Monday, November 6, 2017
Mall Kiosk Workers From Israel
I first encountered these years ago and always wondered why those working at the kiosks seemed to be foreign.
Then in my day job I got to see the companies behind the kiosks and the shady dealings behind them. Turns out I wasn't the only one to have questions and it turns out that beyond the makeup, skin and hair products being a sham (gold doesn't really help your skin), the whole series of companies behind them was set up to defraud its own employees as well.
I can only speak to what I saw with the "companies" involved and their "owners". Truth is, most of these kiosks are "owned" by individuals who are cajoled into coming over to the US on tourist visas with the idea that they can earn enough money selling makeup and skincare to establish their life outside of Israel and also to get to of their compulsory military service. If they don't sell enough product? Well the real owners of these companies threaten to pull their Visa, send them back to Israel and into the Army.
The real owners are protected largely by the fact that these companies end up being set up as sole-props and if they get in trouble or become financially insolvent (which they do with alarming frequency) they just fold and restart under a slightly different name and tax ID. They go through this cycle over and over again. And don't think they live a life of glamour here either...typically they are herded into common apartments to save on costs and move from one kiosk to another.
Oh and did i mention the products suck? Unsurprisingly massive amounts of the products purchased by consumers under the duress of these high pressure (understandably) sales people end up being returned--or at least are attempted to be returned, because not only are they super expensive but they are all cheap, useless crap...worse than dollar store trash...seriously. These kiosks and stores have a no return policy however and instead the transactions result in high chargeback rates and then loss of the ability to accept credit cards--a death knell for retail, thus the folding of the business and restart under a different name but same business model...over and over, recycling young Israeli after young Israeli.
So the new time you're in a mall and groups of these individuals try and get your wife to buy some stupid skin cream and curse you out when you ignore their pleas to stop for a second...try not to be mad or take offense...These are early 20 somethings being preyed upon by their elders who have convinced them that the way to a better life and to avoid Israel's military and the Middle East in general is to sell cosmetics under a falsified travel Visa for marginally above minimum wage while living in communal apartments, hoping to save up enough to travel the world or establish a life somewhere else and under constant threat of their real string holders...
Just one example of one of these rings being busted and the Principal going away to prison for 6+ years is found here...but there are rings and rings of these across the US...Just as an FYI...