My name is Peter James Beauchemin, and I am the President/Owner of The United States Volunteer, LLC dba The Houston Post. In the spring of 1980, I was approached by a man while playing Pac-Man in a convenience store on the southeast side of Houston. He asked me if I wanted to become a door-to-door salesman of subscriptions for the Houston Post. My father was a door-to-door salesman for the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, and he raised 9 kids (me being the last) on those wages. The offer sounded like a good career move to me.

    The next day, when I heard I had to be at least 14 years old to be hired, I subtracted one year from my official date of birth and pleaded my case with the boss. I barely heard him tell me to jump in because Back in Black was blaring so loudly from his 8-track tape. When I opened the door of his 1978 Chevy custom van, the walls were covered with wall-to-wall carpet.

    We jammed ferociously on the way to Galveston where I was given the job to hold two salesman's order books all day as we walked up and down the streets. We ended at the beach. The two men signed up practically everybody they approached (21 and 22 orders each). After adding up all their sales and multiplying them by two dollars, it turned out that they each made over forty bucks apiece.

    I was amazed. I had never seen such earnings before. My only other job was on Saturdays passing out fliers for my mom. She only paid me ten bucks and a Big Mac. All this job entailed was talking to people and filling out paper work. What a piece of cake!

    Over the next few weeks I found out what was really going on. If you didnít sell, you didnít get paid, and I wasnít selling.

    I turned to my father for advice early on because he had been selling door to door for over 30 years. He told me if I wasnít selling, then I must not believe in my product. What kind of advice was that? Why didnít he give me some sales pitch to use at the door or something? But nope, thatís all he had to say.

    I would show up for work everyday and get my butt whipped at the doors. The people bullied me around all the time except for when I sold the occasional ďgimmie.Ē I wanted to quit and go back to playing with my friends again, but I also wanted to be like my dad. He started his job back in the 50ís and won hundreds of trips all over the world. I broke down crying one day because I couldnít be a success at selling newspaper subscriptions.

    Then on a whim, I asked him again what he meant when he said I didnít believe in the product and these were his words: ďWell son, I sell insurance door to door everyday, and I am very successful because I believe in it. When I knock on a door, the first thing I do after the person answers is ask them if they have insurance. If they do, then I ask them what coverage they have. I help them compare theirs with ours. If they say they donít have insurance, I never leave the door until they buy at least the minimum Life Insurance Policy. I believe if they were to die tomorrow, it would be all my fault if they couldnít pay for their own funeral. The same should work for you. If they already receive a newspaper, you should compare your monthly prices with theirs. If they say they donít read the paper at all, donít leave the door until they at least buy a one month subscription.Ē

    I told him I already do that. He let me have it by saying, ďNO SON, YOU DONíT ALREADY DO THAT!!! When people read the newspaper they learn about all the mistakes other people made the day before. If there were sharks out in the water yesterday, then the people who read the paper this morning would know better than to go swimming in the ocean today. If you didnít sell them the newspaper yesterday, then they probably arenít going to read it today and when they go swimming in the ocean like you know they shouldnít, theyíre going to be dragged to the bottom of the sea by a 16' Great White Shark all while being EATEN ALIVE! And guess whose fault itís going to be. ALL YOURS!!!Ē

    Needless to say, I sold out of order blanks the next day. I went on to set every record the Houston Post had for door-to-door subscription sales. Here are my career highlights: I personally sold 27 paid-in-advance orders in 4 hours and 50 minutes in Lake Charles, LA. My crew (17 kids) sold 343 subscriptions in 1 day (Port Arthur, TX) and in 1 week, my crew sold 648. I believed in the Houston Post. When it closed, my life became hollow. I created it again to help bring jobs back to the kids. If there are any kids out there who want to try and break my records, Iíll supply the order blanks.

Peter J. Beauchemin