Aug 28, 2013 5:07 PM by Janine Reyes
CORPUS CHRISTI -- A group of foreign exchange students selling children's books door-to-door set off some alarms for parents in the Coastal Bend.
Tuesday, 6 Investigates looked into a Facebook warning, shared more than 2,500 times. Police did find out that a company called Southwest Advantage has sales women from Estonia travelling our area, selling their books.
Estonian student Kristel Tuul spends her summers traveling to the United States to sell the books. She goes door to door with a sales pitch. "We sell learning tools from little babies through second year of college and this is what it looks like," she told us, showing us the product.
But, for many parents in the Coastal Bend, the students approach seemed pushy and concerning. "Immediately she went to how old are your kids what kind of curriculum are you using, can I meet them? And I'm like no, you know," said Nicole Grinkavitch, a home school mom.
"We never try to be pushy, but sometimes, yes, we may come across like that," Tuul said.
The women asked about other kids in the neighborhood, prompting messages on Facebook warning that they may be trying to abduct children for sex trafficking.
"We ask the question to know if they're even a prospect, because we're selling kids books, so no point in showing them to families who don't have any kids," explained Tuul.
Some neighbors even called police.
Kristin Tammvee, a first year sales representative, says an officer tracked her down yesterday. A mother in Corpus Christi posted a warning on Facebook about a girl on a yellow bike and Tammvee says that is her.
"He just came asked my name, where I was from, where I was born and he left so, and he said there have been several concerns, but I don't know," Tammvee told us.
The girls say they are learning American culture and appreciate the feedback.
With news coverage, they've actually gained support.
"I saw one of the dad's he said as well, oh, I understand why people are posting stuff," Tuul said "because of the culture stuff and I asked is there anything I can do differently, he said no, its just a culture thing."
We went along for door to door sales today
"HI! Are you the dad of the house," Tuul asked a man standing in his driveway. He replied yes, but went inside asking his wife to talk to the girls. She said she was too busy. The man said the girls are welcome to return at a better time, though.
By the way, they do earn commission, so the more they sale, the more they earn. They say about half the families they talk to buy something from them.
"The skills we learn from this job is more valuable than the money. This is like our own business, so we take all the skills we learn here and we take it back home," she said.
The women will be here selling books through the end of the week. They do have permits to go door to door.
The company they work for is called Southwestern Advantage.
Kristin Tuul sales products through her Facebook page.