A local woman wants to warn people in the county about a door-to-door salesman after a recent encounter.
Kathy Harvey, of Springfield, said a door-to-door salesman took advantage of her special needs son over the holidays.
Her son, Kuyle (pronounced Kyle) Bowman, 25, has autism.
While Bowman was out visiting her brother, who had come in from out-of-state, she said a door-to-door meat salesman took advantage of her son.
“My son wanted to stay home, which he does a lot. He knows not to open the door for anybody but the pizza man,” she said. “And then I have neighbors to check on him a lot.”
She estimated that the salesman took over $125 of Bowman’s Christmas money in exchange for three boxes of steak.
Harvey said her son usually responds to questions by saying, ‘yeah.’
“After only hearing ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ from him, you’d think they would know right away that he was handicapped in some way,” she said. “So they would have had to have gone and asked him to get his money, and if he did, like I said, he can’t count. He can’t tell you what two plus two is.”
She guessed that Bowman either handed the salesmen his wallet or all of the money in his wallet.
“They probably just counted it and said, ‘OK, we’ll take it all. It costs this much money,’” she said.
Harvey said she asked her son for a receipt, but he wasn’t given one.
Harvey didn’t know the name of the meat vendor, but neighbors saw a black truck with red lettering on the side.
The black package the steaks came in read, ‘Packed in Illinois. Midwestern brand. Individually vacuum sealed. Custom packed. Guaranteed flash frozen.’
The box also features a golden seal below the words, ‘Midwestern brand.’
A Google search for “Who sells Midwestern brand steaks?” results in complaints against the company and poor product reviews.
City administrator Laurie Smith said two businesses, Curt’s Gourmet Foods and a Schwan’s vendor, currently have licenses to sell food door-to-door, and neither matched the description provided by Harvey.
However, Smith said there is a business that does not have a license that sells food from a freezer on a truck. Attempts to locate that vendor to obtain a business license have been unsuccessful, she said.
A business is required to have a license to sell in the city, she said.
The description of that vendor matches the description Harvey gave to The Springfield Sun.
Harvey said she’d had a negative experience with the company before.
“The last time they were there, they came to the door and I said, ‘Well, where do you get the meat from?’ And he said, ‘Either you’re going to buy it or you’re not.’ I said, ‘Well then, I’m not.’ So they took off,” Harvey said.
Harvey, a teacher at Washington County High School, has been proactive about putting the word out.
“I just sent a text message to everybody I know in Springfield and just told them that, you know, if they saw them or saw the truck to get the license plate or call the police or let them know,” she said.
Before this experience, Harvey said she’d only had positive experiences in Springfield.
“That’s one of the things I liked about Springfield, everybody’s so nice,” she said. “I can take him to the barber shop and I can leave him in there while I go somewhere or take him over to Fred’s and I can leave him in there. The people there are really nice. Just everybody over here is just so trustworthy.”
She wants to spread the word about this company so that other people won’t have the same experience.
“It just really bothers me,” she said. “I don’t want them to do that to anybody else.”