Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Honesty Is Not For Sale

The Toronto Star article, “Consumers left open to energy sales abuses” by Ellen Roseman
Roseman’s article describes Summit Energy’s practices and the Ontario Energy Board’s plan to penalize the company $495 000 for misleading customers in its door-to-door activities.  Here is my experience with Summit Energy.
Early this summer I was desperate for a job—but not desperate enough to fall for Summit Energy.  Finding a vague marketing/public relations add on Craigslist, I applied and set an interview.  The receptionist told me a different name of the company (Summit Home Services, or something similar) and so when Googling the company I was to interview for, I found nothing.
At the interview, the marketing manager explained that as an employee, I would be going out door-to-door to help implement a soon-to be-passed government bill for more efficient, Energy Star gas tanks. So is this a government funded initiative? Oh, no it definitely was not, although my interviewer made sure to throw the word ‘government’ around enough to make it sound like we were on its side and simply ‘helping’ people improve homes.
Looking at my resume, the interviewer noticed I was studying public relations and asked me to define the practice.  In my answer I must have used the word ‘honest’ two or three times.  The interviewer explained that this job was hands-on public relations at the ground level.  She also flashed around some numbers—I could be making $800-$1500 weekly.
I went home and Googled the company, with the right name, Summit Energy, and found out the truth.  I read through pages of complaints from home owners.  Newspaper articles, such as this, were plenty and it didn’t take long to realize that this was not the job for me.  I decided $800-$1500 was not enough for me to sell my soul and deceive good people.  My morals are much too strong.
What bothered me the most about the experience was the interviewer’s comparison of marketing Summit Energy products to public relations, especially when I used the word ‘honesty’ to define the practice.  I felt deceived, just as home owners must after hearing Summit’s knock on the door.

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