Several young kids (about 11 years old) were selling candy on our street this evening for "Teen Alternatives." The boy said he was raising money for a camping trip. An adult picked them up in a blue 12-passenger van. I know there are unscrupulous adults who use kids to sell stuff, and some groups have been sued for violating child labor laws. Anybody know whether this particular group is legit?
kids selling candy legit?(38 posts)
Well, I googled that name and couldn't find anything but your post. Sounds fishy.
Tonight Aug 6th 2011 a boy named William came to my door selling candy and dog biscuits and named the fundraiser "Teen Alternatives". He looked to be maybe 12 yrs old? I told him I only donate online via Paypal and he said there is a website to do so. Cannot find said website. He's going door to door in Crown Hill right now.
A kid named Pavel came to our door last week in Bellingham. He said he was from everett. Little kid kinda had a fake speech problem and read off of this laminated paper that had the words " Teen Alternatives - Kent WA" . He told us he was raising money for a BBQ on deception pass, but told the neighbors he was raising money for Basketball camp.
We googled ("Teen Alternatives" Kent) and the first sight is some borderline child porn with a user name containing the words Pavel. We called the 911 and chased the kids down. they were in the same blue fan mentioned before in this thread. The cops kicked the supervisor out of town and said he had a record of doing these type of things before.
TOTAL scam and possible link to child porn.
These scammers appeared in Lynnwood today at about 3:30pm. Two kids each working one side of the street. They were dropped off by a blue van. They carried plastic bins that contained junk you could get at a dollar store. We found this forum posting and glad we did. They also said they were from Teen Alternatives. We called the cops, but don't know if they intercepted them or not.
I found this after having a nervous russian teenage boy try to sell us candy to raise money for snowboarding trips. After reading this I tracked down the blue van lic plate # B65YWR. The adult american driver said his name was Nick. Nick had a car load of 6-8 teenage boys and said they were mostly Russian, from Everett and raising money for snow boarding and camping trips. He did not have any cards and offered http://www.workingteens.com as their website. The website denies any organizational affiliation and advocates that adults make their money by employing teens to sell products door to door. The site is a rambling group of words. I chose not to read it all.
We reported it to the police. The kids demeanor, the lack of good flyers and these web postings added up to feeling like something wasn't right.
We had the same pair of boys stop by over the weekend (Dayton, north of 85th), although I didn't see where they came from or who they were with (although I suspect it's the same "blue van" group). Said they were selling candy to raise money for snowboarding, and when I said know they asked if I'd still like to "give us a couple of dollars." Er, no. Didn't report it.
If I'm not mistaken, it's illegal for anyone to sell door-to-door without being licensed and without displaying said license.
Same thing just happenned here in Ravenna area. Boy who said he was 13 selling candy, nervous. I thought he sounded Russian. Said he was from "down in Snohomish." Blue van, didn't catch the license plate. When pressed he had a list of things he siad he was going to get to do if he sold this stuff-- snowboarding, Wild Waves, summer camp. Said all his brothers did it. It felt all wrong to me. Had a canned speech. There is no teenalternatives.com website. Same refernce to Kent Washington on the laminated card. No license. I am trying to talk to someone in the North precinct but no one answers. I don't want to dial 911 which seems like the ony way to get someone onthe phone. Any thoughts?
At about 7-7:30pm on 4/26 in Ravenna/Maple Leaf, the same thing happened here. A teenage boy with braces and a stutter sold us some candy and said he was part of Teen Alternatives. The boxes of candy say Working Teens yet do not associate with any door-to-door sales. We felt iffy about the sale (hindsight is always 20-20) and googled lo-and-behold to find this forum. We also saw a blue van go by after the boy left our house. We reported it to the non-emergency Seattle police 206-625-5011 and an officer came out. Unfortunately there was not enough evidence to pursue anything at this point. We cancelled the check.
So, sunmother, you basically stole candy from a teenage boy with braces that stutters.
Sunmother, your own words are what trouble me most at this point: "Unfortunately there was not enough evidence to pursue anything at this point. We cancelled the check." With that in mind, did you give the candy back? If no, it would seem that you did steal from a teen, regardless of the group's morality. Perhaps even making the situation worse for the kid.
Assuming that this is indeed a skeezy operation, who do you think the "ring leader" will take the loss out on? I worry that it will be on the boy that traded you the candy as tracking you down for payment will only draw more attention to their 'cause.'
5/12/12 at 7:10pm in Tangletown/Wallingford Neighborhood, the same thing happened here. The kid looked about 16 to me and was carrying a blue rubbermaid tub with cheap teas and candies in it and had a laminated sign that said "Teen Alternatives" - he had no licensing badges. He said his name was Paul and that he was raising money for a trip for Kent kids to keep them out of drugs and trouble. I did not hear any accent. I gave him some money and then looked up the organization and found this forum. I walked after him and saw another kid walking with him with another blue tub and they were walking toward a beat-up 12 seat van with no license plate in the front. The van took off, drove around the block and was gone. I looked for them for a while, but I think they just left.
I made a report to SPD and printed out this page for their records. My report number is 12-14650, so you can reference that if you are also making a report.
I really can't believe, what is going on here, both of my sons, did this from the age of 14 to almost 18, they had a blast. they both were able to buy cars for themselves. They had to keep their grades up, otherwise, the boss wouldn't let them work, he kept in constant contact with all the parents. he was a good influence on them.
They would go camping, snow boarding,wild waves, and they had a lot of fun. plus made really good money. They would get $3.00 a box plus tips. I know that checks would bounce, that wasn't on the kids.
My older is now 30 and has a really good job, self sufficient. My younger son is at the U.W. and doing great.
There is much worse things to complain about,than kids selling candy. These kids grow up to be responsible adults.
SuzieQ - I don't think anyone here is blaming the kids. If they are just making money for themselves, that is great. My concern is that they are not doing it of their own free will and that they are, in fact, being controlled and exploited. Considering the fake org name, the lack of licenses, and the creepy van that drives away when approached, I'd say people have good cause to worry. I think it's great what your kids did, just as long as they were able to be honest and kept the money for themselves.
Not to mention many of these sellers are from out of state and some are not who they say they are or they have warrants or both. You can find enough research online about these companies and how we really shouldn't be encouraging them. One article that I read, I can get the source if you'd like, is written by an ex-WA attorney general.
I wouldn't buy candy from a random person going door to door. The ones I've seen out there appear to get it from Costco (or somewhere) and mark it up to sell individually. Even if the person/company was legit, I'm still not all that trusting nor do I want to buy something at an increased price if I could buy it on my own for less. (Note the caveat is if I could buy it on my own....Girl Scout cookies are exempt :))
suzieq, wow. To think I worked at a library when I was in high school and there was no way I could have afforded all those things. Seems like safety would be a concern too. I have friends whose sons/daughters do satellite installation or jobs that involve going to houses and they've had some fairly unpleasant experiences.
I actually worked for nick when I was 15. I didn't have a lot of money because my family was not very well off but it was nice to make some money for myself and help out where I could around the house. The organization I believe many of you are referIng to is the same organization and I can attest that nothing sinister is going. I thought it was good kids could do something to make money that didn't turn them down a dark path like many other kids I went to school did. I have always had a job since and I think this was a great experiance to build confidence and work ethic.
Jpseahawks, can you describe the company at all? I mean the company exists to make a profit or is it non-profit? What was the criteria to work for the company? Were you licensed? Do you know (and you might not know) how much profit the company made per unit of candy sold? The sellers make $3/ea as stated above unless it changes. Does the candy need to be pre-purchased by the person selling or is it taken from the company and then the person is paid for each one sold.
Am just curious. Still seems a bit shaky esp if it's nothing specialty so I have questions :)
jpseahawks and SUZIEQ have been members for one and two days respectively. I suspect they became members just to post in this thread, and I wonder why they would do that?
jp and SUZIE, what caused you to decide to post here? Your timing is suspicious.
Perhaps the owners of this forum would look at their posting IP addresses and see if they are posting from the same place. I used to run a forum, and that sort of thing was common enough.
EDIT: I changed the word "forum" because I meant "thread". Neither poster has posted anywhere else on the whole forum, just one post each in this particular discussion thread.
good catch, markwalt. Usually I'm the sceptic but I didn't even look. It DOES seem suspicious and neither one of them seems to want to answer questions.
FYI in the GAIN group, there have been more reports of door to door sales by unlicensed people. A few of the accounts I've read have shown the sellers to be darned pushy.
I just wanted to add my experience to this discussion:
I got a knock on my door a few days ago and a young boy was standing there with a blue tub. He told me about Teen Alternatives and how they were able to go on trips like snowboarding and showed me the candies, dog treats and coloring books he had for sale.
He said that it was $10 but more would be appreciated. I didn't have cash so I wrote him a $12 personal check and bought a box of gummy worms. I have good memories of selling candy in elementary school so I couldn't say no. I then Googled Teen Alternatives out of curiosity and came across this conversation. I live in the Totem Lake neighborhood of Kirkland, WA so, to address all you paranoid members, this is why my account was just created. To make a post here. Probably the same reason others were just created before posting.
The check cleared today and the professional stamp shows TA on the endorsement.
It truly saddens me that people are so wildly paranoid nowadays that they think that a bunch of children selling candy are a scam. How, exactly, are they going to scam you? Really, tell me what you think they're up to. I'd LOVE to hear what kind of tale you've come up with. Besides making $10 here and there. OH NO. Obviously you should call the police. WHAT?! COME ON PEOPLE! Use your damn brains.
If they were going to scam me, don't you think he'd have pushed for more than $12???Don't you think they would have done something much more unsavory with my personal checking information? Well they didn't. I sure as hell didn't have PERMITS or a LICENSE to sell candy in elementary school and if someone asked me for one I'd probably cry. If someone called the cops on me I'd be SCARRED FOR LIFE. Wouldn't you? Think before you go on a paranoid spree.
Scam artists don't waste time on making mere pennies when they have access to more. They are much more intelligent than to have a van full of teenagers sell candy. Think before you call the police over something as harmless as door to door candy sales and cause children to possibly get records with the police and need therapy for going through such ordeals as you have admitted to have caused. Call the cops when you have proof of something bad ACTUALLY HAVING HAPPENED instead of wasting their time when they could be helping someone actually in need of a policeman.
kateness, the real issue is child labor exploitation, the reason for permits it to announce to the purchasers that the organization falls under the exempt area for these kind of activities - if not then the child is most likely being used to promote sales for an adult or "charity" illegally.
Sadly this now more common than old school or church fund raisers, and as a responsible adult your job is to protect the child, not defend the exploiters.
you need to look past ‘when I was a kid’ and see what is going on in your own neighborhood, the eastside ( Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland) it the past 4 weeks have arrested over 20 adults and have charged them in trafficking and exploiting minors.
I am sorry this forum offended you, but maybe you should be looking at the greater picture.
So...they are sex trafficking because they are selling candy door to door? If someone is trafficking children they won't waste their time carting them around, spending gas money, selling cheap candy, and putting the children in the position to possibly tell on them. Trafficking itself is going to be hidden and make these sick people much more money than door to door candy sales.
Thanks to Kateness for coming to this forum in an insulting manner. You'll go far with that.
Here's an idea: Try a little math. There's one adult who drives these kids to a neighborhood, in a big van. I've seen it. Van could easily hold 10 kids, let's say there's 8. When I spoke to the kid at my house, he said they were making money for their trips and such. I asked, "How much do you make?" In our neighborhood, it was a $5 sale, and he said he got $1 from it. The wholesale cost of the candy he was selling was certainly less than $1, but let's call it $1. For the kids to want to come along, they would need to take in at least $10-20 per evening (these are pretty young kids). Take the minimum, 8 kids times a $3 profit for the guy sitting in the van (that's what he does, I've seen him), times 10 sales per kid, is $240 for the guy in the van, $10 for each of the kids. The guy in the van makes 24 times the amount each kid makes. If you're talking 10 kids who make $20 per night (and still using the too high price of $1 wholesale per piece of candy) then the guy in the van makes $600, and each kid makes $20, so the guy in the van makes 30 times as much as the kid. If it's now a $10 sale, as you said, the numbers are even more outlandish. Sound good? Impressed? Think maybe there's a better way to help kids? See anyone being exploited here?
Use your head. Think before jumping in and making a fool out of yourself.
So why is Kateness from Kirkland and has only been here 6 days and only commented on this thread?
And actually scam artists make quite a bit dollar by dollar.
Kateness from Kirkland might be like SusieQ and JPSeahawks... registering only to comment on this thread (they've had no other input on other threads).
If it acts like a troll, it probably is.
Kateness from Kirkland actually dug up a 5 month old thread merely (presumably) to register on this site (a location where she presumably doesn't live) to inflame.
Zoedog, I believe you are right. Who knows, perhaps Kateness from Kirkland is one of the van drivers.
Actually, I'm not a van driver. In fact I've never driven a van in my life. I registered, as I said previously, because I googled out of curiosity about the kid who came to my door here at my apartment. I work from home doing web design so I'm a web geek. I don't run around making accounts on websites for Phinneywood neighborhood. I live in Totem Lake. Why would I have registered here before my google search? CLEARLY I wouldn't have considering I DON'T LIVE THERE. I drive a Subaru Outback Impreza sport for your information.
If you go to Google and type in "Teen Alternatives" guess what comes up as the first result. THIS particular 5 month old thread. Seriously guys. Not everyone is out to get you.
Here, i'll Google it for you:
I wanted to make sure that my experience with this was shared because this thread is one huge paranoid rant. Not everyone is out to scam and steal. This is the point I'm trying to help get across. What if this is a legit organization and you're ruining their reputation and cause?
$240/$600 is pennies to a scam artist. If you're going to get into the sex trafficking business(or exploitation), trafficking children themselves will make them SO much more money than wasting all this time selling candy.
Nobody here wants to consider that they might actually be wrong here and could have caused a child to have a criminal record by calling the police over a van full of children selling candy.
The websites cited about children being exploited focus mostly around magazine sales, they very rarely mention any candy sales. This is another reason I'm not jumping to the conclusion that this is some kind of illegal scam. Magazine sales also make more money than candy. Think about it. I have thought about it, contrary to popular belief. I purposefully waited until the check cleared to post here so that I could post whether I agreed or disagreed with this thread. If they stole my identity or made a withdrawal larger than my check amount I'd have reported it. But they did nothing of the sort.
If you were to create a new organization to help children get off the streets by selling candy, would you use a smaller vehicle to appear less suspicious or something? My daycare when I was a child carted us around in a large van, were we being exploited? That's a hollow judgement.
Would you pay the children lots of money for doing this? Probably not. You're the leader of this organization, they are under age, you buy the gas, you buy the product, you buy the bins and whatever little info placard they carry, obviously you'll get most of the profits. Especially if you're organizing trips to go snowboarding or hiking.
I'm not here to troll, trolls don't use proper grammar and spelling, trolls cuss up a storm, trolls pick on people and insult them directly for sport. I'm just wanting to share that this might not be some big scam because I haven't been scammed and I bought candy from the child who came to my door. I have faith that not everyone is some kind of scam artist.
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