West Seattle door-to-door alert: Meat sellers refusing to show ID

Erin e-mailed to share word of “a very rude door to door meat seller” tonight at her house on Puget Ridge, saying, “After the incident, I searched (WSB) and found this thread referencing the same company. They may be legit, but they were beyond rude.” Read on for her report:

A gentleman approached my house tonight, 12/28/09 at approx. 6:15 p.m. He started saying that he was the local delivery for meat. (Having previously heard about similar scams) I interrupted him and said “No thank you”. Then I asked for his badge. He patted his pockets before saying “oh, I don’t have one”. I told him to leave now. I closed and locked my door, but went outside five minutes later when my husband pulled up. The man was standing at a truck labeled “Buckeye Meat Company” and he had a coworker who was speaking with my neighbor at her door. I stood by my husband’s vehicle (informing him of what happened) and watched the men get into their truck.

As they drove by, I copied the license plate down as best I could see (it was dark). The plate was B61—-. They slowed as they passed me and asked if I had changed my mind. I said no, not if they can’t produce a badge or license. When they seemed confused by my request, I informed them that it is illegal to sell door to door without a license. The second man then said they have a “Meat handler soliciting license”. I said “ok, can I see it?” He responded “Maybe if you had money, then we would show you”. I will be lodging a complaint with the company tomorrow (their website is down due to nonpayment so I will have to call), but also wanted to have a complaint filed with the AG’s office for their record.

Here are the city rules for door-to-door soliciting.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Commenters pointed out that the Seattle Municipal Code section we referenced above indicates the city itself does not license a few categories of door-to-door sellers, including “perishable foods.” In subsequent research, we learned that permit, instead, comes from the combined city-county Public Health department. We spoke with Matias Valenzuela in the Seattle-King County PH media-relations department. He says this type of seller would have to be licensed and certified by SKCPH. He says, “There are legitimate businesses who do that, particularly frozen meat, but usually when we hear about door-to-door solicitations, those tend to be illegal and unlicensed, so if people do hear about a situation like that, or see it in their neighborhood, they can report it to us – we have meat inspectors who would follow up and investigate.” He says that if an establishment does not come up in the department’s inspection database, “they aren’t licensed through public health.” The database search starts here; nothing with “Buckeye” in the name comes up.

29 Replies to "West Seattle door-to-door alert: Meat sellers refusing to show ID"

  • mark December 28, 2009 (8:01 pm)

    Take their picture!!!! if you can, of course

  • SomeGuy December 28, 2009 (9:26 pm)

    Was it a red Nissan pickup with white freezer shell? One white guy and one black guy? This sounds like the same guys I saw last week around Genessee Hill.

  • k December 28, 2009 (9:27 pm)

    i don’t get this. why would anyone in their RIGHT mind buy meat from someone’s trunk?? ran into someone doing that in California and someone else was doing it on our street last week. unreal.

  • k December 28, 2009 (9:29 pm)

    google “buckeye meat company”.

  • Lachlan December 28, 2009 (9:30 pm)

    I’m not sure the suspended the website you found is not the same company. The site is registered by an entity in Cleveland, OH- while that jives with the name, I wonder. Also, there is a Buckeye Meat Co based out of Pacific, WA- in operation 9 yrs. I’d call the BBB tomorrow and lodge a complaint. They definitely were rude and not doing things on the up and up.

  • Erin December 28, 2009 (10:02 pm)

    I tried to take a picture, but it was too dark to turn out. It was a white truck with a white freezer, wording on the freezer. I’m sure its a legit company, but not a legit way to do business.
    And no, I have no clue why you buy meat out of a truck!

  • meat man December 28, 2009 (10:35 pm)

    You gonna buy some of this meat or what?

  • add December 29, 2009 (12:00 am)

    I think these guys tried to sell to me while I was pumping gas at the Arco near Home Depot a week or two ago – gross!

  • mar3c December 29, 2009 (6:11 am)

    for some reason, “soylent green” comes to mind…

  • madashell December 29, 2009 (8:58 am)

    Next time ask them “Where’s the Beef?!”

  • owen December 29, 2009 (11:37 am)

    Note that under the City’s rules, no license is required for a door-to-door seller that peddles perishable items [see SMC 6.260.060(A)].

    I don’t like door-to-door selling, and don’t understand the city’s exceptions to license requirements, but these guys may be in the right to peddle frozen meat without registering with the City.

  • donnie December 29, 2009 (12:04 pm)

    This Lady may have had a problem with her experiance BUT People have the right to make a living… no laws were broken and rude customer service is nothging new, There are laws in place to protect people trying to make a living from slander. WSB has no place reporting this! These people may have a potential lawsuit against the blog… You should be more carefull when screwing with someones right to make a living!

    • WSB December 29, 2009 (12:57 pm)

      Donnie, thank you for your note. We have been sharing door-to-door reports at readers’ request for almost 2 1/2 years. In this case, the reader reported that the solicitors refused twice to show ID/permits, which as per the link above is a requirement of the Seattle Municipal Code. If you were directly involved with that call and contend that was not what happened, please contact us by any of the means listed on our Contact page:
      thanks! – TR

  • owen December 29, 2009 (2:37 pm)

    WSB – I’m troubled by your statement “the solicitors refused twice to show ID/permits, which per the link above is a requirement of the Seattle Municipal Code.”
    Where in the code do you see that a license is required for the meat sellers? It seems to fall squarely in the exemption for perishable foods. Am I reading it wrong?

  • donnie December 29, 2009 (2:56 pm)

    I see no place where a badge is required to be shown… Again I feel that you have crossed a line and that you have abused your status as a news provider and the only way to keep organizations like yours from abusing your power and causing financial damage to small buissness is to bring legal action.

    • WSB December 29, 2009 (3:05 pm)

      I am researching. Donnie, again, if this is a situation in which you were involved, we have not heard directly from you, nor from anyone else who disputes the account. If we have published an error, we will correct it as soon as possible, as we have done with other errors called to our attention. As this appears to be a threat of legal action, we will await hearing from your lawyer and will reserve any further discussion for that communication – TR

  • twirl-a-whirl December 29, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    Ah, those crazy meatheads at it again. They came by my home (Fauntlee Hills area) a few weeks ago, their van hidden by my trees. I answered the door as I was expecting a UPS-type package. When told that my neighbors were ordering their meat and wouldn’t I like to have some, I quickly answered that I was a vegetarian, so no, I do not want their meat. The fellow stomped away (while my big dog was going into orbit trying to figure out how to get outside to get at him) and he and his van sped away at a high rate of speed. Yes, and why would I want to buy meat out of a van???

  • FrogBaseball December 29, 2009 (3:17 pm)

    maybe they have the lowest prices and you can’t beat their meat?

  • donnie December 29, 2009 (3:38 pm)

    WSB neighborhood paparazzi I am not going after you. I do think that the owner of Buckeye meat should be made aware of this article and it’s potential to hurt sales… More than anything I would hope that you understand that you have the potential to do real damage to small companies and should exercise ethical restraint when posting damaging articles. there are too many people who complain about everything… doing this for 2 and a half years doesn’t make it the right thing to do…

  • Catherine December 29, 2009 (4:00 pm)

    Donnie, perhaps Buckeye Meats should be aware of this article so they can know what kind of service their employees are providing to potential customers. As the old customer service adage goes- if a customer likes your product or service, they’ll tell three people. If they don’t, they’ll tell ten. If I had said experience with Buckeye, I’d tell more than ten. WSB isn’t driving away potential customers- Buckeye is.

  • Dan'a December 29, 2009 (4:03 pm)

    Perhaps just a straight “this company is going door to door” heads up without including a personal opinion on the rudeness of the people involved? Sometimes what is considered rude varies from person to person. These are hard times and I would hate to see someone lose business over a misunderstanding.
    People get more sensitive when strangers come onto their property (rightly so) and this makes tension higher on some homeowners’ sides before a word is spoken.
    Also, I, too, am not sure meat sellers are obligated by law to show badges from the link provided.

    All that being said, I think people who really are annoyed by door to door sales people should put up a “NO SALES/SOLICITATIONS” sign. Once that has been ignored there is no grey area as to whether or not the sales person is out of line/committing a trespass.

    • WSB December 29, 2009 (4:12 pm)

      Regarding the permit/licensing – I am investigating with the city, county and state regarding what permit/license/ID would or wouldn’t have applied in this case.

  • S December 30, 2009 (8:04 am)

    A simple Bing or Google search for the words: door to door meat scam
    will yield hundreds of hits revealing this to be a common scam run in various states scattered all over the country. They’re grifters, not struggling legitimate small business people. If they come to your door, I suggest you let them know the whole community has read about them on the neighborhood Internet site, and that they probably should move on to the next state now.

  • Megan December 30, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    I live in Ballard on 20th and 63rd, I was in my kitchen looking out the window and saw a man approaching my neighbors front door. I noticed a tatoo of an “S” on his neck, black baseball cap, khaki coat. What I thought was odd was he waited for over a minute for them to answer the door, an older couple lives there and they must have looked through the peep hole but not opened the door because I heard him saying something about buying meat (to the door), they must have said no and I heard them man yell through the door, “do you think any of your neighbors are interested”. I am a stay at home mom and was nervous, so I ducked down as he rang my doorbell THREE times. What is very strange is he only stopped at 3 doors in the middle of our street then got in the “Buckeye Meat Company” truck, being driven by another man. The whole thing seemed fishy to me.

    • WSB December 30, 2009 (6:40 pm)

      Followup to earlier discussion – see what’s been added to the main story – TR

  • owen December 31, 2009 (10:26 am)

    WSB – Thanks for looking into the licensing requirements.
    One question – If I get a knock on the door from these guys selling meat do they have to show me their King County Public Health license?
    I’m guessing probably not, which is unfortunate, because I think a lot of us are looking for an easy way to get rid of solicitors and asking for the City’s license seemed a good first step. Unfortunately, its turned out more complicated than that because the City’s exceptions for perishable foods (and probably magazine sellers as well) allow some of the more annoying peddlers to continue unregulated. I wonder what it would take to get that changed – and if it would do any good.

  • donnie December 31, 2009 (1:11 pm)

    now you have done the work… should be done before the article is published. Having said that if these guys are illegal… than it’s great that you have put the word out.

  • Rod January 16, 2010 (5:33 pm)

    Having been selling meat door to door for 18 yrs., I take exception to some of the arrogant postings here. I don’t belittle you for doing your job, so don’t belittle me for doing mine. I have thousands of satisfied regular customers, and I am always looking for more. I am a professional, and I conduct myself as one, but I deal with these arrogant “I’m too good for you” people every day. It’s just an annoying part of my job. Overall though, most people are pretty decent. Yes, there are scam artists in my industry, and yes some companies have crappy meat. There is good and bad in EVERY industry, so be informed in ALL of your dealings. If you read the labeling, it will tell you everything you want to know, about the quality and ingredients of the product. As far as the professional standards of the company you’re dealing with, you can usually tell that by the conduct of the sales person. It is a well known fact that some people are a pain in the ass. They love to complain about things, and they poke their nose into everyones’ business. The OP didn’t even TRY the meat, and yet she is up in arms against an entire industry because she didn’t like the salesman. Get a life! Oh…and NO I do NOT represent Buckeye Meats!

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