Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Years ago when I lived in Western Maryland, one day a woman came to my door and said, I'm with a group of young people trying to raise funds to help impoverished teenagers. We're selling magazines. Will you buy some?
No, I said, and called the police and my closest neighbor. We had an unofficial neighborhood watch. If something unusual happened or if strangers came to our area, we let each other know.
That evening when the neighbor's husband came home from work, he called the police again because he saw eight to ten of the magazine sellers gathered on our corner. The police said they couldn't do anything about it: the fundraisers weren't doing anything wrong and they had a right to be there.
The next morning when we had our morning get together at the school-bus stop, I asked the obvious questions: How could these people sell magazines without order forms, no list of available magazines, and not so much as a pen?
Something was up.
I finally learned they were a mag crew a couple of months ago when I watched the movie American Honey (2016, Rated R, Available On DVD).
Star (Sasha Lane in her film debut) takes off from a home that isn't much of a home only to end up with a traveling magazine-sales crew. They spend their days selling magazines or engaging in illegal activities to bring in money because at the end of the week, the two lowest earners have to fight each other. Any member of the group can be attacked or left behind at any time.
American Honey is a long movie at two hours and forty-three minutes. I doubt if you'll want to invest that much time in such a movie, but it gave me some insight into the lives of these drifters.
Then I did some research into mag crews. They usually spend a day in a pricey neighborhood pitching a fake fundraiser. Unlike the mag crew I encountered, they tend to have a list of overpriced magazines that you will not receive if you place an order. Most of the money goes to the leader of the crew. The salespeople are supposed to receive a daily stipend, which they often don't get.
One mag crew salesperson said she'd been left behind with nothing three times, yet she always joined another mag crew.
In American Honey, the mag crew is similar to a dysfunctional family. If extreme dysfunction and poverty is all that the young people have ever known, then they gravitate toward it.
We all want to go home.
Has a mag crew ever worked your neighborhood?
Infinities of love,