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Friday, September 14, 2007

Roll up for the Magazine Misery Tour

A reader in a nearby Northeast Portland neighborhood reports something disturbing going on in her neck of the woods: a group of aggressive and suspicious "magazine salespeople" hustling around. She writes:

Don't know if you care to warn your readers, but very slick magazine salesmen from an outfit called "Omni Horizon" and a dozen other aliases are out in force. They are pushy with quite a rap but the bottom line is it is a scam and kinda scary to boot. I live in Beaumont and they have hit me up twice, even with a no soliciting sign on the door. Once I was sitting on my porch and the guy just waltzed up and sat down and started in with a long winded pitch. Anyway, just a word to the wise.
Interestingly, a blogger in West Seattle had a post with a pretty lengthy comment thread going last week on the exact same phenomenon that was transpiring up there. The comments show that the crew in question was still working in Seattle as late as Wednesday of this week.

If you head over to that Seattle blog post and click on the links, you'll find some pretty damning stuff. The Portland Tribune also had a series about this sordid industry last summer, here and here. Meanwhile, as noted here last night, a gal working a magazine con in Lake O. has been arrested; perhaps she's from the same crew. If one of these people shows up at our house, they're going to get a mighty quick sendoff.

Most cities and towns have ordinances requiring door-to-door salespeople to be locally licensed, and display official city ID. As far as I can tell, Portland has no such rules, despite countless tales of fraud and worse. Hey, City Council -- why's that? When you're through busting some restaurant's chops about trans fats in the deep fryer, how about a little consumer protection from the crooks on our front porches?

Comments (7)

By God Jack! Is's that girl dressed in pink below,I would know her anywhere, as she sold me 10 magazine subscriptions yesterday at my crib in NW Portland.

Don't expect much of anything in terms of consumer protection in Oregon. This is the Appalachia of the West when it comes to consumer protection laws.

Those guys are a complete ripoff. My wife and I have separately been vicitimized a few years ago, as they hit us up separately on different nights, and we didn't communicate with each other about it.

The magazines never show up!!!

They claim to be rehabbed cons or something like that.

They were on NE 19th a couple nights back. We know better now and warned our neighbors.

just a couple suckers trying to help and reward redemption

Have a cell phone in hand and tell these folks to get lost or you'll call 911 in the next second. They will leave immediately. Take a little control over your property for god's sake.

The NYT had a big story on these operations a few months back. There was some real sordid stuff going on in the operation they covered. Beatings from managers for missing sales quotas, rampant drug use, sharing roach motels with hookers, etc. I think the default position should be empathy for the kids who are out on the streets, with the rage saved for the people who put them there.

I wrote to Jack about this, and this was no kid that was on my porch. Very much an adult.
And I was on my porch reading, never had a chance to get to a phone.

The Omni-Horizons people are rolling through Vancouver this week, so be on the look out. I'm sure they'll be running through Portland and the rest of the burbs too.

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