Opinion: Why Vector Marketing is unethical

By Donovan Levine
Freeform Editor

Vector Marketing is a sales agency that recruits high school graduates and college students to sell Cutco© kitchen cutlery such as knives, spatulas, cutting boards, can openers–any tool that can feasibly be found in a kitchen, they probably sell it.

Vector visited KU Monday Feb. 17 for recruitment. As a former employee there, I wanted any students who may be passing by their solicitation table to keep in mind a few things.

Vector requires no prior job history. Even if you have zero experience in sales, you can get an interview and be hired on the spot. Their interviews also aren’t typical interviews. They often last one to two hours because the sales manager gives an entire demo of his scripted sales pitch on Cutco knives and then discusses their prior sales success and revenue to you on a PowerPoint presentation.

Vector is a pyramid scheme. It is a single-level direct sales company that encourages employees to call family, friends of family, friends, friends of friends, former colleagues, teachers, youth leaders and, even your doctor or dentist, and start conducting sales from there. And at the end of every sales demo, you’re not encouraged, you’re required to ask for referrals from clients.

Vector’s sales force is 85% college students. They mail recruitment letters to young adults about a week or so after graduation, and usually target students who don’t have a lot of prior job experience but who they know need to pay for college. In other words, students and families who are desperate.

All sales are conducted by word of mouth. Any day spent in an office for Vector will be filled with young students making simultaneous phone calls speaking from the same script and offering to do a sales demo of why you should buy Cutco products, which often times looks like it was copied from the sales pitch scenes in the movie The Wolf Of Wall Street–you know that movie about a corrupt stockbroking company that deceives the poor and desperate while the brokers party on their yachts in the meantime? And did I mention that Vector also offers yacht parties to sales representatives who conduct the most successful sales after 3 months?

Vector pays via commission. If Vector were your only job after a full tax year, you’d have to file as an independent contractor. Your primary earnings are based off how many successful sales you make on top of a base pay. Then after you’ve made a certain number of sales, you’re ‘promoted’ into a second level where you earn bonuses per commission.

Vector has been sued eight times. One of those times was after a girl was drugged and violently sexually assaulted by a client.

Vector’s sales managers earn a portion of your sales earnings from every sale you make.

Cutco’s utensils are expensive. A flatware set is $1,400 for about 20 utensils. A homemaker set is $1,300 for maybe 20 knives. Their ultimate set is $3,000 for 30-something knives and a pair of scissors. A single knife on average is between $100-$200.

So, is Vector a scam? No, their business is what I like to call ‘barely legal.’ It’s unethical, swarmy and not very dignified, but at the end of the day they are legit in the eyes of the law. Due to that, there’s nothing stopping them from visiting college campuses such as Kutztown to try and recruit as many as they possibly can.

Categories: Freeform

1 reply »

  1. I don’t think this is correct: “there’s nothing stopping them from visiting college campuses such as Kutztown.” Pres. Hawkeye could just tell them that they cannot come to KU. Do you think this company gets a footprint at Penn, Dartmouth, and Princeton? No, not in a million years. KU students need to aim higher. We have 3.5 percent unemployment in this country – the lowest in 50 years. If KU students cannot find something better to do than to work for companies like the one you described, then maybe its time to throw in the towel, shut it down,and turn Old Main into condos.