The Trashman Chronicles II: Pyramid Scheming


Searching for jobs can be a daunting task, especially recently with the constant downward spiral the economy has been in for a few years. Quite simply, it has become a bit harder to find work, especially if you’re degree is in something unconventional, such as English. Despite the recent news headlines being about the failures of esteemed financial giants, the sad reality is that companes like these are willing to hire younger people and lay off long tenured employees because it is ultimately cheaper. We know how the system works. Same work for lower cost = high profits. Sad but true.

My latest journey into the financial employment world occurred last Thursday, but really, its roots go as far back as late May/ early June at Wal-Mart. It was just one of your typical hot Florida summers, and I was in the middle of moving back home after graduating from Notre Dame. Lots and losts of stuff all around, but I had managed to organize and unpack everything, buy a bookcase, hang my TV on the wall, and other nice, new touches to my room. But I needed some pictures to fill up some frames. So, I loaded up my SD card and went to Wal-Mart to get some pictures developed. Seeing that 1 hour services were available, I did this, and figured I would just wait around the store. I looked at a few new CDs and DVDs, played a song or two on Rock Band, and sat down on a bench, just watching people, like I usually like to do. So some guy from the Verizon stand comes up and starts talking to me. He was a nice guy, and well, it was definitely better thatn sitting around for another 40 minutes, so we were just talking about Notre Dame and how the guy’s brother played college ball and about his fledgling musical career and stuff like that. So then he starts talking about how he’s getting ready to leave Wal-Mart and start working at this financial company which “educated people about money.” Sounded interesting, so I gave him my info and that was that. I got a call the next day, but for some reason, I didn’t feel like picking up, nor did I feel particularly confident about the opportunity so I just let it go by the wayside, assuming that I would be able to find something more promising. Plus, it seemed like there was a catch. Getting paid to educate people about money? There had to be more.

And that’s the end of that right? So I thought. The months passed, and I can safely say I didn’t think about the whole opportunity once. And then, a phone call on September 10th. I didn’t recognize the number, but I picked up. It was Verizon Wal-Mart Guy. After answering, he went off about how I had been contacted in the past but because of timing it just didn’t work out, and so on. It didn’t click until much later why I was called back. But of course, at the time I felt that it was a God-given second chance. The fact that I was in a pretty desperate position regarding employment didn’t help. So of course, I said I was interested. What ensued was an impromptu phone “interview.” So the questions were all geared toward my “people skills” and what not, and any pertinent experience in a supervisory/ role of leadership. So of course I’m thinking, “Ok cool, I guess they are looking for people to be in charge, but what does this have to do with money education?” The last question was where did I see myself in 5 years, and I kind of botched it, but did ok. So Wal-Mart dude said, “based on your answers you passed the pre-screen and we’d love for you to come in tomorrow to see the office and we’ll answer some questions about the company and we’ll determine if you qualify for further consideration. Sounded official, hardcore, and legit. So I was a bit excited and nervous.

Little. Did. I. Know. that I was about to be the latest contestant on…. (watch the vid to hear the music! Just the first minute)

25k p

YES! The I want your hard work hours pyramid! Thursday afternoon I ventured over to Brandon, a bit of a drive for me, and arrived up on the 12th floor. I was the first one there, binder full of resumes and notes in hand. I walked into the office and BAM! Primerica – a Citi Subsidiary adorned the wall in appropriately patriotic red and blue. The receptionist was nice, and she gave me a name tag. So I sat and waited. Others came in ranging from a younger girl who worked at McDonald’s to an older woman recently laid off by Coca Cola. Wal-Mart guy was there and ushered us into an empty room with a pretty sweet view, and of course, let the propaganda begin! We introduced ourselves. I said that I had graduated from Notre Dame, and I got a huge wowwww. That should have been a sign. Many more would come. So the office Vice President came and lead the newly recruited herd into the presentation room, where we endured an hour long presentation. It was certainly informative, and I really liked the premise of the company, to help financially challenged middle class families. But there was something fishy. The luster wore off for me as soon as the second speaker, who was answering the rhetorical “Is there a need for what Primerica does” question stated that he was a USF dropout. No degree? I was a bit surprised, but you know, maybe they gave him a chance. Then came the deal breaker, the VP came to talk last for 30 minutes. He subliminally explained a pyramid structure! It all became unraveled. He enticed the onlookers with the VP salary of 6 figures, and that he was looking for others to fill in the slots in the expansion process. Other hints he had been giving we’re little comments about he wanted a job that where it didn’t matter if he came into work, that the company kept going if he wasn’t there and that he kept making money. Yuck. He almost had me. I couldn’t wait to get out of there, though I did sign up for a follow up interview just to see.


Was I surprised when I came home and researched the company. Oh, it’s not a pyramid scheme per se, but there was a eerie feeling in that office. A very cult-ish type feeling. This was only proved by my research. Check this out to read what people like me, who blindly went to the meetings.

Primerica Complaints!

Sift through some of that, some experiences are really, REALLY bad. I understand that in theory, it’s not a scheme, that it takes A LOT of hard work, cold calling, references… but what really turned me off was my “pre screen application” where I had to put SIX non family references! even for Verizon, with whom I have also interviewed I only had 2 or 3! then t all made sense. Since the company is all word of mouth and reference based… all I was doing was giving them six LEADS!

Needless to say, I didn’t go to the interview Friday, but rather went and tailgated for USF-Kansas. And that s how I survived pyramidic disaster!


One Response

  1. Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

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