The New Pyramid Scheme: Smart Circle Under Different Names
The Smart Circle MLM Scheme
There are a growing number of pyramid schemes out there. It Works, Vector Marketing, Avon, and Mary Kay are a few popular ones. However, they each require their members/partners to buy product in order to stay in good standing with the company. A company called Smart Circle is now on the rise and has a similar multi-level marketing plan. If you've ever been to Wal-Mart or Sam's Club and been asked to purchase Direct TV television services, skincare products, professional sports ticket packages, or even towels you have encountered a Smart Circle representative. They're always dressed in suits and they pester every single shopper that they possibly can. If they're lucky, they make a sale a day.
My Experience With Smart Circle
I was on the hunt for a job, and I still am. I have a decent job working as a repairman but I don't exactly get the hours I need. I looked on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago and sure enough I found a couple of marketing jobs that I thought were right up my alley. One was a company called BIQ Marketing and the other was a company called Morph Management Group. Both companies were in Little Rock, Arkansas which is close to where I lived and both companies claimed to be looking for managers so I was very interested as I had just recently completed the coursework for my bachelor's degree. Naturally, I submitted my resume to both companies.
Less than 24 hours later I got a call from Morph Management Group by a lady claiming to be the CEO of the company. I thought that it was interesting that a CEO would take on the process of hiring someone, but I figured that it may just be a small startup so I went to the interview and all. I arrived at their small office in a large building off of Financial PKWY and filled out an application. We talked about normal stuff. She (the "CEO") asked me simple prefabricated questions and told me that new hires are typically moved up into an executive position within 6-9 months of hard work. So I agreed to a second interview with another employee of Morph the following day which was at a nearby Sam's Club.
Before driving home from my interview with Morph, I received a call from BIQ Marketing. BIQ also wanted to do an interview in an even nicer building than Morph so I was excited to visit the office before the second interview with Morph the following day. When I arrived on the 17th floor of the Regions Building, I waited in the lobby and filled out an application. When I was brought back to the office of BIQ Marketing, I noticed again that the office was very small. It was apparent that I would not be working in this office. This lady categorized herself as an owner in the company. Unlike Morph Management, she was more forward with the understanding of the market structure and she seemed like she really needed me to be apart of her company. She also invited me to a second interview at Sam's Club but this time on the same day.
Later that day I went to Sam's Club in North Little rock for my second round interview with Morph Management Group. I met a guy there who was very polite and energetic. He asked me a few questions but this time a little more intensive. One of the questions even had me sweating and I couldn't think of a good answer. However, he showed me the product that he was selling: a skin care product that quickly removed dead skin unlike anything I have ever seen. The thing I really didn't like was that he just went up to random people and asked for their wrist and then he proceeded to rub it on their skin. Seemed like a total violation of privacy but most people didn't seem to mind. Many were amazed at how well the product seemed to work. While he was showing me how he marketed the product line, he actually tried to recruit a customer to join his company. I was offended by this slightly but later I understood why.
After the second interview with Morph, I waited in the parking lot of Sam's Club for my second interview with BIQ Marketing. After the wait, I went in to find the same lady that I had interviewed with before at BIQ. She was very nice and asked me to simply approach a customer and ask him if he currently had a cable provider. I did as so and she told me that I did great, so she discussed a few things about the product (Direct TV) and invited me to come work for her company. I accepted. I was promised $9.00 an hour or up to $150 for each bundle I sold. Morph Management actually called me the next day to invite me to a third round interview but I declined as I had already accepted the job at BIQ.
The first fishy thing I noticed was that the background check at BIQ was the same exact background check used by Morph. This background check was conducted by Sterling Management Group. I quickly researched Sterling to find out that it was actually a part of Smart Circle. The two brands were operating under the same roof. I researched Smart Circle to find negative reviews online and a whole article dedicated to urging people not to go work for them. Most reviews online described Smart Circle as a pyramid scheme.
I ended up going to the two 3 hour training sessions. Yes a total of 6 hours of training and then you're out on the sales floor. After talking to my friends and family, I decided to end my employment with BIQ. BIQ wanted me to work around 45 hours a week with only Wednesday off and they refused to allow time off for my weekly church service. The hours were also crazy. Typically they ran 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the week days and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekends. Their hours leave employees with no chance to spend time with friends and family or even participate in day time activities.
All in all, I was running back to my repair job. I honestly believe I made the best decision in doing this. I still haven't seen that paycheck from BIQ for training.
Don't Get Caught Up in this Scam
In essence, Smart Circle is a pyramid scheme. Owners/Marketing Managers earn what is known as "residuals" for the success of the ones below them that they have recruited. BIQ Marketing's owner told me herself that she would profit from me becoming a owner of my own company. She even told me that once I got to that point, I would run my own office with whatever company name I choose and I would be able to recruit others and earn residuals from their success.
Sadly, most people don't succeed in the Smart Circle program. The owner told me herself that they have a high turnover and most employees quit or get fired for lack of performance. Any sane person should think twice before leaving a decent job to participate in this scam. Smart Circle enslaves their employees through a false hope with low pay and horrible working hours.
Find a real job with a real company. Don't be suckered into some sales gig. Stick to the good companies that offer health insurance, 401k, and a regular M-F working schedule.