The Southwestern company
Posted by: BADBADNEWS ()
Date: June 16, 2007 01:23PM

Actually, your unequivocal statement that the girls aren't "homeless" is unequivocal wrong. Were it not for our family, they would have been completely without any place to stay whatsoever and without the slightest scintilla of support from this "company".

If you are a Southwestern Cheerleader, please- tell the peanut gallery how the Southwestern company instructs it's "contractors" regarding obtaining lodging. Are they provided with rooms? Dorms? Prescheduled places to stay? How does this work?

When you take a kid from Europe and bring them to the US to sell books door to door, where are they expected to live? Does Southwestern own houses or apartments for them?

Be honest. Tell everyone what Southwestern expects these kids to do in order to obtain lodging.

The Southwestern company
Posted by: catalyst ()
Date: June 17, 2007 01:38PM

"Tell everyone what Southwestern expects these kids to do in order to obtain lodging."
[b:5e06645bff]#1 - the company makes calls to past landlords or host families, starting in early spring, lining up places.
#2 - the company sends letters to alumni for the same purpose.
(We receive both, calls and letters, every year.)

#3 - many students from previous years actually go to the selling areas in advance. This year, a 5th-year student from Europe came to the U.S. two weeks ahead of his friends, got a cellphone local to our state, rented a car, and started lining up safe places for the 30 others. Among other methods, he attended our church to meet people, and lined up several trustworthy families.

  That's more than a scintilla of support.

#4 - during the training week in Nashville, these young adults are given the places that are already set up, and/or whom to contact, and taught how to network through them or through the local congregation of their own or a roommate's church or other organization.
Our son who is in Pennsylvania this summer just called his destination area during the training week, and easily lined up a place, by contacting a congregation of our church. (That family could easily check him out by calling a church leader back home.)
I always did the same, way back when.

#5 - if nothing is lined up before they arrive in the selling area, 2 layers of leadership who will be living and working with them all summer, are right there helping them. Are they saying the others in their organization have just abandoned them? We doubt that.

#6 - if nothing else, they certainly have the phone numbers of their managers at the home office.

Once in a while, some students pay no attention to instructions (or don't follow them) and that is their own choice and accountability.
These are adults, at least 18, usually older, who found their own housing while attending college, then voluntarily applied to come to the U.S. with full disclosure of the challenges. (See below.)

"without the slightest scintilla of support from this "company".
[b:5e06645bff] That can't be, unless they are hiding!
Are you saying these college students are just sitting around your place, waiting for someone else to solve their problems?
The real world doesn't operate that way.

What is puzzling to us, is why they haven't taken action.
We only know what you have posted, and it looks as if you have raced to the computer to accuse the company, before the young women have done what they were taught. If they are still laying around doing nothing, get 'em up Sunday morning and hit a few churches, whether you/they are believers or not. Americans love to help, when they hear their accents. What country are these students from? [/b:5e06645bff]

From the website: - main page: click "Benefits & Challenges" -

A Southwestern summer is not for everybody. As with any opportunity, there are benefits and challenges.

Personal Growth – Student dealers will gain confidence by facing real challenges.
Communication Skills – Students meet and deal with real people in the real world.
Life Skills – Students gain independence, self confidence, and leadership skills.
Resume/CV – Students will build a resume/CV that shows results, not filler.
Travel/Challenge – Students see a different part of the country and push themselves to a higher level.
Not for Everybody – This program is designed for students who seek growth and challenges.

Long Hours – The most successful students work over 75 hours a week.
Away from Home – From experience, Southwestern has found that students sell better away from their hometown because there are fewer distractions.
No Guarantees – There is no salary or hourly wage. As independent contractors, the students make profits from the sales they generate.
Away from School Friends – Students will leave their “comfort zone” and establish new relationships with other self-motivated students.
No Floor, No Ceiling – There is no limit to the sales a student can make, just as there is no guaranteed income.
It’s Not Exactly Glamorous – Prestige comes later in the form of experience, recognition, and multiple job offers.


The Southwestern company
Posted by: BADBADNEWS ()
Date: June 20, 2007 01:31AM

Everything you just typed hinges on this one sentence.


Are they saying the others in their organization have just abandoned them? We doubt that.

Then I guess "We" are wrong.
They were totally abandoned and left without any place to stay.

All of the other grandiosities mean nothing when the rubber hits the road and none of it is actually done. They were completely without any place to stay whatsoever. It's wonderful that Southwestern has such great "ideas" about kids finding a place to stay, but from what I saw, they for damn sure don't put them into action.

The Southwestern company
Posted by: Jannski ()
Date: July 11, 2007 12:14PM

Hey Catalyst. I read your post and I'm wondering... it said:

#5 - if nothing is lined up before they arrive in the selling area, 2 layers of leadership who will be living and working with them all summer, are right there helping them. Are they saying the others in their organization have just abandoned them? We doubt that.


So I was wondering... so is it seriously possible for them to arrive with no place to stay from a foreign country?

It sounds to me like asking them to fix it themselves is a pretty tall order given they have limited understanding of our culture. Also depending on the country many countries cultures do not permit girls to learn to be self motivated problem solvers. If they are from a country like that where they can't be in their own country where the rules and customs are known to them... then I can't imagine how they would be here in our country.

If this is the case... and people are brought here from other countries to fend for themselves on 4 weeks of training then I feel for them.

The Southwestern company
Posted by: claireeakin ()
Date: July 19, 2007 02:31AM

I am from Scotland and I did Southwestern in 2001.

On the first night I arrived in the country after a very early start, 12 hours worth of flights and needing a sleep very badly I was made to wait outside a motel for 3 hours while they found somewhere for me to sleep. This was at half past 12 at night. They eventually found me somewhere, it was sharing a fold down bed with a girl I had never met, in a room with 3 other girls sharing a double bed.

I had to get up at 6am the next morning to go to "sales school" until late, jet lagged and I was physically sick due to lack of food and sleep.

Noone I knew had somewhere to live set up for them. Everyone had to knock on doors to find somewhere, something I would never even think about at home but with nowhere to stay what do you do??!!

Over the Summer my Dad had a serious accident and my Grandad died, I was made out to be some kind of failure that I wanted to go home before deilvering my books.

You work 80 hours a week, getting up at 6am, going to bed about 12.30am every night. You share a room with at least 2 others (I had to sleep on the floor all Summer) so can't change that.

You are supposed to have Sundays off when in reality you have to get up even earlier to drive for sometimes up to 4 hours one way for a meeting, and do what you are told, which to me is certainly not a day off at all.

I don't care what anyone says I believe Southwestern is a complete farce and does not give a hoot about their student's welfare at all.

The Southwestern company
Posted by: Jannski ()
Date: July 20, 2007 10:38AM

I guess that answers my question...

So in your experience, you didn't even have a place to stay at first even before you took the training.

So what exactly is the training like? Is it just the usual sales type stuff... not taking nos personally and all of that? Or do you get any training on the culture here at all?

The Southwestern company
Posted by: claireeakin ()
Date: July 20, 2007 09:35PM

No I didn't even get told which part of the country I was going to until the end of sales school. We moved in the summer a few times and each time to find somewhere else to stay we had to knock on doors!

The training consists of watching videos about selling (I was very amazed when the Americans there started whooping and cheering at the videos!!)
You also practise your sales pitch which you must be able to recite and you also get your pack which you have to pay for yourself!

We had no training on the culture but to be honest that was the least of my worries and having been to many other countries before it is easy to adapt, especially without the language barrier.

Do you still have some girls staying with you just now?

The Southwestern company
Posted by: Jannski ()
Date: July 21, 2007 01:42AM

That was BadBadNews that had the girls staying with her.

I was just curious about the company because I'm kind of shocked about the whole showing up and knocking on doors to find a place to stay... especially these days. Knocking on doors to sell stuff is a challenging enough experience.

I know if someone showed up and knocked on my door and asked if they could move in for a summer I'd be shocked... not that I'm mean and don't care... it's that I would have a hard time trusting someone I don't know enough to say, "Yeah, sure, move in! Now WHO are you again?"

The Southwestern company
Posted by: claireeakin ()
Date: July 21, 2007 02:17AM

I know I agree I would think someone was crazy if they came to my door saying that! It sucked!

I think it also says something about the kind people that I met along the way. I knocked on a door of a family from New Zealand, the Dad saw me and was like "you look so tired, come in". His wife and family were there so I went in and they made me a sandwich and gave me a cold drink it was amazing!! They also let me live with them for the Summer!! So I moved out of the house I was in and in with them they were angels!

Someone else once let me use her shower and invited my colleague and I to her house for dinner (it was 100 degrees that week) But relying on the good nature of people is not really a good idea, sometimes I had to wait for ages to find a bathroom!!

The Southwestern company
Posted by: Jannski ()
Date: July 21, 2007 04:50AM

It's awesome that you found some great people to help you out. I think that a lot of times though it's not even about a person being good natured or not... as much as how safe he or she might feel letting a stranger move in.

...after all, didn't we all see what happened in that movie...was it Single White Female? I think that was the name of it... the one with the psycho roommate who destroyed her life.

So I'd say yes I'm sure there are some bad natured people out there... there are probably some really good ones who just don't have the trust level to open their doors to strangers... and the rare ones who are good natured and go ahead and open their doors in spite of the risk.

It all sounds kind of a scary place to be in looking around for that 1 in however many thousand person who will open their door to you AND is a good, non abusive person.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.