This is a letter to the editor that I am composing, if you have comments, statistics or stories, let me know.

The field is white already to harvest, a phrase I had contributed to sharing of the gospel until tonight as I was writing a paper in the Wilk and overheard an extensive phone conversation of a summer sales recruiter trying to convince a fellow Cougar to sell cable packages in Puerto Rico this upcoming summer. I have been frustrated and sorry before about the issue, but I realized tonight that I do have a responsibility to speak up.

It is a sad and embarrassing thing to sit next to a stranger on a plane in hopes of having a missionary experience, only to have the first sentences be, "Oh, you're from Utah, a Mormon sold me a security system once." and inevitably the conversation ends there because the tone is one of distrust.

If I am not mistaken we are at this University to learn to be Christians. I can hardly imagine how selling commodities like cable and pest control to people who most likely are working low-paying jobs to support their families is a charitable endeavor. Yes, of course I've heard the reasoning; when we have more money we can serve other people. However, I would be interested to know the percentage of money that is used responsibly and selflessly and which it went to driving fancy cars, wearing expensive jeans and big diamond rings. What ever happened to the good old fashioned serve one another where you are, you don't need 20,000 dollars to make a difference.

I know someone who for a short time worked at the Apex here in Provo, on the end of receiving calls from those who had already been sold to. This person said that more than half the calls came from people who didn't speak fluent English, and more often than not did not realize the implications of a hefty contract. Many of the other calls came from the elderly who were more than likely just eager to invite someone into their home. What does this say about Apex's target market? Shame on us.

I became infuriated as I listened to the call. So much so that I began to take notes. He said, and I quote,
"A good card to play when you get there is the inferiority card, we pretend like we're honored to be out there and learning their culture and speaking their language, it works well… Spend a night with God and ask him what he thinks about it, then make a decision… I know he will confirm it in your heart like he did for me… This will make you a better Christian."
Excuse me? I recall bearing testimony in the same manner to the same humble people on my mission, except then it was about the divinity of THE BOOK OF MORMON.

After he got off the phone, he quickly dialed again, and in that same returned-missionary cadence, proceeded to ask a girl on a date. I don't wish to parade around with a protest flag and wave it overtly in others faces, but I do know that we need to be aware of the morality we are fostering in a place that claims charity as the ultimate goal.

I know that the people that do summer sales are good people, and I'm sure some people that I know, but I really believe that we need to step back and ask ourselves where priorities are. Have we created such a complex and unrealistic set of expectations for ourselves that we feel we need to exploit others to attain them? What can we do? How can we change this?


Carl said...

Yesterday, while sitting at the Amnesty International booth in the wilk and trying to talk to people about our campaign for economic equality and worker rights, I saw a man slyly pulling students aside to talk to them. I listened with my keen eavesdropping sense, and was thoroughly disheartened by what I heard. And how diametrically opposite it seemed to the proclamation on the economy by Brigham Young I had been reading.
It was so similar to what you described, that I wouldn't be surprised if it were the same guy. But the fact is, that his methods and offers are not unique. And that is what makes me so sad.
Much needs to be done to help us come out from under the condemnation we've received for setting our hearts so much upon the riches of this world.
I am sad.
Well... maybe this Glen Hansard song I'm listening to isn't helping much with the sadness. So sad.

Heather said...

sick, sick, sick! I'm sure they are good people, but isn't there such a change in the people who sell APEX. It's just such a greedy, self centered mindset. I try to stay away and avoid them as much as possible! They just send out weird, bad signals! EEW!

Kate said...

Let's no forget those sickening billboards for Apex that bear the slogan "Demand proof."