Watch for the magazine rip-off: Illegal solicitors hitting up halls

Josh Chilson

Josh Chilson

If anyone comes knocking on your door with the promise of popular magazines, think twice before giving them your money.

Solicitors have hit many of the dorms attempting to sell subscriptions to magazines, but it is against SDSU policy to solicit in the halls without permission from the Department of Residential Life.

According to Director of Residential Life Michael Kervin, this is not a new problem. Every year, residential life receives reports of solicitors trying to sell products on campus.

Mathews Hall, in particular, has had problems with these solicitors. Sophomore resident Chris Daugaard was asked to buy a subscription from one such solicitor. He turned him away.

“It just didn’t feel right,” he said.

Engineering student Landen Geerdes got a similar vibe when an especially resilient salesman walked into his dorm room.

“He just wouldn’t take no for an answer,” he said.

Geerdes eventually purchased a subscription for a magazine. He is still waiting for his first issue.

Campuses across the nation are faced with similar problems. Crews of solicitors travel from school to school selling magazines. They are often distributors for legitimate publication organizations, but these organizations are usually unaware that these crews are attempting to solicit their product illegally on campuses.

These solicitors often try to appeal to students by saying they are raising money for scholarships. Many of these salespeople do not even have magazines to sell, they just take the money and run. In other cases, they are selling actual subscriptions at jacked-up prices. Either way, students are being exploited.

The fact that these solicitors are college-age people makes it difficult for the UPD and other authorities to identify and excuse them from campus. In the end, it is up to students to report anyone trying to sell them products within the dorms.

“Buyer beware,” Kervin said. “I wouldn’t buy anything from anyone knocking on my door.”