I went on an interview today for the Appco group that recently opened an office here in San Diego, CA. I don't know why, call it a gut instinct, but I thought that something was off. I did my research last night and found some negative comments on glassdoor.com but decided to check it out anyway. I was also concerned when I read on their website that they coined the term "human commercial"....which sounds like a clever way of saying "door to door sales".
I got sucked into one of these things direct marketing, pyramid schemes back when I was 18. They had me driving all over the state of Texas, selling knock of perfume out of my car. We worked 12 hour days, 6 days a week, had to pay for our hotels, gas, etc and we made about $3 per bottle sold. I made "rhino" my first week there which meant that I was the top new salesperson and earned myself a $300 bonus and the opportunity to hang out with the boss on his boat on Saturday instead of working in the field. When it came to asking for that money, they told me that I needed to tell them what the money was for and that they would write a check to pay the bill. I was young and naive, so it took me about a month to finally get the hell out of there.
Fast-forward to now, a decade later, feeling nostalgic with the Appco interview process...it was just too familiar. When I walked into the office, there were several other people already waiting for an interview. The receptionist had me fill out a paper application. These were the first two red flags. Any respectable sales company isn't going to have that many people show up at once for the same job or have you fill out a paper application. A distinguished company will ask for your resume. Period. While I was in the waiting area, the receptionists started conversation with me, they were both very nice. But it seemed fake to me. The office was playing upbeat pop music and, at one point, one of the employees made a statement to Cynthia (one of the receptionists) that he was surprised she wasn't singing. (Later, I wondered if it was actually a hint that she should be singing and wasn't creating the atmosphere he wanted.) There was a TV on that displayed pictures of team members with awards or giant checks. All of the team members were very young which, again, reminded me of the perfume selling gig...preying on young kids who didn't know better. I also noticed that the color red was everywhere. The color red is (according to studies) associated with ideas of excitement and youth.
Then, I met Chris, a well-dressed chap from the UK who spoke quickly. The interview was a whirlwind and I felt myself speaking quickly to mirror him. It reminded me of those sales people who talk so fast that they play a Jedi-mind trick on you and next thing you know, you spent your life's savings on a product that you don't really know how to work. He asked me several questions about how confident I was and how I would rate my communication skills and then invited me back for an "observation day" the very next day and that he was going to put me with "one of (his) best sales managers". He told me to come in at 11:30 and that he would need me "all day". I agreed, because it happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think. But, the second I left the office I thought...what kind of respectable company would ask me to spend my whole day with them without even giving me an opportunity to interview him and ask questions about the company before spending my valuable time with them? Also, what does "all day" mean? 5 pm? 6 pm? The ambiguity made me even more suspicious.
I have worked in sales before and I am really good at it, so for me to spend a day working "in the field" for a company as an interview without getting paid and without them offering to answer any of my questions seems pretty shady to me. My time is valuable, sorry. Then, I thought about how he didn't refer to his "best sales manager" by name. I bet all of the sales managers are his "best". Then I thought about how fast he talked, how little he smiled and how impersonal he was. It was clear to me that he spoke to many people every day like this. The closer I got to my car, the more I felt like I was interview-raped (which is a term I just came up with because it is the best way I can describe how I felt when I left). Then, I decided to do some more digging....I found too much evidence that this was a huge scam. I found blog after blog and webstie after website talking about the cult-like nature of this firm and how many times they have changed their name and moved offices. For every 20 negative comments, I found one post that was positive, not a very good ratio. And, the few positive ones that I read seemed to me like they were young and naively bought into the scam.
When I added it all up, I realized that I WAS Jedi-mind fucked! The color red (very smart), the hip music, the nice people, the fast talking, the working interview after just 10 minutes of talking, etc. etc. It doesn't matter how many bows you put on it or how much air freshener you spray, shit is shit is shit. Wrap it up in nice wrapping paper and have good looking people tell you it’s great, but you are still buying a load of shit.
I then looked for the card he gave me which did not have his name or contact email on it, it was more like a doctor's appointment card. It was apparent that none of the people in the waiting room were customers. And, I didn't see anyone who was dressed like a doctor so I assume that none of them were patients either. So, the fact that they had appointment cards proved to me that they were in the business of hiring people and inviting them to working interviews daily. Can't believe I almost let myself get sucked into that. I emailed the receptionist who originally contacted me to set up the interview, telling her that, after careful consideration, I had to decline the offer.
I was so thankful for the many people who took to blogs to express their disgust and dismay with the company that I had to do it myself. I am thankful that I didn't waste my "whole day" with these Jedi shit sellers. If you want to read more about Appco and the many names they do business under, just type in "appco scam" or "cobra scam". The best site that I found was thedevilcorp.wordpress.com.
I hope this helps someone else!
#appco #appcogroup #cobragroup #cultlikesales