Monday, May 12, 2008

Youth Devlopment Sales

Today a kid from Youth Development Sales came to our door selling chocolate almonds. While I was distracted, a less cynical roommate purchased chocolate goodies from these awful exploiters of child labour.

Let's read the back of the chocolate almond box

"Thank you for your continued support.

Your salesperson is part of a supervised program organized to give the youth of your community an opportunity to be constructively active after school and on weekends. Through this valuable business experience, they will gain confidence and develop a sense of responsibility and leadership, therefore allowing for a more positive attitude and outlook.

20% of purchase price goes to the youth sales person. Remainder to production, distribution, and prizes."

60 cents of this 3 dollar box of almonds goes to the child who's below minimum employment age in B.C., and $2.40 goes to the distribution and production, which is to say the scammers exploiting child labour. None of the money goes to anything charitable, though the sales pitch is carefully designed to sound like a fundraiser.

There's an address on the box
Youth Development Sales
#213-1755 Robson Street
Vancouver, B.C.
V6G 3B7

I feel like something ought to be done. But what? Any one know of a child services organization I could report this to?

18 comments:

Laura said...

i just had the exact same experience and was a bit suspicious. i googled "youth development sales" and came up with your blog. did you ever get any more info on this?

curmudgeonlybumbly said...

Next time they come by, I'll ask them for their nine digit charity number, which all charities in Canada must have. I'd bet a doughnut that they don't have one.

Alice in Wonderland said...

I see your point. However I still think the sales experience is good for the little ones.
I'm a 4th year BBA student and doing a sales course where we have to actually sell. If I had done something like this as a youth then direct sales later in life wouldn't be so darn difficult.

sL0tH3t0Es said...

Well, these kids are learning a valuable lesson. That to sell things, you have to twist the truth. And it is true, that the kids are working, and earning money. If they sell well, and make enough, they'll find the experience rewarding. If they can't sell enough, they'll learn that they aren't cut out for sales.

I'd rather have one of these kids on my doorstep, telling me white lies to sell me a box of chocolates, than a politician, anyday. And have you seen the cadets outside Tim Hortons, and Liquor Stores, begging for money? At least, they could have a car wash, or sell overpriced apples, like the Girl Guides. But no, they've realized, it's just easier to beg, like the bums with their cardboard signs in the middle of intersections.

Give the kids a break. Sure the company is exploiting them. Yes, they're being taught to lie to sell chocolates. But, as one kid said, 'It's to keep youth off the street, away from crime, and drugs'. What he meant was, it was keeping HIM off the street away from crime and drugs. But so what? Instead of hanging around the street corner with a bunch of losers, figuring out how to rip someone off, at least he was doing something more or less productive, going door to door, and only 'sort of' ripping people off.

I'll still buy the chocolates. But I'll never put money in the Cadets can, until they offer me 'something' in return.

'the sloth'

Tim Bailey said...

Interesting. One of this organization's sales force just sold some boxes to the law firm where I work. We'll have to look further into this.

I don't really share the opinions of "The Sloth" on this issue. There's plenty of time to hang around with losers after you've sold all your product. Selling some chocolates door-to-door with minimal support from your employer is hardly the kind of involvement and engagement necessary to keep at-risk youth out of trouble. It does provide them with a bit of pocket money, though.

And it is certainly a learning experience to be exploited as an employee - I can personally attest to that.

Anonymous said...

I Googled Youth Development Sales and the only hit I got was this cynical blog, which furthered my suspicions. A little more online exploration led to The Mail Room, a mailbox rental and mailing service outfit at the address on the back of the almond box--an address which boasts a remarkable number of limousine companies and looks unlikely (Google Street View) to contain any commercial suite on the second floor (i.e. 213) as anything higher than the ground floor appears to be residential apartments. My cynicism is confirmed.

Judie said...

My husband just got scammed by this this afternoon. The two girls were about 12 to 15. He asked what it was for and they said to keep kids off the street. Then they said "anything extra would be helpful". At that point he bought the box of chocolates but it certainly raised his antenna! Some scammer is making money off kids is what it boils down to for us!

JR

Gigi said...

our estasblisment just had two girls between the ages of 12-15 selling these almonds and being really persistent abt it too! I've had even younger kids come in between 10-12 selling these stupid almonds.I asked them why there weren't in school today they said it was " Pro D Day " ...I wanna know who we can call abt this????

- said...

Ditto here. They just breezed through my office. Nice kid and it seemed legit. But no phone # on box. I asked about charity # and they said it is not a charity, it is a business for profit. It just aint my thing I suppose. I passed.

Cori said...

I told the boy who came to my door to keep his chocolate and take my $20 and get someone in his family to take him to the Aquarium or something else educational and fun this summer. How heartbreaking. He was shipped out here by these exploitative "grownups" from three suburbs away to do this in the hot sun. Their promise to him? That eventually they will take him on a "field trip". To where? Splashdown Park or the PNE. This is the kind of thing that has Organized Crime written all over it.

natalie said...

This is so terrible. I had the same boy come visit me again several months later. I mentioned to him that the address didnt exist. I asked him to point out where it was on Robson street since "he had been there before". He pointed above Club Monoco. Since he told me that it was a School thing to "raise money for Charity" I asked what school he went to and what his teacher name was. Turned out that teacher doesnt exist at that school
! I dont know where the money is going, but I know that young kids should be playing with friends or family on weekends, not out saying rehearsed sale pitches selling candy they probably dont see any reward for. Something should be done about this

hyperfocus photography said...

I know this is an older post but kids are still out there selling this stuff, not sure how I feel about it but there is a small listing on the BBB site, this is not a charity it is a for profit business:
http://tinyurl.com/64hsacn

A Lewis said...

I think you are totally off base here. Obviously you have NO IDEA what you are talking about. This is a reputable organization that works with schools and youth programs, such as the John Howard Society, to help at risk youth and teens do exactly what it says on the box. They aren't lying, they are learning valuable sales experience, and how to get by in the real world. Which you obviously aren't living in. Get a clue and buy a box, and know that you are helping out a kid who needs it.

BTW- too many people out there shoot their mouth off about things they don't understand. We don't need any more. Please do your research before you attack kids and the companies that are trying to help them. What have you done for the youth of this city lately? I can tell you right now, the blow-hard crap you post here, isn't helping anyone.

Jo said...

I am currently eating the chocolates - I must say I was surprised to learn there wasn't a charitable angle. Giving kids $0.60 a box while you keep $2.40 is not helping kids - up the profit margin for the youth and show them what they are worth! This is exploitation in it's simplest form - there is nothing worth defending in this business model. Call it what it is: child labour!

Roachbeard said...

This is a for-profit business that uses child labour (illegal) and pays a pittance (unethical). This poses as some sort of socially conscious business model but is exploiting the an old association that people have with kids and chocolate almonds. The key difference is that those kids are trying to go on a trip with their class or team and these kids are just hustling for a business. It ain't cool. As for this being something associated with John Howard - yeah, ok. Maybe John Howard would find this useful in helping juveniles that are WORKING AGE. Essentially, this is like a paper route. Except a paper route provides a product you actually have use for, not almonds covered in cheap, waxy chocolate.

colin bonner said...

When I was 13-16 years old i worked for this company selling choclates. 60 cents goes to me 90 cents went to the driver mike and the other 1.50 was the cost of choclates. I loved it at a young age they would pick me up at 330 after school and work until about 9pm and on saturdays would work from 10-6 selling outside of beer stores or malls. I would make about $80-$100 a week what was a lot of $$$ to me as a kid. The company itself is a scam

brenda said...

I mistakenly bought a box of these last night before looking up the company. I later regretted not asking to see the ingredients (items such as hydrogenated palm oil) and whether the chocolate is "Fair Trade and organic."
See the following (The Dark Side of Chocolate - Miki Mistrati - BOLDtalks 2012 and others) for information on child trafficking and slavery and dangerous child labour in the chocolate industry:
National Geographic: Nat Geo History - The Dark Side Of Chocolate - Historical documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRMloVs9Of8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vfbv6hNeng and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBPhiMOAt2o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vfbv6hNeng
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-gregory/chocolate-and-child-slave_b_4181089.html

Paul Esslinger

Jocelyn Vanderkuip said...

I turned my back for 2 seconds to see if there was anyone else in the office interested in purchasing chocolates and the kid was reaching across my desk for $40 that was sitting there.
My bad for leaving the money on my desk, but I don't expect a 9 year old child who just gave me a speech about keeping out of trouble and off the streets to try and steal from me. Maybe I am naive, but i am shocked and appalled. After this happened I tried searching for a phone number for the organization and this is what i came up with. Sounds like a complete and utter scam to me.