April 29, 1999
Rock ‘n roll’ sales job: Drugs and booze abound
by: Jerry Jordan
This past week such an advertisement was placed in the classified section of a local Beaumont paper looking for people to travel, all expenses paid, to major resorts demonstrating cleaning chemicals. It sounds almost too good to be true, but a behind-the-scenes investigation by The Examiner revealed the great party atmosphere the ad promises is all that it is cracked up to be… and most of it is illegal.
In reality, the traveling sales jobs offered by N.J. Distributors of Florida to Beaumont youths would be a dope smoker’s dream come true.
“Everybody smokes weed,” said Red, the nickname of one worker for the company claimed to be owned by Nicholas Joseph. “We go up to the rooms and party all night.”
Two men with The Examiner were hired by Joseph’s company, unbeknownst to them, in interviews conducted at the Beaumont Ramada Inn, by a 21-year-old sales recruiter named Dee. During the interview, Dee began smoking marijuana from a small bluish pipe that was kept in her cigarette case.
After The Examiner employees were hired, they were put on a bus and whisked off to Dallas where they were picked up by David Paul, who said he was from California and had been working for Joseph for some time.
Paul asked if anyone wanted to “smoke some weed” on the way back to the hotel because he was already high.
When questioned about whether he condoned his employees using alcohol and drugs while selling his much touted Hy-Pro Spray Cleen, Joseph said he was not running a church.
“As long as they are not doing anything that is going to jeopardize our business or anything like that, I am not their mother and father, I didn’t try to be your mother and father, ...as long as they don’t cause any problems, and if they do cause problems then the police will come down and arrest them…” Joseph said. “I can’t stop everybody from doing what they want to do whether they are at home or they are out here with us. I am not the police and I can’t tell them to stop doing it. They don’t work for me, they are not employees. They are independent contractors.
“I buy products from Hy-Pro Chemicals and I follow a code of ethics that they provide for us…. There are a lot of crews that don’t do that and I think that you just hit a group that happens to do things mostly right by the book.”
Hy-Pro Chemicals is located in Pilot Point near Dallas.
Joseph denied statements made by Paul that if an employee did well selling products that Joseph would sometimes reward the salesperson with drugs.
Most of the people questioned by The Examiner were under 21-years-old and all of them said they had participated in everything from illicit sex to drinking to drugs while on the road selling Hy-Pro Spray Cleen with Joseph.
Several of the selling points in Joseph’s recruiting ad stated that a return trip was guaranteed and parents were welcomed at the interview.
Joseph made good on his promise of a return trip and concerned parents are allowed to attend job interviews.
Joseph said he realizes that many of his salespeople are young troubled people and he has to accept whatever problems they bring along with them when they are hired.
One person working for Joseph, who spoke solely on the condition of anonymity said he had concerns with being arrested and placed in jail for solicitation because Joseph did not always get permits to sell in a particular city and whether Joseph was on the level when it came to paying his salespeople.
“If I was making minimum wage I would be making about $200 a week,” the source said. “One day you will sell four gallons and they will give you $20. The next day you sell four gallons and they give you $15. Then at the end of the week they say your aren’t making any money, yet they are walking around happy because they have money in their pocket.”
The source said he has probably made a total of $300 maybe $400 in the four weeks that he has worked for the company.
Joseph said he will bail his workers out of jail if they are arrested, but that they are advised to try and obtain permits before entering a community.
“He paid for us because he said the first two (bail bonds) are free, then we have to pay,” the source said. “I said why do we pay? Why are we soliciting his product yet we are liable to go to jail for it?”
A spokesperson for the Denton Police Department where salespeople for N.J. Distributors were selling Hy-Pro said anyone wishing to sell door-to door in that city must obtain a permit to legally do so. The Denton Police had no record of anyone associated with Joseph’s company applying for a permit.
Joseph and his sales crews are currently rocking and rolling there way across the country. He checked out of his Arlington hotel room this past week and returned calls for comment via a cellular phone. Joseph did not say where he plans on dropping his sales crews off next but rumors from some salespeople point towards the Chicago or New York areas.
Joseph said it is nobody’s business where the crews will set up shop at their next stop.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.
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