I have a homework assignment for you. First, click here and read this entire thread that a reader of ours submitted to us. Then when you are finished, come back here and lets discuss.
Every once in a while, I will get some e-mails from readers from this Facebook Group that are posts from people inquiring about their schools having a book fair with Usborne. Most of them do not make much noise because most schools across the country use Scholastic within their districts, and Usborne Consultants lack the training and knowledge to properly present themselves to the school and market the books and programs accordingly. That and it is extremely confusing to follow just how their programs work.
Because Home Office lives in the dinosaur era when it comes to IT and computers, only one person at a time could log into the system and mark which school that particular Educational Consultant wanted to service. More people took the quiz, got certified and in typical UBAM fashion, they got behind. Weeks, turned into months, and finally on April 29th, 2016 an Educational Consultant freeze went into effect for anyone wanting to certify. Those who were already certified could continue servicing their schools.
Now, almost 18 months later, UBAM made an announcement about relaunching their new and improved, spit shined School and Library division of the company that was suppose to launch September 12th. It should be noted the School and Library division of the company is NOT part of the retail division of the company; it is, however, part of the home-based business side, the MLM side. So as one commenter mentioned, you basically are having a Tupperware party at a school with a really pushy representative who have no marketing skills what so ever.
Now a lot of you are going to say, I have way too much time on my hands to edit a 140+ comment thread, and need to get a life. Well, what is important to me is to post the whole conversation to our readers so there is no question who said what to whom and when, especially the Usborne Consultants’ names I did not blank out because consumers, parents, school administrators, teachers and PTA/PTO members need to know that when push comes to shove and people provide a difference of opinion, personal attacks almost always follow.
After we all read this thread, one thing was abundantly clear. Any current Consultant you talk to about Usborne, they will tell you how much they LOVE the company and the books. In fact the original poster of the thread pointed that out. Leaders and Directors are told to remain positive at all times, and slap the hands of those who say anything that might tarnish those pathetic little tiaras they get at their Convention. They risk getting terminated if they don’t. There is not one place, not on Facebook, their website, Twitter, where a consumer or disgruntled Consultant can post a review about their experience with the Company. So common sense would tell someone with any kind of smarts that when a person asks about experiences, they want to hear what is good, not so good and downright hot mess. You cannot possibly get any accurate information from a Consultant knee deep in the thick of it wearing their rose colored glasses. Their view is very skewed, and consumers have a right to hear all sides of one’s experience with the Company. Sorry/not sorry, when someone inquires about a book fair on a Facebook group, expect to see criticism, and expect to see the Stepford wives to go at those critics. The Company and the CEO should be appalled, but he doesn’t care. If those who told critics that they were trolls, needed to get a life and represented any other company or any other brand, they would be fired.
With that being said, lets discuss some of the highlights of this conversation, which went on from Sunday, September 10th and continued into Wednesday September 13th.
- Sure, the Shine A Light Series is cool, but the quality of the books? Here are some pictures of the quality of the books customers have received:
As you can see UBAM’s way of fixing a defective book is to slap a sticker on the misprint. And you want a price point of $11.99 for such a mistake? People need to care about content of the book, not the quality. The excuse of Scholastic books fall apart is just that, an excuse. Teach your kids to respect all property before you bitch about the quality of a book. Especially when your idea of fixing a book is to slap a sticker on it.
- Original Fairytale books are horribly rewritten. HORRIBLE. All those rewrites are bastardized versions of the original stories. It’s a good thing UBAM did not attempt to rewrite the Bible. The animals would have showed up in Uber and not the Ark!
- Lets clear this question about having books on hand vs. books on display. You must make a certain amount of sales for the company before you are allowed to take Consignment out for various events. Many people ask how much consignment should one take, and it is always the same answer: double the amount that the school made with Scholastic. Many times, the Consultant fails to meet those kind of numbers because of the difference in price points in Scholastic vs UBAM, and they are stuck with inventory that they must pay back to the company, use at another event, or they can do what the majority does, sell the remaining inventory to other Consultants within the company. And that’s where the majority of Consultant to Consultant buying and selling occurs: stuck with inventory they cannot get rid of, because they cannot sell to an actual consumer.
- One of the selling points UBAM tries to push, but ultimately fails at is the amount of characters present at a Scholastic Book Fair. UBAM Consultant LOVE to tell perspective schools that they do not sell any familiar characters you’d see on TV or movies. Do you know WhatIf Monster? I’ll wait, go ask someone on the street if they know a character: WhatIf Monster, Nibbles or Bob is a Unicorn, and I’ll bet you they will say never heard of them. Here is a tidbit for you: if your school does not want characters or trinkets sold at your book fair, you can tell your Scholastic rep that you only want books present, and they will do what you please, because for them, it is about satisfying a customer and school, not how much commission you make at the end of the day.
- $5.00 Book Fair. Some books are priced at $4.99 and under, but Consultants figured out a sneaky way to charge parents and students extra and pocketing that money. Usborne sells activity packs in sets of 4s. The price of these sets are $14.99. Each book in these activity packs states on the back of the book: Not For Individual Sale. The Consultant orders them in bulk, and sells those four books for $5.00 each, profiting an extra $5.00. They get around this by saying they have approval of Randall saying he has no issue with Consultants doing such things. This is one of many little white lies Consultants do and get away with because the CEO turns a blind eye to such unethical activities, not to mention immoral. Changing lives? More like ripping people off, one book at a time.
- Thanks Jenny Finley, for confirming that yes Consultants do buy/sell among themselves, especially when books are out of stock and then go out of print!
- The Certification process is indeed a piece of paper you bought. Two years ago, it cost $30.00 to read a paperback manual, and take a quiz any 5th grader could pass. And—if you failed the quiz, they provided you the quiz questions and all answers at the end that you could easily print off, retake, and pass. So, you get a cute little certificate to flash at those you are trying to connect with to have a book fair. It doesn’t mean anything to them either or they would be more than eager to take a meeting with you and listen to your presentation. At the time of this publishing, we do not know what the re-certification process will be like—except the payment has jumped from $30.00 to $150.00 to re-certify and then $50.00 every 6 months thereafter to maintain Educational Service Representative status. Ohh, they changed the name from Educational Consultant to Educational Service Representative to make it appear they are well trained, professional people behind the title. Ya, I just threw up in my mouth a little. Have I mentioned the name of the game with all MLMs including UBAM is to buy a kit? Enough said.
- Background checks: I see no need for a company that is so incapable of managing a warehouse to run a background check on people who are not actual employees of the company. What purpose does it serve? Are Consultants going to be given their results? In many school districts, if you want to step inside the school and interact with students, the district will make it mandatory that you complete their own background check yearly, no exceptions. And it’s free! So, there really is no point for UBAM to make it a requirement if you want to be an ESR. Sure, they can do what they want, and they always seem to do as such, but I personally feel they are encroaching on your privacy, and this is another way for them to get some extra cash on their books. What may be an acceptable background check to UBAM, may not be acceptable to a school district.
- For all intents and purposes, the School and Library division is indeed suspended. I don’t know why this was so hard to get across to those who kept saying otherwise, and at the timing of the thread, the announcement about the delay of the relaunch had not been released. But it’s clear as day now. The School and Library division is on hold until December/January.
LOOK!! Randall speaks to us again! Gosh Randall, thanks for not being 100% honest with your ‘sales force’ and investors as to WHY you had to put the division on hold!
EDUC had to make a new agreement with their one lone lender in order to receive more money. One of the agreements surrounds IT. MidFirst’s (the bank lender) new IT-related agreement says that EDUC’s IT department can’t be incompetent anymore. MidFirst has so little confidence in EDUC that it actually has demanded and won administrator credentials and access to the IT system; further, EDUC is not allowed to make any changes to that system, including record-keeping, without first notifying the bank in advance.
Randall in typical Randall fashions blames the IT issues on you name it, the rain. Or maybe the winds that come sweeping down the plains. The fact that their lender is rapidly losing confidence in the company’s ability to properly create and manage an e-commerce sight and servers should be concerning to all involved. Could this be the reason why all of a sudden out of thin air we get depressed Randall again in a video? Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
- Lastly, all this back and forth about whether or not you can have your own ESR if and when this division ever relaunches. At the time of this publishing, NO, you cannot have a new ESR or choose the ESR of your liking. You can request it, but good luck in trying to get a hold of someone when you do encounter an issue and them resolving the matter in a timely fashion. This is why MLMs especially Usborne need to stay far away from schools. When reading what actual Consultants said to those who criticized the company, they came completely unglued. It was asked over and over to provide proof that the critics were a bunch of liars. They couldn’t do it. Why? Because they.were.telling.the.truth. And we have a very rigorous process we go thru to verify what we get from our readers are indeed fact. I do have to say, I certainly got my entertainment of the evening when a Team Leader said choosing your own rep does not need to be in writing nor in the manual. Is she serious? Every policy in every business must be in writing, or one becomes a liability real fast. She knew as well as all the readers who were following along, there was no such statement in any policy or manual provided by UBAM. If there was, she could have provided it and that would have been the end of the debate. As I said above, you can request a new Consultant, but don’t look for it to happen. You’re better off telling that Consultant you’re taking other avenues when it comes to book fairs. As one librarian told us:
“I’m a school librarian and hosted our first ever Usborne book fair this past Spring. The books were a hit but the rep, Windy Medley, was a BIG miss! Very lazy and poor communicator and I couldn’t have managed if a former Usborne rep from our PTO hadn’t stayed long hours with me to get the book fair up & running. So, I cannot agree to another Usborne fair unless I’m given a different rep from another team – which has been difficult for some reason via the #800.”
Another administrator shared with us: “We were with Usborne for 10 years. And, about 3 years ago our representative stopped showing up to meetings me and my team had made time for out of our hectic schedules to plan and implement, or would cancel meetings all together. Our teachers depend on rewards Scholastic provides for their room such as educational materials from local stores. We need more than just free books and limited cash. The price point with Usborne is just too high for our families, and that is why we have chosen to go back to Scholastic, they have never failed or disappointed us.”
Consultants will continue to rave about how wonderful Usborne and their books are. If you’re bored, there is a revised addition of the ESR manual and policies that only took years to be updated. Until then, we’ll be here reaffirming that when one keeps repeating the lie, enough people believe it, including yourself who’s telling it. We’re spreading love here people, one truth at a time!
That’s my take, tell me yours.