A local woman says that she is “creeped out” by two men who came to her door, and she wants to warn other Green Lake residents, particularly mothers, to be on the lookout for them.
Randi says that two Asian-American men in their 20s knocked on the door of her Green Lake home yesterday (Wednesday, June 29, 2011). They said they were “from Southwestern University” and that they wanted to talk to moms with babies in the neighborhood.
“The first time they came, I did not open the door,” Randi says. The men returned in the evening and this time Randi did speak with them. “We were very adamant that we wanted them to leave,” she says. However, the men stayed, asking for a map and claiming that they were meeting with moms in the area.
“We finally slammed the door closed,” Randi reports. “They left our yard running quickly to their car and tore out of our neighborhood like bats out of hell.” She describes their car as an older wine-colored Honda Accord.
Randi shared details of the incident with the Green Lake Moms yahoo group yesterday. She says that several other moms reported similar encounters with men matching the description she gave. In some reports, the men said that they were selling children’s magazines and then aggressively tried to talk their way inside the women’s homes. One mom says that the men asked who else in the neighborhood has children.
Randi says that reports have been filed with the Seattle Police Department, and that SPD has asked that they be notified immediately if a similar incident happens again.
The best way to reach police during or immediately following a suspicious incident is to call 911. To report an incident that is not in progress, call (206) 625-5011 and select 8 from the menu.
Update, 5:20 p.m.:
Trey Campbell, Director of Communications for Southwestern publishing company, provided the following statement to us:
To clear up any misunderstanding: There is a student from UC-Berkeley, Yu-Yang Jeff Hsieh, who is participating in a summer internship program through Southwestern, a direct selling and publishing company based in Nashville, TN (www.southwesterninternship.com).
Jeff, who is from Santa Rosa, CA, is living with a host family in Seattle for the summer while running his own business selling Southwestern’s educational products to families to offset his educational expenses. Jeff is currently in his third summer to participate and does have a valid dealer agreement with Southwestern.
I believe this issue to be a miscommunication, as Jeff has only represented himself as a college student from UC-Berkeley. It seems someone may have misheard or got confused and thought he said “Southwestern University.” As an experienced student dealer, Jeff was training another participant in the summer sales program. He typically works independently generating a customer base through cold calls and referrals. In selling educational materials, the student dealers, in the interest of not wasting anyone’s time, strive to demonstrate their products to families who may have an interest rather than homeowners who do not have children. Jeff does not sell magazines subscriptions at all, this information is incorrect and, again… may not have been heard correctly, especially if he was not provided an opportunity to speak or share what he was doing – per the sales presentation Southwestern provides the student dealers.
During the evening hours, students typically make call backs to homes they had been referred to but not caught anyone at during the daytime. They are very polite and have had many hours of training. In fact, Jeff has attended over 300 hours of training in his three summers.
The students are issued a double-sided photo ID badge complete with contact information about Southwestern. Jeff wears this badge with a lanyard that has the Southwestern customer website on it.
Southwestern is the nation’s oldest direct selling company (since 1855) and has had the student program since 1868. Student from all over the world participate including those from Washington colleges and universities who are welcomed in other states.
Southwestern works with consumers, law makers and organizations around the country to educate about door-to-door safety and consumer protection. The company is also a charter member of the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee (since 1961) and maintains an A+ rating. As well, in his three summers, Jeff has never had a complaint issued to our company about him.
It’s important to remember there are legitimate individuals and companies who use the direct selling business model of door-to-door to reach consumers and provide a service. It is unfortunate this particular method of sales has become scrutinized over the years because of the actions of a few. Always be aware and protect yourself from being the victim of a scam.
Here are a few tips to make sure you stay safe when someone approaches you at your home:
- Listen to what they are saying so you understand the situation
- Ask to see identification
- Ask to see a solicitation permit (if required)
- Do not allow in your home if you feel uncomfortable
- Do not feel pressured into purchasing
- The sales person should have a sample or literature to fully explain
- Check the company to make sure they are legitimate
- Call the police if you feel threatened
More tips and articles can be found at www.southwesterndifference.com.
June 10, 2011 — Terrie Johnston, Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention Coordinator, shared advice about what to do when a solicitor knocks on your door.
June 4, 2011 — We reported on a suspicious man going door-to-door in Green Lake who claimed to work for Comcast.
May 25, 2011 — We reported on a man claiming to need a locksmith who was making the rounds in Green Lake.