Sunday, December 21, 2008

my thoughts on vacuuming

on friday afternoon, about 20 minutes before i was heading out to see a client, our doorbell rang.

i opened the door, and there was a gentleman there with a large box and a roll of wrapping paper. he said something to the effect of, "oh good! you're home. let me tell my boss and i'll be right back." he hands me the wrapping paper (i still haven't figured out where that came from) and while i'm still trying to make sense of what he's saying, he is in the house, unpacking a kirby vacuum cleaner. a woman accompanies him and comments on our christmas tree, the furniture, the dog, anything to be socialable.

let me add here that justin was home. otherwise, they would not have stepped one foot in my house.

so then begins the hard sell of this "once in a lifetime" opportunity to purchase a kirby vacuum. i explain to the dude that i have asked for a new vacuum for christmas because i know my current vacuum is awful. i have three animals now, and they shed. the carpet is dirty. i'm well aware of this. vacuuming the same spot 50 times and showing me what your more powerful vacuum pulls out is not an eye-opening experience for me.

to top it all off, this poor guy is sweating like crazy and sneezing up a storm. it almost seems like he's allergic to all the dust, dirt and pet hair that his kirby vacuum is getting out of my carpet. he excuses himself to the restroom twice and also has to use my phone to call his boss and tell them that he's making a pitch (and when to be picked up.) why don't they carry their own phones? and paper towels (also requested from our kitchen for the pitch.) and this guy had even run out of the salt that they pour onto the carpet to show just how powerful their machine is (and how crappy your current vacuum is.) he gave me an empty water bottle and asked for salt. i looked at him like he was crazy and gave him a teaspoon's worth of salt. the whole time justin is in the kitchen, cleaning up, just smiling at the fact that i had gotten myself into this.

at about 3:30 i tell the guy that i really need to leave in about 10 minutes for an appointment, and if he really wants to leave some information, we'll take it into consideration after the holidays. he calls his supervisor (who's also on the street at another house) and then goes on to demonstrate what horrible dry skin cells are on my couch. he then asks, "can i show you how this can clean your mattress?"

this is the point where i say, "no. sorry. i need to leave in five minutes and you are not going in my bedroom."

the supervisor arrives and i explain once more that i am leaving and if they want to leave information, that's fine, but I NEED TO GO. he starts helping the dude pack up the vacuum (who has gone to the bathroom for the third time) and sees justin's steelers stocking hanging on the mantle.

'TERRIBLE TOWEL! we got a TERRIBLE TOWEL in here! we're going to get the titans this weekend!"

justin now pops his head out of the kitchen and says, "yeah, man! go steelers!"

this proceeds to turn into a 20 minute conversation about football, where they get to see the steelers-themed game room. the michael jordan poster prompts another 10 minute conversation about the NBA, and after 30 minutes of talking sports with justin, they leave. without selling us a kirby vacuum.

i scooted out at the first terrible towel comment and made it to my appointment just a few minutes late. i also promptly borrowed my friend jennifer's rainbow vacuum cleaner, with which we sucked up about 5 lbs of pet hair and other gross stuff on saturday morning. why buy one when you can borrow it on a convenient basis?

i'm not quite sure what the moral of the story is. i know i will be much more careful about opening the door on random afternoons. i also believe that it is not effective salesmanship to invite yourself into someone's bedroom. you just don't do that.

anyone else have good door-to-door salesman stories?


  1. Get you a peep hole or use your side panels to see who is knocking at your door. Do not open your door. They hounded us for about 2 weeks and found out that we were not answering so they left us alone after that. I about rung one salesman's neck because he persisted to knock on my door during Seth's naptime. Grrrrr!

  2. hahahaha....that was a great post. Well written. I was on the edge of my seat.

    My first words to those guys are normally "There is no way that you're going to get me to buy that (fill in the product). I'm sure it's the greatest thing in the world and It's nothing personal but I just don't buy things at my own house.... this has never failed.

    One time,when we lived in Chesapeake VA, this dude came to our door like that. He told me that I could win a free TV if he did a demonstration.

    I had just gotten home from work and was beat but the TV idea peaked my interest. I told him that if he could do what he had to do in 10 minutes I'd let him in. So, 10 minutes into the pitch he was still working on getting unpacked. I told him, "ooops, time's up. You gotta go man." He tried to stall but I stood up and walked him to the door. He even tried to call his boss for some reason. But I basically edged him out the door. I didn't get a free TV...but he did give me a coupon for a free vacation!!!! We never used it. It was a scam. THE END.

  3. we do not have a peep hole and i conveniently "privacy screened" the side panels with the frosted glass cover stuff. we've ordered lots of stuff online lately, so i thought it might be a UPS or Fed-Ex guy. i will have to see what we can do about a peep hole though.