On Your Side: Candy Confusion

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

March 28, 2007

Some Aiken businesses say they feel deceived after they sold candy for charity only to find those donations may be lining someone else's pockets.

But the man who gave them the candy to sell says it's all just a big misunderstanding.

You've seen them before: boxes of candy on a countertop that ask you to make a donation to some charity before you take a piece of candy.

The message out of this story is to make sure you read the fine print before you drop your spare change.

Palmetto Tire and Brake shop is known for helping car owners, but the owners also want to be known for helping the community.

There was no cost to us, no charge to us," owner Mark Alexander said, explaining that he was fine with putting out a candy box. It looked simple enough: a small donation gets you a piece of candy. With the photo of the missing girl on the front, you feel like you're giving to a good cause.

"We've been eating candy out of it pretty regularly, making donations more than what we thought the candy was worth," Mark said.

But then Mark read the fine print and spotted a line saying the money is not for charity and will go to the owner of the box.

"We were kind of upset about it," he said.

Mark's shop wasn't the only one. We found another very similar box just down the road at classic image hair salon. Owner Karla Atkinson was not happy.

"It upsets me," she said.

12 On Your Side found a total four shops within two miles of each other with the same boxes.

We called the man who distributed the boxes, and he says it was all a big mistake. The labels were misprinted and would be corrected soon.

He says he's with a group called the Beacon Project that helps find missing children. We checked...the labels did have the same phone number that the project uses on its website.

Calls to the Beacon Project were not returned to confirm this.

One store owner says if it was a mistake, she just wants the problem fixed.

"If he says it's going to missing kids, it needs to go to missing kids," she said.

The man who distributed the boxes says he would gladly take the boxes back if the shop owners were unhappy with them.

He apologized and promised the problem would be fixed.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by ANON Location: CA on Dec 11, 2010 at 03:25 PM
    PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS? IS THAT ALL YOU CAN THINK OF? So you want the picture of the missing kids to be taken down?? Whats wrong with you people...? Cant you see a decent business/public service in front of you? How will YOU get up off your rear and put out 2oo photos of missing kids so they can be found?? Too many Americans are brainwashed into thinking that ; A) everything is a scam B) if you dont work for govt paycheck youre a scam C) if its not "govt approved" its a scam They never said the $$ was goint "TO" missing kids..how stupid can you be ... how could we give $$ to missing kids... if we could do that they would not be missing.. the route owners get paid to keep pictures of missing kids out in the public eye.. lose $$ on candy because people like you camplainers dont pay... oh you want to close them down .. how dumb.. are YOU going to pay them to get pictures of missing kids out in public?? nO... I didnt think so..
  • by ???? Location: AL on Oct 7, 2010 at 07:43 PM
    This company is a scam! they send people out for training and when your sucked it and give them 16000 dollars you are on your own! yeah they give you boxes with Pics on them and thats what they call the charity part!! the candy and the money are your responsibility! your not suposed to donate the money you make in the boxes you are suposed to supply the new candy with it! the money you payed for the boxes was your donation to the charity! its a business not a charity! people are getting convicted of stealing money from this **** charity and its bull!
  • by Paula Location: Indiana on Aug 21, 2009 at 09:41 PM
    This is a ligitimate business, people pay big bucks to buy into this business and they are helping the find missing children. I am one of those persons. I brought my business because I wanted a Small Business of my own and I also wanted to help find Missing Children. I have been giving to Charities for years and continue to do so. The problem is that I brought the boxes for quite a bit of money and before I even started my business, $14,000.00 went to the Beacon Project. I pay taxes every month. My problem is that there are dishonest people out there that steal the candy without even putting money in the box.I might profit $6 or $7 dollars on one box and that is spent on gas. People steal the boxes and also break them. Hey, these boxes cost me $75.00 a piece. I pay $10.00 for a bag of candy and its not cheap candy it's chocolate candy bars and I sell them for 5/$1.00. People pay 25 cents for a bubble gum. This is not a charity, it is a business that helps find missing children.
  • by steve Location: new jersey on Aug 15, 2008 at 04:50 AM
    The Beacon Project is a non-profit organization that helps in the recovery of missing and exploited children, a subject that is in the forefront of every parents minds everyday. The idea behind the boxes displaying photos of these children is to raise awareness and help circulate information regarding these children after the media has milked the sensational nature of their situation. Money paid for the boxes is directed to the Beacon Project, and a small profit made on the candy is the incentive for the owner to purchase more boxes resulting in more revenue for the Beacon Project. Is this process sinister because there is a profit for the owner or because the media is no longer profiting from the story of a missing child. Really, who is doing more of a service for these children? Clearly in the long term it is the owner of the candy boxes who are concerned with the actual recovery and not some flashy news story.
  • by Anonymous Location: Norman, OK on Jun 27, 2008 at 10:19 AM
    I will have to agree with the positive outlook of the company. If a person spends 16,000 to make people in their community more aware of missing children, how is this taking advantage of anyone. The individual who ownes the boxes is automatically out $16,000 from the start. I am not sure if everyone understands how non-profit organizations are structured. These entities can pay any salary they like to their employees as long as the company doesn't show a profit. So are you saying that a non-profit company who pays way too much in salary expense, but doesn't claim a profit, is better than the person who puts $20,000 (just a figure I threw out) in his pocket by spreading the awareness of missing children? That doesn't make sense to me. I bet the manager of your local DHS makes more than $20,000. I believe that the individual making the large initial investment to spread this awareness is doing good for the community. I hope my opinion helps add value and clarity to this topic.
  • by amber Location: orlando on Apr 7, 2008 at 10:33 AM
    Didn't the milk co.'s used to do this sort of thing, and didn't it help to find these children? Why would I care if my change ended up in someones pocket if they were responsible for the recovery of missing children. Who else would get it, the missing children? I guess some people can't understand that these pics being out is finding children. Who could object to that?
  • by DORELLA Location: LA on Apr 4, 2008 at 10:29 AM
    THE COMPANY CREATIVE MARKETING IS THE COMPANY THAT SELLS THIS BOXES TO STUPID PEOPLE THAT THEY CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF. THEY SELL THE BOXES OF 100 FOR $16,000.00 AND THE PEOPLE ARE TOLD THAT PART OF THE MONEY GOES UP FRONT TO THE BEACON PROJECT FOR MISSING CHILDREN. THE OTHER IS FOR THE BOXES AND THE LOCATIONS THAT THE CREATIVE MARKETING COMPANY PROVIDES THEM. THE MONEY IS PICKED UP AND NEW CANDY PUT IN THE BOXES. THE MONEY IS FOR THE PEOPLE THAT THE BOXES ARE SOLD TO. IT IMPLIES TO THE PEOPLE DONATING THAT THE MONEY GOES FOR MISSING CHILDREN, THE PEOPLE ARE TOLD THAT THE BOXES WOULD BRING IN MORE THAN $200.00 A DAY. THEY MAKE YOU BELIEVE THAT IT HELPS THE MISSING CHILDREN. YOU CAN NOT GET AN PHYSICAL ADDRESS ON THE BUSINESS CALLED THE BEACON PROJECT, JUST A P.O. BOX AND A PHONE NUMBER. I THINK AN INVESTIGATION NEED TO BE ON THE CREATIVE MARKETING COMPANY AND THE BEACON PROJECT LOCATED IN CHARLOTTE, NC. COMPANIES LIKE THIS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE HELPING.
  • by anonymous Location: NH on Sep 24, 2007 at 06:11 PM
    There is money given to the beacon project (missing children organization), for the purchase of these boxes. The owner of these boxes updates the photos of missing children in hopes that someone will recognize the kids. Nobody is being taken advantage of, if your child was missing, wouldn't you want their picture out there for people to see? These photos are of local kids in that particular community. Oh and company is legitimate, and works closely with the missing childrens network.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 23, 2007 at 01:18 PM
    I've seen these boxes as well and have confirmed sources that the money does go to the owner of the box and not missing children. I'm very saddened by these people taking advantage of others good charity as well as the horrible plight of families whose children are missing. These people need to be shut down.
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