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January 2nd, 2008 WW Editorial Staff | Rogue of the Week
 

The National Guard

No free movie tickets, and they don’t even pay for popcorn.

     
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It’s bad enough that an entire Oregon National Guard brigade—3,500 soldiers—will be deployed next year, probably to a war zone.

But what really sucks are the sneaky and Roguish recruiting tactics the Guard is using. Clackamas lawyer Robert Dolton was disturbed when, just before Christmas, his 17-year-old son got an offer in the mail for two free movie tickets, courtesy of the Guard.

The mailing directed the young Dolton to visit 1-800-go-guard.com to claim the freebie tickets. The website asks potential recruits to enter their name and address “exactly as it appears on the mailing you recieved [sic],” plus some additional contact info. The Web page that follows says: “Error. The information you supplied does not match our records. Click here to try again!”

The Doltons tried again. And again. Bubkes. There was one option left to claim the tickets: “Contact your local recruiter.”

“The whole purpose of this was to get the student on the phone with the recruiter,” says Dolton, whose son never got the tickets. “If you’re willing to go as the recruiter’s date, maybe they’ll take you.”

Dolton says a supervisor told him the site was “having some problems.… We’re getting it fixed.” Dad didn’t buy it. “It was absolutely a false solicitation,” Dolton says.

The Rogue Desk repeated Dolton’s experiment with his son’s information. We got the same result: Error. Contact your recruiter. So we called the 800 number. The recruiter who took our call, “Levar,” sounded unsurprised to hear about the problem.

He said he would update the system. It didn’t work, even after four hours. No matter how we entered the information, we kept getting the same error message. Before referring questions to public affairs, local Guard recruiter Peter Seaberg said he was aware of the movie ticket promotion but hadn’t heard any complaints.

Maj. Mike Braibish, a spokesman, did not return a phone call Monday.

 
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