The Sweatshop of Wall Street

The Sweatshop Of Wall Street is a short documentary about the world of direct sales in New York City. The piece follows Phil and Zao, two young salespeople who made as little as $0.50 an hour hawking cellphone contracts to passersby in Brooklyn, New York. From a misleading Craigslist ad, to minuscule wages and questionable workplace routines, the documentary aims to expose the strange world of direct sales and marketing, and shed light on employment practices one has to see to believe.

I’m offering you an opportunity the opportunity to become your own boss the opportunity to become your own owner the opportunity to retire your parents for over two decades credito has changed the way direct sales and marketing companies acquire and interact with new customers from the initial customer picks to the coif and installation and activation of service we

Are rapidly growing our business and continually looking for challenges driven individual joy one of our corporate offices across rosslyn it sounds really good right let’s take one side as you can’t pick you gotta count to 30 and spit it up a friend of mine was on craigslist and he saw an opportunity for marching jonathan it was promising $60,000 a year i saw

This job ad that we do events marketing and i thought it sounded really cool i was in between jobs living on savings and i really needed the money i sent in my resume and then i got a call the same day they tell me how would you feel about running your own company and i said i would love to it really clicked with the pitch that they used to dragging him i really

Thought that they were actually going to be training me to run a company and instead they have me on the streets pitching free cell phones i need you to walk me through the process first where i do is my first time medicate okay stand by the hospital goal and then you get a monthly bill or you know they don’t agree with that but how do i how do you pay really

Multi-billion dollar companies like verizon at&t sprint and comcast hire critical to sell their products credit go out sources these sales to smaller companies who in turn outsource to even smaller ones all the way down to the salespeople who approach you on the street the most successful salespeople are encouraged to move up the ladder and recruit their own

Street teams and open their own small company from the outset credit coast applies guidelines and structure for how these companies recruit new salespeople and how to sell these products while also getting a cut of every sale i started in july 2013 as account executives i got promoted by march 2014 to assistant manager by end of august of 2014 i was officially

A manager that’s when you start interviewing and training when you start building your own team then you open up your own office and you do the same thing that your manager the purpose of the management training program is to become a business in order to become a business owner you need to recruit people and have those people recruit even more people the

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Target audience is young people who are ambitious and for impressionable people who are desperate and minorities basically anyone who would be willing to listen and to live on hope i worked more than 60 hours i came in even on saturday with cell phone these were all the sales that i had made in the entire week and i was paid 140 bucks this is my first paycheck

It was for $40 and this is after a 72 hour work week that comes out to 50 cents an hour everything is to show is to show you that they have a standard these workers were working 72 hours a week and being paid an average of 300 dollars and that’s a violation of minimum wage and overtime laws if you classify a worker as an independent contractor then technically

You’re not bound by the minimum wage and overtime laws because those only apply to employees so even though they’re told you know this is this great opportunity for most people doesn’t end up that way credit go systematically misclassified their people as within the contrary they tell you you’re in the business for yourself in order to avoid paying minimum wage

Overtime benefits vacation time days off you name credit go tells people we have this great business opportunity for you you can start your own company in our network and provide services to be as client but keep in mind that they’re going to tell you this is how we market this product you will go to these neighborhoods you will talk to these types of people during

These hours and using this pitch not as if you really have carte blanche that you’re a true independent business owner doing whatever you want when i attempted to go where i wanted to when i wanted they would constantly barrage me with the rest determination several the leaders in the office which would gang up on me and say you have to be following the system

Phil you have to be following the system and i told them i’m an independent contractor and they said so what you need to follow the management training program in order to reach the levels of success that we promise you so when i try to improve our condition we try to set up scheduling systems with different organizations so we don’t have to go to these very remote

Dangerous places that the offices send us through some marketing consultants the office started to shut it down we started getting yelled at saying that we have no work ethic that’s when we realize that we’re not independent contractors we used to have this trick before we’d walk into the office every day we’d stand outside and we’d say we’re not walking in unless

We’re going to dominate today i will not walk in that door unless i am a hundred percent i will not walk in that door and once i’m prepared to dominate atmosphere and dominate the field a dominated attitude to dominate every freaking person in that office working instead of the company was like working inside of a friend house every morning me and the other people

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In the office will show up and you go straight into the atmosphere room the atmosphere room is the coal walk in all of the people in the atmosphere 160 people sometimes what happened to that office and start their morning rituals of chanting yelling screaming at each other there was loud pumping edm music and usually the windows post so that there’s heat in the

Room it was just an all together very aggressive place with feeds it was one of those things where if you work very hard we stay enthusiastic with all the staff see this chant in the morning i mean out so i was put on to think her every morning tell me how you feeling we go fantastic terrific great oh yeah strong juice baby something i feel wonderful right on right

On right on juices juices they’re using the kind of techniques that we see in portunity the sorority they’re using chanting and song the using of mind game where they want to make everybody feel like they’re part of a group but in order to be part of this group just to prove that you’re worthy and you’ll do whatever it takes in order to go in that group and the

Group atmosphere engages them in such a way that they feel they do not have a choice in this company everything’s chalked up to you either being weak or strong there’s no right or wrong hi everyone at critical most of the managers that i saw her mail more than sexism sexual harassment was more common and it wasn’t something about singing seriously it was taken

As a joke there’s no real hrs in each office so you can’t really complain most girls those is quite that’s what they are key is very important in other words on the boss and you’re the employees i have a lot of power you don’t have any power and if you listen to me you’ll be able to come up that ladder and eventually you can be the boss and you can have power and

You can make lots of money but what actually happens in this kind of pyramid scheme is that the managers do take advantage of you do stab you in the back do you millie 8 you do you you they do not see a way out on fridays there would be an event called they saw private you would just challenge each other who can do the most sales i can challenge just about anybody

And have them do at embarrassing humiliating things it could be something as minor as having a pie hit your face so something as humiliating as getting a lap dance or giving someone a lap dance there’s some guys in there for married for forced into this these are the humiliating things that people were forced to do just because they didn’t hit a specific number


Of stables it’s going to hurt just you got it faceoff fridays it is abed my punishment i deserve it i deserve it i didn’t sell many as you told me to sell even if it’s impossible to sell that many they feel as if they did committed commit something bad and that they deserve the punishment and then whatever happens there’s stuff doing it and the nature of the

Punishment is humiliation is sexually is something that will remain with them psychological i was challenged one friday on one of these two days off friday incidents that i have to rub a woman’s foot and i have to sing a chinese song in alaska voice i don’t like be a public spectacle i was look they are making them do something against their will in some ways it’s

Like torture those kinds of humiliation never go away they stay with you for life my personal belief is that they did this as a means of control looking back i feel really bad i feel like same thing that happened to me i was going to coming off this hot you had to lie how to lower people in and that’s how they sold you that dream they teach you how to sell that

For you to someone else you have no true individuality that is stripped and taken away from because they want you to fit in with the herd they want you to fit in with the collective that’s me is the most damaging aspect about working here i was excited at the opportunity answer i was really thankful to tell you the truth i really felt like i was doing something

Greater than myself and then you have this moment of regret to me it was just because i was doing it so long as it’s normal to me hiring people for jobs and to me it was like you know they don’t have to do it if they choose to do it they’re just going to make money so there’s no harm happening or no one’s getting hurt it’s very hard for the audience to understand

What people going to say hey i’m not going to do this anymore or walk away and they’re also afraid that they will be humiliated if they tell that to their parent or to their child or to somebody else look what i’ve done in order to make money because it’s so embarrassing they feel that they were tricked by these companies and they never should have fell for it but

They did i think those are all contributing factors to making it not just a poorly paying job but it’s truly terrible experience or sometimes people

Transcribed from video
The Sweatshop of Wall Street By BRIC TV