Door-To-Door Meat Sales

Door-To-Door Meat Sales
TACOMA - You might buy candy or cookies from someone selling door-to-door, but would you buy meat? Is it safe? And what are you really getting?

Door-to-door meat sellers hit the streets every summer and some are in our area right now. Based on what just happened in Tacoma, they're raking in the dough.

82-year-old Helen Swanson thought she was getting a deal.

"It's in these different packages," she showed me, pointing to 9 boxes and some loose vacuum-packed steaks in her freezer.

The guy that came to her door said one of her neighbors had just bought some -- steaks, ground patties, and marinated boneless chicken breasts. In all, it was about 38 pounds of frozen meat.

How much did he charge? "$392," Helen answered.

June Peterson, Helen's neighbor, says look for two clean-cut college age guys in a black SUV with a hatch back.

"He first asked if I knew where there might be a freezer for sale," she said.

Next thing she knew, he was making the pitch: $378 for the beef with the chicken thrown in for free.

She didn't receive any professional paperwork, just a hand receipt. He cashed Helen's check the same day at local check cashing company.

Neither woman got an itemized list. Quick calculations show they paid about $10 a pound, for ground sirloin, sirloin steaks, chicken breasts and breaded chicken tenders.

June's family tried the steaks on the barbecue.

"It didn't even cook like meat and none of 'em would eat it," she said, adding it tasted like filler.

June says she called the salesmen several times but only got voice mail. "And nobody ever calls you back," she said.

So I called the guy, and. I also got voice mail. So far, no response.

As for whether June feels she got her money's worth: "Absolutely not!" she insisted.

The men call the company Chef's Choice. I searched and made calls to companies that had Chef's Choice in their name but could find no meat company with that name.

According to former salesman with established, reputable meat companies, the men June and Helen encounter raise several red flags. All reputable door-to-door meat sellers have business licenses, and business cards. They provide brochures and lists describing their product with contact information, and they provide itemized receipts with clear, professionally printed information about the brand.

For More Information:

www.fsis.usda.gov

clark.wsu.edu

www.state.ia.us