This is PART TWO of my Memoirs of a teenage worker series. Click here to read part one where I talked about about working in KFC.
Part 2 – Betterware
So a couple of weeks after leaving KFC I applied for another job as a catalogue distributor for a company called Betterware. They are a company that sell all sorts of household appliances through door-to-door sales. I was majorly pumped to start as I thought it would be the most fun job ever. Getting paid to go around on my bike listening to music whilst dropping off a few magazines at some houses seemed like so much fun.
The area manager came over to my house to talk me through the process and my responsibilities. He even took the time to explain it to my mum who was reluctant to let me get another job so soon after my KFC disaster. It seemed perfect.
So before I could actually go off and do the deliveries, I had to manually package every single magazine. This included individually handwriting over three hundred calling cards that went inside each catalogue. However, I eventually got them all done and excitedly went to bed early to ensure I was well rested to do the deliveries the next day.
I remember waking up early to do the deliveries. This is when I realised that I could not carry all the magazines at once on my bike. This meant that I would have to do several journeys back and forth from my house to the routes I had been contracted to do. This made delivering so much longer and the job so much harder. I had to split it up over two full days to get it all done.
So a week went by and I got back on my bike to go and collect the magazines to see if anyone had made any orders. This meant doing the same back and forth journeys. But this time I was excited to see if I had made any orders! My excitement soon faded as I got home to read the calling cards that I had painstakingly hand written the previous week.
I had received several horrible messages from people telling me never to come back to their house again (well, they did not put it as nicely as that!) and that they were ordering from “the other guy”. I was so confused. Not a single order.
Here is the catch: my remuneration was commission based. This meant that my pay was 20% of the orders I got. If I didn’t get any orders, I didn’t get paid at all even though I had already put in two weeks of work. In my induction, my manager had stressed that this never happened as the route he had given me was popular, so I hadn’t worried about this. I called him up absolutely devastated and wanting to know if I had done anything wrong.
It turns out that the person I had taken over from had been doing that route for over 30 years! However, when he retired (and I took over) he had actually switched over to a rival company (Kleeneze) in return for a higher commission. But before quitting he told his regular customers that he was moving and to stop ordering from Betterware!
My manager had found this out but told me to try and deliver the magazines one more time to see if I was luckier. I looked back on my contract and it turns out there was a provision for a base payment in lieu of commission (I was a budding Lawyer even back then!). So he promised to pay me the standard minimum wage for the hours I had already put in packaging and delivering if I did another weeks work.
To cut a long story short. I went back out to deliver the magazines but this time, when I was delivering some people were in their houses so I stopped to talk to them. This made it take a lot longer to do my deliveries. However, when I went back to collect the magazines I had received FIVE orders! In addition, they were all expensive products which meant I would get a pretty good commission (be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you, eh?)
At the end of then week, my manager came round to my house to find out how it had gone. I excitednly told him about the orders and he asked to collect the order forms so that he could send them off to the head offices. He said that he would deliver the products himself as I had already “worked so hard”. He said that he would come back the following week to pay me for the previous weeks and give me the commission for the orders I had received.
The days turned into weeks and I did not hear a word from my ‘manager’. I called him several times. I text him to find out exactly when he would come and pay me and give me the magazines for the following week. I got no response and my calls went straight to voice-mail.
I never saw him again and I never got paid.
Conning anyone is a terrible thing to do however, I think conning a 16 year old is even worse. What kind of twisted person does that? However, I did learn a lot from the experience. I am a lot more careful with who I trust. And if ever I owe anyone money, I always make sure to pay it back immediately. I know first-hand what it is like to feel ripped off!
Interestingly, the subsequent year I actually did see my ex-manager/conman at the checkouts at a shop (where I also happened to be working). But I’ll write more about that in Part 3 of Memoirs of a Teenage Worker.
It’s just me, Dammy, would you like some fries with that?