Opinion: Vector Marketing

Selling College Kids Empty Promises Since 1981

Bulletin boards on campus are filled with a variety of opportunities for students, but not all are equal in their benefits.

Emma Sauer/RooNews

Bulletin boards on campus are filled with a variety of opportunities for students, but not all are equal in their benefits.

Emma Sauer, Staff Writer

  Students be wary; not every job chalked up on sidewalks or posted to campus bulletins is worth your time. 

  You may have noticed the “Student Work 2022” fliers put up around campus—maybe you even pulled out your phone to scan the QR code. While the current posters say “Fall Semester,” I have no doubt the spring shipment is on the way.

  “Flexible schedules—Build Your Resume—Level Up Your Skills,” the flier reads. The only indicator for what the job entails is at the bottom of the page, just above the stamp of approval from OSI. Near this is the company logo for a company called “Vector.”

  Going to the website on the flier leads you to a curiously barren website promising scholarship opportunities, “excellent income” and vague guarantees for management experience. Going to the home page leads to a Yes/No prompt asking if you’re available to start right away. Click yes, and you’ll receive a text offering you an interview within minutes. 

  The opportunity sounds too good to be true. 

  Since these fliers won’t cut to the chase, I’ll do it for them: Vector Marketing is a company that sells knives. You, as a representative for them, will sell Cutco knives by pestering your friends, family, your friends’ family, your family’s friends, and anyone you’ve made eye contact with over the past ten years. 

  Vector pays their employees with a commission, not by the hour. The boasted $18 pay rate refers to each sale demo rather than an hourly wage. You’ll receive no benefits, no paid training, and be pushed to attend work conferences, which will also be out of your own pocket. 

  Many of its representatives are college and high school students, but Vector will lure in anyone desperate for sales experience or remote work. 

  Cutlery isn’t the only product the company sells—they sell opportunity, particularly to college students and others hungry for professional experience. 

  Vector marketing has a long and dodgy history that includes 8 lawsuits, including a $6.5 million payout in 2016 to former employees on the basis of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act with their practice of unpaid training. 

  Reviews online are also very mixed, with either glowing comments from current employees or scathing ones from disgruntled ex-reps. Recent Indeed reviews from November 2022 accuse Vector of being “predatory” and “stressful”.

  “It feels like you’re selling out to your family,” said one anonymous reviewer. “You have to reach out to people you haven’t talked to in forever just to tell them you need to sell knives.” 

  To make matters worse, Cutco Knives are a hard sell to families who aren’t upper class—a cutlery set on the low end will cost around $400. This puts representatives who live in lower or middle-income areas at an instant disadvantage.  

  While Vector isn’t technically a scam, it’s not exactly honest either—the company rides the line between being a pyramid scheme and a crummy sales job. Whatever terminology you attach to  Vector, it’s not a gig that belongs alongside legitimate job postings on campus. 

  No matter how desperate you are for work, use caution when looking at job postings. 

  Companies such as Vector Marketing know how hungry college students are for money and experience, and they bank on unsuspecting applicants unaware of their sordid reputation. Save yourself some time and stay away. 

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