and finally selling that much gave them a bit of confidence.

Over the next few weeks I worked out I just needed to fill in the time sheets and post them off as they did not check up. did this for a about a month before they figured it out.

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Some of this stuff sounds like typical hard-sell techniques, used by hundreds of companies here in the UK. The best you can expect is that the Office of Fair Trading (or your equivalent) will look into how much pressure they exert on their customers to buy. For telling outright lies, OFT will take more of an interest.

My take? It's better to raise awareness of illegal practices and report them to the relevant authority than to try baiting them. This sort of company, unlike a lad, will not hesitate to report you if you harass members of their staff, or sue you for defamation if what you publish about them is not accurate, so you need to tread carefully and be sure of your facts. Best of luck. Smile


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